DPM Day 3: May 28

How’s your breathing in this moment?

As we breathe in and out, we know we are breathing with each other in the It’s Now Virtual Meditation Hall.

The Five Contemplations

This food is a gift of the earth, the sky, numerous living beings, and much hard and loving work.

May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive this food.

May we recognize and transform unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed and learn to eat with moderation.

May we keep our compassion alive by eating in such a way that reduces the suffering of living beings, stops contributing to climate change, and heals and preserves our precious planet.

We accept this food so that we may nurture our brotherhood and sisterhood, build our Sangha, and nourish our ideal of serving all living beings.

The past year has contributed to a lot of beauty and a lot of difficulty in our relationships. How can we nourish our relationships with our loved ones? How do we cultivate true communication, reconciliation, and non-attachment to views? We will explore the roots of our relationships and use them as a mirror to better understand ourselves and let the flower of understanding blossom in our hearts.

Sister Bội Nghiêm (Sister True Pearl (she/her) ordained as a novice nun on August 7, 2005, at Lower Hamlet, Plum Village, France as a “Sunflower” family member. She received her full monastic ordination in December 2008 and the Lamp Transmission in Thailand from Thay to become a Dharma Teacher in March 2014. She currently lives at Magnolia Grove Monastery in Mississippi, where she finds that past wounds can be healed in the present moment with mindfulness and compassion.

Sister Bội Nghiêm was born in Cam Lộ, Quảng Trị, Viet Nam (Central Vietnam), and immigrated with her family to Memphis, TN, USA when she was 11 years old. There were 22 different nationalities in her high school. At the annual cultural arts festival she, and other Vietnamese girls, enjoyed performing traditional dance. When she was 17 years old, she saw a sign in her high school that read, “Nurses Save Lives”, which inspired her to study nursing in college. 

Sister Bội Nghiêm balances her time teaching English, keeping friends informed through social media, and organizing retreats. She feels tremendous gratitude for all of her teachers because they helped her develop the language skills to share the practice. Another job is to routinely ask the monastery neighbors for cow manure (for the garden)!

Her favorite practices are dwelling happily in the present moment with her breathing, sitting meditation (she falls asleep sometimes), and self-compassion. She also enjoys learning English and Vietnamese and about social issues, particularly allyship and healing the earth. In her private time, she shoots hoops while listening to music, enjoys long walks, afternoon naps, and connecting with her biological and spiritual families and friends

Walking meditation is a precious opportunity to take a break from our daily worries, go outside and enjoy a walk. In that time of walking whether it be for 5 minutes, 20 minutes, or 60 minutes we let go of all our worries of work and other things and try to get in touch with the quiet within. Doing so, we can truly enjoy each step and this will help us to find happiness in walking and peace in the here and now. 

The monastics in our 3 U.S. centers of Deer Park, California, Magnolia Grove Mississippi and Blue Cliff, New York will be enjoying walking meditation together as a community around the monastery grounds. We invite you to also take this time to practice walking meditation at home too.

Enjoy your steps!

 Can you vacuum the floor in mindfulness? Can you sit in front of the computer and type out a spreadsheet in mindfulness? Can you cook in mindfulness? The answer is yes. If every 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes you stop what you’re doing, close your eyes and take 3 deep in and out breaths that is just one example of how you can apply mindfulness and meditation into your work life.

 You’re invited to use this time to also practice working meditation. Tend to your chores and tend to your To-Do list and see if you can work in mindfulness.

After you’ve prepared your meal, please sit at a table and join us online for lunch. We will practice mindful eating and perhaps have time to chat afterwards. 

Join us for the lunch at Breakout Tables

In the practice of Total Relaxation, we meditate while laying down, so that we can release all of the tension in the body, relaxing each muscle as we bring our awareness to it. We use the breath as our anchor to help us. We can feel the breath like the ocean feels a wave, and allow it to gently rock us into a deep peace. In this state of rest, our body and mind can release their burdens. A lot of healing happens just by letting go and sinking into this state of total relaxation. This practice and the techniques within it can be applied at any time during the day when you have free time. It only takes a few minutes of practice to create more lightness and ease in the body and mind.

We invite you to take this time to practice total relaxation at home. Rest, recover and restore so that you can feel fresh for the rest of the day!

You can find many guided Total Relaxations in our Plum Village app. You can download here.

During this session, we will have a chance to gather into groups for young men, women, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. This will be a special opportunity for us to share deeply and safely about topics that we face as members of these groups. Knowing these identities intersect, we invite you to join whichever group you feel would be the greatest refuge to you at this time.

Join the LGBTQIA+ session

Join the Women’s group

Join the Men’s group

The Five Contemplations

This food is a gift of the earth, the sky, numerous living beings, and much hard and loving work.

May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive this food.

May we recognize and transform unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed and learn to eat with moderation.

May we keep our compassion alive by eating in such a way that reduces the suffering of living beings, stops contributing to climate change, and heals and preserves our precious planet.

We accept this food so that we may nurture our brotherhood and sisterhood, build our Sangha, and nourish our ideal of serving all living beings.

Silence can be cold and frightening. Or silence can be warm, cozy and healing. The warm and healing silence is noble silence. 

After a long day of meditation, work and activities in the monasteries we practice Noble Silence. Noble Silence is a time we reserve after the last activity of the day to not talk to each other unless it is super important. Not talking here also means letting our minds stop running and stop talking too. We turn off the computer, devices, give our mind a break and rest. Even as we prepare for bed, we do our best to maintain the energy of a quiet and loving attention. This is the time to lay down, practice total relaxation and drift off into deep sleep to be ready for the new day ahead.

Practicing noble silence turns the nighttime into a time of quietness and deep healing.

Continue to DPM Day 4: May 29

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