4-1-17 Sangha Update

A Veritable Fountain of the Energy of Springtime for You!
“I can hardly wait for tomorrow, it means a new life for me each and every day.” ― Stanley Kunitz
“As wave is driven by wave And each, pursued, pursues the wave ahead, So time flies on and follows, flies, and follows, Always, for ever and new. What was before Is left behind; what never was is now; And every passing moment is renewed.” ― OvidMetamorphoses
“Miracles... seem to me to rest not so much upon... healing power coming suddenly near us from afar but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that, for a moment, our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there around us always.” ― Willa CatherDeath Comes for the Archbishop
Dear Friends,
We are going through some challenging times and are being called upon to deepen our practice and not get pulled off center by anything outside of ourselves, but be able to maintain our balance and respond skillfully to life. In this season of springtime it is helpful to remember to breathe,  enjoy the reminders of impermanence and know that every day, along with everything else,  we begin anew.

We have lots of opportunities  to deepen our practice and begin anew.... and I wanted to share some of them with you.

First, there will be a gathering at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County at the Lily Pads complex on North Rd in Peace Dale tomorrow evening at 6 PM. Clare will be hosting and sends us this note...

Yes, Sunday is happening. We continue to use Creating True Peace as the ground of our dharma discussion. It is wonderful to be able to reinforce such as invaluable practices. This Sunday, we will look at Beginning Anew and everyday practices such as the wallet reminder. Of course, we will recite the five mindfulness trainings and practice deep listening and mindful speech. As spring approaches, we welcome new life and understandings of how to be peace.

Sending you the delicacy and strength of snowdrops,

Interbeing in Action: Being Peace in a Turbulent World     May 19-23, 2017

There are still a few spaces available at the Aldersgate Retreat. I hope if you are planning to come and practice with us that you will register soon. It is a big help to our planning team so that they can finalize everything. It is a lovely retreat in a beautiful place and it's wonderful to be able to be together to strengthen our practice together.  I hope you will be able to be with us. All the info and registration is available at joannefriday.com/calendar
Sister Ocean shared the letter below with the Mahasangha.
The ARISE Sangha (Awakening Through Race, Intersectionality* and Social Equity.)  has been looking together to help us all
deepen our understanding of ourselves and the conditioning that has led us to fall into duaistic and discriminative thinking. They are helping us to be honest with ourselves and wake up to all  kinds of discrimination, and deepen our understanding and love for all of our fellow beings. 
The Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation is also offering a wonderful opportunity for a book study online group with Thay Phap Hai. The book that will be used is 
The Sun My Heart, which is wonderful. All the info is available here....
We are all being invited to ride the waves of change and to deepen our practice at this time. We are very blessed to have a teacher who has embodied this his whole life and has shown us the way. 
I know that I have heard from many who are concerned about things that are happening in our country.  Whatever your concerns or views...it is important to be well informed and to  share them with those who can do something to address them.  You might like to contact your  representatives and their contact info is available at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
If you are local....
Sen. Jack Reed  (202) 224-4642
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse  (202) 224-2921
Rep. James Langevin 202-225-2735
Rep. David Ciccilini  202-225-4911
And of course in the midst of all of this, it is important to water lots of seeds of joy to expand our capacity to  be with the suffering that we are being asked to be with.

Last time I sent out the trailer for the  wonderful documentary that has been made about Thich Nhat Hanh and Plum Village. that


premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival..Here is

a review of that film.....
and it is always important to remember that whatever is happening....it's a wonderful world!  Enjoy!!!!
I hope that our paths connect in the not too distant future.
In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying every little sign of spring's awakening.

