Beginning Anew with Thay in our hearts

Good morning dear Sangha

Already we have more light in our days and less darkness in our nights – what are we doing with this change in spaciousness? One great gift of this season is the opportunity to begin anew with ourselves, our families, our friends – and our practice!

Please join us on Thursday for the Ceremony to Recite the Five Mindfulness Trainings. Our second Thursday will look deeply into the Gatha for Beginning Anew, the Repentance Gatha and Purification recitation.

Our third Thursday we will study and practice the Beginning Anew Sutra Service. Our fourth Thursday we will explore Beginning Anew with Mother Earth.

We also have a fifth Thursday this month – and we will gather to sit and walk, have tea and treats, and share songs, poems, images – whatever.

Please join us as the Sangha begins the new year together – and enjoy the message below from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation:

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE HAS BEEN SENT TO THE SANGHA FROM THE THICH NHAT HANH FOUNDATION

Dear Beloved Community,

Our dear Teacher has been at T? Hi?u Root Temple now for two months, with many of our elders, including Sister Chan Khong, Brother Phap An and a team of monastic attendants. Thay is doing well, his eyes as bright and lucid as ever. Even in the heavy rains, Thay visits the tomb of his teacher everyday, sometimes three times in the day. He has been coming out to enjoy the grounds of the Root Temple, visiting the Half Moon Pond, along all the paths past the bamboo groves, and the well where he would wash his feet as a young novice after attending the buffaloes. It has been lovely to see so many people visiting Hue to be near Thay, to enjoy the Root Temple and to pay tribute to our spiritual ancestors.

Thay’s return to T? Hi?u has been a bell of mindfulness reminding us all of how precious it is to belong to a spiritual lineage with deep roots. Whether we have attended a retreat; or simply read one of Thay’s books or watched a talk, and have been touched by his teachings—we are all connected to this ancestral stream of wisdom and compassion. Throughout his teaching career, Thay has opened the Dharma door of connecting with our ancestors, as a way to tangibly practice the Buddha’s teachings on no-self, and to see ourselves as a continuation and not a separate self-entity.

Connecting to our true home
In this holiday season, we have a chance to return home to our roots, to be with our loved ones, and to take time to come back to ourselves. With our mindful breath and steps, with our awareness and care for our physical body, and with our connection to our community of fellow practitioners, we know that, wherever we are, we can have a true spiritual home to take refuge in.

As Thay would often remind us, the greatest gift we can offer to others—and ourselves—is our true presence. To return home is to be present. Breathing in and out with the energy of mindfulness is enough to establish ourselves in the present moment, right where we are, with whoever is around us; whether they are joyful and festive, or facing challenges, loneliness and sorrow. With our mindful breathing we can truly be there with whatever is coming up, in ourselves and in our loved ones. Simply being present with compassion, care and deep listening is enough to make a difference and bring relief.

Where is Thay?
Looking deeply with the eyes of signlessness, we can see that Thay is not only in Vietnam. Thay is fully present in us as we enjoy a meal with our loved ones, knowing it is a precious moment. Thay is sitting at our side as we breathe relaxingly and wait in our car at a stop light. Whether we are in a city, a remote village or out in the field of action for climate and social justice, wherever the practice is, our teacher is there too. Thay is there when we can pause and enjoy the simple wonders of life and when we can resist the rush, confusion and noise of modern society. Thay is there in our community wherever any of his students, lay and monastic, are practicing mindful walking, breathing, listening and engaging.

We know that our planet is facing great challenges, in terms of environmental destruction, climate change and species extinction. Our human family is experiencing profound political instability, social turmoil, continued violence and displacement. When we reflect on the past year as practitioners, we are asking ourselves, What can we do to help? What’s the best we can contribute as individuals and as mindful communities to the collective awakening? Where can we find a true refuge for ourself and for others?

Thay’s words of guidance are clear:
To take refuge, first of all, is to take refuge in the island of ourselves and then in the island of a sangha. These islands are communities of resistance. “Resis­tance” does not mean to oppose others. It means to protect ourselves, like staying inside the house to protect ourselves from the weather. We resist being destroyed by society’s pollution, noise, unhappiness, harsh words, and negative behavior. If we do not know how to take care of ourselves, we may get wounded and be unable to help others. If we join with others to build a sangha that can nourish and protect us and resist society’s destructiveness, we will be able to return home. Many years ago, I suggested that peace activists in the West establish communities of resistance. A true sangha is always therapeutic. To return to our own body and mind is already to return to our roots, to our true home, to our true person. With the support of a sangha, we can do it.
—Thich Nhat Hanh (“Finding our True Heritage”)

