Dear mindful friends,
I am writing this letter to you from Deer Park Monastery in Escondido
near San Diego, California. This morning, I woke up at 5:00 am and
walked over to the main hall for the morning meditation at 5:45 am.
The sitting began with the deep sounds of the bell and a hauntingly
beautiful chant in Vietnamese, sung by one of the venerable older
monks. 45 minutes went by smoothly and swiftly in a profound silence,
broken only with a cough or two by one of the lay brothers in the
hall; it felt like only 20 minutes. Afterwards, we all practiced
three deep and full bows, reverently prostrating our whole bodies to
the ground, allowing ourselves to stretch after such a long sit, and
expressing our heartfelt gratitude to the great support of the Three
Universal Jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Not a word was spoken.
No one needed to. Putting my shoes on and going outside, I practiced
walking meditation back to my room and then to the dining hall for
"Aqui y ahora." Here and now. These words in Spanish are welling up
from somewhere deep within my heart. Aqui y ahora, the sun is rising
over the mountains. Aqui y ahora, birds are calling out with songs of
love and joy. Aqui y ahora, the first blooms just before spring are
early appearing everywhere -- the red, yellow, violet, white and
variegated colors dazzling and amazing. Aqui y ahora, every breath is
peace and every step is joy. Aqui y ahora, this is my spiritual
family, this is my true home -- it is good to be back once again, here
with the holy Buddhist monks and nuns, now with my dear lay sisters
and brothers of the Order of Interbeing. "Aqui y ahora."
Yes. … Thank you. …
Last Sunday evening, over 50 persons gathered for sangha meditation at
"Breath of Life." When it came time for the Dharma Talk, a profound
peace swept over me, and I almost did not even want to say a word.
Still, I did attempt to speak, and it was obvious to me after the
first minute that I was definitely not going to stay on topic.
Somehow, though, it felt alright. Clearly, Buddha had something else
in mind. There were several moments of prolonged silence throughout
the talk. And for those who truly understood, the real Dharma Talk
was being given and received in the silence itself. The few words
that were spoken were just there for the benefit of those who might
not be able to "hear" the true message in the silence. But the real
message was wordless, heart to heart. Did you feel it? Did you
A few persons spoke to me afterwards and expressed their gratitude for
that evening. One couple told me that the Dharma Talk felt truly
"inspired" to them. No matter that I said very few words. So I know
that at least two or more persons understood the real message. Buddha
was just having a cup of tea with Buddha. Enlightenment was simply
giving enlightenment to enlightenment. The giver, the gift and the
recipient are One. There is only just This. Just Enlightenment. And
when enlightenment is the giver, we call this Buddha. When
enlightenment is the gift, we call this Dharma. And when
enlightenment is the recipient, we call this Sangha. But it's all
just Enlightenment. It's all just Buddha. Buddha having a cup of
Buddha with Buddha. Hello, Buddha!
I love you, dear Buddha, in all your many guises!
In joyful gratitude,