Dear Still Water Friends,
Next week I will be leaving for Vietnam to spend a month with Thich Nhat and the monastic and lay community traveling with him. During his visit, Thay will be conducting three Great Chanting Ceremonies (also called Grand Requiem Masses) to send peaceful energy to the deceased and to help heal the wounds in people’s hearts caused by the war in Vietnam.
The first Great Chanting Ceremony begins on Friday, March 16. This Thursday evening, after our sitting meditation, we will be joining with the Plum Village community in Vietnam in spirit through evoking the energy of the Buddha and Avalokiteshvara, and by offering remembrances of those who were injured, killed, or suffered because of the war in Vietnam.
Dharma Teacher Vien Nguyen will be joining us to guide us in chanting Namo Botat Quan The Am, the traditional Vietnamese salutation to Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva who hears and responds to the suffering of the world. In chanting we bring the energy of Avalokisteshvara’s into our lives and consciousness.
If you wish, you may bring flowers, pictures, and names of loved one with you to our gathering this Thursday. Also, if you wish, I can take the names of loved ones to be remembered with me to Vietnam, to be included among those to whom energy will be send during the Great Chanting Ceremony which will occur in Hue, April 2nd to 4th. (If you will not be present on Thursday, you can email the names to me at Info@StillWaterMPC.org.)
You are invited to join with us.
An excerpt on the practice of evoking the names of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is below. Also, English translations of some of Thays recent Dharma talks in Vietnam are available at the Deer Park Monastery website: http://www.deerpark.libsyn.com/.
Evoking the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
from a dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh, 18 December 1997
When you say Namo But Thich Ca Mau Ni or Namo Bo Tat Quan The Am itmeans you evoke the name of Avalokitesvara or Gautama Buddha, and yousee that you walk with the feet of Gautama Buddha or Avalokitesvara.
This is the practise of recollection of the Buddha, evoking the name ofthe Buddha, or evoking the name of the Dharma or the Sangha. During thetime we practice silent kinh hanh [walking meditation], or we practicekinh hanh while evoking the name of the Buddha, we weave our steps withthe evocation of the image of the Buddha in us, or the image of beingpeaceful at every step. We know what the sutra says, but we stillrecite it again because it is not a matter of obtaining more knowledgebut a matter of practising, training ourselves to live the words ofthese phrases. We already know these gathas, we know every word. Butwhen you recite again, you look deep and you may discover many thingsthat the first recitation does not enable you to see. You have torecite with your deep look. But if your mind goes in ten thousanddirections, even if your words are recited beautifully it won’t help.
Maybe you have recited that sutra for the last ten years but youhaven’t understood the meaning. But suddenly one night when yourecite the words a great world opens in front of you and you discovermany beauties. Every time you recite a sutra like that, it’s likea sword that can cut through your ignorance. A sword can cut yourignorance every day. Maybe today you think that this is one recitationlike many other recitations. But you never know, your concentration maybe deep and suddenly some word of the chanting goes deep into you andyou get a deep insight. So you can be enlightened during recitation ofthe sutra, too.