(written on June 10th, 2012)
I woke up reluctantly this morning for the first time since I arrived. After sitting meditation I came back to my bunk and skipped breakfast in order to get more sleep so I could be alert for the dharma talk. Upon waking I went to work collecting herbs for tea in the rain. The talk was here today which means we go through quite a lot of tea. Before, during and after the talks people like to get tea. (Thay does 2 talks a week in lower hamlet, 2 talks in upper hamlet and 1 talk in new hamlet for a total of 5 dharma talks per week). I saved a seat for Mike in the hall and kept a watchful eye on the door for about 45 minutes but he never came, I hoped that meant he was sleeping soundly. We’ll have to devise another plan I think because I felt very guilty for having saved a cushion for him and not having him come to claim it. We’re not really supposed to save spots at all but we do it anyhow because of the fact that dharma talks are really the only time Mike and I see each other.
I enjoyed Thay’s talk today, I related to it much more than the previous ones. The following are some of the notes I took during Thay’s talk on June 10th:
“Without the suffering we cannot have the happiness, they are together. It is not realistic to search for a place without suffering. Happiness is made of love, understanding and compassion. To understand our own suffering, to touch it, is how we cultivate happiness, to generate understanding. Suffering cannot be there without something else, and that is happiness, well being. They inter-are, like the mud and the lotus.
Understanding suffering always brings compassion right away – it can make you suffer less right away, it is already transformation. The foundation of love is understanding. When you look at someone with understanding you don’t suffer. We can make good use of suffering in order to create happiness. We need more happy people in this world.
You have to practice breathing and walking and know your own suffering and then you go to help one who suffers, restore communication. To listen deeply is to already relieve suffering in the other person and ourselves.
Each of us is a flower in the garden of humanity. We have to see we are made of stars, the whole cosmos. We are not this tiny little human.”