Sunday February 9th, 2020
Darkness before the sunlight
A new dawn awaits
Last night, while seated in the Small Hall before meditation began, I gazed at a potted plant full of yellow flower blooms situated in front of me in close proximity and thought: the earth soil of the plant is like the Buddha body; the seeds are like the Dharma body that Thay, our gardener, has planted; and the flowers manifesting are us, the sangha body! It was a delightful thought that I carried with me through my sit.
The moon is shrouded by clouds this morning and it’s a temperature outside that I can only identify as tepid bath water. I slept well last night, though perhaps I still have a bit of adjusting to do with my borrowed bedding. My sleeping bag zipper has a mind of its own and I find myself often groping around to stay covered up in the middle of the night. Definitely not the biggest deal in the word to be sure.
Ah. Here I am with a full belly of good food and the room all to myself until Mike returns from dinner. Solitude and quietude are something I richly enjoy and savor and am deeply nourished by.
Today after breakfast, I enjoyed some solo time sitting outside the tearoom by and under the covered porch, playing guitar and singing to the surrounding hills. It was then that the rain started. Lightly at first and then steadily on through the whole of the day, at times coming down quite heartily. I was glad at the last minute that I decided to pack along my thin puffy coat, as that outer layer is much more water shielding than my lined cotton hoodie, which takes forever and a day to dry.
During my morning sit today, this sprang to mind:
We are each our own little world.
Each person I see contains within them self a whole set of causes and conditions; experiences and knowledge; hardships and triumphs; joys and sorrows. Each person is truly their own little world.
It’s good for me to keep this mind when I’m interacting with others; worlds colliding. I have little to no idea what is going on for someone else; what they’ve been through; what they’re going through; what weights they carry. Sometimes I am so wrapped up in my own little world that I forget that I’m sharing space with other little worlds. So it’s good for me to remember: we are each our own little world.
Another percolation during my sit that bubbled up had something to do with shame and respect. And now I can see how these two streams are connected. Because we are each our own little world, our practice should be geared towards respecting others, not shaming them. Honoring, not condemning. No one benefits from being shamed. No one grows and thrives under the conditions of shame. Shame is a great plight; a great dagger often used by unskillful people; a great separator. Shame is born from fear. Respect is born from love.
Today we hosted a public Day of Mindfulness (DOM), where people from the surrounding areas come here to practice with the community. It started at 9:00am and ended after lunch time. We did outdoor walking meditation from about 9:15-10:00, followed by a Dharma talk in the Big Hall from 10:15-11:00ish, followed by dharma discussion groups, followed by lunch. I would guess somewhere around 100 people attended.
To calibrate slow walking movement with so many people is quite an experience. The collective energy is fierce and lovely and fantastically strange. I love sharing space with people that is sans talking, it’s a great intimacy generator for me.
Brother Phap Ho gave the Dharma talk today and started off by sharing that 2020 marks Deer Park’s 20-year anniversary. Here are some notes I took during the Brother’s talk: