With gratitude to Marsy Mechling for this sharing
The morning of February 4th welcomed a wonderful series of Transmissions in Tampa: Transmission of the Two Promises, the Three Refuges, the Five Mindfulness Trainings, the Bodhisattva Vow, and the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings. I live in Charlotte, NC, and although I participate in FCM retreats, intensives, and a telephone Sangha, I had never actually been to a Sunday Sangha service in person. It was well worth the effort to travel to Tampa and to join the sangha in person to participate in these profound Transmissions.
To see the five children make the Two Promises was so very lovely. I felt such happiness for them – happiness that they have the opportunity to study the Dharma at such a young age and that they are making the promise to develop understanding and compassion. Although I have recited the Three Refuges and the Five Mindfulness Trainings many times, it was important to “officially” proclaim that I will take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha and to pledge publicly to adhere to the Five Mindfulness Trainings. Also, by receiving the Transmissions, to receive a Dharma name and to formally become part of a long line of Buddhist practitioners who have kept this path well-tended and alive for 2,600 years is very meaningful. To me, the study and practice of Buddhism is active and alive. It is not just listening to teachings or reading a book. It is looking deeply at the teachings, reflecting on and sincerely considering the teachings, and enacting the teachings in my everyday life, allowing the teachings to saturate my body, speech, and mind. Receiving the Transmission is a formal way of incorporating the Dharma into my life.
For me, the day offered another opportunity: to take the Bodhisattva Vow. Having studied Shantideva’s The Way of the Bodhisattva for the last year, taking the vow to follow that Way felt natural. How can I do anything other than to do my best to follow the directions set out so clearly by Shantideva so that I might live with compassion and wisdom for the benefit of all beings? Of course, not every day of my life unfolds as beautifully as the ceremony, and I have much, much wisdom still to gain, but I will continue to study, look deeply, and utilize the Transmissions and vows as directions along the way.
To watch as Fred transmitted the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings to the Order of Interbeing aspirants was quite profound also. I again experienced a sense of joy as I listened to the five individuals making the vows to follow the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings. I felt gratitude for these fellow beings who are declaring to proceed forward in life with the fourteen trainings as the ground from which they will conduct the actions of body, speech, and mind. Great commitment was expressed by all who participated that day. I was very inspired as I listened. To participate alongside so many others receiving the wisdom and guidance of these promises, transmissions, and vows both grounded me and lifted me up with joy, gratitude, and hopefulness for the future. It was so very good to feel the support and positive energy of the community as people offered congratulations and other expressions of joy to one another.
And now as long as space endures,
As long as there are beings to be found,
May I continue likewise to remain
To drive away the sorrows of the world.
~ The Way of the Bodhisattva, chapter 10, verse 55
If you had a serious accident or illness, would your family know what medical interventions you wanted? Would they be able to ensure that your wishes are met?
Recently FCM members gathered for a class on Advance Care Planning to address these questions and other topics that relate to our personal values and wishes for end of life care. The class was sponsored by Empath Choices for Care and led by social worker and hospice counselor Arwyn Elden. While not a subject that normally rouses a lot of enthusiasm, it was well attended by our community in-person and on livestream and a number of our members wrote to us to let us know how valuable the class had been for them.
In the class Arwyn shared numerous examples of unexpected deaths from accidents and surprising diagnoses. Through these stories we were helped to realize that the time and means of our death is uncertain. We were reminded with kindness for ourselves and our families of the importance of filling out an Advance Care Planning Document (also called a Living Will) and establishing a Health Care Surrogate. These tools and lots of conversations (deep sharing and listening) will help prepare ourselves and loved ones for our death in regards to medical care and decisions that might need to be made if we are unable to speak for ourselves.
Four important points were presented in the class: 1) this is a process which includes assessing your values to determine our wishes at the end of life, 2) the importance of initiating the essential conversations with loved ones about quality of life and goals of care in regard to medical decision-making, 3) educating ourselves on and selecting a health-care surrogate, and 4) completing and utilizing a living will.
As a community of Buddhist practitioners we want to continue to increase our awareness of impermanence and the inevitability of death. We know how valuable it is to use available tools such as those presented in this class and to have intimate and informed conversations with each other and with our loved ones about the realities of our deaths and health care decisions that may need to be made. You will find valuable resources on the Empath Health website at https://empathhealth.org/the-gift-of-advance-care-planning/ and of course that are lots of other resources online and in our local communities.
With gratitude to Diane Powell for this sharing.
