to Still Water Dharma Topics)
May 24, 2007
Dear Still Water Friends,
This Thursday evening, after our meditation period, we will Invoke the
Boddhisattvas' names, "touching the earth" in order to bring to mind the
energies of the four great Bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhist
mythology: Avalokiteshvara represent compassion, Manjushri represents wisdom, Samantabhadra represents practice and service, and Kshitigarbha represents the vow to save all beings.
In our program we will focus especially on Samantabhadra, the
Bodhisattva of Great Action. Above on the left is a representation from
Borobudur in Indonesia representing Samantabha in male form,
emphasizing the hand of wise and compassionate action. On the right is
a female representation from China, with Samantabhadra riding on
the back of an elephant, symbolizing wisdom.
When we invoke Samantabhadra, we read these words of Thich Nhat Hanh:
We invoke your name,
Samantabhadra. We aspire to practice your vow to act with the eyes and
heart of compassion, to bring joy to one person in the morning and to
ease the pain of one person in the afternoon. We know that the
happiness of others is our own happiness, and we aspire to practice joy
on the path of service. We know that every word, every look, every
action, and every smile can bring happiness to others. We know that if
we practice wholeheartedly, we ourselves may become an inexhaustible
Samantabhadra encourages us to act: to turn our aspiration to relieve
suffering, and our insights of non-self and interbeing, into concrete,
everyday actions. And Samantabhadra offers us an enticement -- joy on
the path of service. Done with the energy of Samantabhadra, an everyday
task, such as serving hot noodles on an international flight (see
below), can be infused with great love.
During our discussion we will explore these questions:
You are invited to share this Thursday evening with us. The best times
to join us are just before the beginning of our 7 p.m meditation, just
before we begin walking meditation (around 7:25), and just after our
walking meditation (around 7:35).
- What nourishes my capacity to genuinely offer service and joy to others?
- What inhibits me, makes it harder?
- Concretely what are some things I can do tomorrow, this week?
****************From Avi, a Northwest Airlines International Steward ***************
During our long haul flight we have a mid-flight snack service and we
serve hot noodles with other snacks to our customers during this time.
Few airlines do a mid-flight service such as this and so I often derive
great pleasure in seeing how pleased many are when we offer this to
We start by assembling in the economy galley area and I usually
volunteer to serve the hot water to the passengers for their noodles.
Rather than rushing the service with the attitude of getting it over
and done with as soon as possible, I try my best to approach this
upcoming service with a smile and a sense of joy to be doing it with my
other team mates (crew members) and I try to radiate that feeling all
During the actual service, I invite the passenger to place their opened
noodle bowl on my tray, giving delicate eye contact and, of course,
always smiling, after which I pour the hot water into their bowl of
noodles. While I am doing this, I quietly say to myself "the God within
me salutes the God within you." I then offer the bowl which now
contains hot noodles back to the person and while I do this I am
looking at them gently and saying to myself quietly "the God within you
salutes the God within me."
I get a great sense of joy doing the service this way and often the persons eyes will light up with gratitude and happiness.