Sat, August 13
Sat, August 13, 8:45 am–3:30 pm
A Day of Practice at Blueberry Gardens, Ashton, Maryland
To develop compassion in ourselves, we need to practice mindful breathing, deep listening, and deep looking. The Lotus Sutra describes Avalokiteshvara as the bodhisattva who practices “looking with the eyes of compassion and listening deeply to the cries of the world.” Compassion contains deep concern. You know the other person is suffering, so you sit close to her. You look and listen deeply to her to be able to touch her pain. You are in deep communication, deep communion with her, and that alone brings some relief. One compassionate word, action, or thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring him joy. One word can give comfort and confidence, destroy doubt, help someone avoid a mistake, reconcile conflict, or open the door to liberation. —Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation
In times of dynamic change and intense suffering, compassion is a gift of comfort and support that we offer each other. Compassion, or karuna in Sanskrit, is an aspect of true love, along with lovingkindness, joy, and equanimity. Thich Nhat Hanh, in his book The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, defines karuna as “the intention and capacity to relieve and transform suffering and lighten sorrows.” The question arises, how do we stay with our compassion in difficult times, not being overwhelmed by the constant suffering we witness in ourselves and those around us?
As Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us, we can practice cultivating the seed of compassion in our consciousness, watering and nourishing it with deep listening and mindful breathing and walking, till it grows strong within us. This is one way we bolster our own capacity for resilience. He writes, “We need to be aware of our suffering, but retain our clarity, calmness, and strength so we can help transform the situation. The ocean of tears cannot drown us if karuna is there.”
In our day together, we’ll take time to refresh and center ourselves through practices of mindful breathing, sitting, walking, and eating. We’ll share our aspirations and experiences of compassion, and explore how we can practice so that compassion will arise more often and stay longer in our consciousness.
The day of practice will be led by Eliza King, Tim McCormack, and Scott Schang of the Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center. We will meet in the Octagon at Blueberry Gardens in Ashton, Maryland. The suggested dana (donation) is $40-$70. Dana is a gift from the heart that supports the community and the teachings; please feel free to contribute less or more depending on your circumstances.
We hope you can join us! All experience levels, including no meditation experience, are welcome. If you have questions, please email our registrar, Gene Klinger, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-731-3732.
Blueberry Gardens: A Center for Yoga, Growth, and Healing
237 Ashton Road
Ashton, MD 20861