Last weekend the Dharma was brought alive by Venerable Dr. Pannavati during a non-residential retreat she lead at our Tampa Practice Center. Venerable Pannavati is a Buddhist monk and teacher based in North Carolina who travels throughout the United States and internationally to preach the Dharma. “Preach” is an apt word both because she is a former Christian minister and also because her animated, expressive presentation was imbued with a quiet but absolute conviction and passion for the truths of the Dharma.
Like our teacher, Fred, Venerable Pannavati has studied and practiced in multiple Buddhist traditions, and her teachings drew upon her broad and deep knowledge of the Dharma as well as her own experiences of transformation and realization. In one moment she would share a story from ancient Zen or Tibetan teachings to demonstrate a point. Then in the next moment she could break into a burst of hearty laughter-- preceding a story she was telling on herself, an example illustrating how she had to learn a truth of Dharma the hard way: an open sharing of her own personal history and past struggles, all for our benefit.
The topic Sister Pannavati chose for the retreat was a familiar one to many of us--Non-Self, which was the focus of the FCM January Retreat and is also the theme of our current Dharma Path Intensive. The teachings she brought to us on this topic could have come straight from the Intensive: that the self is a core source of our suffering, that we need to know the self before we can be free of it, and that understanding the true nature of the self is the way to our liberation. Her presentation was a wonderful combination of wisdom teachings—that we must understand deeply the illusive nature of self, and the concrete and practical-- that only through mindfulness can we begin to know the self and the reminder that the self can endlessly justify its afflictive reactions.
The retreat topic and teachings were familiar, but the form in which they were presented was completely unique and fresh. The Dharma flowing through Ven Pannavati was joyful, authentic and radiated both love of the Dharma and love for all of us who were there absorbing her presence and teachings.
MONASTICS STRESS BUILDING COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS
AT EARTH HOLDERS RETREAT
With gratitude to FCM member Carol Green for this sharing
When we look into our own bodily formation, we see Mother Earth inside us, and so the whole universe is inside us, too. Once we have this insight of interbeing, it is possible to have real communication, real communion, with the Earth. This is the highest possible form of prayer.
To express our reverence for the Earth is not to deify her or believe she is any more sacred than ourselves. It is to love her, to take care of her and to take refuge in her. When we suffer, the Earth embraces us, accepts us, and restores our energy, making us strong and stable again. The relief that we seek is right under our feet and all around us. Much of our suffering can be healed if we realize this. If we understand our deep connection and relationship with the Earth, we will have enough love, strength, and awakening to look after ourselves and the Earth so that we both can thrive. – Love Letter to Mother Earth (Thich Naht Hanh)
A mindful approach in building a strong, loving collective consciousness is the best path to resilience and to effective action in addressing catastrophic climate change, Buddhist monastics at this past fall’s Earth Holders “In the Arms of Mother Earth” retreat in Abiquiu, NM told about 200 participants.
Ten monks and nuns from several monasteries in the Plum Village tradition on their 2017 Awakening Together Monastic Tour spent four days at the Ghost Ranch Conference Center teaching Thich Naht Hanh’s approach to deepening love of Mother Earth and working together to strengthen collective consciousness of ecological vulnerability. The monastics sang, walked, played and radiated love and understanding as they offered guidance to attendees from across the country, most of whom expressed deep suffering because of concern about climate change and the U.S. political response to its threats.
Practitioners were urged to first return to basics to deal with their emotional suffering and unconscious ways of living -- to stabilize themselves by returning to fundamental dharma teachings and by practicing mindfulness, then to turn inward and examine their own consumerism -- before trying to reform or challenge others.
Looking inside leads to wise engagement, reduces the likelihood of becoming overwhelmed and reminds us to re-examine depth of our personal commitment, said Sister The Nghiem (True Vow), abbess of White Crane Hamlet at Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, NY. As we do so, we can then step forward to encounter suffering with awareness, right intention and right action and use suffering as a magnifying glass to see what the suffering holds: Ignorance, craving, hatred and fear. As we see clearly and with equanimity and non-judgmentally, clarity arises as to what has to be done. This leads to openness, no fighting, just understanding.
She told participants that as we look at ourselves, we realize that we can leave a smaller imprint on the Earth by consuming less, sharing our resources and de-cluttering. This is Grounded Radicalism, she said.
