Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Next Gathering

SUNDAY February 28th
St Ignatius Retreat House
10:30AM - 12:30 PM
Our Regular Sitting Practice

Sangha Generosity Practice
non perishables and canned goods for a local food pantry
Collection at Feb 28th sit

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Next Gathering

SUNDAY February 21st
at St Ignatius Retreat House
10:30AM-12:30 PM
Our Regular Sitting Practice
Peace is Every Step Reading
(please bring your copy with you if you have one....if not, bring yourself, we can share!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oprah Talks to Thich Nhat Hanh

"He's been a Buddhist monk for more than 60 years, as well as a teacher, writer, and vocal opponent of war—a stance that left him exiled from his native Vietnam for four decades. Now the man Martin Luther King Jr. called "an apostle of peace and nonviolence" reflects on the beauty of the present moment, being grateful for every breath, and the freedom and happiness to be found in a simple cup of tea.
The moment I meet Thich Nhat Hanh at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan, I feel his sense of calm. A deeply tranquil presence seems to surround the Zen Buddhist master.

But beneath Nhat Hanh's serene demeanor is a courageous warrior. The 83-year-old native of Vietnam, who joined the monastery when he was 16, valiantly opposed his own government during the Vietnam War. Even as he embraced the contemplative life of a monk, the war confronted him with a choice: Should he remain hidden away in the monastery tending to matters of the spirit, or go out and help the villagers who were suffering? Nhat Hanh's decision to do both is what gave birth to "Engaged Buddhism"—a movement that involves peaceful activism for the purpose of social reform. It's also what led Martin Luther King Jr. to nominate him for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.

As part of his denunciation of the violence inflicted on his countrymen, Nhat Hanh founded a relief organization that rebuilt bombed Vietnamese villages, set up schools and medical centers, and resettled homeless families. Nhat Hanh also created a Buddhist university, a publishing house, and a peace activist magazine—all of which led the Vietnamese government to forbid him, in 1966, to return home after he'd left the country on a peace mission. He remained in exile for 39 years.

Before his exile, Nhat Hanh had spent time in the West (studying at Princeton and teaching at Columbia University in the early 1960s), and it was to the West that he now returned. Seeing an opportunity to spread Buddhist thought and encourage peaceful activism, he led the Buddhist Peace Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks in 1969, established the Unified Buddhist Church in France, and went on to write more than 100 books, including the 1995 best-seller Living Buddha, Living Christ—a volume that never leaves my nightstand.

Nhat Hanh eventually settled in Southern France and founded Plum Village, the Buddhist meditation practice center and monastery where he still lives. Thousands of people travel there each year to join him in exploring the tenets of Buddhism—including mindfulness (intentionally tuning in to the present moment), the development of a practice (a regular activity, such as mindful walking, that redirects you toward right thinking), and enlightenment (the liberation from suffering that comes when you wake up to the true nature of reality). These principles were introduced to the world more than 2,000 years ago by Siddhartha Gautama, or the Buddha, the Indian-born prince who left a life of ease and indulgence in order to seek enlightenment—and founded a religion along the way.

Thich Nhat Hanh—or, as his students call him, Thây, the Vietnamese word for "teacher"—brings along a group of Plum Village monks and nuns to listen in on our conversation. In some spiritual traditions, there is a concept called "holding the space"—or showing up as a compassionate listener. Thây's friends are the space holders who have traveled with him from France, and as we take a photograph together just before our chat, they usher in a peaceful mood by collectively singing a Buddhist song: "We are all the leaves of one tree; we are all the waves of one sea; the time has come for all to live as one."

Read the entire interview on Oprah.Com


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thich Nhat Hanh Magazine News

(picture from Shambhala Sun Magazine)

Oprah interviews Thich Nhat Hanh in O Magazine. On news stands,February 15th. Feature title, Call Me By My True Names.

Thich Nhat Hanh article in Shambhala Sun, Mindfulness Is a Source of Happiness. On news stands, February 1st (see below)

Shambhala Sun March 2010
You'll find this article on page 34 of the magazine.


