More adventures for my Buddha Gang.
This journey was on a skateboard.
Here, I’m cruising down a nice trail that runs along the freeway. It’s a kind of nature-reserve, sort of. A corridor of trees. Birds. Animals. Many homeless people scattered throughout the forests. Some degree of silence. A garbage creek.
Around 1.5 hrs later, I was breathing at Chua Lien Hoa, surrounded by my Vietnamese friends. Thich Hue Nhan’s presence is healing. I was in the meditation hall marveling at the artwork.
Here is a dragon holding up a gigantic bell. This bell is beautiful. It sounds at their celebrations, the people chant, it is amazing.
Here is the bell.
And, a new Buddha statue has a place at the altar.
These little bells make a pleasant sound. The woodwork on the thing behind them is also interesting.
I like meditating in here because when my attention leaves my breath, when it wanders “externally”, it always falls on some beautiful reminder of Buddha, Dharma, and/or Sangha. I pop those bubbles of distraction, though they are not exactly unpleasant, and return to mindfulness of in and out breathing.
Many years ago, Master Kim lived at Lien Hoa in Olympia. He now lives at Co Lam in Seattle. He began a little garden here, at Lien Hoa.
A few years later, I began to hang out at Lien Hoa with Thich Minh Huu. I continued building this garden that Master Kim had begun. I made a stone walk-way, with various reminders of Dhamma to keep the wheel spinning. I pulled weeds and trimmed overgrown plants. All the while, engaged in the work, I also knew that I was working with alayavijnana, the store consciousness. I realized that gardening is meditation. It is a symbolic action– pulling this weed, watering this plant, neglecting that area, tending to this area– all of it representative of a corresponding action in mind. Give attention to this, not to that. Water this thought, pull that thought out by the root. Gradually tending the garden, it suddenly blooms in spring and the birds and bees rejoice.
She listens, perfectly soothing all the pains with the miracle of mindfulness.
We had the best lunch. These Vietnamese people really know how to eat! I’ve never experienced such a diverse set of vegetarian flavors.
They love their monk, they take care of him and he is skilled master. He takes care of them with wisdom and compassion.
After lunch, we cleaned the common area of the temple. I wiped down the tables and swept. Everyone working together made me smile. The temple has recently undergone many renovations. People are excited to contribute. I attribute this to the presence of Thich Hue Nhan. I’ve observed this community for years and have not seen them as active as they have been as of late. Wonderful!
Then, leaving the Temple, I walked through the forest.
Later that day, I made it further across town to a friend’s house.
There was a spine on the porch, a Buddha head in his window, and a dandelion in his yard. I heaped these elements together and took this picture.
This is Mindfulness of Impermanence (spine)–
correct understanding (Buddha)
brings deep, lasting joy (dandelion)..