Thich Nhat Hanh to Offer Congressional Retreat

This is important.  Thoughts?

Miracle of Mindfulness on Capitol Hill

Honoring Nelson Mandela – A Veteran of Peace

The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday declared July 18 Nelson Mandela International Day to mark the South African anti-apartheid leader’s contribution to peace.

A resolution adopted by consensus by the 192-member world body calls for commemorations every year starting in 2010 on July 18 – Mandela’s birthday – to recognise the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s contribution to resolving conflicts and promoting race relations, human rights and reconciliation.
New York – AP

Go As A Sangha ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

We feel that the words of  this beloved teacher and bodhisattva reflect the heart of what Sacred!Centre and many other organizations around the world have come into existence to serve.  Please enjoy.

“Personally, I want the twenty-first century to be called “the century of love,” because we desperately need love, the kind of love that will not produce suffering. Unless we have enough loving kindness and compassion, we will not be able to survive as a planet. Our problems in the twenty-first century are not the same as the problems the Buddha and his friends and disciples encountered during their lifetimes. Today meditation has to be practiced collectively–as a family, a city, a nation, and a community of nations.

There is a Buddha that is supposed to be born to us named Maitreya or Loving Kindness, the Buddha of Love–Mr. Love, Ms. Love. A Sangha that practices loving kindness and compassion is the Buddha that we need for the twenty-first century. Each of us is a cell in the body of the Buddha of Love. Each cell has its own role to play, and we cannot afford to miss one of our cells. We have to stay together. We have the power to bring Sanghakaya, the Sangha body, and Maitreya Buddha into existence just by sitting together and practicing deeply.

So the next Buddha may not take the form of an individual. In the twenty-first century the Sangha may be the body of the Buddha. We have the power to bring the next Buddha into existence in this century. If we sit together and practice looking deeply, we can bring the Sanghakaya and the Buddha into existence. All of us have the duty to bring that Buddha into being, not only for our sake, but for the sake of our children and the planet Earth. This is not wishful thinking, this is real determination.”


In The Woods

In the Woods


Yesterday morning in Starbuck’s my friend Victoria revealed to me how it has been hard for her to be in this world, to be in a body, and then somehow to do the social thing.  To somehow carry out all the behaviors and recommendations for happiness that the luckier ones of receive from the time we’re born.  …Behaviors that pass for real relating in this world.

I have to say, this has been true for me too.  I got really good at it, except when it failed me and being in this world and in my body would return to feeling untenable.  The pricetag was an authentic life.  It was enough to get me shopping, with or without a dollar in my pocket.

I’d guess it can’t be just the two of us. Maybe it’s ubiquitous? … Life is miraculous yet smooth sailing isn’t really real for anyone.   It’s challenging to be alive, to keep doing and doing and doing, in search of an elusive happiness.  It’s hard work keeping up a good, functional front.  …In itself this isn’t bad, but it’s the choicelessness of it.  And the tragic way it seems to silently become a stand in for real contact with our fellow humans.

Then Victoria told me a story someone had told her once and now I’m telling you.  Are you here?

A man was lost in the woods. Really lost. The woods were super dark and it was cold. Then there was an opening!   He discovered a little, tiny cabin alight from inside. The man knocked on the door. Someone opened it and handed him a lantern.  He felt very grateful and relieved until deep discouragement descended.

“This lamp will never light the whole way, it will illuminate only the one next step in front of me!,” he said.  The benefactor replied “Then take that one lit step. And the next will reveal itself.   Practice this. And, though you may yet not know where you’re going, you are no longer lost.”

Well, like the game of telephone, I probably just put my own spin on the story. But I wanted to send this out into the life brimming and at times lonely reach of cyberspace.  Just in case anyone else in the woods needed a light.

I’ll add that Victoria told me this story to express to me the depth of her visit to Sacred!Centre a couple of weeks ago.  A  small group of us had meditated together for a woman who was up for parole that day after serving 30 years in prison.   …After serving a whole lifetime without any light along the way save what was within the cabin of her own heart.

Victoria handed me a lantern.  She helped bring me back to the clarity that the trueness of Sacred!Centre, what makes it trustworthy, can only be discoverd one mindful step, one in-breath, and one out-breath at a time.   And that as long as a Sangha has this as its guidance, we are no longer lost.
Thank you, Victoria.  Yesterday, you were the teacher.  And our friend,in prison, made parole.


On The Still Point

the still point…

We all want to change the world. Or, do we? Maybe more than that we want to impact it with who we are and how we particularize the truth. I don’t mean how we “slant” the truth or “distort” the truth. What I mean is we each have a particular piece of it in our handprint. A particular understanding, a particular enthusiasm for how we know Reality and what excites us about it. Each person has this contribution, this knowing, this doorway into the truth, in a way unlike any other. I realize these are big, disputable words… “truth,” “reality”… but keep reading.

You are here now, but you’ll never be here again in this way. Not in a past life, not in your next birth. Whatever your faith or take on what is so, it will never exist again in this exact, precise way–the you who reads these words. And therefore, it will not impact the world in the quite the same way and not again at this time in history.

