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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Deer Park, Day 7

Deer Park Flowers

Deer Park Flowers

(NOTES: Here is some lingo info that may be helpful in reading these posts.  Deer Park Monastery is in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who is often referred to as Thay.  The monks who reside at Deer Park are called Brothers and the nuns are called Sisters.  The sisters reside in Clarity Hamlet and the brothers reside in Solidity Hamlet, about a 5-10 minute walk apart.  The word hamlet comes from the french and means small village.  While they are not really villages they are self-containing communities.  The visitors who come to stay at the monastery, like myself and Mike, are often called lay friends.)

Day 7

Friday January 16th, 2015

6:15pm

I just got back from dinner and then remembered I had a pair of pants still hanging on the clothesline that I had hung out to dry earlier today.  I went out to get them and found them missing.  It was an, “Oh no!” moment, as they were my layering pants that I wear underneath my main pants in order to stay warm.  My main pants are quite thin.  I came back to my hut prepared to start typing and then decided to go back out and see if I could talk with some friends about my missing pair of pants and see if anyone had them.  When I went back to the clothesline one of my roommates was there and she had a basket of clothes with my pants in it!  Hooray!   It is the simple things that stand out to me here.  Like when you have the chance to miss an article of clothing and notice how wonderful it is when it reappears!

Today we had morning sit, stick exercise, breakfast, and working meditation, where I volunteered to clean the bathrooms in our hamlet and outside the big hall.  I was also asked to fill back in the septic tank lids if I had time, as the pump truck had come today and emptied the tanks.  So I filled in the 6 holes over the lids after cleaning.  We had walking meditation after working and then I opted to skip lunch in order to get more rest and take a nap.

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Not Separate

Sunset out the plane window :)

Sunset over the Pacific from the airplane window

Today marks a week since we returned back home from being on retreat in Deer Park.  Before leaving last Friday there had been a community meeting in the hamlet I was staying in, Clarity Hamlet with the sisters, after breakfast.  These meetings were common before doing work meditation and served as opportunities to make announcements, divide up the work assignments, welcome new friends who had arrived, and say good-bye to friends who were departing.  There was one other lay friend and myself leaving from Clarity Hamlet last Friday and we were asked to say a few words.  She and I shared about our gratitude and joy for having been able to come and stay at Deer Park and for being so well taken care of.  After we had both spoken one of the older sisters was talking with one of the younger sisters who translated for us into english that the older sister wanted to give us a hug.  In all my time at Deer Park I had never seen the offering of a sister hugging the lay friends who were departing.  And from the reactions of the sisters I’m not sure it had ever happened before.  As the sister stepped forward to offer us each a hug the other sisters were visibly surprised and very touched by her display of affection for us.  It was such a gift and tears came to my eyes as she embraced me.  One the sisters smiled and said, “I think this needs to be our new way of saying good-bye.”  And another sister said, “I wish we all were getting a hug!”

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Deer Park, Day 6

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(NOTES: Here is some lingo info that may be helpful in reading these posts.  Deer Park Monastery is in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who is often referred to as Thay.  The monks who reside at Deer Park are called Brothers and the nuns are called Sisters.  The sisters reside in Clarity Hamlet and the brothers reside in Solidity Hamlet, about a 5-10 minute walk apart.  The word hamlet comes from the french and means small village.  While they are not really villages they are self-containing communities.  The visitors who come to stay at the monastery, like myself and Mike, are often called lay friends.)

Day 6

Thursday January 15th, 2015

6:00pm

Every Sunday and Thursday are open days of mindfulness here at Deer Park so today was another day of mindfulness.  Not nearly as many people attend as on a Sunday since it is a weekday but still there were around maybe 25 people or so that came.  After morning sitting practice and stick exercise the brothers and lay friends from Solidity Hamlet joined us in our hamlet for breakfast.  At 9:00am the day of mindfulness started and we met in the big hall to watch a video of Thay giving a dharma talk from the 21-day retreat in Plum Village last June.  Before I include some notes I took from that talk let me include some notes I took at the Venerable’s class last night:

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Deer Park, Day 5

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(NOTES: Here is some lingo info that may be helpful in reading these posts.  Deer Park Monastery is in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who is often referred to as Thay.  The monks who reside at Deer Park are called Brothers and the nuns are called Sisters.  The sisters reside in Clarity Hamlet and the brothers reside in Solidity Hamlet, about a 5-10 minute walk apart.  The word hamlet comes from the french and means small village.  While they are not really villages they are self-containing communities.  The visitors who come to stay at the monastery, like myself and Mike, are often called lay friends.)