The power of communities
Internationally, our community of resistance is growing stronger and becoming a stable refuge for many people from all walks of life. As a sangha we are practicing to go forward one breath at a time, one step at a time, one person at a time, beginning with ourselves. With the support of the collective we can recognize, embrace and transform whatever is coming up inside us, so we can see clearly what to do and what not to do to help the situation. We now have over 1,500 local sanghas, and every week new sanghas are forming around the world. We have the Earth Holder Sangha, the ARISE Sangha, the Wake Up movement of young people and the Wake Up Schools network cultivating mindfulness in education. Each year, dozens of young men and women from many different nationalities are ordaining as monastic brothers and sisters; our growing community now reaches over 100,000 people per year worldwide, joining us for retreats, public talks and mindfulness workshops. Our new Healing Spring Monastery outside Paris opened in November and will be offering a peaceful refuge for many Parisians this holiday season. This autumn, our monastic brothers and sisters in Plum Village came together to deepen our chanting in English and French, the fruit of which is the new CD Chanting as a River. We will “resist” together as a spiritual family by bringing freshness to pollution, serenity to noise, kindness to places of harshness, and seeds of peace to the fields of hate.

Will your New Year be new?
The New Year 2019 is an opportunity to reflect on what ways we can resist to ensure a better path forward for ourselves, our community and our planet. It will require us to be courageous in making changes in our life to ensure the New Year will truly be “new”. We can resist by making a clear, compassionate resolution in terms of daily mindfulness practice, transforming habit energies, or taking our life in a new direction, even in small ways.

In October, new scientific research called for a change in diet away from meat and dairy towards less resource-intensive plant-based foods. We can commit to a number of plant-based food days per week. We can find ways to eat local, seasonal and organic foods; and maybe ask our local restaurant to offer more vegan or vegetarian choices. We can make other consumption choices that reduce damage to our planet. For example, making a commitment not to buy any more clothing items for this coming year by looking into our closet and asking, Do we really need another sweater or pair of shoes? In this kind of resistance there is no corporation, no politician and no policy to oppose or to rebel against. It all comes down to our own free conscious choice to change the way we consume whether that is food, fuel, energy or other items from around the world. We can make these choices in the spirit of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, with compassion and joy, and without judging others or imposing our views.

Collective insight
Changing the collective consciousness will require us to gather, discuss action and exchange ideas in our local sanghas to find ways to inspire and propel change. As a 15-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg reminded us at the recent Poland climate conference, we do not want to steal the future from our children. Sacrifices must be made, conveniences reduced, and habits changed. Looking deeply together we can continue our Teacher and find skilful ways to support new frontiers of healing and compassion for our planet.

Dear beloved community, as we write this message, the days are getting longer as more light shines on the northern hemisphere. It is a great happiness to have each other and a beautiful path to walk together. Wherever we are this holiday season, we are not alone. We have a path of practice, we have a community.

We wish you a peaceful and warm holiday season,
The brothers and sisters of Plum Village

P.S. If you would like to receive updates like this about Thay and news about the community continuing his legacy directly in your inbox, please sign up at https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=tnh&id=11.

New Year’s Eve Sitting and Chanting for Peace

Dear Friends

Please find below an invitation from Mountain Rain Zen Community to the annual multi-sangha New Year’s Eve celebration. Waves and Water Sangha will be offering the chant Discourse on Love during the earlier part of the evening. Please come and support us with your beautiful voices. Words and MP3 for the Discourse is available HERE

Please join Mountain Rain and our friends from BC Insight Meditation and Waves and Waters Sangha in a New Year’s Eve retreat to cultivate peace in our hearts, our families, our communities, and in our world. Each hour will consist
of 50 min. sitting meditation, ten min. walking meditation and 10 min. chanting. To close, we will ring the temple bell 108 times to dispel our many delusions, followed by tea and refreshments at midnight.

(Refreshment contributions welcome! Sweet, savoury, or beverage.)
No registration. Please come for all or part. By donation to support the zendo.

Mountain Rain Zendo, 2016 Wall St., Monday, December 31, 7:00-midnight

Practising with the dark — at Waves and Water Sangha

Dear Friends

As we enter the darkest time of the year, we have an opportunity to take refuge in the blessings of silence and stillness. On Nov 29, our 5th Thursday of the month, we will be practicing three periods of sitting as well as tea meditation. Please know that you are invited to “sit” in any way that supports your body/mind – such as lying down, standing, using extra cushions to prop you.

As always, on the first Thursday in December, we will be reciting the Five Mindfulness Trainings. Unfortunately, we will not have a Day of Mindfulness in December.

On Thursday, December 20th, Waves and Water will be celebrating Winter Solstice with a candle light service, tea meditation and sharing of songs, stories, poetry and any other gift you wish to offer to the sangha. Everyone is warmly invited. If possible, please rsvp to wwsangha@gmail.com to help us prepare for the evening. Treats to share are very much welcome.

There will be no sangha gathering on Dec 27th. We will resume on Jan 3, 2019.

May your hearts be at peace…

The Caretaking Council,
Waves and Water Sangha

Thay has returned to Tu Hieu

Dear friends -

Our Venerable Teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has returned to Vietnam and his root Temple in Tu Hieu. He has said that he will continue there until his final transformation. There is a long letter from Plum Village but so far only in Vietnamese. It is on the public page of Nhu Trang’s Facebook page. We will forward the translated letter once we have received it.

