The monks and nuns of BN are evicted from the temple and now are staying temporarily in chua Phuoc Hue, the big temple of central Bao Loc, right on the main highway Saigon-Dalat with the big statue and locates next to the church. This is the temple that our delegation visited with Thich Nhat Hanh on the trip 2007. Please get as many foreign faces as possible to be there URGENTLY to WITNESS of what is happening. The policeman are trying to finish the issue as quickly as they can to avoid the media and public attention so they deny all legal sponsorship of the abbot (ven. Thich Thai Thuan). They are making pressure to him to ask the monastics leave IMMEDIATELY, not allow them to spend even overnight but we know that is the safest place for our brothers and sisters rightnow because it is not as far as Dambri and they cannot control the road. So please tell any friend who is in VN now come to Bao Loc RIGHT AWAY. Thank you so much.
Thanh Buoi bus leaves SG for Dalat once every hour. Their depot is in Le Hong Phong St, District 5.
What I found most fascinating was watching the tool develop the profile by searching the web based simply on entering my first and last name. This process may not work very well for someone with a common name, but for me it seemed to work pretty well.
The second surprising element is the sports piece; what's that all about?
It has been eight years since the last time I fasted – it was in late 2001 – and for that fast I practiced in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters by fasting from sunrise to sunset for a couple of weeks.
Recently I was sharing about a personal relationship issue with a monastic friend and teacher and he suggested I start with a period of fasting. I was not completely clear on how this could help or be related, but I trust my friend and know that fasting is a common practice in the monastery. The intention here is not a detox fast, but one of a more spiritual nature. I started practicing with the fast for a 1-2 weeks by fasting for dinner. It wasn’t too difficult to eat two meals a day, the most difficult time being late afternoon. This did raise my confidence and understanding in fasting.
I typically am not a huge fan of exercise. However, while staying at the Deer Park Monastery I usually get more than my fair share due to the size of the property and the hills. In addition, we frequently have a time of recreational exercise including volleyball (my favorite) and basketball. Check this out from the recent visit. A very peaceful, fun, and non-competitive basketball game with my monastic friends.
It was twenty years ago today that I took my last drink of alcohol. I was 21-years old at the time and it was my third or fourth attempt at stopping. Today I am living on grace, and though I don’t speak publicly of this very often, I want everyone to know how proud I am of being sober for two decades and to thank those who have helped me along the way. This is a day to remember the goodness in suffering.
One of the toughest decisions of my life happened in the past two weeks when I decided to end my love affair with motorcycle riding. I’m almost crying as I write this and look at the included picture. I’ve been riding since age 14 when our family had a little Honda 50 for dirt riding (or in the back alley’s of Fresno). From there I moved to a Honda Passport, Kawasaki KZ750, and finally to a series of BMW motorcycles. In all it is about 25 years of riding and a quarter million miles on a bike.
Why is this ending? I have been a very lucky rider. In the five accidents, I have never broken a bone or been seriously injured. This includes almost 10 years of riding in San Francisco. In the last decade I have considered selling the bike a couple of times but have never gone through with it. This time my gut tells me it is time. Earlier this fall another rider with my age and experience spent a month in the hospital after being hit at an intersection I cross daily. We get a lot of bikes in Ojai due to our fantastic curves, so accidents and deaths are not uncommon. On January 10, 2009 a fellow rider, sangha connection, and friend was killed near his home in Malibu. Peter Kollock is only a little older than I and rides the same BMW model. That same weekend, there was a death in Ventura and another on Highway 33 above Ojai.
The new year brings us the opportunity to reflect on the past and ponder the future. Our family spent two weeks at Deer Park Monastery with a six-day Holiday Retreat in the middle. The second day of the retreat I was honored when Thay Phap Hai asked me to participate in the planned dharma talk. We did this talk with our friend Karen Hilsberg.
The Plum Village sangha has a practice called Beginning Anew that we used for the foundation of our talk, since the theme of the retreat was renewal. Rather than focusing on another person, as we typically do with this practice, the focus of attention was ourselves. Karen provided us with four meditations that we explored in the one-hour talk. Please enjoy the talk.
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Four Meditations for Self-Renewal
Flower Watering/Sharing Appreciation. Looking deeply, I see many positive and wholesome qualities in myself such as…
Benign Regrets. Looking deeply, I regret that I have caused myself pain through my thoughts, speech and actions in the following ways…
Hurts and Difficulties. Looking deeply, I can understand my own hurts and difficulties with deep compassion and friendliness toward myself, without blame or criticism as follows…
Challenges and Intentions for the Future. For the future, I anticipate the following challenges and intend to practice mindfully and skillfully in the following ways…
The key here is to be kind and honest with yourself. If you can’t listen here, you can download the talk.
Today is Blog Action Day 2008 and our focus this year is on poverty. It is a day when bloggers around the world can unite together to highlight an issue. I’m happy to participate and hope that it contributes to global awareness around poverty. Despite the fiscal crisis taking place in the United States, we still have one of the highest standards of living in the world. It is easy for us to grow distraught about our own personal finances, but most of us probably have clean running water, employment, housing, clothing. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes to wear, a roof on your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than the 75% of the people who live on this Earth. If you have money in your bank account and your wallet and some loose change in some little box, you are one of the world’s 8% well-to-do population. And yet, even here in the United States we have many that live in poverty. Here in Ojai, I typically spend time in the winter staying at the Ojai Valley Family Shelter once a week with the two dozen people who choose to stay in the shelter. Check out some of the other resources put together on the Blog Action Day Web Resources page. Or, you can watch the following video if you haven’t seen it already:
What are you doing for those with less? What is your experience with poverty?
Unbelievable that it has been three weeks since my last post here on misc.joy, but some of you already know that the Fall semester has begun and I am teaching two extra classes this semester. It has been a blast to teach the San Jose State class again, though the work load is high. I’ve also been working on several volunteer projects that have occuppied time. Namely, volunteering for the Ojai Green Tour on October 4, planning a Benefit Concert for the Ojai Library on October 11, organizing Bike Valet for Ojai Day on Ocober 18, presenting at Internet Librarian on October 19, planning Gold Coast Library Network Professional Day on October 24, coordinating an Education Forum at ALA Midwinter, and helping with the Thich Nhat Hanh 2009 Tour. You may have also noticed the Peace One Day icon on the web page and I will be giving a brief (5-minute) talk on peace and Buddhism at a multifaith event here in Ojai. Yes, it is too much and I am learning how to delegate and ask for help – Leslie has been a life saver on several fronts – but as you can see I still don’t say no. One thing I have learned though is to look for the joy in each of my activities and be fully present when engaged. The March 2008 post 12 Essential Rules to Live More Like a Zen Monk is helpful to read again.
Despite all the above, I’ve still had time to try and keep up with my Friendfeed and play with new tools like 12seconds.tv, Twine, Chrome, and Ubiquity. What’s most promising? What am I finding most useful?