The Five Mindfulness Trainings are instructive as guides. The “elephant in the room is how we consume.” There is a need for a radical shift, especially among Americans, she said. She urged us to question whether we need five TV sets, three cars and an overflowing closet. She said consumer boycotts have targeted some large corporations, showing that reduced demand for certain goods can lead to reduced output by manufacturers. Individual action, which becomes collective action, does count, she said. It is grass roots and has an immediate way of effecting change.
What are we consuming and how much? she asked. There is a wisdom in simplifying, de-cluttering and sharing our resources, and we should not be afraid to be radical in this way, she said.
“Simplify your living,” she said. “Enough is enough.” If you are too cluttered in material things, your mind is also cluttered, and you are stressed, and you can’t focus on your mind or body. You can see more clearly what’s important if you de-clutter. She suggested moderation, but not abstinence.
Sister Man Ngheim (Sister Brightness), of Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, CA, stressed that individual mental formations contribute to collective consciousness. She said if we adopt separateness, right vs. wrong, good vs. bad, in our views, we create war collectively. When we create dualism, it builds to a collective level. Teach the dharma through how you live, she urged. Together we can do a lot. That’s how all great change happens -- when the individual contributes to the collective.
Brother Phap Luu (Brother Dharma Stream) of Dharma Cloud Monastery in Plum Village, described how he became so committed to environmentalism that he wrote a proposal to mandate that all practice centers fill out a form each year to evaluate their ecological practices. He nervously presented his plan to Thay and “got the hammer.” Thay asked: “What are you going to do with that? Have you learned to live together? If not, what is the point?”
And so, he learned from Thay, a master community builder, an important lesson – that imposing a restriction on a group causes suffering, while leading by example so that others commit of their own free will builds a strong and lasting following and community.
He asked: In what ways can we honor our deep love and commitment to the planet that gives us life and amazes us and also have peace and harmony in the family? Do you know how to live together in harmony? It is the key to happiness and to our survival. Building a brother/sisterhood in a solid way is very important to take care of our pain, he said.
He said Thay was in despair about what happened to his village in Vietnam. As he watched it being destroyed during the Vietnam War, he turned to his monks and said, I have to work with American soldiers. To do so, he had to manage his emotions. Thay discovered that walking meditation helped him deal with his pain. He walked slowly and mindfully, counting his steps with in and out breaths, and it led to a deep transformation and to his life-long love for Mother Earth.
We are looking deeply at catastrophic climate change, Brother Stream said. He invited attendees to look deeply at interbeing and to cultivate compassion for people, plants, animals and minerals.
He said the mark of true practitioners is to cultivate joy wherever they are. If you see a piece of trash being thrown on Mother Earth, you can transform the resulting anger into compassion. The act generates anger from seeds in the unconscious, but mindfulness teaches you to pause and transform the anger into compassion and understanding: “Yes, I was unskillful once and threw trash on the road.” Before you allow it to overwhelm your consciousness, you move it aside while it is still an acorn, before it becomes full-blown anger. Compassion is soft, but strong. It allows you to approach the person who threw the trash and build a relationship with him, opening the door to change.
Can we have compassion when the Environmental Protection Agency is being dismantled? Can we look at President Trump through the eyes of practice? We have to be careful not to fall into despair (and give up), he said.
He said Trump is a manifestation of the collective consciousness as it stood in 2016, and we don’t yet have enough understanding with our brothers and sisters to have built a stronger collective consciousness (than the one that elected Trump). We have to go into places where there is poverty, opioid addiction and other problems and help suffering people transform their minds, not seek to transform only their political platforms, he said. As their minds transform, Americans have the possibility to wake up and see the beauty and healing power of nature, and we can help them do that, he said.
Brother Phap Ho (Brother Dharma Protector) of Deer Park Monastery, a native of Stockholm, Sweden, urged using time, presence and the support of sangha to create collective consciousness. Our presence is the greatest gift we can give someone, he said. How do we cultivate the capacity to be there for someone? Where are we spending our time and energy? Is it coming from our intention or from our habit energy? What do we prioritize?
When we are challenged, isn’t that the time to go to sangha? We can recharge, put our burdens down. If you are hesitating, that means you should not think about it. Just go.
Are we avoiding what needs to be done? Are we talking to people? Why or why not? What is most important? Do we heal friction? How do we reach people and heal? Become calm and see what is really going on, he urged.
How can we avoid confusion and despair in a world of too much news? Watching the news brings emotions. We’re taking it in without giving ourselves enough time to digest it. Take the news in small bites, then spend the time to go inside yourself before you take in any more, he suggested. Deep looking is an art. It’s different from figuring something out. Deep looking requires becoming calm, stopping and relaxing body and mind.
