Dharma Topic: What We Do Matters

Dharma Topic: What We Do Matters

Discussion date: Thu, Mar 23, 2006 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

For me, one of the most profound truths of mindfulness practice is that what we do, moment by moment,matters. It matters for us and it matters for the future of theworld. So many of the difficulties of the world – such as war, poverty,interpersonal violence, loneliness, and environmental degradation -have at their base a hardening of the heart.

If the change we desire is to come, it will come as people learn toopen their hearts wider, and that opening must begin with us. If wecan’t do it, and keep doing it, how can we expect it of others?

This Thursday, March 23, afterour meditation period, we will practice a “Touching of the Earth,”entitled “Nourishing Love andUnderstanding” (written by Thich Nhat Hanh and provided below).Not only does it draw our attention to the power we have to transform,and be transformed by, the present moment, it also recognizes our placein a spiritual lineage of others who have walked this path before us.

I hope you can be with us this Thursday. The best times to join us are:

  • Justbefore the first sitting at 7 pm
  • At7:25, at the beginning of walking meditation; or,
  • At7:35, at the beginning of the second sitting.

Also, I will be part of a special Question and Answer on Practicesession this Sunday at the Still Water group meeting at the Yoga Centerof Columbia. You are most welcome to join us there as well. Thegathering there begins at 6:30 pm, directions and a map are availableat www.StillWaterMPC.org (at the lower left of the home page).

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner
Senior Teacher


Nourishing Love and Understanding

Dear Buddha, with body, speech, and mind in perfect oneness, I touchthe Earth before you who has fully realized awakened understanding andaction.
(Bell)

Dear Buddha, you have taught me not to regret the past or lose myselfin anxiety and fear about the future. Around me I see many of us whoare losing ourselves in our worries and fears. This anxiety stops usfrom being able to dwell peacefully and live deeply in the presentmoment. I have the right and the ability to make plans for the future,but it is not necessary to lose myself in my worries about it. Inreality, I know that the future is made of the present moment. When Ilive the present moment deeply and I only think, speak, and do what canbring more understanding, love, peace, harmony, and freedom into thepresent situation, then I have already done everything that I can tolay the foundation for a bright future.

The direction in which tomorrow’s world will go and whether mydescendants will have a chance to live happily and freely or notdepends on how I live the present moment. To ensure a happy andpeaceful future for my descendants I shall practice living simply,nourishing my heart and mind of understanding and love, and living inharmony with all those around me as true sisters and brothers in aspiritual family. If I continue to run after power, fame, riches, andauthority I shall not have time to live peacefully and freely. I shallalso continue to exploit unnecessarily the resources of our planetEarth, destroying the environment and bringing about strife and hatredin the world. This is not a positive way ahead for myself, for theenvironment, or for future generations.

Dear Buddha, may I devote my life to nourishing a clear awareness ofmyself and my environment in every moment in order to continue yourawakened way of looking and acting in the world. This is the noblestway of living. (Bell)
 
[Adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh, Touching the Earth: IntimateConversations with the Buddha (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press,2004).]

Discussion Date: Thu, Mar 23, 2006


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