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I’ve registered to attend a July Buddhist retreat with the New England Institute for Buddhist Studies. NEIBS is where I began studying Shin Buddhism one year ago, at Wesleyan University’s School of Asian Studies. It was a great academic and spiritual journey. Now, a wonderful retreat to help bring the teachings together.
It’s called the ‘Midsummer Mindfulness Retreat’ and will be led by Venerable Dharma Teacher Jitsuro at the beautiful Dae Yen Sa Buddhist Temple in New Hartford. The retreat includes sitting and walking meditations, voice meditation, discussion, noble silence, practice, fellowship, and Korean vegetarian food.
I grapple with the Monkey Mind. In spite of regular meditation, my thoughts dwell on future events. Dwelling and projecting are silly and useless habits, as most of us know. There is the Now, that’s all. The past is over, the future hasn’t happened, and may very well not happen. Why waste one scintilla of your mind energy on what isn’t? Mindfulness meditation and mindfulness techniques are among the most important practices in Buddhism. I’m really looking forward to time learning at Dae Yen Sa.
More garden greens for dinner last night, this time with a vegan ranch dressing I made. There are a few hold out cravings from my vegetarian (dairy) days, and light ranch dressing is one of them. But 21st century veganism and the availability of amazing substitutes has solved all the problems of missing what you used to like to eat. I had a bowl of Pho noodles in clear veggie broth with some of our garden chives. Summer eating is the best.
So many great movies to see now! Last night, we watched, ‘How to Change the World,’ a documentary on early eco-activism and the birth of the Greenpeace movement. Greenpeace founder Bob Hunter was a real deal activist, and after he retired from Greenpeace work, went on to participate in Sea Shepherd missions and write an amazing book as well as many columns and essays. His daughter, Emily, carries the torch with Sea Shepard.
Johnny Depp narrates the film, and reads some of Hunter’s writings. One excerpt in particular just resonated with me. It’s Buddhist, it’s Bodhicitta, it’s pure truth, it’s universal. I’ve been hearing it over and over in my mind all day:
My separate existence is an illusion.
Ecology is flow.
You and I are most definitely a part of the flow.
Everything we do affects the flow.
Everything the flow does affects us.
That’s good stuff, beautiful people.
Live in peace.