7/16/16 Sangha Update


Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park Very close to heaven!

Wendell Berry's "The Peace of Wild Things" When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Dear Friends,

We just returned from the Olympic Peninsula ....for some family visits and watering some seeds of joy before taking on lots of challenges...I was reminded of the above poem by Wendell Berry. I apologize if I have been difficult to reach. I will try to respond to all of you, now that we are home.  I hope you are all well and taking very good care of yourselves and  each other.

In light of the string of terrorist attacks, and racial violence that we have witnessed, it is clear that more than ever, the world needs people who can transform and heal our own suffering, so that we can see clearly and respond skillfully to those who are caught in misperceptions and have had their seeds of hatred, anger and violence well watered. We need to diligently practice what Thay has taught us. We need to address the roots of the suffering, not fall into dualistic thinking and allow our seeds of hatred, fear  and anger to grow stronger.  We need to practice love in action and address the injustice and inequities in our world. The Sutra on the Eight Realizations of Great Beings says that  "The Sixth Realization is that poverty creates hatred and anger, which creates a vicious cycle of negative thoughts and actions. When practicing generosity , bodhisattvas consider everyone - friends and enemies alike - to be equal. " We must address the inequality and inequities. Thay has taught us that fear is the soil in which anger grows....that is very evident in the actions we have witnessed and the public discourse which we have been hearing. We all need to be very diligent, deepen our practice and our understanding and take action using skillful means.

In the midst of the the chaos and confusion in our world, one of the ways we do that is to come together to deepen our practice so we will be contributing our highest and best to the collective.  There will be an opportunity to do that this coming Sunday at 6 PM at our home at 725 Matunuck School House Rd. in Wakefield. We will enjoy sitting meditation, walking meditation (in the garden, weather permitting), I will offer some of the teachings we have been given to address the challenges the world is offering us and we will share the Dharma. I hope you will be able to be with us.

Please remember that  the 21 day retreat in Plum Village  ended June 21 and the recordings of the talks given by Lay and Monastic Dharma teachers are available on YouTube. Just go to YouTube and search for "Vulture Peak Retreat" . If you are able please support this project by contributing to the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation.

Save the Date!!!! RI  Community of Mindfulness Sangha Picnic Saturday, September 10, 11 o'clock until 3 or so at Colt state Park in Bristol, RI.! Bring your family, friends, games, songs, poems, a vegetarian dish to share and your joyful self! It's always a lot of fun. I hope you will be able to join us.

Save Another Date!!! The New London Community of Mindfulness has invited me to offer a weekend retreat at Senexet House in Woodstock, CT from Friday, Oct. 14- Sunday, Oct 16. Registration has not yet opened. ...but if you would like to join us, please save the date.I will keep you posted.

Also a  retreat for those facilitating Sanghas or those who would like to....is being organized by the Dharma Teachers Council from Oct 20-23.

The Sangha Building Committee of the North American Dharma Teachers Sangha is happy to announce that we are offering a 4-day retreat for Sangha facilitators at Blue Cliff Monastery(www.bluecliffmonastery.org), 90 miles north of New York City, next October 20-23. With Dharma teachers John Bell, Dennis Bohn, Joanne Friday, Jack Lawlor, and other lay and monastic Dharma Teachers, with the support of the Blue Cliff monastic community. We hope you will consider attending. Please spread the word, and pass this information to other sangha facilitators.

(I have included more info below.) If you are planning to attend, and are from RI and would like to car pool, please contact Clare at clare2sartori@gmail.com  She has kindly offered to coordinate ride sharing.

I hope you will be able to be with us at one or more of the above.

In the meantime, please water all of your seeds of joy to expand your capacity to respond skillfully to our changing times.

with much love and the peace of wild things for you,



Thursday Oct 20 (6 pm) – Sunday Oct 23 (1 pm)

This retreat is for lay Sangha facilitators in the Plum Village Tradition. We recognize that the Sangha facilitator is a vital link for Thay's continuation, and would like to support facilitators to deepen skills, connect with one another by practicing together, and share experiences around common issues that arise when facilitating a Sangha. Open to all practitioners (OI or not) who are facilitating or want to facilitate a Sangha in the Plum Village Tradition. Likely topics will be organized around several themes:

Form or No Form?

  • Structuring Sangha Gatherings- Dharma sharing, centrality of formal practice, social time
  • Orientation for newcomers
  • Selecting topics or texts for Dharma sharing; use of sutras
  • Other practices: chanting, 5 mindfulness training recitation, socials, prostrations

   Frequent Challenges

  • Diversity and Inclusiveness
  • Interpersonal tensions;  mental health disorders
  • Supporting Sangha facilitators
  • Are you a "Thich Nhat Hanh Sangha"?
  • Decision making and governance

  Enhancing Sangha Practice

  • The mindfulness bell; Sangha chanting; enjoying ceremonies

Registration information.

There are approximately 70 beds available on site, in sharing dormitory style. Cost includes 3 nights lodging (Thurs-Sat) and 9 vegetarian meals (Thurs dinner-Sun lunch): Adult, dorm: $180-$330; seniors (65 & up) and teens $120-$240. Campers $120-240. Commuter rate: $120-$240. Registrants are asked to attend Thurs-Sunday, no partial  attendance. Thank you.

Please register at http://www.bluecliffmonastery.org/register-for-a-retreat/.  Go to “Group Registration”. Write “Sangha Facilitators Retreat” as name of retreat. Some scholarships available.