4/22/14

Sunday, April 27

Keith will facilitate this Sunday:
The monastics at Plum Village spent the 3 month winter retreat in the deep practice of understand our mind. Thay wrote a book about it called Understanding Our Mind. All the Dharma talks from the retreat are online at tnhaudio.org. I have enjoyed listening to them all and contemplating the teachings along with the monastics. I'll share some of my insights with you and lead us in a practice designed to awaken us to the nature of our minds and heal and transform our consciousness, our experience of being alive. The Buddha handed us down a very powerful and complete guided meditation practice in the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing, the 16 breathing practices, and we'll use them to understand and transform our minds.

4/16/14

4/9/14

Sunday, April 13

We will practice with the week 9 dharma talk of the Ten Gates teachings from Deer Park's Winter 2012-2013 retreat.  Here is the study guide from the talk, which includes these reflection questions:
1) How have you created meaning and purpose in your life?
2) What activities do you find most meaningful? Which ones are
difficult? Why is that do you think?
3) What does it mean to you to be “useful” or “beneficial” to others?

4/3/14

Sunday, April 6

Pete will continue to facilitate "dropping the story" and the Four Establishments of Mindfulness.

"Monks, an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person feels feelings of pleasure, feelings of pain, feelings of neither-pleasure-nor-pain. A well-instructed disciple of the noble ones also feels feelings of pleasure, feelings of pain, feelings of neither-pleasure-nor-pain. So what difference, what distinction, what distinguishing factor is there between the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones and the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person?"
"For us, lord, the teachings have the Blessed One as their root, their guide, & their arbitrator. It would be good if the Blessed One himself would explicate the meaning of this statement. Having heard it from the Blessed One, the monks will remember it."
"In that case, monks, listen & pay close attention. I will speak."
"As you say, lord," the monks responded.
The Blessed One said, "When touched with a feeling of pain, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught. So he feels two pains, physical & mental. Just as if they were to shoot a man with an arrow and, right afterward, were to shoot him with another one, so that he would feel the pains of two arrows; in the same way, when touched with a feeling of pain, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught. So he feels two pains, physical & mental.
"As he is touched by that painful feeling, he is resistant. Any resistance-obsession with regard to that painful feeling obsesses him. Touched by that painful feeling, he delights in sensual pleasure. Why is that? Because the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person does not discern any escape from painful feeling aside from sensual pleasure. As he is delighting in sensual pleasure, any passion-obsession with regard to that feeling of pleasure obsesses him. He does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, passing away, allure, drawback, or escape from that feeling. As he does not discern the origination, passing away, allure, drawback, or escape from that feeling, then any ignorance-obsession with regard to that feeling of neither-pleasure-nor-pain obsesses him.
"Sensing a feeling of pleasure, he senses it as though joined with it. Sensing a feeling of pain, he senses it as though joined with it. Sensing a feeling of neither-pleasure-nor-pain, he senses it as though joined with it. This is called an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person joined with birth, aging, & death; with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is joined, I tell you, with suffering & stress.
"Now, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones, when touched with a feeling of pain, does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. So he feels one pain: physical, but not mental. Just as if they were to shoot a man with an arrow and, right afterward, did not shoot him with another one, so that he would feel the pain of only one arrow. In the same way, when touched with a feeling of pain, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. He feels one pain: physical, but not mental.
"As he is touched by that painful feeling, he is not resistant. No resistance-obsession with regard to that painful feeling obsesses him. Touched by that painful feeling, he does not delight in sensual pleasure. Why is that? Because the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns an escape from painful feeling aside from sensual pleasure. As he is not delighting in sensual pleasure, no passion-obsession with regard to that feeling of pleasure obsesses him. He discerns, as it actually is present, the origination, passing away, allure, drawback, and escape from that feeling. As he discerns the origination, passing away, allure, drawback, and escape from that feeling, no ignorance-obsession with regard to that feeling of neither-pleasure-nor-pain obsesses him.
"Sensing a feeling of pleasure, he senses it disjoined from it. Sensing a feeling of pain, he senses it disjoined from it. Sensing a feeling of neither-pleasure-nor-pain, he senses it disjoined from it. This is called a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones disjoined from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is disjoined, I tell you, from suffering & stress.
"This is the difference, this the distinction, this the distinguishing factor between the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones and the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person."
The discerning person, learned, doesn't sense a (mental) feeling of pleasure or pain: This is the difference in skillfulness between the sage & the person run-of-the-mill. For a learned person who has fathomed the Dharma, clearly seeing this world & the next, desirable things don't charm the mind, undesirable ones bring no resistance. His acceptance & rejection are scattered, gone to their end, do not exist. Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state, he discerns rightly, has gone, beyond becoming, to the Further Shore.


The discerning person, learned,
doesn't sense a (mental) feeling of pleasure or pain:
This is the difference in skillfulness
between the sage & the person run-of-the-mill.

For a learned person
who has fathomed the Dharma,
clearly seeing this world & the next,
desirable things don't charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His acceptance & rejection are scattered,
gone to their end, do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly, has gone,
beyond becoming, to the Further Shore.

3/22/14

Sunday, March 23

Marge will be facilitating our sangha gathering this Sunday. In our sitting and walking meditation and our dharma sharing we will explore businessless, 'nothing to do and nowhere to do.'

Master Linji, the Zen master who founded the lineage from which Thay comes, invented the term “businessless person,” the person who has nowhere to go and nothing to do." This was his ideal example of what a person could be. According to Master Linji, the businessless person is someone who doesn’t run after enlightenment or grasp at anything, even if that thing is the Buddha. This person has simply stopped. She is no longer caught by anything, even theories or teachings. The businessless person is the true person inside each one of us.

When we learn to stop and be truly alive in the present moment, we are in touch with what's going on in and around us. We aren't carried away by the past, the future, our thinking, ideas, emotions, and projects...Insight can't be found in sutras, commentaries, or Dharma talks. The person who has nothing to do is sovereign of herself. She doesn't have to put on airs or leave any trace behind. The true person is an active participant, engaged in her environment while remaining unoppressed by it. Although all phenomena are going through the various appearances of birth, abiding, changing, and dying, the true person doesn't become a victim of sadness, happiness, love, or hate....In doing nothing, in simply stopping, we can live freely and true to ourselves and our liberation will contribute to the liberation of all beings"

So our practice is simple: 'breathing in, I know I am breathing in [with nowhere to go] and breathing out I know I am breathing out [with nothing to do.] And each of us will still have to find our own way: 'nothing to do and nowhere to go' in the middle of the experience of an unpleasant emotion of physical sensation or a daydream, or deep peace, or an agitated mind or a happy mind.

We can't be businessless all the time, but we can make space for that in our lives - time to just be. 

Social Event This Sunday after Sangha
Let's enjoy a mindful meal together as a community after our practice together Sunday. If you wish to join us, let's meet at 6:30 at the Loving Hut Restaurant at 1905 El Cajon Blvd. (in the little strip mall on the south side of the street). The parking lot fills up, so you may have to park on the street.

3/12/14

Sunday, March 16

Loretta will facilitate on "A Life of Miracles" from The Pocket Thich Nhat Hanh book.

2/26/14

Sunday, March 2

Pete will facilitate on Deep Ecology – the Joy of Transformation.

2/5/14

Sunday, February 9

This week, Heather will facilitate on non-judgement and interbeing.  And as 2014 is a continuation of 2013, Thay offers us this blog entry and this Dharma talk.

1/29/14

Sunday, February 2

Nick will facilitate the "Energy of Prayer," inspired by Thay's book with that title. Thay also offers us this Dharma Talk.