Just Power

‘Is it possible to imagine that power might be defined by presence of mind; that the more one is no longer controlled by compulsions, addictions, patterns, habits, the more power one has to act in service of wisdom and compassion? What if we said that power is internal freedom, that power is the capacity for choice?”

— Helen Tworkov


Taking Refuge

“In formally becoming Buddhists we take refuge in the three jewels: the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha. We take refuge in the Buddha as teacher, our example of an awakened being. The Buddha also represents the potential for enlightenment that we all possess. Taking refuge in the Buddha is taking refuge in our own enlightened aspect. He’s our role model for someone who went through a personal struggle and came to rest in wisdom and compassion.”

— Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche


Exercise: Moving from Me to We

“Bring someone to mind, a fellow human being. Just like you. Now silently repeat any number of these phrases, while thinking of them:

-This person has a body and a mind, just like me.
-This person has feelings, emotions and thoughts, just like me.
-This person has, in his or her life, experienced physical and emotional pain and suffering, just like me.
-This person has at some point been sad, disappointed, angry or hurt, just like me.
-This person has felt unworthy or inadequate, just like me.
-This person worries and is frightened sometimes, just like me.
-This person has longed for friendship, just like me.
-This person is learning about life, just like me.
-This person wants to be caring and kind to others, just like me.
-This person wants to be content with life, just like me.
-This person wishes to be free from pain and suffering, and to be safe and healthy, just like me.
-This person wishes to be happy and loved, just like me.

Now allow some wishes for well-being to arise:

-I wish for this person to have the strength, resources and social support to navigate the difficulties of life with ease.
-I wish for this person to be free from pain and suffering.
-I wish for this person to be peaceful and happy and loved.
-Because this person is a fellow human being, just like me.”

–from Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement and Peace by Sharon Salzberg

Just Practice

“While you are continuing this practice, week after week, year after year, your experience will become deeper and deeper, and your experience will cover everything you do in your everyday life. The most important thing is to forget all gaining ideas, all dualistic ideas. In other words, just practice zazen in a certain posture. Do not think about anything. Just remain on your cushion without expecting anything. Then eventually you will resume your own true nature. That is to say, your own true nature resumes itself.”

–Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

Mid-Autumn Festival at Phap Hoa (Vernon, CT)

Dear Friends,
Please join us for the Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration at Phap Hoa Buddhist Temple on Saturday, September 26th, beginning at 7 PM. The Mid-Autumn Festival (Tet Trung Thu) is an annual celebration when parents show their love and appreciation for their children. The celebration will include a walk through the local streets carrying lanterns and then chanting, lion dancing and, of course, delicious food back at the temple. Practitioners, friends and those interested in Buddhist and Vietnamese practices and celebrations are all welcome.

Phap Hoa Buddhist Temple
85 Prospect Street
Vernon, CT 06066

Praising The Bodhisattva of Compassion

The nectar of compassion is seen on the willow branch held by the Bodhisattva.
A single drop of this nectar is enough to bring life to the Ten Directions of the Cosmos.
May all afflictions of this world disappear totally and may this place of practice be completely purified
by the Bodhisattva’s nectar of compassion.

Homage to the Bodhisattva Who Refreshes the Earth.

From the depths of understanding, a flower of great eloquence blooms:
The Bodhisattva stands majestically
upon the waves of birth and death, free from all afflictions.
Her great compassion eliminates all sickness,
even that once thought of as incurable.
Her wondrous light sweeps away all obstacles and dangers.
Her willow branch, once waved,
reveals countless Buddha Lands.
Her lotus flower blossoms a multitude of practice centers.
We bow to her. We see her true presence in the here and the now.
We offer her the incense of our hearts.
May the Bodhisattva of Deep Listening embrace us all
with Great Compassion.

(Homage to Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara)

from Chanting from the Heart
Thich Nhat Hanh and the Monk and Nuns of Plum Village