Interbeing a Guided Meditation


Intersectionality, Interbeing and True Happiness:
A Guided Meditation
By Sister Clear Grace

Bell Gatha:

Our Bodies speech and minds are held in perfect oneness, we send our hearts along with the sound of this bell. May the hearers awaken from forgetfulness and transcend the path of anxiety and sorrow. (bell x3)

Aware that on the level of our being we know that we are all connected.
Being, connected (bell)

From moment to moment we are all influencing each other, aware that we share emotional fields. We share feelings, sharing fields of feeling (bell)

Whether consciously or subconsciously we become aware of how we project our perceptions on each other. Aware of our projections, letting go of our projections (bell)

We move deep into our consciousness to be in touch with the nature of interbeing.
In touch with interbeing in touch with out true nature(bell)

We move into the state of mind where we meet vast emptiness. Meeting emptiness, we find unity. Vast emptiness, unity (bell)

When we look into emptiness we see that it is not empty, it is full of everything.

In being full of everything, we see how everything is connected, we see our connected field and our connected energies. Full of emptiness, empty of a separate self (bell)

Looking to the universe we see that the stars are in the space and the space is in the stars. All is being held in space. Space in the stars, stars in the space (bell)

Seeing ourselves in this way we see that our star is dependent upon all other things in the universe. We see that all of the universe is also dependent upon our star.
Star dependent on universe, universe dependent upon star (bell)

In this state of mind we see how our past actions and the past actions of our ancestors have impacted our present and we also see how our present actions have an impact on the future. Past actions in the present, present actions in the future. (bell)

Seeing our actions of body speech and mind we see our responsibility towards the atmosphere, we see what we are adding towards the attitude of the collective.
Responsibility to the collective, responsibility to the atmosphere (bell)

We see the way out is in, going in we touch the nature of interbeing. Going out we have a clear discernment, giving us a different perspective of the world. With this clear perspective we are better able to react in a way that supports all beings. Clear perspective, all beings (bell) 

Bell X 2

Beginning A New

With the American Holiday called Thanksgiving upon us I reflect upon a beginning a new practice that has helped me to transform and heal the hurts of past holidays celebrated such as the Fourth of July. This seems relevant today, as the turkey dinners are rolling out this week. This piece has been edited to leave those teachers in my spiritual growth nameless. In Gratitude..

Shakya Munaye Buddha,

Dear Sangha,

      It is with veneration that I wish to practice beginning a new with the sangha.  Aware that my habit energies of holding on to my feelings, perceptions and attachments to ideas are strong in me. I am aware that alone I do not have the capacity to practice with and transform these energies. I trust that by allowing myself to be held in the hands of the sangha and that by following the guidance of the sangha eyes I can learn to see things more clearly. It is from a place of joy, gratitude, trust and complete vulnerability that I wish to also share a recent suffering. I speak with gentleness, love and the hope that my words are received with understanding. I humbly remain open to guidance for any unskillfulness, shortcomings or any discomfort to others that my sharing may cause. 

     To live in the sangha is a great fortune. The sangha provides everything for me to be able to live and to be able to practice. I have not needed for anything, I have more than enough conditions to be happy. It is only with the support of the sangha that I am able to become intimate with, open my heart of compassion and to begin to understand the roots of my unknown sufferings. These sufferings only come alive by those who remind me of the pain that I have learned to ignore.

      I am grateful to have had many opportunities, to be included and to have been able to share wonderful moments with the sangha. I cannot express the honor and the joy that still manifests in me by being invited to join the MahaSangha in great togetherness and the expansion of sibling hood. I am thankful for the many sangha outings and activities that have been planned and organized with love, hard work, time and much consideration. In being a part of the sangha, I have been filled with love and a sense of belonging, a feeling of coming home both internally and externally. I am aware that my presence in the sangha is not dependent on my background, origins, upbringing, or status but only by my heartfelt intention to practice toward transformation and healing. I am overflowing with gratitude for the many ways in which the sangha has nourished and cultivated wholesome seeds in me. 

