Weekly Meeting Time and Location
- Every Wednesday 6:30PM
Meeting location (new):
- Peaceful Escapes Massage and Healing Arts Studio
- 601 E. Elcam Circle B-3
- Marco Island, FL 34145
Short Description of MI Sangha
Mindful-meditative practices and teachings in the tradition of renowned Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh. Our evening begins with Mindful-Movement followed by sitting and walking meditation. We end with a Dharma reading/discussion.
Sometimes we go on retreat. It is very nurturing to step out of our daily routines and "noise" and step into a silent retreat.
This past weekend we were in a Florida Community of Mindfulness silent Retreat held at The Franciscan Center, located on the Hillsborough River in Tampa. Always an amazingly indepth experience, each time I participate, I always say, "this retreat was the most profoundly transformative and nourishing EVER!". Our teacher Fred Eppsteiner gently, yet firmly led us in the actual practice of the Bodhisattva Path.
What is a Bodhisattva?
A bodhisattva is someone who has compassion within himself or herself and who is able to make another person smile or help someone suffer less. Every one of us is capable of this.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
A Bodhisattva is an ordinary everyday person, like Thich Nhat Hanh or the Dali Lama, who upon witnessing the suffering of the world, make the commitment to waken up completely to be of benefit to all beings. And to keep returning until all beings are liberated from suffering. There are two important qualities in a Bodhisattva, the understanding of a being's suffering and the wisdom to know the best way to alleviate this suffering. A Bodhisattva also has the boundless, open heart called Bodhicitta.
This past retreat we practiced letting go of our egotistical way of being in the world and practiced opening our hearts to all beings. When we watch self clinging, self attachment we don't have to be ashamed of our small minds. We don't have to beat ourselves up for being selfish, for being full of pride or envy. Instead we acknowledge these seemingly "undesirable, un-spiritual" states of mind and then release them into the vast sky of our heart/mind. We become mindful and conscious of the varying degrees of habitual self-centered-ness, and with a little sense of humor we recognize our human failings, in order to release them and to return to our natural state of inter-being. We inter-are with all beings. Even though we show up in life as single wave, ultimately we are really the ocean of reality and all other waves are therefore in us, as we are in them. There is no single wave existing completely alone. This of course does not mean we become co-dependent and depressed; it is quite the opposite. We need to be take care of the basic suffering alive in us due to our karma (the causes and conditions which have come together to manifest as me/you) on this path so we can become whole, integrated, and completely free to benefit all beings.
Driving into town yesterday, I was becoming frustrated with other "mindless" drivers who cut me off and periodically wandered over into my lane, almost causing an accident, when it dawned on me, that "I" was not driving into town, instead "we" were driving together. All of us were going the one way. All of us had someplace we needed to be. So instead of looking out from my little car window and saying, "look that idiot cut me off", I looked out and said, "look we have made a mistake, we have accidently veered out of our lane". Immediately, the frustration subsided and I was able to drive mindfully and with a relaxed smile. This is a very small example of how we can practice inter-being but it is also very alive and powerful to actually live these "farfetched and "highfalutin" vows of a Bodhisattva. Even if it is on a very minor scale. One day we may be able to offer much more to all our fellow beings.
May all beings be free from attachment and aversion but not be indifferent.