Thich Nhat Hanh on The Practice of Mindfulness

“Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in.” It is such a simple practice, but it can transform your life. The great meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches five mindfulness exercises to help you live with happiness and joy.

Our true home is not in the past. Our true home is not in the future. Our true home is in the here and the now. Life is available only in the here and the now, and it is our true home.

Mindfulness is the energy that helps us recognize the conditions of happiness that are already present in our lives. You don’t have to wait ten years to experience this happiness. It is present in every moment of your daily life. There are those of us who are alive but don’t know it. But when you breathe in, and you are aware of your in-breath, you touch the miracle of being alive. That is why mindfulness is a source of happiness and joy.

Most people are forgetful; they are not really there a lot of the time. Their mind is caught in their worries, their fears, their anger, and their regrets, and they are not mindful of being there. That state of being is called forgetfulness—you are there but you are not there. You are caught in the past or in the future. You are not there in the present moment, living your life deeply. That is forgetfulness.

Excerpted from the March 2010 issue of the Shambhala Sun.

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Year... New Schedule... New Time!

Green Island Sangha
February Schedule

St Ignatius has asked if we would change our sit schedule to
10:30AM to 12:30 PM
starting Feb 21st.

There will be no sit on Feb 14th because the Retreat House will be closed.

Sangha Generosity Practice
non perishables and canned goods for a local food pantry
Collection at Feb 28th sit

Tet (Lunar New Year) Celebration at Blue Cliff Monastery Feb 12-14th
contact Blue Cliff Monastery office@bluecliffmonastery.org

SUNDAY February 14th
Retreat House Closed

SUNDAY February 21st
at St Ignatius Retreat House10:30AM-12:30 PM Our Regular Sitting Practice
Peace is Every Step Reading (please bring your copy w you)

SUNDAY February 28that St Ignatius Retreat House 10:30AM - 12:30 PM
Our Regular Sitting Practice

Your Free Will Donation Helps to Support Our Community
and our hosts St Ignatius Retreat House

The Year of the Tiger

Lunar New Year aka "Tet" or "Chinese New Year" is Feb 14 2010; The Year of the Tiger....Another chance to begin a new!... and to eat wonderful things! In the tradition of our four fold sangha, one of the special foods for the celebration are "Earth Cake/Sky Cake"..."Banh chung"

Please check out this lovely video made by our monastic brothers and sisters.

"During the New Year of 2009, we felt the need to explain the meaning of wrapping earth cakes, because practitioners that come to visit Plum Village each year during the Lunar New Year are quite surprised to see the four-fold sangha spending one whole day wrapping earth cakes and staying up the whole night to cook them. So please enjoy this video performance made by the monks and nuns of Plum Village…"


vegetarian banh chung

usually eaten at Tet (Vietnamese new year)

3 lbs sticky rice, uncooked, soaked 1 night and drained
3 c mung beans, raw
6T oil
banana leaves

Cook mung beans according to package instructions. After mung beans are cooked, mash until smooth, then make into 8 square patties, .75 inches thick.

Add oil to uncooked sticky rice and mix well.

On a big piece of banana leaf, put .5 cup sticky rice. Put 1 mung bean patty on top. Pour .75 cup sticky rice on top and wrap tightly in banana leaf. Tie with twine to hold leaf in place. After all 8 have been wrapped, boil submerged in water for 6 hours until cooked.

Makes 8 banh chung, each having 8 servings for a total of 64.

Number of Servings: 64
* if you go onto Youtube there are hundreds of videos of families gathering to make this treat. There are many videos showing how to wrap these delicacies, unfortunately they all show the use of animal products. Traditionally meat is used, but the Vegetarian ones are so much more yummy and better for you!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February 14th Cancelled

St Ignatius just contacted us to tell us this weekend there will not be any staff available to host us on Sunday sit so we will not be able to meet to sit this weekend at St Ignatius. Our next scheduled sit is the following Sunday Feb 21st.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

New Video

Dear friends please enjoy the new video posted at the bottom of this blog.