 In sharing my regrets I am aware that the individual is a part of the collective, looking within I see that social and cultural experiences shape my perspective and limit my understanding. I am aware of the distortions in me by systematic oppression. Aware of my embodiment and the experiences that it brings within this country and around the world. I recognize the regret of living most of my life outside of my raced, sexualized and gendered body. This internal oppression has been a part of my life training as was deemed essential to becoming successful within the dominant culture of mainstream America.  I regret the shaping of myself into what was expected in order to be accepted or for a false sense of belonging. Even as I sometimes experience microagressions in the sangha, I am aware of this internal oppression and aware of this all too familiar habit to shape for a sense of belonging, or to be accepted, or as I begin to see myself as different. 

      By assimilating and acculturating, I recognize that this only creates an increased loss of identity, culture, connection and affiliation on top of the displacement, dispossession and the loss of my ancestral identity. Only by acknowledging and having an intimate relationship with this loss can I learn to begin to transcend it. And only then can I work through the relative truth of life, by understanding the nature of life as it is experienced in this embodiment. By knowing the nature of this suffering, I am able to move towards transformation and healing with gentleness and care.

    The teachings and the practice are helping me to embrace and to begin closing this gap of internalized treason, self hatred and societal conditioning. I am able to disengage from societal norms, its ways and the clinging of its systematic mistreatment. I am able to begin shedding the labels and identities that were such a huge part of who I thought I was. Even living within the sangha, the impact of oppressive systems will remain my embodied experience. It is an element of my origin and my experience in this body and in this life. The practice is helping me to see my innate goodness, move closer to my true self and to find freedom in my true nature. I learn to see that true beauty blossoms from within. With the sangha, I know that I can make space for a new way of being and dying in the world, a new way of being born and unborn. 

     Expressing hurt. In me I see the fear and the pressure that speaking up may bring me harm or judgement. I feel the ancestral habit energy in me, to allow the incident to go unnoticed, or to make excuses for others that I care for. I see a need to protect a false sense of external belonging. I am aware that belonging is not based on my external conditions. I see the deep seeds of acculturation strong in me transmitted from generations of ancestors to not make waves, to not go against the norm or that of the dominant culture. Aware that by not sharing, complete freedom is not possible. Aware that by sharing I can learn to understand my community and that my community can learn to understand me. Aware that healing and transformation are only possible by making known my difficulties. I know that my personal suffering is not different from that of the collective or of the community in which I live. I am aware that these alone are not mine and that all beings share in these sufferings through different experiences. By sharing, I am able to release my regrets for not speaking up in the past, and for being afraid to look deeply at these sufferings. I speak out so that I can overcome the fear, the silence and the shame, so that I can transform these sufferings in me, in those around me, and in my communities.

       The path of practice has given me space and awareness to be in touch with what is happening within myself, the community, the country, the planet, the collective and that of my spiritual, blood and land ancestors. With stillness and a more stable, peaceful state of mind, unexplored injuries sometimes are newly discovered. I see that what needs purifying just shows up and I am learning to be present for it, to embrace it with peace, kindness and compassion. I am learning to be in contact with pains that I do not own alone and pains that I sometimes have been unaware of. These seeds are collective of my stored consciousness, humanity, land, communities, ancestors, descendants of the enslaved, immigrants, exiled, victims of war, victims of genocide and those who are unjustly treated. Aware that these seeds cause suffering, I choose to water the seeds of freedom, true independence or interdependence, interrelatedness, interconnection and interbeing. I practice to embrace the trauma, while remaining in the peace and freedom, that is available to me and not determined by that of my external conditions. I practice understanding and compassion to see beyond the separation. Looking deeply I see that the sameness cannot be recognized without knowing deeply the oneness or that of our individual uniqueness. 

   The path of practice gives me new ways to respond to these pains. New ways to move through the suffering, to listen, to be open and to learn from them. I learn not to repress, dismiss, or otherwise throw it away. I am careful not to personalize the pain, add to the story of it, or to get dragged down or stuck in it. It is only with deep looking that I am able to come out on the other side of this pain and to see that healing is possible. 

       In sharing this I also see in myself that I too both known and unknown may cause suffering to others. I aspire only to become more aware of my actions to help lessen the suffering of others. I aspire to raise the level of awareness of the personal, collective and that of my community in fulfilling our intention of creating safe spaces, to live together in a way that embodies non harm, non oppression and non exclusion. I am aware that I am only restricted by the limitations of my awareness. I am determined to look at everything with openness in order to transform violence and injustice in myself and in the world.

