Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 18 Day of Mindfulness

The Five Remembrances:

A Day of Mindfulness September 18, at Riverside Church

91 Claremont Avenue, Room 8-T


"I am of the nature to grow old.

There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill-health

There is no way to escape having ill-health.

I am of the nature to die.

There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone that I love is of the nature to change

There is no way to escape being separated from them.

I inherit the results of my actions of body, speech and mind.

My actions are my continuation."

[From Plum Village Chanting Book, page 52.]

The Five Remembrances will be the focus of our mindfulness meditation practice on this day. Thich Nhat Hanh says: “In principle, we all know that we cannot avoid growing old, falling sick, dying, and being separated from these we love, but we do not want to give our attention these things. We do not want to be in touch with the anxiety and the fear….The Buddha himself taught the exercise and advised his followers to practice it every day….When we begin to practice conscious breathing, mindfulness is lit up within us. In that gentle light, if we simply acknowledge the presence of our fears and smile to them as we would smile to an old friend, quite naturally they will lose some of their energy.”

[Blooming of the Lotus, pages 67-9.]

Looking deeply into the Five Remembrances can also heighten our motivation to practice and “helps us to live the present moment in a joyous, calm, and awakened way.” [Page 69, Blooming of the Lotus.]

Our Day includes Sitting and Walking Meditation; mindful movements; Dharma Sharing; a Thich Nhat Hanh Dharma Talk; mindful eating; a Total Relaxation meditation after lunch and more.

Nina Teng and David Flint will facilitate the Day. Chairs and cushions available. We lunch together around 1-2:15. Bring a vegetarian lunch. Beginners welcome.

At Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Avenue, room 8-T, between 120-122nd Street, one block west of Broadway.


Lessons in Emptiness

Formerly glowing cheeks and pink lips,

today cold ashes and white bones.

Position, renown though unsurpassed,

they 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 o attachment.

[From Breathe! You are Alive, page 71.]

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