Wednesday, March 21, 2018
The Riverside Sangha is happy to welcome Sister Ocean, and to invite us all to practice together with her this coming Tuesday, March 27, 7-9pm at Riverside Church. [And feel free to bring a friend.]
Sister Ocean will share around practicing with the Five Remembrances: how they can reveal our deepest aspirations, enhance our capacity to be 'present,' develop a sense of urgency around our spiritual practice and open the door into insight of 'no birth/no death' and develop our capacity to be present. [The Five Remembrances are reflections on the inevitability and universality of aging, illness, death, separation, continuation.]
Our evening will include a round of sitting and walking meditation and then a Dharma Talk and time for Questions and Response with Sister Ocean.
"Sister Ocean (Chân Trăng Hải Ấn) is a Canadian monastic who ordained in Plum Village in 2012 and moved to Blue Cliff Monastery in 2014 and is currently on sabbatical. She is a musician and a poet and loves to grow the Dharma through creative modalities. She is also a member of ARISE, working to bring racial justice to the forefront of the Plum Village community"
When: 7:00-9:00pm, March 27 2018
Where: The Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Avenue, NY, NY 10025. In the Wellness Center Nursery.
Below are Five Remembrances and Reflections on them.
1. I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
2. I am of the nature to have ill-health. There is no way to escape having ill-health.
3. I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
4. All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
5. I inherit the results of my actions of body, speech, and mind. My actions are my continuation.
[ From Chanting From the Heart, p. 51.]
Lessons in Emptiness
Formerly glowing cheeks and pink lips,
today cold ashes and white bones.
Position, renown though unsurpassed,ythey are but part of a long dream,
However rich and noble you are,
You are no less impermanent.
Jealousy, pride, and self-clinging,
But self is always empty.
Great strength, ability, and success,
but in them is no final truth.
Since the four elements come apart,
Why discriminate old from young?
Crevices erode even mountains,
More quickly the hero is dead.
Black hair has hardly grown on our head,
When suddenly it has turned white.
Our well-wisher has just departed,
A mourner arrives on our death.
This six-foot skeleton of dry bones—
With what effort it seeks riches.
This wrapping of skin containing blood
Suffers year after year just because of attachment.
[From Breathe! You are Alive, page 71.]
Looking deeply into the Five Remembrances can heighten our motivation to practice and “helps us to live the present moment in a joyous, calm, and awakened way.” [Thich Nhat Hanh, Blooming of the Lotus, p. 69]
"This body is not me. I am not limited by this body.
I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born and I have never died.
Look at this ocean and the sky filled with stars,
manifestations from my wondrous True Mind.
Since before time I have been free.
Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey.
Birth and death are a game of hide and seek."
[Contemplation on No-coming, No-Going, in Chanting from the Heart, p. 243.]