      Aware that lack of communication brings separation and suffering, and knowing that true community is rooted in inclusiveness and in the concrete practice of the harmony of views, I request to practice sharing my hurtful experience with the community. Dear Sangha, during our recent celebration of the Fourth of July many unwholesome seeds were touched in me, slavery, displacement, disconnection, war, dehumanization, disregard, oppression, cultural appropriation, a yearning for ancestral connection and seeds of nativism and nationalism. As these feelings rose to the surface of my mind, I felt aversion and the desire to want to escape from and push away what was happening. I felt a continuation of histories dominance, of cultural appropriation. I felt again the experiences of harm caused by racial discrimination in different periods of life and land. I felt again previously forms of oppression that our society still perpetuates. I felt separated, disconnected and a sense of detachment from my surroundings. I felt awkward, marginalized, and unsafe. The felt message was that the aspects of being a descendant of displaced enslaved Africans, a descendant of Mexican ancestry, and a descendant of immigrants, were not worthy of awareness, representation or kindness. It felt as though whole nations and whole populations of people were not acknowledged. All of the stories were not represented, the stories of our shared history, the joys and the sorrows involving all of our personal and full range of collective experiences. It felt as though we missed an opportunity to nourish our sibling hood by embodying compassion and offering ways to celebrate in a way that was inclusive, one that offers healing, one that fosters diversity and one that looks deeply into all aspects of our diverse lives. 

  Too often our communities live inside of an unconscious awareness of the violence and injustices that are the current situation in America as groups are still being terrorized because of race, political affiliation, religious choice, physical ability, class, sexual orientation and gender. I did not feel separate from those who have been exiled, from genocide, from war, from violence, economic loss and political oppression, devastation, poverty, dehumanization and other such atrocities just as beings are being turned away from and separated from their families at the very near shores and borders.

       In the midst of all of these feelings, I turned to my breath. I held tenderness in my heart and tried to keep integrity in my actions as I closed my eyes and listened to the Pledge of Allegiance being recited. Cause and conditions give me sight beyond the boundaries of my own experience and even of this event.  Aware that persons of color across this nation are “taking a knee” in the hope that, “Justice for All” and not “Justice for Some” could someday be possible. Aware that students across the nation are being expelled by choosing not to participate in this forced patriotism. Aware that the roots of the pledge arise from fear of immigrants just as today we experience restrictive immigration laws in the wake of terrorist attacks and promises to build a “great wall”. I practiced not to cause harm to myself by going along with the norm, by shaping or conforming. I practiced to not turn away from these feelings with despair and hopelessness. Instead I leaned in with a strong desire to understand these feelings so that I could learn to nourish, and to transform this suffering past and present for myself and for my community. 

Feelings of supremacy, harm, exclusion and separation came up immediately upon seeing the many flags of red white and blue. Seeing my immigrant siblings sporting hats, leigh’s and colors of pride to celebrate what they have learned from only a few of how and what this holidays represents. This gave rise to the awareness that at the current time in our nation the flag is being used by some to represent hatred and the ridding of anything other than the dominant race in this country. I could not find a representation of my ancestors or the many lands and nations that have come together to build this country in the choices and selection of the food, games or song. I did not feel a conscious awareness for persons of color and the terror and the trauma that surrounds this particular holiday and its history. I anxiously awaited for the acknowledgement of these hurts and pains and a chance to celebrate in ways that cultivated healing and peace. I awaited a chance to collectively cultivate seeds of interbeing by acknowledging all of the stories and by embracing our intention to transform these hurts and at the same time honoring the beauty of this land and all of the stories of those who have built it.

Because of this experience, I see that when all of the stories, when loss and disconnection are not acknowledged with mindful awareness the norms of the dominant culture are taken or displayed as the norm. This same dynamic of cultural unconsciousness without intention only seems to foster separation and water seeds of appropriation. My aspiration is that with the spirit of interconnectedness and interrelatedness we could foster the seeds of inclusiveness and diversity by paying closer attention to events like these. I aspire for an elevation of our multicultural awareness and for the nourishment of the multiplicity of our cultures. I aspire to foster ways where loss and disconnection do not go unacknowledged but are given a chance to heal and awaken for a greater sense of freedom. I aspire to live in a community that pays attention with love to these sensitivities, that creates a safe space for all cultural origins, for all beings, for the love of our country and our planet. 