with much love and the energy of 

bud ready to burst into bloom for you,
ARISE Letter to the Community: An Update 
Awakening Through Race, Intersectionality, and Social Equity 
Dear Beloved Family,
‘We are here to awaken to the illusion of our separateness.’ Thich Nhat Hanh
As we experience and witness increasingly difficult and uncertain times inspired by the illusion of separation, we are urgently called to heed Thay’s teaching. With this, comes the challenge to meet these times where we are with compassion, heal from them, stand up against oppression, utilize our practices, share and be with one another, and take action with peace, solidity and friendliness.  In these times, the Three Jewels remind us that we can seek refuge in ourselves and in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. 
Looking deeply and healing from the seeds of separation of racism and oppression is ever present, critical, and urgent. This is the work of our ARISE Sangha, Awakening Through Race, Intersectionality* and Social Equity. We wish to offer an update of our work and offer gratitude. We are grateful for our work together and see that this work, this awareness and healing process, is one that is deeply embedded and interwoven in the fabric of all our lives and invite all of you, all of us, our greater Sangha, to join in this healing journey. Thay reminds us, we are all his continuation -- what we do now touches our ancestors, us, and our future generations.
Emergence of ARISE
ARISE Sangha, a community of lay practitioners and monastics, emerged after a series of offerings to the community during 2015.  The first was held in July 2015 at the Northern California Sangha Facilitators gathering where dialogue about race, power and privilege in our sanghas was explored.  In September 2015, a panel presentation in New York City, Where Spirit And Action Meet, explored the role of spirit in action for racial justice. In October 2015, Racial Equity was explored with personal stories and open dialogue, with the four-fold community present, at Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, California.  The energy of the response to these offerings and the collective desire to understand and heal the wounds of racial, class, and other separations gave rise to the formation of the ARISE Sangha.
Our Vision
We aspire to engage the Plum Village community worldwide in the work of healing the wounds of racial injustice and social inequity, beginning with looking deeply within ourselves.  We seek a worldwide Manyfold Community that is consciously and committedly engaged in the work of transformation and healing of racial injustice and social inequity.  In so doing, we aspire to nourish and protect Beloved Community, shared vision of our teacher Thay Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in our Manyfold Community and beyond.
Community Survey
We reached out to you, our community, in a survey to help determine where to focus efforts.  In that survey, we received 284 responses.  Seventy-two people (25%) identified as people of color, 211 (67%) identified as white, and 22 (8%) did not identify racial/ethnic identity.
To the question of ‘what our work should be about’,  the two top mutual responses are:
·      Actively encouraging all of our sanghas to take on this work to deepen their practice
·      Actively finding ways to support a greater presence of people of color (POC) within the OI/Sangha leadership
These results suggest that while there is much awareness of the need for us to address racial separation in our sanghas, there remains much work ahead of us to heal, understand/educate, and transform not only ourselves individually, but ourselves as a mahasangha.  We recognize that our mahasangha is a reflection of our greater society, exhibiting the same seeds and fruits of separation.  In these times, it is imperative that we look deeply to understand the roots of systemic and conditioned racism and to heal and transform individually and as a mahasangha. This is a loving offering to the greater society, and can begin to transform world.
A Path for Healing – Call to Action
A path for this healing journey, included in our Core Mission, is articulated by Marisela Gomez and Valerie Brown in a Call to Action with the five points below.
Engage in a process of understanding and building Beloved Community by:
·    Creating safe and loving spaces for people of color to heal from the trauma of racial injustice and inequity;
·    Looking deeply at and addressing the under-representation of people of color and low-income people in our individual Sanghas and the collective Sangha;
·    Creating safe and loving spaces for white allies of people of color to engage in looking deeply, understanding, and healing from implicit bias and other forms of discrimination;
·    Creating safe and loving spaces for white allies to understand the systemic legacy of racial inequity and to provide opportunities for learning and practice;
·    Creating safe and loving spaces for people of color and white allies to come together to look deeply and engage in healing together.
While People of Color (POC) retreats have been held at Deer Park Monastery, Blue Cliff Monastery and elsewhere, and POC Sanghas exist in Brooklyn, NY; Escondido, Los Angeles, Oakland, CA; and Baltimore, MD, even more are encouraged and necessary.  Recently, dedicated circles of White Awareness study groups and White Awareness Sanghas have emerged and are examples of actions taken toward this healing process. We recognize the urgent call to action to continue this work and expand throughout our mahasangha.  
Your Involvement/Our Involvement: What is Next?
Where will we go from here?   How can you be a part of this ongoing healing journey?
In keeping with the ARISE Vision and from community response: first, we encourage everyone to look deeply to identify the signs and symptoms, the apparent and not so apparent wounds of racial injustice and social inequity within ourselves. We encourage everyone to actively take on this work to deepen our practice.
Second, individually, in Sangha, and in taking action in the world, we encourage everyone and our Sanghas to consciously and committedly engage in the collective work of transformation and healing of racial injustice and social inequity. 
Third, we invite everyone to review silently, read aloud, and meditate on the top Community Responses and Path for Healing/Call to Action above.  By doing so, we are beginning anew with the intention and practice of Thay’s call for “waking up from the illusion of our separateness”. What next steps will each of us take?
For these top Community Responses and Path for Healing/Call to Action, we are aware that guidance and support may be needed along the way for this journey.   The ARISE core group, over the coming year, will be looking more closely at ways to support local sanghas and individuals as we actively engage in healing from wounds of racial and social inequity: love in action.
We know many of us are engaged in this work, this love in action, in the world and there are many beautiful sharings taking place in our mahasangha.   Recent examples include the Global Day of Prayer, Love Letters, Women’s March on Washington, practices during the week of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and honoring of Black History Month.  
We also wish to create an ARISE network, so please share with us what you may already be doing or planning to do in your local community…yes, we are all a cell in the sangha body of ARISE!
In closing, we offer the Three Jewels below.  We are also adding our Gatha for Healing, Racial, Systemic and Social Inequity; an extract of our Vision and Purpose Statement; recent ARISE action; and our website.
With deep gratitude,
ARISE Core Community Members
Valerie Brown
Marisela Gomez
Antoinette Gonzalez
Lyn Fine
Brian BK Kimmel
Victoria Mausisa
Sister Ocean
Jo-Ann Rosen
Jon Salunga
Sister Peace
Kaira Jewel-Lingo
John Bell