H.H. The Dalai Lama - Universal Responsibility

"I believe that to meet the challenge of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not for his or her self, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind. Universal responsibility is the real key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace, the equitable use of natural resources and through concern for the future generations, the proper care of the environment."
-- H.H. The Dalai Lama, Planetary Earth Summit, 1992

Dalai Lama Oct 10 Visit to Washington, D.C.

On May 30 June 8 (*), tickets will go one sale for The Heart of Change, October 10, 2009 in Washignton D.C., a day's exploration of wisdom, meditation, and compassionate action with a morning teaching by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

This event is hosted by the Conservancy for Tibetan Art and Culture.

Please visit www.DalaiLamaDC09.com to learn more and to purchase tickets.

(*) Due to technical problems the sale of tickets for the Heart of Change event has been delayed until June 8th.

Healing the Earth, July 23 & 26, 2009 SWMPC

Healing the Earth
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Also, Sunday, July 26, 2009 in Columbia

Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday and Sunday we are fortunate to have Ko Barrett as our facilitator. Her concern for our environment is both personal and professional: she is the Associate Director for International Affairs in the Climate Program Office or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Her notes are below.

This week we will be discussing the last two chapters in Thich Nhat Hanh’s The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology. In these chapters, Thay draws our attention to ways we can transform our communities by a commitment to mindful action, and transform ourselves and others by looking deeply into our interconnectedness with Nature and acting from a place of ‘inter-being”. He writes:

Every step we make has the power to heal and transform. Not only can we heal ourselves by our steps, but we can help heal the Earth and the environment.

I am struck by the simple truth of Thay’s message, and also by the challenge of taking on lasting transformation. For me, strongly held convictions to act in ways that protect and heal the planet often give way because I cannot sustain the required changes by myself. I lose a connectedness to the Earth in the rush of daily life. I forget that my choice to drive my car a short distance has lasting consequences for people I care about and places I love. True, lasting transformational action seems elusive.

As we come together as a Sangha on Thursday and Sunday, we’ll talk about ways we deeply connect to our world and how we can draw on these experiences to inspire us to lasting action to protect the Earth and address global climate change in our lives. Perhaps the simple act of watering the houseplants or looking up at the sky each day provides a steady reminder of our interconnectedness with the Earth. Maybe the thought of a child living in poverty in the developing world or in our own inner cities inspires us to make do with less. By sharing the sources of our inspiration, I hope we’ll grow our collective experience and find new and sustained strength to transform our relationship with the Earth. I look forward to the conversation.

- Ko Barrett

From The World We Have Chapter Ten: The Eyes of the Elephant Queen

We have destroyed our Mother Earth in the same way bacteria or a virus can destroy a human body. Mother Earth is also a body. Of course, there are bacteria that are beneficial to the human body, that protect the body and help generate enzymes that we need. Similarly, if the human species wakes up and knows how to live with responsibility, compassion, and loving kindness, the human species can be a living organism with the capacity to protect the body of Mother Earth. We have to see that we inter-are with our Mother Earth, that we live with her and die with her.

It’s wonderful to realize that we are all in a family, we are all children of the Earth. We should take care of each other and we should take care of our environment, and this is possible with the practice of being together as a large family. A positive change in individual awareness will bring about a positive change in the collective awareness. Protecting the planet must be given the first priority. I hope you will take the time to sit down with each other, have tea with your friends and your family, and discuss these things. Invite Bodhisattva Earth Holder to sit and collaborate with you. Then make your decision and act to save our beautiful planet. Changing your way of living will bring you a lot of joy right away and, with your first mindful breath, healing will begin.

The best times to join our Thursday evening gatherings are just before the beginning of our 7 p.m. meditation, just before we begin walking meditation (around 7:25), and just after our walking meditation (around 7:35).

Copies of The World We Have are available for purchase Thursday nights in Silver Spring and Sunday nights in Columbia.

Click for directions to Thursday and Sunday sittings with Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center.

