Sunday morning at the prison. My entry was delayed 40 minutes because an inmate had a large gash above left eye. There was discussion among the C/Os about whether or not he was hit by another inmate or fainted and fell on his face. I asked a C/O how he was doing and he didn’t reply. Later I found out from another C/O he was an elder prisoner who had a medical condition and that he did indeed faint.
Today was Tibetan day. There were eight folks present. A pleasant mix of Zen, Tibetan and Theravadin devotees. Shambhala AM chants and 10 minutes of sitting practice. I gave a talk allowing plenty of discussion throughout about what “unstoppable” means. We discussed bodhichitta, both relative and absolute, and connected it to shamatha and vipashyana practice and lojong practice. We did some slow movement body awareness exercises which highlighted that mindfulness and awareness permeates our body/mind completely while being still and while moving in different positions. We gradually all came to a degree of understanding that “unstoppable” means that whatever our circumstances may be, we have the ability to recognize our innate goodness or bodhicitta. If our motivation and commitment are true, our only real choice is to embrace mindfulness and awareness as inseparable from our true nature. We used the metaphor of the ocean and it’s waves to describe absolute and relative as well as movement and stillness. They enjoyed that metaphor a lot! There was also cross tradition discussions among the Tibetan/Zen and Theravadin guys about the four reminders and interdependence that was stimulating and useful as well. Everyone is learning to respect our differences and appreciate our sameness. It’s delightful!
The guys expressed much gratitude for the increased buddhist teaching that is happening in the past year or so. A couple of the “Theravidins” asked me (and the others in our group) to attend their Theravadin meditation retreat the week after next. And they reminded me that the “Tibetan” retreat is NEXT SATURDAY. Who will be attending next week’s retreat and any ideas about its format?
Peace, Love and Radical Responsibility.