Day 5

Wednesday January 14th, 2015

6:00pm

Something I wrote yesterday:

Just as in the case 

of darkness of night

things once visible 

simply cannot be seen

Happiness does not disappear

in the midst of suffering and confusion

it is only covered up just enough

to hide it from view

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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Deer Park Monastery, Travel

 

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Deer Park, Day 4

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(NOTES: Here is some lingo info that may be helpful in reading these posts.  Deer Park Monastery is in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who is often referred to as Thay.  The monks who reside at Deer Park are called Brothers and the nuns are called Sisters.  The sisters reside in Clarity Hamlet and the brothers reside in Solidity Hamlet, about a 5-10 minute walk apart.  The word hamlet comes from the french and means small village.  While they are not really villages they are self-containing communities.  The visitors who come to stay at the monastery, like myself and Mike, are often called lay friends.)

Day 4

Tuesday January 13th, 2015

6:00pm

It seems that all the elements of my day here are something I look forward to.  I do one thing and enjoy it so very much and then I move onto another thing and I enjoy it so very much.  And just when I think it can’t get any better it always does.  That’s what it means to me to live a happy life – to enjoy each thing as it comes just for what it is.

I awoke this morning just before 4:00am.  But before I share about my day today I must share this wonderful moment from last night.  After dinner we had a Beginning Anew Ceremony in our small hall.  It was in vietnamese and we could either follow along with an english text or in the book in vietnamese.  Whenever given the opportunity to follow along in vietnamese I choose that option.  I enjoy the practice.  Before our ceremony started I heard a whirling noise as though a heater had been turned on.  To my amazement it was the heater!  For the first time in all my experience here the heater had been turned on and it was so delightful.  Last January when I spent the month here I spent many frigid moments in our meditation hall, at times just waiting for the sound of the bell to end our program so that I could go and warm up somewhere.

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Deer Park, Day 3

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(NOTES: Here is some lingo info that may be helpful in reading these posts.  Deer Park Monastery is in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who is often referred to as Thay.  The monks who reside at Deer Park are called Brothers and the nuns are called Sisters.  The sisters reside in Clarity Hamlet and the brothers reside in Solidity Hamlet, about a 5-10 minute walk apart.  The word hamlet comes from the french and means small village.  While they are not really villages they are self-containing communities.  The visitors who come to stay at the monastery, like myself and Mike, are often called lay friends.)

Day 3

Monday January 12th, 2015

4:30pm

As mentioned, it was lazy day today.  Our schedule, which gets written out on the white board in the dining hall, read: 8:00am breakfast, 12:30pm lunch, 5:30pm dinner, 7:00pm Beginning Ceremony (v) (the v lets us know it will be in vietnamese).  On lazy day breakfast is served a little later than usual.

I still set my alarm and woke up just after 4:30am.  I went to the dining hall to do some writing and I also did some sitting meditation after singing the morning chant.  When the sky began to alight with the sun around 6:30 I ventured up to the main hall to grab a stick in order to do stick exercise on my own.

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Deer Park, Day 2

Pepper Tree by the Brothers Dining Hall

Pepper Tree by the Brothers Dining Hall

(NOTES: Here is some lingo info that may be helpful in reading these posts.  Deer Park Monastery is in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who is often referred to as Thay.  The monks who reside at Deer Park are called Brothers and the nuns are called Sisters.  The sisters reside in Clarity Hamlet and the brothers reside in Solidity Hamlet, about a 5-10 minute walk apart.  The word hamlet comes from the french and means small village.  While they are not really villages they are self-containing communities.  The visitors who come to stay at the monastery, like myself and Mike, are often called lay friends.)

Day 2

Sunday January 11th, 2015

4:30pm

Last night both hamlets met in the big hall for a ceremony.  It was a ceremony in our tradition that we have for those who are sick and it was dedicated to Thay, who’s been in the hospital since early November.  The ceremony was done in vietnamese which I quite enjoyed, as it gave me a wonderful opportunity to practice my vietnamese reading and pronunciation skills.  We could choose from english or vietnamese text and follow along either silently or out loud with the monastics.  While I am not able to decipher any words in vietnamese I do enjoy language and linguistics and find it fairly easy to follow along when given the text.

After the ceremony I went soon to bed and then woke up around 4:30am this morning.  Sitting meditation was at 5:45 followed by an Earth Touching, read both in english and vietnamese.  During our sitting it began to rain and the rain has continued through much of the day.  We were led through a quickened version of stick exercise in the drizzle and then met with the brothers and laymen for breakfast, as is customary on Sundays.  Every Sunday here is a community Day of Mindfulness where people are welcome to come here to practice.  Community members are welcome starting at 9:00am.  There are two free days of mindfulness a week, Sundays and Thursdays.  On Sundays the brothers host it and on Thursdays the sisters host it, meaning the respective hamlets make and serve lunch and have the program activities held there.

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Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Deer Park Monastery, Travel

 

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