Being born in this time gives us the responsibility to care for more people. What we have is not mine; it belongs to everyone. When we look into the idea of Self, we should think, What about other people? Humans have awareness and abstract thinking, plus they can collaborate. How do we use our ability to collaborate in a responsible, loving way?
How can I organize my life and practice so I can grow so I can benefit many others?
True virtues are understanding and love (Love is possible when you understand someone) and cutting off afflictions (which make us busy and use up our energy).
We don’t come from nowhere. We were a fetus. We have parents. We need oxygen, water, plants, animals. Our ancestors continue in us. We have some say over our actions that affect plants, animals and the Earth. He read from the Three Touchings of the Earth:
I am one with all. I am present everywhere on this planet, in the past and in the future.
How do we fall in love with Mother Earth and stay in love? Hiking and other outdoor activities are not enough. We need a space where we feel safe. The Earth Holders group is trying to bring insight, understanding and love into the existing climate movement, not trying to create a separate movement.
He suggested joining EcoSattva training with One Earth Sangha (whose training started recently; contact Andrew Rock in Tampa to enroll), Buddhist Climate Action Network, Buddhist Global Network, Arise for Social Justice or Wake Up! He urged listeners to use their experience to lift up others, including the next generation. Bodhisattvas don’t discriminate between givers and receivers, he said.
Recommended reading: Two books by Thich Naht Hanh: The World We Have and Love Letter to Mother Earth.
EARTH HOLDER SANGHA NEW BEGINNINGS
Begin with gratitude for the earth. Without the Earth there would be nothing.
The six commitments of the Earth Holder Sangha:
With gratitude to FCM member Jaima Shore, Source of True Tranformation, for sharing her journey
Last week I took part in the transmission ceremony; Little did I know that over 5 years ago my journey towards this day began. When Angie asked me to share my experience I began reflecting and couldn’t help but reflect on what led up to the day as well as the actual day. A bit over 5 years ago I was pregnant with my first child; my childbirth instructor asked us to find some soothing music or a guided meditation to begin using to help us become more in touch with our bodies and the changes that were occurring. I stumbled onto the Great Bell Chant. I remember vividly the first time I heard it (I had no idea who Thich Nhat Hanh was), the tears fell down my face like a waterfall and a sense of safety and calmness penetrated my heart. When Thay said, “Following the sound of the bell my breath brings me back to the safe island of mindfulness,” it was my first taste of refuge.
Fast Forward 3 years and I found myself in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class with Angie and Stephanie seeking more of what I found in that short meditation. And again, I found a bit more of that refuge. I then started attending sangha regularly and it felt like home. It felt like a place I could find the true home inside myself, another place of refuge. When the opportunity to take part in the transmission ceremony arose, I felt a tug, a pull, a wisdom speaking to me from inside myself to do it. For me it was a chance to publicly express what inwardly I had been discovering. I’ve always been someone who loved the ceremony, the ritual, and the tradition of special moments like this, as it helps clarify my intention and helps with a sort of accountability that this is indeed my path.
During the class and live stream meetings leading up to the ceremony, I found myself being most struck by that idea of refuge again. It was a word that I thought I knew, but I didn’t. For me The Buddha, The Dharma, and The Sangha are the first place in my life where I have discovered true refuge. The actual ceremony was so beautiful and moving for me. I was incredibly serious and devoted to my aspiration and took in each moment, from the opening sutra verse, to doing prostrations with my fellow Dharma sisters and brothers, to receiving my Dharma name, to bowing to the community who has welcomed me with open arms. I am enormously thankful for the opportunity to take refuge, to be part of a community, to have a teacher, and a place inside myself where this is possible. It is with great humility and appreciation that I share that Fred gave me the name Source of True Transformation. For the first time in my life I know that this true transformation is possible in the Three Jewels.
With gratitude to FCM member Bill Mac Millen for this sharing.
I first became a student of the dharma in 2013 after attending a six-week class, held at the Center and taught by Fred, titled “The Basics of Buddhism.” Up until that time I had no background in Buddhism, mindfulness, or meditation. Although my exterior life was unfolding quite well by appearances - work, family, friendships, comfortable living conditions – it felt as though something important was missing, which led me to this class. At the time I didn’t know what that missing “thing” was, but I’ve come to realize that it was a dis-connection with my fellow beings, a sense of separateness.