I long to truly and helpfully impact this world. I would love to have a world party in the open field, over the ocean, atop the Himilayas, in the cathedral of a forest, gazing down at the Earth from the moon. We have a conduit to such an exchange, through this world wide web.  It is only a matter of time before that web finds its way to the moon.

I would love to excite the molecules of curiosity, the wisdom in each person to express itself. Dzigar Kontrul teaches us that we have to squeeze the truth to extract its essence. I would squeeze with devotion. I would squeeze my essence and yours. Each essence to express itself. Not to copy, but to create as only you or I can. And now, if ever there was a time when this was needed, now is that time.

We have to concentrate–and create a new world.

Everyone is an expert and a student. I’m an expert on bursting and a student of patience. I’m an expert on flavor and a student of enjoyment. An expert on survival and a student of doing nothing. An expert on conception and a student of fruition. What are you an expert on? What is it that eludes you? That you don’t know but wish to? Wouldn’t it be great if we could be each other’s teachers, each other’s students?

What if that which you particularly know and what you’d ask can save this world from destruction?

Maybe de-struc-tion comes from saying we know something we really don’t and throwing into doubt that which we do. If we contemplate such a concept deeply, we might discover that the structure of war and violence is instruct-ed by this perversion of our knowing and not-knowing. We fear not knowing, not having all the answers. We fear being wrong, being “found out.” We feel fraudulant. So we project our feelings of being deficient. We point “out there.” And then we attack out of fear. Acting out of the fear of not knowing, we construct the wall around us that condemns us to a realm of making up answers in an attempt to manipulate Reality, both ours and the world’s, to protect us from judgment. We make up answers versus mining meaningful solutions from within. We construct a false sense of self and other. We construct a “truth” that leaves us groundless.

And we throw into doubt what we know. We know we want to love and be loved. We know we long to trust. We know we need tenderness and contact. We know we don’t want to suffer, that we want to be happy. We know we don’t know everything.

We know we don’t want to be afraid to know such truths about ourselves. We know we want to feel safe to admit and allow them. We know we need the space for our curiousity. A way to abide with it and to find the true knowing. The true wisdom.

Maybe con-struct-ing a new world requires pointing in. Maybe it requires our cultivating kindness and compassion for ourselves so that we can feel kindness and compassion for others. Maybe it requires that we open our eyes and wonder, what is it that we see, what is it that is in front of us, calling to us to pay attention, to come into the present moment?

And then to respond.

Deirdre A. Cole
Mount Kisco, NY


HH The Dalai Lama – War is Outdated

more about “HH The Dalai Lama – War is Outdated“, posted with vodpod


Haiku for 2020…

It is possible that within this next decade our world will have changed so drastically that the generation coming of age in 2020 will reflect with amazement on the backward, antiquated era their parents were the last generation to see.  They will regard war as we now regard cannibalism. And look at our “modern” economics as emblematic of the extraordinary fear and distrust people in the old days had in relation to each other and the greater universe.  There will be an unmistakable clarity that one era is over and another has begun, likened ten-fold to the end of the Dark Ages and the burgeoning of the Renaissance.  The change will be dramatic, an abrupt awakening from a deep, steep, asleep slide into extinction.  Like the fall of Rome kicked up a notch or ten.  The extinction of a kind of decadance.  The extinction of a whole way of thinking, a set of ethics fast in decay, where an agricultural age that gave way to an industrial age that gave way to a technological age and then an information age is being way forced to raise the bar from the sale of knowledge or whatever will sell into wisdom and humility.  Or suffer the consequences.  The extinction of a society that has said it’s okay to lie, steal, swindle, objectify, con, grab, hide, distrust, gossip, compete,  even kill… it’s okay as long as it’s legal. ” It’s all in a day’s business.”  “Everybody uses everybody, it’s just the way of human nature..”  “ War is an ugly necessity.”  ”You have to look out for yourself.”  … and on and on and on.

Aboriginal cultures, philosophers, scientists, and theologians as well as others have predicted that the beginning of the 21st century will either usher in a new world or no world at all.  The Seneca and Lakota Indians, each prophesized that we will undergo a drastic change at this time and they are quite specific about how.  Read Grandmother Twyla of the Seneca tribe (Other Council Fires Were Here Before Ours) or the White Buffalo Calf  Woman prophecy of the Lakota.  Perhaps, in fact, waking up from this dreadful coma is already underway.  Perhaps we’re already getting more than a whiff of both the exhilaration and challenges we have an appointment with.  Each of us may already sense, some with inspiration and some with dread, that she or he is bound either to be an integral part of pioneering a fresh, new existence or become utterly lost because the things we’ve habitually sold out on are going under with Rome rapidly (liquidity crises; credit crisis; $ deals, Halliburon, Merke; Enron; WorldCom; Fannie & Freddie; “pending theft,” etc.)

Cooperation, compassion for all beings, and loving-kindness are not sentiments.  Theyare logical, straighforward, practical and necessary and need to be dedicatedly translated into action.  Our children and grandchildren will attest to this.  They will wonder how on earth we could ever have survived as long as we did without them as they find themselves engaged in the massive process of repairing and rebuilding a world they inherited from eons of fear-based thinking that preceded what the Senecas refer to as this Fifth World of Peace.

