Invoking Avalokiteshvara’s Name

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Dear Still Water Friends,

Some of us this week had a chance to be with the community, monastics, and Thich Nhat Hahn at the Warner Theatre and Library of Congress. This Thursday, we’ll share our experiences in being with the larger Sangha, listening to dharma talks, and seeing new and old friends.

Many talks and retreats with Thay start and/or end with chanting the name of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. The chant is done in three rounds, with the first round focusing on your own suffering, the second on the suffering of those close to you, and the third on the suffering in the world. Another way of saying this is that the first is having compassion for yourself, the second is having compassion for those close to you, and the third is compassion for all beings. Thay talked about this on Tuesday evening, and a version of this talk can be seen here (the French translation ends after a few minutes–also a good exercise in patience!). A short audio version of just the chant is here. A few words from Thay about Avalokiteshvara are below.

I hope you can join us this Thursday and share what seeds have been watered in your heart this week whether with the larger community or as your week unfolded.

Scott Schang

Embracing Ourselves, Embracing Our World Workshop, Sunday afternoon, November 6, 2011, in Columbia, Maryland

Deepening Our Practice–Bringing More Joy, Understanding, Love, and Compassion into our Lives, 5 Saturday mornings, November 5 – December 17, 2011, in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Living Our Practice: Still Water Fall Community Retreat, November 11-13, 2011, at the Charter Hall Retreat Center, Perryville, Maryland.

There is a Boddhisattva whose name is Avalokitesvara, in Vietnamise we call her Quan The Âm, in Chinese, Quan Yin. It means: "Listening deeply to the sound of the cries of the world". And listening deeply is the practice of mindfullness. But if you are full of pain, full of anxiety, full of projections, and especially full of prejudices, full of ideas and notions, it may be very difficult for you to practice deep listening. You are too full. And that is why to practice in order for you to have space, to have freedom within, to have some joy within is very important for deep listening. Avalokitesvara, Quan Yin, she practices deep listening to herself, and to the world, outside. She practices touching with her ears.

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