Dharma Topic: Never Despising, Never Giving Up

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Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday evening, Oct 28, 2004, ourtheme will be "Never Despising, NeverGiving Up." After our sitting, we will Invoke the Bodhisattvas’Names, a guided movement meditation in which we Touch the Earth four times, eachtime invoking the name and qualities of one of the four great Bodhisattvas(Enlightened Beings): Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri, Samantabhadra, andKshitigarbha.

In our discussion we will focus especially on Kshitigarbha. The name istranslated as Earth Store, and, according to Thich Nhat Hanh, "it implies astore of the qualities of stability, expansiveness, and the capacity to containand embrace all things." In Japan, Kshitigarbha is called Jizo, and he isthe patron of gamblers, lost causes, travelers, and the dead. He never gives up,he never considers anyone as unworthy of being saved.

When we invoke Kshitigarbha, we read these words:

We invoke your name, Kshitigarbha.

We aspire to learn your way of being present where there is darkness, suffering, oppression and despair, so we can bring light, hope, relief, and liberation to those places. We are determined not to forget about or abandon those in desperate situations. We will do our best to establish contact with those who cannot find a way out of their suffering, those whose cries for help, justice, equality, and human rights are not being heard. We know that hell can be found in many places on Earth. We will do our best not to contribute to creating more hells on Earth, and to help transform the hells that already exist. We will practice in order to realize the qualities of perseverance and stability, so that, like the Earth, we can always be supportive and faithful to those in need.

In the quote below, Thich Nhat Hanh encourages allof us to be like Kshitigarbha – to be someone who can smile, be happy, and havefaith in all circumstances.

Our question will be, "What keeps us from being likeKshitigarbha?"

Please join us this Thursday if you can.

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner
Senior Teacher