One positive that can be said of this dying era we are in is how all our unkindnesses and rationalizations, our insistent rejection of any reality that doesn’t bottom-line produce a buck… all of these are culminating in the perfect storm.  Objective reality is out to get us in the best way.  Out to get our deceit.  Out to get our egotism.  Out to get the delusion that we are the center of the universe.  Out to get the our beligerance.  Out to get the painful belief that survival is inconsonant with love.  It’s good to be a gonner.

This earth we call home is getting smaller and smaller and spinning faster and faster as you read this.  As it does so, we’ll either implode, crash and burn off our toy prinicples and fake suppositions or become a global heart that uses 100% of its mind.  All 6.774 vastly diverse billion of us.  Living in global community.

Is war is old fashioned?.  Is wisdom timeless?

Haiku for 2020…

War and wisdom had a race…

All around form and space…

War fell down in disgrace…

Wisdom won the race.


His Holiness’ Reflections on Peace & Community

The Dalai Lama 15“Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually. Peace, for example, starts within each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us.

When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighboring communities, and so on. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. And there are ways in which we can consciously work to develop feelings of love and kindness. For some of us, the most effective way to do so is through religious practice. For others it may be non-religious practices. What is important is that we each make a sincere effort to take our responsibility for each other and for the natural environment we live in seriously.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1989


We Can Each Create This … A Moving Commentary from His Holiness The IVth Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama 19

“…the world is becoming smaller and smaller, providing the peoples of the world with good opportunities to meet and talk with each other. Such contact provides a valuable chance to increase our understanding of each other’s way of living, philosophy, and beliefs, and increased understanding will lead naturally to mutual respect. Because of the world’s having become smaller, I have been able to come here today.

As we meet, I always keep in mind that we are the same in being human beings. If we emphasize the superficial differences, I am an Easterner and furthermore a Tibetan from beyond the Himalayas, with a different environment and a different culture. However, if we look deep down, I have a valid feeling of “I,” and with that feeling, I want happiness and do not want suffering. Everyone, no matter where they are from, has this valid feeling of “I” on the conventional level, and in this sense we are all the same.

With this understanding as a basis, when I meet new people in new places, in my mind here is no barrier, no curtain. I can talk with you as I would to old friends even though this is the first time we meet. In my mind, as human beings you are my brothers and sisters; there is no difference in substance. I can express whatever I feel, without hesitation, just as to an old friend. With this feeling we can communicate without any difficulty and can contact heart to heart, not with just a few nice words, but really heart to heart.

Based on such genuine human relation–real feeling for each other, understanding each other–we can develop mutual trust and respect. From that, we can share otheer peoples’ suffering and build harmony in human society. We can create a friendly human family.”

–from Kindness, Clarity, and Insight 25th Anniversary Edition by the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, His Holiness Tenzin Gyatsoo, edited and translated by Jeffrey Hopkins, co-edited by Elizabeth Napper, published by Snow Lion Publications


Global “No Impact” Project

A New Footprint

This seems like a real opportunity to meaningfully investigate one’s carbon footprint with the support of a world community.


Senator Ted Kennedy

Posted in Reflections with tags  on August 26, 2009 by Deirdre

May we keep Senator Kennedy’s indefatiguable spirit close to our hearts.

May we enter into the sacredness of our own heart, independent of our politics,  to contemplate the passing of this great leader.

And, with this, may a world heart coalesce in such a way that carries forward his courage and his intention to create a better world.

Thank you, Mr. Kennedy.  May you be guided safely home.


Deirdre A. Cole
Founder & Private Citizen
Sacred!Centre — Meditation & Community for the Global Good
Mount Kisco, NY



Ocean of Dharma Quotes of the Week

June 28, 2009

You have something in yourself that is fundamentally, basically good. It transcends the notion of good or bad. Something that is worthwhile, wholesome, and healthy exists in all of us….Such goodness is synonymous with bravery. It is always there. Whenever you see a bright and beautiful color, you are witnessing your own inherent goodness. Whenever you hear a sweet and beautiful sound, you are hearing your own basic goodness. Whenever you taste something sweet or sour, you are experiencing your own basic goodness….Things like that are always happening to you, but you have been ignoring them, thinking that they are mundane and unimportant, purely coincidences of an ordinary nature. However, it is worthwhile to take advantage of anything that happens to you that has that particular nature of goodness. You begin to realize that there is nonaggression happening all around you in your life, and you are able to feel the freshness of realizing your goodness, again and again.

From “Facing Yourself,” Chapter One of SMILE AT FEAR: AWAKENING THE TRUE HEART OF BRAVERY, coming in August from Shambhala Publications.

“The teachings presented in this book are transformational — and especially relevant today, when so many of us are facing uncertainty and anxiety. Chogyam Trungpa shows us how to uncover our innate strength, confidence, and joy under any circumstances. I strongly recommend this book to all those seeking awakening and freedom.”  — Pema Chodron