Taking refuge in my teacher, the teachings, and the community in which I practice. I touch the earth gently, seeing the beauty of America, the beauty of its lands, rivers, mountains, its people, plants, animals, waters and minerals. I recognize, its pioneers, visionaries and all those who have transformed our nation in helping to create this land of innovation. I touch the earth knowing that America has limitless potential, I see her true beauty, I see that the land of freedom, justice for all beings, and that all beings can be created equal by cultivating seeds of love, understanding and compassion. I touch the earth in remembrance of days past, ceasing from oppression, building trust with awareness, wisdom and love, with compassion of deep suffering. I touch the earth embracing all of our root cultures with an open heart and an open mind to foster peace, equality and justice for all.

                                        Bowing my head,

                                        Joining my palms,

                                        Touching the earth in deep gratitude,

                                        Sister True Moon of Clear Grace

Flower Garland Discourse: The Ten Great Aspirations of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva

Body, speech and mind, purified, in oneness,

I bow deeply to touch limitless Buddhas

of the past, present, and future

throughout all worlds in the Ten Directions.

The power of Samantabhadra’s vow

enables me to be present everywhere.

Where there is a Buddha, I am there.

As Buddhas are countless, so too am I.

In a particle of dust are countless Buddhas,

all of them present with their own assembly.

The strength of my faith penetrates deeply

into every atom of all Dharma realms.

I aspire to use the Great Ocean of Sound,

giving rise to words of wonderful effect

that praise the Buddha’s oceans of virtues,

in the past, present, and future.

I bring these beautiful offerings:

garlands of the most beautiful flowers,

incense, music, perfumes, and parasols,

all to adorn the Tathagatas and their lands.

Bringing food, robes, and fragrant flowers,

torches, sandalwood, sitting mats,

the finest adornments here in abundance—

an offering to the Tathagatas.

Inspired by Samantabhadra’s vow,

I bring my heart, wide with deep understanding,

with loving faith in the Buddhas of the Three Times,

as an offering to the Tathagatas everywhere.

From beginningless time I have acted unskillfully

with craving, hatred, and ignorance

in actions of body, speech, and mind.

Determined now to begin anew, I repent.

I rejoice in every virtuous action

by anyone, in any direction,

by students and by those who need learn no more,

of Buddhas and bodhisattvas.

All beings who are Lamps for the world

and those who have just attained enlightenment,

I beg that you will think lovingly of us,

turning the Wheel of the Dharma for all.

With sincerity, I make a humble request

of the Buddhas and those who are about to enter nirvana:

remain with us here, throughout the Three Times,

for the benefit and the welfare of all.

I humbly make offerings inviting all Buddhas

to stay with us and guide all beings to the other shore.

All the merit of joyous praise and repenting

I offer to the Path of Awakening.

This merit is transferred to the Three Jewels,

to their nature and form in the Dharma realms.

The Two Truths are perfectly woven together

into the Samadhi Seal.

The ocean of merit is measureless.

I vow to transfer it and not hold anything for myself.

If any human, out of discrimination and prejudice,

tries to do harm to the Noble Teaching

with their words and their actions,

may their obstacles be fully removed.

In each moment, wisdom envelops the Dharma realms,

welcoming all to the place of non-regression.

Space and living beings are without limit,

the same with afflictions and results of past actions.

These four are fully and truly immeasurable.

So, too, is my offering of merit.

Avatamsaka Sutra 36,

Taisho Revised Tripitaka 279

Cultivating Seeds

It has only been one full week of our arrival to Heartwood Refuge. Today we sat in the Vajrayana Hall, all of what is quite different than the Ocean of Peace Meditation hall, without comparison just complete awareness.

This day we studied the Prajna Paramita Sutra

Emptiness of body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and conscious. We practiced using our sitting meditation, being in the spaciousness and the vastness of everything around, other than and in between our 5 skandhas. For a moment understanding the freedom, the liberation from all things. Free from inter generational trauma, free from identity, free from all worldly things, free From this or that. What an experience to be if even for a moment one with all things and separate from nothing? After this practice the pure emotion filled the room as most were in contemplation how the vibration of our consciousness had just shifted and how each of us were sure we walked away with a better understanding of a most complex sutra. Well, at least for the section that was today’s lesson.