WBPF Meeting June 16, 2009 7:30 pm

WBPF Meeting May 12, 2009 7:30 pm

WBPF Open Meeting
Tuesday, May 12, 2009 7:30 PM
Friends Meeting House
2111 Florida Ave NW
3 blocks north of Dupont Circle Metro
May 12 Discussion Topic:
Thich Nhat Hanh's The World We Have,
Chapter 3,
Diet for a Mindful Planet.

Between now and the May 12 meeting, please consider reading Chapter 3, if possible. And from now until the meeting, please also consider observing your own experiences with Mindful Eating -- with regard to personal mindfulness practice, and with regard to Global Warming and Climate Change, so you can contribute in our discussion at the meeting. If you can not attend, then please share this exploration with us in the course of your own personal practice.

WBPF Meeting April 3, 2009 7:30 pm - Notes

Only six of us were able to join Hugh Byrne that early Spring Friday evening at the Friends Meeting House in NW DC. After 10 minutes of silent meditation, Maria moderated 90-minutes of thoughtful discussion and mutual deep listening about Mindful Eating as it relates to our personal mindfulness practice, Global Warming and Climate Change. We were grounded by our reading of the book, The World We Have, in which Thich Nhat Hanh explores the connection between personal mindfulness practice and Global Warming and Climate Change. Thay points out that meat production, energy-intensive agriculture, food processing and food transportation produce a major share of greenhouse gases that cause Global Warming, which causes Climate Change, which causes harm to people and other beings.

Our discussion focused mainly on our personal, successful and unsuccessful, experiences with trying to eat mindfully over the past month, as we promised ourselves at the February meeting we would try to do before this meeting in March. We learned from each other that even with the best of intentions, feelings run deep and habits are strong when it comes to observing, much less changing eating habits. We noted that much of our eating seems to happen literally unconsciously or in open defiance of our apparent will to the contrary. Health, family, friends and work sometimes, but not always, complicate our eating choices, especially vegetarian choices.

Some found it helpful to keep a log of everything eaten (for a week or so, at least). Others found it helpful to make a ritual of Mindful Eating preceded by gathas or prayer. Some hide food, "out of sight, out of mind". Some put limits on quantity or times of eating. For others, preparing meals, instead eating already prepared foods, brought more awareness and presence to eating. Some of us are trying to bring arising food cravings into mindful awareness and transform them, such as with the RAIN process: Recognition, Acceptance, Investigation, and Non-identification, as described in Thay's book.

Our concerns were not only about personally unhealthful eating. We also began to ask, but without answers yet, how can we make an engaged connection between personal Mindful Eating and broader efforts to mitigate Global Warming?

How can we avoid being judgmental or even feeling misjudged by family, friends or co-workers who are not convinced of the importance and urgency of averting Climate Change? How can we make a real difference through truly peaceful means? In his book, Thay says that reducing harmful eating by even just a little bit is a helpful start.

We agreed that it would be fruitful to continue observing our Mindful Eating practice and discuss it again with all who might come on May 12. We ended with a few minutes of silent meditation, followed by mindfully eating some light snacks thankfully provided by Bill, as he often does.

Please come on May 12 to share in this continuing discussion of our personal experiences with Mindful Eating.

Please be aware that Still Water Mindfulness Practice Centeris also discussing Thay's The World We Have, once a month at one of their weekly meditation and Dharma discussion evenings at Crossings (Silver Spring) and at Yoga Center of Columbia. Please see the details here.

WBPF Meeting April 3, 2009 7:30 pm

DATE: Friday, April 3rd, 7:30 PM

PLACE: Friends Meeting of Washington - 2111 Florida Ave NW - 3 blocks north from Dupont Circle Metro

THEME: Mindful Consumption and Climate Change

We will continue to discuss and reflect on ideas found in:
  • "Mindfully Green" by Stephanie Kaza
  • January 2009 Shambhala Sun "The Green Path"
  • "The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology" by Thich Nhat Hahn.
We have been using these resources as a framework to guide us on how we want to focus our efforts in the period ahead. At our last meeting on February 24 we agreed to make what we eat a central focus of our practice and inquiry. We will share what we have learned and explore next steps.

We hope you will join us in creating mutual support for mindful consumption, which in turn will support actions to address and the health of the earth.

- Meeting Notes