What We Wish For

What We Wish For

Discussion date: Thu, Jan 03, 2013 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that our spiritual growth arises from the presence of suffering in our lives. Without the suffering, the growth cannot occur:

If we take the time to look deeply, we see that understanding and compassion arise from suffering. Understanding is the understanding of suffering, and compassion is the kind of energy that can transform suffering. If suffering is not there, we have no means to cultivate our understanding and our compassion. This is something quite simple to see.

If you come to Plum Village in the summertime, you see many lotus flowers. Without the mud the lotus flowers cannot grow. You cannot separate lotus flowers from the mud. It is the same with understanding and love. These are two kinds of flowers that grow on the ground of suffering.

I would not like to send my children to a place where there is no suffering, because I know that in such a place my children will have no chance to develop their compassion and understanding. (From a Plum Village Dharma Talk, December 31, 2005.)

At the beginning of a new year, many of us reflect on our wishes, intentions, or goals for the next twelve months. This Thursday evening, after our meditation period, we will begin our Dharma discussion with a teaching from the Korean Zen tradition known as the Ten Guides Along the Path (Powang Sammaeron). They encourage us to take the larger view as we consider our hopes and wishes:

  • 1. Don’t hope for perfect health. Perfect health leads only to greater greed. “Treat illness as medicine, not disease”—so spoke the Enlightened One.

  • 2. Don’t long for a life free from hardship–such a life leads only to haughtiness and self-pampering. “Make worries and hardships a way of life”—so spoke the Enlightened One.

  • 3. Don’t hope for a lack of impediments in your study. “Release is hiding right behind obstructions”—so spoke the Enlightened One.

  • 4. Don’t hope for a lack of temptations in your training. A lack of temptations will only serve to soften your resolve. “Treat temptations as friends who are helping you along the path”—so spoke the Enlightened One.

  • 5. Don’t hope for easy success. Easy accomplishment leads only to increased rashness. “Accomplish through difficulties”—so spoke the Enlightened One.

  • 6. Don’t hope to get your own way with friends. Having friends give in to your wishes only leads to arrogance. “Make long-term friends through compromise in your relationships”—so spoke the Enlightened One.

  • 7. Don’t expect people to follow your wishes or commands. This, too, leads to arrogance. “Consider those who differ with you to be your character builders” —so spoke the Enlightened One.

  • 8. Don’t expect rewards for your kindnesses. This leads only to a scheming mind. “Throw out expectation of rewards like you’d thrown out old shoes” —so spoke the Enlightened One.

  • 9. Don’t expect more out of life than you deserve. Exaggerated profit-seeking leads only to foolishness. “Become rich at heart with small amounts” —so spoke the Enlightened One.

  • 10. Don’t complain about vexations. This leads only to resentment and poison in the heart. “Consider vexations as the first door on the path”—so spoke the Enlightened One.

You are invited to join us.

You are are also invited to join us this week for a brief 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.

Warm wishes,

Mitchell

Deepening Our Practice: The Science of the Buddha, January 12 to April 7, 2013 in Takoma Park or Columbia, Md.

A Calm Mind and A Joyful Heart: An Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation, January 21, 2013 at Crossings, Silver Spring, Md.

Smiling like a Buddha: A Ten-Session Mindfulness Meditation Class, January 28 to April 15, 2013 at Crossings, Silver Spring, Md.

Settling Into Silence: Still Water Practice Retreat, February 15-17, 2013 at Charter Hall Retreat Center, Perryville, Md.

in: Dharma Topics
Discussion Date: Thu, Jan 03, 2013


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