(written on June 7th, 2012)
5:30am wake up, 6:00am sitting. Breakfast was followed by waiting for the bus to take us all to new hamlet. The buses were huge, commissioned out to a company, with insides resembling an airplane cabin. I listened to my ipod as the french countryside whirled by, reveling in my music. Churches, hay bales, grapes ripening on the vine, and green green hills were all on display.
New hamlet’s dharma hall is quite small with exposed blue metal framing and plywood walls. It was Q & A today with Thay where people can come forward and ask a question. I drew pictures of flowers and suns as I listened. Some of the answers I did not quite resonate with and it felt good to recognize and accept that I have different views, not needing to necessarily change my own ideas just because my teacher says something is so. A lady in front of me was texting and for a moment I was irritated, just as I am when someone snaps a photo of Thay with the flash on in the middle of meditation or a talk. But then I realized I was writing a letter to a friend at the same time and it’s really not so different – so I understood and was no longer frustrated.
The following are some notes I took during the Q & A with Thay:
Q: Impermanence causes fear, what can I do?
A: Impermanence can cause happiness. If you touch impermanence and feel fear you have not touched it deeply. When you touch non-self no one is afraid. To touch impermanence is to touch non-self.
Tomorrow we have no morning program at 6:00am and no dharma talk. Instead we will have another mindfulness training panel, 1-7 of the 14 mindfulness trainings. I had assumed that every hamlet did the same programs but discovered later that that is not the case. (Outside of the dharma talks each hamlet is self containing and does their own morning, afternoon and evening programs). Since I won’t see Mike tomorrow I’ve decided, in my want for more silence, that I will take a day of silence to myself. Nobel silence (when we make our best effort to not talk at all) only goes from 9:30pm until about 7:30 or 8:00am everyday, the rest of the day there is talking everywhere you go and it’s almost inescapable. I am looking forward to the quiet.