To Teacher, with Love

We need to be aware of the suffering, but retain our clarity, calmness and strength so we can help transform the situation. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

thay-smiles

thay-smiles, upon arrival at his root temple, Tue Hue, in VietNam, 2007 ~d nelson

Breathing in a calm breath I pass on the news that on November 11th 2014 Thay (endearing Vietnamese term for “teacher”), Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, experienced a severe brain hemorrhage, and for a period, falling into coma. According to Plum Village Monastery, Thay is receiving 24 hour intensive care from specialist doctors, nurses and from his monastic disciples. At present, Thay is still very responsive and shows every indication of being aware of the presence of those around him. He is able to move his feet, hands and eyes. There are signs that a full recovery may be possible. It has been asked that, besides compassionate prayers and meditations, the best way to support his recovery is to diligently continue practicing our mindfulness, concentration and insight, to cultivate freshness & solidity. The pioneer of the Engaged Buddhism movement was due to join Pope Francis and other world faith leaders for a historic summit at the Vatican this December 2nd, hosted by the Global Freedom Network, to take action against modern slavery and human trafficking.  His current status is posted at http://plumvillage.org/ .

 

August 2009 I posted “Happy 4 me & U” about the publication of “Mindful Living Every Day”, available on Parallax Press. Many have commented how it has supported their mindfulness practice at home by helping friends and family understand these teachings and practices of love. In tribute to my teacher, my movie, for a short time, can be seen below.  May it support your aspiration of living with the energy of mindfulness, for the benefit of yourself and all beings.

 

Autumn’s Holding On

There is no birth, there is no death; there is no coming, there is no going;
there is no same, there is no different;  there is no permanent self, there is no annihilation.
We only think there is. ~THICH NHAT HANH, No Death, No Fear

Red Oak & Green Pine dance with clouded blue sky

Red Oak & Green Pine dance with clouded blue sky

Now we’re in autumn’s time
of maturity & fragility.

Trunks strong, well-rooted
while leaves vibrantly transform
from energy & oxygen production,
returning their essence
to the soil
as they have done
unselfishly
countless times.

Losing my mother
losing our mother
recognizing her gift
in greens, reds and golds
a bell of mindfulness
ringing gratitude and sadness
as she returns her form
to the earth.

Knowing that my time
to be vibrant
in this human form
to dance in the wind
one last time
is not too far in the future.
Less than one hundred years from now,
I’m almost sure.

Until then,
with mindful awareness
I will breathe in happiness
and smile calmly
the best I can
for the gift of this moment
and impending winter.

Sweet Eve of the Dead & Dying

Enlightenment for a wave is the moment
the wave realizes that it is water.
At that moment, all fear of death disappears. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

eternal napping

eternal napping

In that small elm tree out front
still beats the original ancestral tree’s
heart energy.
A giving tree
for countless generations.

In me beats the heart of both parents,
each cell has dna back
to the beginning-less beginning.
Parents and ancestors
are worthy of remembering
what they did, what they hoped
how they succeeded and failed,
and how they continue on
in what I think, say and do.

Welcome Home

Welcome Home

Decorating town with reminders
of the dead and gone is a valuable expression.
Physically dead and gone, perhaps,
in their human form
but their actions, or karma, lives on.
Just look around and see
their legacies left behind,
legacies living on into the future.

I’d like to think I’ve learned
how to experience beauty and love
while gaining insight on reducing suffering
for myself, others and the world.
Despite good intentions and some diligence,
I’m not so sure about the insight
and to that I express some regret.

On this eve of my mother’s imminent passing
I’ll go and sing gentle lullabies of love
to help her sleep peacefully
for the ages,
body returning to the earth,
reuniting with parents, ancestors
and the original giving tree.
She did her best
with the conditions presented her.
Living on in so many ways,
including me,
& my doing my best to be
a beautiful continuation.

Polished only after the Rock Tumbler

in the buddha field

in the oak grove Buddha field @ Deer Park

We say, “I take refuge in sangha,” but sangha is made of individual practitioners. So you have to take care of yourself. Otherwise you don’t have much to contribute to the community because you do not have enough calm, peace, solidity, and freedom in your heart. That is why in order to build a community, you have to build yourself at the same time. The community is in you and you are in the community. You interpenetrate each other. That is why I emphasize sangha-building. That doesn’t mean that you neglect your own practice. It is by taking good care of your breath, of your body, of your feelings, that you can build a good community. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Tall complement short
Young complement old
Engineers and mathematicians
complement poets and musicians
Introverts complement extroverts
Yin needs yan
Right needs left
Innies need outies.