The Heart Sutra is one of the most popular sutras in Mahayana Buddhism.

In Sanskrit, it’s called Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya, which means, “The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom.”

It’s a combination of two Sanskrit words – prajñā “wisdom” with pāramitā “perfection.”

In Buddhism, Prajnaparamita means “the perfection of wisdom.” The perfect way to perceive reality.

The Heart Sutra is a written record of a conversation that took place between Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, and a disciple of the Buddha, Shariputra.  

Avalokiteshvara explains to Shariputra that all things are expressions of emptiness. Everything exists only as a part of everything else.

“Form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. That which is form is emptiness, that which is emptiness is form.”

“Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness; they do not appear or disappear, are not tainted or pure, do not increase or decrease.”

“No ignorance and also no extinction of it, and so forth until no old age and death and also no extinction of them. No suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path, no cognition, also no attainment with nothing to attain.”

Emptiness, or in Sanskrit, shunyata, is the concept of perceiving events, objects, and ideas without coloring them with the tint of our perception.

Both emptiness and mindfulness encourage us to separate ourselves from our stories the mind has falsely learned to be reality. The stories that validate and form our identity – ego, the “I”, separating us from the rest of the world. 

The Heart Sutra implies that separateness is actually an illusion. And that the individual identities we assign and are assigned are also an illusion. An illusion that is conditioned through all of our senses, by friends, family, society, experiences and yes even our dharma friends.

Well with just one day in a week, it’s fair to say that our new experience has already illumined our appreciation and gratitude for our foundation. May it continue to blossom! In good hands.

Ancestors

“I am Remembering”

You knock at the door of every cell in my body. The rhythms of your drums beat to the tune of my heart. This mass in my throat is bigger than I can bear. So close and yet so far. Coming home to myself I know you are there, without language, land, culture, food, music or religion. You are the very essence of me, looking deeply the nature of my true self is also displaced. With each unpeeled layer you heave, sway, surge, roll, pitch and yaw through my being like a cargo ship carrying chattel to the land of the free. Each affliction cast overboard to the sea.

this pain this hurt

tears leak from my eyes

i hear you calling me back

you say

i feel alone

i feel afraid

i feel betrayed

oh how I weep

stripped bare

in the stillness you move through me

the greatest fleet

a yearning I cannot fulfill

what is this desire this craving that I can no longer ignore

there is something

deep in the pits of my throat

how can i speak for you with hands over my mouth

you say

i am alone

i am afraid

i am betrayed

which of these dharma doors

will lead to you

True self on the ground undulating between

cultural assimilation

and spiritual bypass

SCG

When You are Living in the Middle of a Poem

Rumi-

The sound of hoofbeats leaving a monastery
where all is timed and measured.
You are that rider.
Someone who does not care very much about things
and results, illness and loss, you are the soul
inside
the soul that is always traveling.
Mind gathers bait. Personality
carries a grudge. You weave cloth
like the moon leaving no trace on the road.
There is a learning community where the names of God
are talked about and memorized, and there is
another residence where meanings live.
You are on the way from here to there.
Your graceful manner gives color and fragrance
as creekwater animates the landscape it moves through.
The absolute unknowable appears as spring and disappears
in fall. Signs come, not the essence signified.
How long will you be a shepherd singlefiling us
in and out of the human barn. Will I ever see you
as you secretly are in silence?

Welcome to Our New Blog

Beyond the Fire Road

We are fresh out of the monastery to explore and begin our journey of what awaits us beyond the Fire Road. We have said goodbye to Deer Park Monastery our first home to which we will always be grateful. The Great Hidden Mountain has a beauty like no other! May we bring with us all that it has given us, all that it has taught us, it’s healing energy and vast acceptance to embrace all and may we share it with all sentient beings who’s paths we may cross.

This uncertain and courageous trek in our young monastic lives will be an odyssey you wouldn’t want to miss! So come along as we take to the wind bringing mindfulness and our meditation practice to a community near you.

Just Getting Started

We are two nuns who follow the teachings of the Plum Village Tradition. We are hoping to visit your Sangha and to serve individuals and all communities, especially those who would not have access to our basic practices of mindfulness and meditation. This is a new journey for us, so we ask that you follow, encourage and support us in whatever way feels right for you.

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