Dharma Topic: Manifestation, Presence, and Love

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Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday evening, January 27, after our sitting andwalking meditation, we will practice the Touchings of the Earth, a guidedmovement meditation. Many of us are familiar with the Three Touchings and theFive Touchings of the Earth which we have done many times at Still Water. Thisweek we will utilize a new form adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh’s recent book, Touchingthe Earth. This new form has three sections:

  • Everything Is Manifestation 

  • Living in the Present 

  • Nourishing Love and Understanding 

The reading for the first Touching, Everything isManifestation, is provided below. The full form will be on our Website underResources / Still Water MPC Ceremonies / Touching the Earth – Manifestation,Present Moment, and Love.

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner 
Senior Teacher

Dear Buddha, you have taught that people in the world aregenerally caught in ideas of being and nonbeing, permanence and annihilation. Iknow that the idea of an undying self is a wrong view, and I am practicing tolook deeply to see that annihilation is also a wrong view. Permanence andannihilation are both extremes. You have taught me that if I am caught in eitherof these two extremes, I suffer. As part of my daily practice, I shall make aneffort to see clearly that my own five skandhas and everything around me isimpermanent, but at the same time not subject to annihilation. With the clearunderstanding of impermanence, I see that nothing can be said to be a separateself-entity. Everything is a wonderful manifestation which does not have its ownseparate reality or its own separate nature. This manifests because thatmanifests, and that manifests because this manifests. This is present in thatand that is present in this.

Dear Buddha, I shall listen to your advice and look deeplyinto impermanence, interdependence, emptiness, and interbeing, in order toarrive at the deep realization that all that exists has the nature of no birthand no death, no coming and no going, no being and no nonbeing, no permanenceand no annihilation. Dear Buddha, you have opened the door of no birth for us. Ionly need to follow you and enter that door. I know that the highest aim of apractitioner is to realize the nature of no birth and no death and thus to gobeyond the cycle of samsara and attain the greatest freedom. You have been socompassionate to teach us this. Yet, I have wasted much precious time followinga worldly career, looking for words of praise, profit, and position. I know Ican do better.