The older I get, the more I find my mind spontaneously calling up thoughts of loving-kindness. What do I mean?
The early teachings portray the Buddha as the ideal of peacefulness and pacifism. We’re told, “The Buddha gave up killing living creatures. He renounced the rod and the sword. He was scrupulous and kind, living full of compassion for all beings.” And, in his 45-year teaching career, there isn’t a hint that he ever wavered from teaching or living out his commitment to nonviolence.
Join in this Interfaith Day of Prayer and Fasting called by the Associated Clergy of Cape Ann
Please join us on July 8th at 5:00 p..m. at the Fisherman’s Wives Statue on the Boulevard in Gloucester, to begin a 24 hour communal day of fasting and prayer, in whatever ways your particular tradition teaches, to intercede and ask for God’s help right now for our nation, especially for the crisis concerning immigration and family separation.
We will gather at the Fishermen’s Wives statue on the Boulevard in Gloucester for a Service of Reckoning and Hope. Rabbi Lewis will preach, and we will offer prayers and songs. St. John’s Episcopal on 48 Middle Street will be our rain location.
For 24 hours, we will ask participants to fast and pray, meditate and dedicate themselves to action to support those most in need, on behalf of the children and families who are suffering in ICE detention facilities, for those who are fleeing their countries, for those at the borders of our country and other nations, and for wisdom for our national and international leaders, for compassion, and for hearts to be softened and turned toward mercy.
See yourself in others.
Then whom can you hurt?
What harm can you do? ~The Buddha
On July 9th, at 5:00 p.m., we will re-gather at the Fishermen’s Wives statue to close the fast with a brief service of prayer and blessing.
We decided to call for this day as one form of religious response to the painful time in our country. Our traditions share a common ground in fasting and prayer as spiritual practices of communal intercession, especially in times of crisis or great suffering. We hope you will join us, wherever you are.
For the last two months on Thursday evenings I’ve been offering teachings on meditation. These teachings have been loosely based on Pema Chodron’s brief, easy to read and highly understandable book called How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends With Your Mind. I especially like Pema Chodron’s making friends with your mind approach to meditation. It’s so down-to-earth and real.
The Buddha wisely recommended a relaxed, calm body and a non-harming frame of mind for meditation. The Buddha said he found this path of gentle practice through reflecting on a delightful memory of safety and ease from his childhood.
I have an ever deepening sense of contentment, gratitude and love for my life. This is priceless wealth beyond measure. One I did not alway know. Even years into my Zen practice, deep down in my heart I felt unlovable and undeserving. I was subtly yet constantly living as though I’d never have or be enough. I’d never have enough love or understanding, never enough money, or time, or friends, or esteem… Never enough.
“The Buddha” is in you
Despite all the ways I think I’m different from others, I also try to see how we’re the same. Here’s one way I think we’re the same. Each of us is a mystery. Whatever this life is, at rock bottom, we don’t know what it is, or who, or what we are. While I’m at it, there’s another way we’re all the same. No matter what, whether I meet an inmate at the corrections facility, a homeless person in Gloucester, or a member at Sweeping Heart Zen, that person, just like me, longs to feel whole, content, and happy. So, in my view, we’re each a mystery that longs for peace and joy, and the welfare of those we love. To me, this is what Zen and some other schools of Buddhism mean when we talk about our shared Buddha Nature. And it’s what I mean when I say that “The Buddha” is in you.
Techniques to De-Escalate Anger, Verbal Violence, and Conflict
For the past two days I attended an Alternatives to Violence Project workshop in Cambridge. Four facilitators and twenty-one participants gathered for the AVP workshop at the Friends Meeting House. I think we all grew in the practices of speaking peace and non-violence. At least I know that is true for me.
Dear Wisdom’s Heart,
Long ago, a zen student discover his teacher sobbing inconsolably. “But Master,” the student asked in dismay, “why are you crying?” The Master said, “I’ve just learned my mother has died.” “But Master,” the student pleaded, trying to console him, “don’t you say to view life as a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, a flash of lightening in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream?” “Yes,” the Master said tearfully, “and now… the dream is extremely sad.”
Seeds of peace grow peace, which plants seeds of peace.—Ben Connelly
Getting Real About Spirituality
“Many people try to find a spiritual path where they do not have to face themselves but… we have to be honest with ourselves. We have to see our gut, our real shit, our most undesirable parts… That is the foundation of… conquering fear. We have to face our fear; we have to look at it, study it, work with it, and practice meditation with it.”
― Chögyam Trungpa,
Once, long, long ago, a large group of monks settled down for the three-month rainy- season retreat in a beautiful forest in the foothills of the Himalayas.