I came to the class as a skeptic; prepared to dismiss the teachings and the teacher as, at best, well-meaning but out of touch with “reality,” or worse, another version of “self help” lacking in real substance and/or with ulterior motives to “convert” me to a dogmatic way of thinking. However, by the end of the second class I was convinced there was something significant to be found in the teachings and Fred appeared to be not only wise and knowledgeable, but more importantly for me, authentic in his belief that the dharma was true and beneficial to all.
I began attending Sunday Sangha at the conclusion of the classes and have not missed one Sunday since unless I was out of town or sick, such has been its effect on me. Coming from a Roman Catholic background, I entered the practice with an aversion to dogma and the clear thought that I would never say I believed any teaching unless I personally found it to be true, and I would never say I understood a teaching when I did not. While I don’t claim to have understood all dharma, I have never found it to be dissonant with my experience, and have always found it to be beneficial in leading to happiness and peace.
During these past 4+ years of exposure to the teachings, the teacher, and the community, I’ve become a significantly more present and aware person. In a very practical fashion I’ve learned, and continue to learn, of the conditioned nature of my views and how my false sense of self leads to a myriad of suffering and feelings of dis-ease in my life. This has led to a much calmer and present mind-state and the coincident generation of healthy and beneficial behaviors, leading to much happier relationships and life.
I continue to feel that the teachings remind me of what I’ve always known, but had forgotten, and that it is essential that I am continually reminded to remember; otherwise I forget. The constant support from being with people who believe there is a way to be in the world that is not based on hatred, greed, and anger, but on loving kindness, generosity, and patience has re-established my connection to life.
Bill Mac Millen
Selfless service is a service which is performed without any expectation of result or award for the person performing it. Maria Sgambati is the Coordinator of Selfless Service and under her leadership we have begun devoting one Saturday morning a month where we collectively gather for selfless service. That effort has been so successful in deepening our practice of mindfulness, building our community and maintaining our facility that we have decided to expand it to a weekly Friday mornings (except for the first Friday because we will have the monthly meeting on that Saturday). On the other Friday mornings we will complete the tasks that need to happen weekly (e.g., cleaning the kitchen and the education building). There is no expectation of result or award in selfless service but many of us have found that it is always a joyful effort.
We will begin Friday morning selfless service on January 12th and the general schedule will be:
7:00 – 8:00 am
Sitting at Sunrise Meditation
8:00 – 8:30
8:30 – 8:50
Short sitting to resettle everyone and guidance on tasks
8:50 – 10:15
10:15 – 10:30
You can attend all or any part of the morning. You might not be an early riser and would rather come in time for breakfast at 8:00 and work meditation at 8:50 or you might want to leave earlier than 10:30. You can come for sitting meditation for the full hour or 30 minutes or 15 minutes. No registration is necessary. We want this to work for your schedule so you are free to make any necessary adjustments.
This is an opportunity for the maintenance and care of our practice center so that all who come might find peace and beauty there. However, we are not in such a hurry to get the work done that we forget to maintain our practice of mindfulness. In fact, most of us have found that the more we concentrate on mindfulness, the more energized and happy we are in the work. I was surprised the first time we did Saturday morning selfless service that when I went home I still had plenty of energy to spend the afternoon doing yard work.
The Plum Village website says, “Working meditation links us to our everyday life, both here and when we return home. As we are working at out computer or preparing dinner for our family or teaching a class, we can practice stopping, calming and refreshing ourselves with our conscious breathing. We can relax and smile at our co-workers and pace ourselves to maintain a light and serene state of being.”
Selfless service is also an opportunity to connect with others in the FCM community. It is wonderful to be part of this community and to be on the path with other Sangha brothers and sisters. We recognize our interdependence with them and it is with gratitude that we serve each other in this important way. It opens our hearts to practice the Buddhist teachings on compassion and being of benefit to all human beings.
Some of the comments made during closing circle on the first monthly selfless service morning of 2018 were:
With gratitude to FCM member Maria Teresa Jaureguizar for this sharing about her practice
I, like others, was asked to share a personal experience with transformation. I put this email aside with the idea that if something came to mind, I would jot it down; then one day at tea the topic of chanting came up and I spoke of my experience in a natural and unscripted manner. A sangha sister said, “you know, you should write about that and send that in to Mindfulness Matters.” So here it is, thank you sister.
Chanting is defined as rhythmic speaking and that is why at first, I accepted that even I could do it. Singing is freeing, and music is transcending, I have no training, just an ear for beauty and an open heart. I believe I knew that through chanting I may begin to touch a voice in me that I had buried out of fear, a voice of living freely, expressing myself freely, and loving freely.