Please enjoy this beautiful video of Thay arriving at Tu Hieu as he experience the love of his disciples. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0J3Op_391g&feature=share

And join us this evening for the Ceremony to Recite the Five Mindfulness Trainings.

A news report from Vietnam states: Thich Nhat Hanh, one of Buddhism’s most influential leaders, said in a letter to his disciples he would live in the Tu Hieu Pagoda in Hue, central Vietnam, where he studied and practiced Zen Buddhism from 1942.

“The Buddhism knowledge and wisdom I learned from Tu Hieu is now spreading all over the world, and I believe it’s time for me to get back to my roots,” he said.

“Students of Tu Hieu are now living and practicing Buddhism in many different places around the world and as a way to remind them of their roots, I want to die here in Tu Hieu.”……… https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/vietnam-s-influential-buddhist-leader-says-he-is-back-home-for-good-3831941.html?fbclid=IwAR19TqCJoOHfKO_zGg87RXaVI_-CelY5AsNLO0-S2Pm2sTeGCe25wroXf_w

Thay is 92, tomorrow, October 11….

Dear friends -

During our regular Thursday evening practice tomorrow, October 11, we will practice deep love for our teacher, Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. We will have a chance to read together the message sent from Plum Village monastics and to explore our own understanding of “teacher” in the context of our practice.

Smiling, sending love….

Upcoming Practice Period — Waves and Water Sangha

Good evening dear friends –

Sr Dang Nghiem

mindfulness as medicine
This Thursday (tomorrow), we will begin our study of Mindfulness as Medicine: A Story of Healing Body and Spirit by Sr Dang Nghiem. If you do not have a chance to read the book in advance, do not worry! Excerpts will be provided and read before Dharma discussion.

Then, on the first Thursday of October, we will recite the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing. All are welcome for the recitation and discussion.

The Plum Village meditation app –with talks, chants, meditations, and more–has been released. It appears to be available only for Apple products (please let us know if you discover otherwise). Available at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/plum-village-zen-meditation/id1273719339?mt=8
You can also explore other Plum Village mindful apps here.

Retreat note from Calgary: November 9-12: Nothing to do, Nowhere to go.
“The Wild Rose Sangha in Calgary is holding a residential retreat with Dharma Teacher Chan Huy (from Montreal) in the mountains this year.  The starry skies and mountain views are a real joy on this retreat.  We would very much enjoy seeing our friends from B.C.”
For more information and registration: 
http://wildrosesangha.ca/wordpress/retreat2018/

 

Day of Mindfulness September 15 – Fall schedule

Good evening dear friends

Again, our apologies for the confusion concerning the date of our Day of Mindfulness this month. We will be gathering this coming Saturday – September 15 – at 10:00 am until 3 pm.

Our fall schedule will follow a regular pattern: First Thursdays of each month, we recite and reflect on the Mindfulness Trainings. Second Thursdays we engage in Dharma study. Third Thursdays we practice with a Sutra Service. Fourth Thursdays we read from and discuss a book from the Plum Village tradition. Fifth Thursdays we practice with three periods of sitting and walking and tea.

Our book for this practice period will be Mindfulness as Medicine :
A Story of Healing Body and Spirit
by Sister Dang Nghiem. Click here for more information about the book.

Please feel free to contact us at [wwsangha@gmail.com] if you any questions.

Day of Mindfulness tomorrow – Sept 8 – CANCELLED

Dear Friends

Due to a scheduling conflict for the zendo space, we are sorry to have to cancel our Day of Mindfulness tomorrow. The Caretaking Council is working to reschedule for another day in September. We will send out a blogpost as soon as we can confirm.
Please accept our sincere apologies.

May you enjoy a peaceful weekend.
susu
on behalf of Waves and Water Caretaking Council

We begin anew this Thursday and Saturday

Dear Friends

We have come to the end of our August summer break – we hope you have had a nourishing time. Waves and Water Sangha will be resuming our Thursday night gatherings on September 6 at Mountain Rain Zendo from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

The beginning of a new practice period offers us an opportunity to renew our commitment to our practice. Please join us on September 6 as we offer the Ceremony for the Recitation of the Five Mindfulness Trainings.

On Saturday, September 8, we will have the first of our four Days of Mindfulness during the next year. You will find information concerning Days of Mindfulness at this link. Please arrive by 9:45 and remember to bring a bag lunch for our formal meal. We will finish at 3:00.

Please register in advance if you can by emailing [wwsangha@gmail.com]. This will help us to prepare for the day.

Thank you for your continued support – financial, moral and, most of all, your practice. Your generosity makes our sangha gatherings possible.

No Sangha gatherings in August.

Waves and Water Sangha will not be gathering during the month of August.

Please join us again on Thursday, September 6 for the Ceremony for the Recitation of the Five Mindfulness Trainings.

May you have a nourishing summer.