Dear Still Water Friends,
This Thursday evening, September 29, after our meditation period, we will listen to part of a dharma talk entitled "Begin a Spiritual Path Through the Ultimate Dimension." Given last summer by Thay Phap An, a Plum Village monk, it has moved many of us who have heard it.
Thay Phap An has lived at Plum Village for many years, having arrived as one of the youngest monks when few people lived at Plum Village. In his talk he shares that joy and happiness were remote for him upon arriving at Plum Village and how Thich Nhat Hanh taught him to look at the beauty around him when confronted with a problem or conflict. He explains the importance of touching that which is not wrong -- touching joy -- as the first step on the spiritual path and how after several years of practice, he found happiness.
Thich Nhat Hanh taught Phap An to build his own strength before rushing headlong into the difficult aspects of life. Meeting our experience from a place of wholeness and optimism instead of self-centeredness and pessimism, and taking on only that which we can handle, is the opposite of how many of us have been conditioned to respond. But according to Phap An, it is the key to approaching mindfulness.
This Thursday, we'll listen to most of Phap An's dharma talk, and then discuss whether this teaching resonates with us.
The best times to join the Thursday gatherings are just before the first sitting at 7 pm; at 7:25, at the beginning of walking meditation; or, at 7:35, at the beginning of the second sitting. (To allow others to maintain concentration and continuity, we ask that practitioners not enter during the walking meditation.)
We look forward to seeing you,
Julia and Scott