I began to practice the morning chant, over and over until it was memorized. I learned it like you do a favorite song, listening to it and reading the words until you hear it in your sleep. I only shared my aspiration of chanting with a few, but apparently, word got out, and one Sunday at sangha, we were without a chanter.
The bell master said “hey, I heard you have been practicing, we need a chanter today, will you please do it?” These words cut right to the fear inside but then I remembered Fred’s teaching on being a big fool and what’s the worst that could happen? You see, at this point, it was still all about me. So, thanks to my dharma brother, public chanting was born. (smiling)
Through time, I have learned all the chants in the FCM chanting book, except Trust in Mind, still learning that one, and Thay’s 2014 version of the Heart Sutra. The chants are practice, study, and reflection not just words to “sing”.
I remember Fred saying once that the words should become us, when we speak them we speak them wholeheartedly. I’m not sure when this happened, but today when I chant, it’s not about me, it’s about all of us. My intention is not that I don’t flub it, it’s twofold, one is to offer instruction in whatever we are about to do, i.e. begin meditation practice, touching the earth practice, and the greater is the desire that one of us and all of us awaken at the this very moment and be free of all suffering.
Chanting is practice, study and reflection.
With gratitude to Katy Shields for sharing about her recent experience at the Magnolia Grove Monastery, where she and her fellow FCM member Carol Meyer were ordained into Thich Nhat Hanh's Order of Interbeing.
Being an aspirant in Thich Naht Hahn's Order of Interbeing, I knew that ordination at Magnolia Grove Monastery retreat would be very moving. I just didn't know in what way.
Leading up to the retreat I felt a strong connection to my teacher and the line carried down from our Bodhisattva ancestors including Master Linji and Thay. Thay's continuation day marked the beginning of the retreat which made his connection and presents very real. During our daily OI family small groups sister Dang Nghiem helped prepare us for ordination spiritually and logistically. Each day I felt more and more the embodiment of the 14 Mindfulness Trainings and the OI family collective. Sister "D" made it clear that Ordination and our vows were not an end result but just a beginning.
The beauty of Magnolia Grove, the wonderful vegan meals, deep relaxation, walking meditation and practicing joyfully together, nourished deeply. Through the daily Dharma talks and panels given by the monks and nuns, it was made very clear that the Dharma, Thays lineage, his teachings as well as his wisdom and compassion are in good hands and will continue beautifully.
I experienced most of the monks and nuns as being very present, wise and compassionate. They embody Thay in their action of body speech and mind. Someone in our group called it "Thayhood".
The Ordination Ceremony began at predawn on the 4th day of retreat. The dimly lit meditation hall was filled with retreatants, family members, monks and nuns. The monks and nuns sat nobly, clothed in there very best ceremonial attire. This moved me so much. This was a sacred day for them also.
When my legs were shaking nervously as I got up to receive my transmission certificate, I looked at them sitting so solidly holding space for us that I was able to continue walking peacefully.
Some final words of the ceremony were given by sister Anabelle Laity. "Do not think you know all there is to know about the 14 Mindfulness Trainings. It takes many lifetimes to understand these trainings".
Everyone says that something happens to you at ordination. It's true and very hard to explain so I won’t. But if in any way you are called to this path, all I can say is that I highly recommend it. This is the most meaningful thing I have ever done by far.
I believe what Sister Annebelle says about the many lifetimes. May I not waist a moment. May I transform unwholesome seeds, see things as they are and may I be of benefit.
Thank you FCM for developing and continuing to teach ATTUNE: The Practice of Mindful Dialogue workshop.
Like many, I was introduced to theories and practice of communication skills through academic courses, work related experiences and personal and couples counseling. Having retained bits and pieces of these skills over the years, attending Angie's workshop woke me up to how Buddhist practice can really inform communication skills. Mindfulness, practiced during daily interactions, enhances our communications with all people.
Although this workshop covered many areas, I would like to share a few that were particularly meaningful to me:
Dialogue permeates our daily lives. Through our Buddhist practice we learn to enhance these skills in a way that becomes a part of who we are and how we behave. This workshop helped me be more awake to that. I am grateful for FCM’s continual teachings on mindfulness and mindful dialogue. We certainly need it during these tumultuous times.
Florida Community of Mindfulness, Tampa Center
6501 N. Nebraska Avenue
Tampa, FL 33604
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St Petersburg Sangha