2-4-17 Sangha Update

As the sun sets in the West, May all beings be peace!

There is only one time that is important--Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary person is the one with whom you are, for no one knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important thing to do is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!"

Leo Tolstoy - The Three Questions

“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is "timing" it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” ― Fulton J. Sheen

Dear Friends,
I hope you are well and happy and being warm a cozy on this cold winter night.
I included the Tolstoy quote and below is a lovely excerpt from Thay because many folks have been contacting me concerned about the state of our country right now and are wondering about right action. What is right action? It might be different for each one of us....but the way we get clarity is to stop, clam our mind and our bodies and look deeply to get to the root of the suffering. Then Thay tells us that we know what to do and what not to do. Tolstoy and Thay tell us to be completely in the present moment. To be present for the person we are with and be open to what we can do to be of help. For some of us, that might take the shape of being very well informed and making calls, writing letters or meeting with our elected officials. For some, it might be to help those in your family or community who suffer. No matter what our concerns are, no matter what our views, our practice is one of coming to a place of peace and clarity, so whatever action we take, it will be more likely to be skillful. 
We have a chance to practice cultivating our ability to be peace tomorrow evening at 6 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County on North Road in Peace Dale. Clare has sent this...
Sunday, the sangha meets at six in the UUCSC sanctuary. We begin with a sitting meditation followed by a reading of Thich Nhat Hanh's book, Creating True Peace and dharma discussion. We will then have a recitation of the five wonderful mindfulness trainings that support us in responding skillfully in our personal lives and within the world. It would be wonderful to have a good turn out for this Sunday. The presence of sangha members is a tangible expression of our collective intention to experience more joy.""

The Path of Peace Sangha invites you to …. Enjoy a Day of Mindfulness in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh with Dharma Teacher Joanne Friday

True Refuge and Stability in Turbulent Times

Saturday, March 25,2017 9:30 AM ~ 4:30 PM 

First Universalist Society of Franklin, 262 Chestnut St. Franklin, MA 

You can get the registration forms at joannefriday.com/calendar  

Information: Karen Grant grant44@verizon.net 508.954.3574   or   Susan Schmidt   781.985.4911 

The editor of the Mindfulness Bell has written a beautiful reminder about our practice of writing love letters. She offers examples from a number of the monastics and herself.. It is a wonderful practice. I have included them below.
If you are interested in getting updates on opportunities for helping in our community and our world, you can sign on  to our google group. It is a way to communicate directly with each other. Simply contact Cindy at westnest5@verizon.net.
This is a link to a beautiful reminder of what a miracle this existence is. A wonderful way to to begin or to end your day. 
If you are  ending your day, sweet dreams. If you are beginning your day, enjoy your 24 brand new hours.
with much love and the deep peace of a silent night for you,
From Natascha Bruckner
Dear Thay, dear Sangha,

I'd like to invite you to join me in writing love letters this weekend.

For me, writing love letters is a practice of cultivating love and peace instead of fear, anger, or blame. It can be a powerful way to show compassion, understanding, and a vision for harmony and peace in the world. And it feels good. :-) We can write to our elected officials, to journalists, to friends/family/neighbors, etc.

Here in Santa Cruz, a group of us will be writing love letters on Saturday, Feb. 4. Maybe you'd like to join us wherever you are. Below are resources to support you.

May our letters be seeds of love and understanding, planted gently in the hearts of everyone who reads them.

Love, Natascha

Thich Nhat Hanh's message on writing love letters:

“In the peace movement there is a lot of anger, frustration, and misunderstanding. The peace movement can write very good protest letters, but they are not yet able to write a love letter. We need to learn to write a letter to the congress or to the President of the United States that they will want to read, and not just throw away. The way you speak, the kind of understanding, the kind of language you use would not turn people off. The President is a person like any of us.

Can the peace movement talk in loving speech, showing the way for peace? I think that will depend on whether the people in the peace movement can be peace. Because without being peace, we cannot do anything for peace. If we cannot smile, we cannot help other people to smile. If we are not peaceful, then we cannot contribute to the peace movement.

I hope we can bring a new dimension to the peace movement. The peace movement is filled with anger and hatred. It cannot fulfill the path we expect from them. A fresh way of being peace, of doing peace is needed. That is why it is so important for us to practice meditation, to acquire the capacity to look, to see, and to understand. It would be wonderful if we could bring to the peace movement our contribution, our way of looking at things, that will diminish aggression and hatred. Peace work means, first of all, being peace. Meditation is meditation for all of us. We rely on each other. Our children are relying on us in order for them to have a future.”

Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace (pp. 79-80)

Possible steps for writing a love letter (but please do what feels right for you) ...

1. Meditate for 20-30 minutes. Bring to mind what you want to write about, what moves you to write this letter. Bring to mind the person you're writing to, what you love about them, what you're grateful for, what moves your compassion for them.

2. Allow 30 minutes to write a love letter, sharing from the heart.

3. Ask a trusted friend to read the letter and reflect on it with you.

4. Wait a day or two. Re-read the letter. Revise if you see ways to make your love and compassion more clear.

5. Send your letter :-)

Examples of love letters:

Love letter to George Bush by Thich Nhat Hanh

Love letter to President Hollande by Sister Mai Nghiem

A Love Letter to the 1% by Brother Phap Ho

Love Letter to America by Natascha Bruckner