Turning Garbage into Flowers and Cucumbers

Turning Garbage into Flowers and Cucumbers

Discussion date: Thu, Jan 07, 2016 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday evening, after our meditation period, we will watch together a segment of a Dharma talk that Thich Nhat Hanh gave at the Quaker International Centre in London in 1987. Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) was then 60 years old. He spoke in an informal setting that looks much like a classroom. There were no monastics with him — it was before he began ordaining monastics in the west. However, Thay’s calm energy, clear insights, and encouraging tone were very present and seem familiar to those of us who have been on retreat with him during the past ten or twenty years.

In the segment we will watch, Thay begins talking about the nature of interbeing:

You cannot be by yourself alone. Nothing can be by itself alone. The flower cannot be without the garbage. The flower cannot be without the sunshine. The cloud, the water, the gas in the air. The flower can only interbe with everything else. … that is the nature of interbeing. To practice meditation is to see deeply the interbeing nature of things. That kind of vision, that kind of insight, will liberate you.

Thay then focuses on the possibility of change: just as a gardener can transform garbage into flowers and cucumbers, we can transform our anger and hatred into joy and compassion:

When we have something like anger or hatred, we have garbage in us. According to the Buddhist teachings, you should not discriminate against the garbage, which is anger or hatred, because there is a possibility to transform that anger or that hatred into something else more constructive, like love or understanding. If it is possible for us to transform garbage into flowers and cucumbers, why not transform our anger, our despair, our fear, into compassion and joy. That is the purpose of the practice of meditation.”

You are invited to join us this Thursday for our meditation, the video segment, and a Dharma sharing focused on mindfulness, healing, and transformation.

You are also invited to join us this Thursday for a brief newcomer’s orientation to mindfulness practice and the Still Water community. The orientation will begin at 6:30 pm and participants are encouraged to stay for the evening program. If you would like to attend the orientation, it is helpful if you let us know by emailing us at info@StillWaterMPC.org.

The 1987 Dharma talk is available on the Meridian Trust website. Plum Village recently posted an update on Thay’s Health. Information about the Still Water Winter Practice Retreat (Friday, January 22 – Sunday, January 24) and other upcoming Still Water special events is below.

Many blessings for a new year filled with love, understanding, and joy,

Mitchell Ratner

in: Dharma Topics
Discussion Date: Thu, Jan 07, 2016


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Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Sun, April 21

Columbia Sunday Evening Practice

Mon, April 22

Silver Spring Morning Meditation

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Tue, April 23

Takoma Park Morning Meditation

Tuesday Evening Gaithersburg Group

Wed, April 24

Silver Spring Morning Meditation

Spanish-Speaking Online Practice

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Thu, April 25

Takoma Park Morning Meditation

Fri, April 26

Silver Spring Morning Meditation

Sat, April 27