We need each other
literally, to experience inter-being.
To flow together as a river;
even if a river of stones.

flowing as a river of stone

flowing as a river of stone

While one may see the beauty
another will see the difficulty
and another will feel the tail
while another is unsure
and another will smell the pile of dung
while the other realizes what to do with it.

We need each other
to rub abrasively against
and smooth off the rough edges
and become shiny and polished
in our body, speech and mind.

Collectively we can become liberated
from the poisons of greed, hatred and delusion,
realizing true peace, happiness and harmony
living on the paradise
of this beautiful earth.

Dharma Rain on the Climate Train, Climate March & Flood Wall Street

Meditation is not meant to help us avoid problems or to run away from difficulties.
It is meant to allow positive healing to take place.
To meditate is to learn how to stop – to stop being carried away by our regrets about the past,
our anger or despair in the present, or our worries about the future.  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Thank you grandma for offering your presence
with the masses who took action
so that a future would be possible for us.
People taking action, even when elected leaders would not.
You looked so happy carrying your sign
“there is no planet B”
next to friends’ signs
“tar sands are for losers”
and “Grandmas Against Global Warming.”

Thank you grandpa for riding on the people’s climate train with hundreds of others
attending dozens of workshops about the environmental causes and conditions in 2014.
Those actions, prayers and meditations helped
wake up grassroots within the collective consciousness.
To reduce carbon emissions and slow the warming
moving away from the  fossil-fuel economy.
To peacefully transition to a resilient, sustainable
co-existence with our brother and sisters of all species.

rose at 9/11 memorial ~d nelson

rose at 9/11 memorial ~d nelson

Without your loving, courageous actions
the planet might have warmed so much,
seas rose so high,
that we would not be here
to enjoy the beautiful wonders
of life.
Thank you for having the insight
to have beautiful continuations.

Happy to return to my blogosphere friends
and hope you enjoy the video account of dharma in action ~david

With a lot of help from my (spiritual) Friends

 

making the serious joyful

making the serious joyful

One interesting thing about greed is that although the underlying motive is to seek satisfaction, the irony is that even after obtaining the object of your desire you are still not satisfied. The true antidote of greed is contentment. ~ The Dalai Lama

May we all have the spiritual friends needed to support us in these difficult times.
To help us see our inner lotus
as well as our deep mud
so that we may cultivate our gardens
and create beauty for ourselves and the world.

With support of others
great difficulties can be faced.
Together we can study, learn and live
in such a way that we cause less harm
to people, animals and the earth.

May our mindfulness grow
and practice of the four elements of love
that we can overcome
the three poisons of greed, hatred and delusion.

faith's symbols

faith’s symbols

May we cultivate enough compassion
that we can bow to those we oppose,
to those whose actions create war
and destroy the earth
for they have so deeply helped us
see how much we truly care for life on earth.

These thoughts were recently shared by two senior luminaries of engaged Buddhism,
Ajahn Sulak Sivaraksa and Joanna Macy.
Please enjoy this inspired, edited version of their talk:

I look forward to again being with my spiritual friends in the blogosphere
when I return from retreat and participating in the UN Climate March.

If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Building Clarity Hamlet

chanting compassion

chanting compassion ~d nelson

Gratitude for the compassionate ways
of the sisters at Deer Park Meditation Center/Monastery.
They teach the ways of understanding and love,
living in harmony with nature.
They are there as friends to all
who present themselves;
whether people
animals
plants
or minerals.

sister's new dwelling

sister’s new dwelling

For the past 14 years they’ve lived
in small bath houses (next to the unused swimming pool),
without insulation
cold in the winter
hot in the summer.
Still they walk peacefully
and smile to all.

Finally a new, eco-earth friendly
straw-bale nunnery is being built for them
thanks to the generous donations of time and money.
This short video above offers a brief impression.

 

More info about the efforts to complete
the building of Clarity Hamlet at
http://www.deerparknunnery.org/