Offering Joy

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Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday evening, after our meditation period, we will Invoke theBoddhisattvas’ names, “touching the earth” in order to bring to mind theenergies of the four great Bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhistmythology: Avalokiteshvara represent compassion, Manjushri represents wisdom, Samantabhadra represents practice and service, and Kshitigarbha represents the vow to save all beings.

In our program we will focus especially on Samantabhadra, theBodhisattva of Great Action. Above on the left is a representation fromBorobudur in Indonesia representing Samantabha in male form,emphasizing the hand of wise and compassionate action. On the right isa female representation from China, with Samantabhadra riding onthe back of an elephant, symbolizing wisdom.
When we invoke Samantabhadra, we read these words of Thich Nhat Hanh: 

We invoke your name,Samantabhadra. We aspire to practice your vow to act with the eyes andheart of compassion, to bring joy to one person in the morning and toease the pain of one person in the afternoon. We know that thehappiness of others is our own happiness, and we aspire to practice joyon the path of service. We know that every word, every look, everyaction, and every smile can bring happiness to others. We know that ifwe practice wholeheartedly, we ourselves may become an inexhaustible
Samantabhadra encourages us to act: to turn our aspiration to relievesuffering, and our insights of non-self and interbeing, into concrete,everyday actions. And Samantabhadra offers us an enticement — joy onthe path of service. Done with the energy of Samantabhadra, an everydaytask, such as serving hot noodles on an international flight (seebelow), can be infused with great love.

During our discussion we will explore these questions:

  • What nourishes my capacity to genuinely offer service and joy to others?
  • What inhibits me, makes it harder?
  • Concretely what are some things I can do tomorrow, this week?

You are invited to share this Thursday evening with us. The best timesto join us are just before the beginning of our 7 p.m meditation, justbefore we begin walking meditation (around 7:25), and just after ourwalking meditation (around 7:35).

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner
Senior Teacher

****************From Avi, a Northwest Airlines International Steward ***************
During our long haul flight we have a mid-flight snack service and weserve hot noodles with other snacks to our customers during this time.Few airlines do a mid-flight service such as this and so I often derivegreat pleasure in seeing how pleased many are when we offer this tothem.
We start by assembling in the economy galley area and I usuallyvolunteer to serve the hot water to the passengers for their noodles.Rather than rushing the service with the attitude of getting it overand done with as soon as possible, I try my best to approach thisupcoming service with a smile and a sense of joy to be doing it with myother team mates (crew members) and I try to radiate that feeling allaround.
During the actual service, I invite the passenger to place their openednoodle bowl on my tray, giving delicate eye contact and, of course,always smiling, after which I pour the hot water into their bowl ofnoodles. While I am doing this, I quietly say to myself “the God withinme salutes the God within you.” I then offer the bowl which nowcontains hot noodles back to the person and while I do this I amlooking at them gently and saying to myself quietly “the God within yousalutes the God within me.”
I get a great sense of joy doing the service this way and often the persons eyes will light up with gratitude and happiness.