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Posts Tagged ‘Plum Village’

Sharing the Merit

Showing our gratitude, practicing the way of awareness
Gives rise to benefits without limit.
We vow to share the fruits with all beings.
We vow to offer tribute to parents, teachers, friends,
And numerous beings.
Who give guidance and support along the path (page 170-71).[1]

It just happens to be 5 days before Christmas as I am beginning to think about what I will write next for my blog. The theme has been prayer and so I scoured my numerous book shelves with books on prayer both Unity ones and Buddhist ones and low and behold what did I see this wonderful book given to me by my sangha, Chanting from the heart Buddhist Ceremonies and Daily Practices by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Monks and Nuns of Plum Village in France. I noticed there was a cloth bookmark and as I lifted it to open to the page there to my surprise was a short chant entitled “Sharing the Merit.”

How perfect is that! “God is good…all the time” as my friends at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale always say. And they are right, even when it doesn’t seem so. When we say and do the right things, right things happen in our lives. So not only is it important to believe the words above in our chant it is imperative that we live our lives as the example of them. And not just at Christmas time but 365 days a year.

Whatever you do don’t turn away your good when someone showers you with gratitude by saying, “Oh, it was nothing.” That demeans their gift of gratitude, and equally as important, you are turning away your good. In Unity we encouraged our students and congregants never to do that as you don’t know what good may be coming your way and if it hears those words of rejection it may decide to bless someone else with that “good.”

And that “good” could have been prosperity, a new job, a visit from a long lost friend or relative, or a healing. So always accept your good with grace and gratitude. Use the above sutra and share that grace with others whenever you get the opportunity. Christmas is the time of giving so instead of giving material possessions try giving kind words, your help, your love, and your gratitude and watch your good manifest in miraculous ways—especially without expectation of receiving.

Give simply for the gift of giving. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

In gassho,

ingassho

Shokai

[1]Hanh, T.N. et.al. (2007) Chanting from the heart Buddhist Ceremonies and Daily Practices. Parallax Press: Berkeley, CA

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How can we as active members of families of Truth practice the Buddha’s vow and begin to “help all beings to suffer less?  How can we as active Christians practice Jesus’ commandment to “love they neighbor as thyself?”  First, we must begin by creating a culture of peace within ourselves and then move to our families.  Once we have conquered these two great places where anger and violence can reside daily, then we will have the power and the knowledge to move our beliefs and our actions into the larger community in which we work, play, and live.

Master Thich Nhat Hanh recommends that we begin by making a personal peace treaty with ourselves.  He encourages us to do this particular act to make a “concrete commitment to transform our lives (Creating True Peace, 2003).”  His personal peace treaty is simple and can be memorized easily.  You can carry it in your wallet or purse and share it with your friends.  It goes like this: “Dear Self, I promise to practice and live my daily life in a way that will not touch or water the seed of violence within me (page 7).” How often have we “touched the seed of violence within” ourselves today, or this week, or this month?   Have we lost our temper this morning with family members because they did not get ready for school quickly enough, or with drivers on the road because they did not drive the way we wished they had driven, or gotten angry at co-workers for not doing what you thought they should have done in your time frame?  Or how about getting angry at ourselves for not being the person that we had hoped we would be by this time in our lives?

I have felt that rage and anger build in me in a relationship when I had a fight with my significant other about some of the most inane things imaginable, like the inability to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher before going to bed, or not picking up dirty clothes from the floor, or spending money on things that seemed to me to be a waste and not needed or not in our budget.

Because we have so much family violence today, it is important that we as  teachers, ministers, Truth students, and Zen practitioners share with our friends and families techniques that will help them get through their times of crisis without anger and/or violence.  Remember, violence does not have to be physical—it can be mental and emotional as well.

You might want to check out Master Hanh’s peace treaty in his book.  It is a wonderful process to use when working with an individual to create a peaceful and loving relationship.  He believes, “The war stops and starts with you and with me.  Every morning when you open your eyes, the potential for violence and war begins.  So every morning, when you open your eyes, please water the seeds of compassion and nonviolence.  Let peace begin with you (page 56).”

If you are reading this post you probably believe in these things as well so let us begin to practice our beliefs today and continue each and every day and soon we will find that peace we have been looking for right within ourselves. Sign that peace treaty today!

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