Dear Still Water Friends,
This Thursday evening, after our meditation period, we will watch a video recording of the opening segment of the June 14th, 2012, Dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh, offered during the 21-day Science of the Buddha retreat.
As Thich Nhat Hanh often does during his opening segments, in this talk he reminds the retreat participants of the fundamentals of practice. One of the points he emphasizes is that if we know how to practice, we know how to generate joy simply by breathing. It is not that we are breathing in a special way in order to later have joy, but that in the mindful breathing we are in contact with our aliveness in the present moment and joy is there:
Joy does not exist outside of the breathing. The breathing is joy itself. Because the quality of breathing is so good. It is mindful breathing, the kind of breathing that can bring harmony, calm and joy. So the joy is the breathing. We are not using the breathing to bring joy. Joy becomes the breathing. The breathing becomes joy.
Thich Nhat Hanh also emphasizes that if we know how to practice, we know how to work with physical and emotional pain. Rather than being overwhelmed, we know how to embrace and transform the suffering:
We need joy and happiness and peace in order to nourish us and to help us transform the suffering in us, so that when there is pain and sorrow and fear, we have enough energy of peace, happiness, joy, and mindfulness in order to handle the energy of fear, anger, pain in us.
In a Dharma discussion, the collective energy of mindfulness should be strong. When one person shows her suffering and asks the whole sangha to recognize and embrace her suffering, everyone should be able to use mindfulness and concentration in order to help the concerned person embrace her suffering. If we do that there will be transformation and healing, not only in the concerned person, but in us. Because in us there may be very much the same kind of pain. We do not allow the energy of suffering to overwhelm us, because we are practitioners, not victims.
You are invited to join us this Thursday. During our Dharma discussion we will share our experiences of generating joy and transforming suffering. An audio recording of the talk is available at www.tnhaudio.org.
A listing of upcoming Still Water Special Events is below. Please note that registration is now open for the Still Water Mindful Families Retreat, May 3 to 5 at Charter Hall, Perryville, MD. Indoor accommodations are limited.
Coming Home to Ourselves: A Day of Practice, May 11, 2013 at Blueberry Gardens, Ashton, MD
Still Water Special Tour of the Freer Gallery Buddhist Collection, May 18, 2013, at Freer Gallery, Washington, DC