Giving Thanks the Plum Village Way

Giving Thanks the Plum Village Way

Discussion date: Thu, Nov 23, 2017 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

(No program on Thursday Evening in Silver Spring)

Dear Still Water Friends,

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It is a holiday that can be celebrated with everyone. And underneath the hype and the distorted history there is an uplifting theme.

Thich Nhat Hanh in a 1998 Dharma talk, talked about how he encourages gratitude and giving thanks at Plum Village:

It is nice to feel grateful. When we enjoy eating an orange, we might feel grateful to the orange tree, which has spent a lot of time making a beautiful orange for us. So by thinking of giving and receiving, we can establish a deeper sense of relationship to the orange tree.

We know that the orange tree also receives a lot of things from the clouds, the sunshine and the earth. In fact, everything that is has to rely on everything else in order to be and to grow. That is why I not only feel grateful for the orange tree, but I am also grateful for the clouds, the sunshine, the earth, and so on. We like the idea of being thankful to the cosmos, to everything that offers itself to us as food. That is why in Plum Village we organize a Thanksgiving Day, and we address our thanks to four objects: first of all to our father and our mother, who gave us life; to our teacher who gave us spiritual life and helped us know how to live in the here and now; we thank our friends who support us, especially in difficult moments, and we thank every being in the animal, vegetable and mineral world for our support and maintenance. …

And while we celebrate Thanksgiving, we relate to everyone who is there, and this is a very good practice so that we don’t cut ourselves off from reality. The feeling of gratitude can help us to remember and to cultivate the element of compassion and lovingkindness in us.

Because so many of us will be celebrating with friends and family, Still Water has chosen not to have our regular Thursday evening program on Thanksgiving. However, all of our other weekly gatherings will take place, including:

  • Thursday morning sittings in Takoma Park and Ashton,
  • Friday morning sitting in Silver Spring,
  • Friday afternoon sitting in Sandy Spring, and
  • Friday evening gathering in Ashton.

Wishing everyone a nourishing and joyful Thanksgiving.

Mitchell Ratner

in: Dharma Topics
Discussion Date: Thu, Nov 23, 2017


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