Living Life Deeply in 2018 — Evening Program Cancelled because of Weather Conditions

Living Life Deeply in 2018 — Evening Program Cancelled because of Weather Conditions

Discussion date: Thu, Jan 04, 2018 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

January 4th Program Cancelled.

Our Weather cancellation policy for Thursday evening gathering at Crossings is to cancel when Montgomery County Schools have closed for the day or afternoon, or when school-sponsored evening events are cancelled.

Hope to see you soon. All of the Still Water cancellation policies appears on our website: http://www.stillwatermpc.org/still-water-weather-cancellation-policies/


Dear Still Water Friends,

As we begin the new calendar year, many of us pause to reflect on what we wish for the coming year. What is it we want to do? How is it we want to be? What do we want to offer others?

The teachings on mindfulness are very discerning about how we attend to our desires or aspirations. In the Discourse on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone the Buddha explains that the practice allows us to plan for the future if the “mind is not burdened by or daydreaming about these things which belong to the future.” Similarly, the practice allows us to reflect on and learn from the past as long as the mind is not “burdened by and attached to these things which belong to the past.” The Buddha adds that there are also two ways to live in the present moment. We can be “swept away by the present moment” or we can learn how to live each moment deeply. The discourse advises:

Looking deeply at life as it is in the very here and now, the practitioner dwells in stability and freedom.

We must be diligent today.

To wait till tomorrow is too late.

Death comes unexpectedly.

How can we bargain with it?

The sage calls a person who dwells in mindfulness night and day, ‘the one who knows the better way to live alone.’

This Thursday evening, after our meditation period, we will read the Buddha’s Discourse on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone. In our Dharma sharing we will reflect on the lessons of the Sutra and on our aspirations for the coming year.

You are invited to join us.

As is our tradition on the first Thursday of the month, we will also offer a brief newcomer’s orientation to mindfulness practice and to the Still Water community. The orientation will begin at 6:30 pm, and participants are encouraged to stay for the evening program. If you would like to attend the orientation, it is helpful if you let us know by emailing us at info@StillWaterMPC.org.

You are also invited to join the Still Water community for the Transmission of the Five Mindfulness Trainings Ceremony on Saturday, January 6th, and a New Year’s Tea Ceremony on Sunday, January 7th with the Columbia Practice Group.

The text of the Discourse on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone is below.

May 2018 bring peace, joy, and wholeness to you and yours.

Many Blessings,

Mitchell Ratner

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Discourse on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone
Translation by Thich Nhat Hanh

I heard these words of the Buddha one time when the Lord was staying at the monastery in the Jeta Grove, in the town of Savatthi. He called all the monks to him and instructed them, “Bhikkhus!”

And the bhikkhus replied, “We are here.”

The Blessed One taught, “I will teach you what is meant by ‘knowing the better way to live alone.’ I will begin with an outline of the teaching, and then I will give a detailed explanation. Bhikkhus, please listen carefully.”

“Blessed One, we are listening.” The Buddha taught:

“Do not pursue the past.

Do not lose yourself in the future.

The past no longer is.

The future has not yet come.

Looking deeply at life as it is in the very here and now, the practitioner dwells in stability and freedom.

We must be diligent today.

To wait till tomorrow is too late.

Death comes unexpectedly.

How can we bargain with it?

The sage calls a person who dwells in mindfulness night and day, ‘the one who knows the better way to live alone.’

“Bhikkhus, what do we mean by ‘pursuing the past’? When someone considers the way her body was in the past, the way her feelings were in the past, the way her perceptions were in the past, the way her mental formations were in the past, the way her consciousness was in the past; when she considers these things and her mind is burdened by and attached to these things which belong to the past, then that person is pursuing the past.

“Bhikkhus, what is meant by ‘not pursuing the past’? When someone considers the way her body was in the past, the way her feelings were in the past, the way her perceptions were in the past, the way her mental formations were in the past, the way her consciousness was in the past; when she considers these things, but her mind is neither enslaved by nor attached to these things which belong to the past, then that person is not pursuing the past.

“Bhikkhus, what is meant by ‘losing yourself in the future’? When someone considers the way his body will be in the future, the way his feelings will be in the future, the way his perceptions will be in the future, the way his mental formations will be in the future, the way his consciousness will be in the future; when he considers these things and his mind is burdened by and daydreaming about these things which belong to the future, then that person is losing himself in the future.

“Bhikkhus, what is meant by ‘not losing yourself in the future’? When someone considers the way his body will be in the future, the way his feelings will be in the future, the way his perceptions will be in the future, the way his mental formations will be in the future, the way his consciousness will be in the future; when he considers these things, but his mind is not burdened by or daydreaming about these things which belong to the future, then he is not losing himself in the future.

“Bhikkhus, what is meant by ‘being swept away by the present’? When someone does not study or learn anything about the Awakened One, or the teachings of love and understanding, or the community that lives in harmony and awareness; when that person knows nothing about the noble teachers and their teachings, and does not practice these teachings, and thinks, ‘This body is myself; I am this body. These feelings are myself; I am these feelings. This perception is myself; I am this perception. This mental formation is myself; I am this mental formation. This consciousness is myself; I am this consciousness,’ then that person is being swept away by the present.

“Bhikkhus, what is meant by ‘not being swept away by the present’? When someone studies and learns about the Awakened One, the teachings of love and understanding, and the community that lives in harmony and awareness; when that person knows about noble teachers and their teachings, practices these teachings, and does not think; ‘This body is myself; I am this body. These feelings are myself; I am these feelings. This perception is myself; I am this perception. This mental formation is myself; I am this mental formation. This consciousness is myself; I am this consciousness,’ then that person is not being swept away by the present.

“Bhikkhus, I have presented the outline and the detailed explanation of knowing the better way to live alone.”

Thus the Buddha taught, and the bhikkhus were delighted to put his teachings into practice.

Bhaddekaratta Sutta, Majjhima Nikaya 131

 (This translation of the Discourse on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone has been prepared by Thich Nhat Hanh. This text is known in the Pali Canon as the Bhaddekaratta Sutta, and can be found in the Majjhima Nikaya No.131. In the Chinese Canon it can be found in the Madhyama Āgama.)

in: Dharma Topics
Discussion Date: Thu, Jan 04, 2018


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