The first “Lazy Day” retreat of 2018 was held at the temple on Saturday, January 13. The cold day did not dampen the spirits of 65 people who were in the Buddha Hall for the 9:15 AM guided meditation and Dharma talk by Ven. Thich Chuc Thanh. Ven. Bhante Vivek presented the second meditation and dharma talk at 10:40 AM. For most of the people in attendance, it was their first experience with a beautifully chanted Metta Meditation.
At noon, the traditional meal of delicious vegetarian Vietnamese food was enjoyed by all of the participants in silence. The large group meant that some had to take their meal in the Buddha Hall, where the silence tradition was observed. After lunch, Chuc Thanh combined indoor walking mediation with introducing the first time visitors to the temple to chanting “Nammo A Di Da Phat.” We also introduced the chanting of the Medicine Mantra to the group.
Wendy Jayvanti from the Dharma Teacher Order class presented the first dharma talk of the afternoon at 1:15 PM. Using a candle and fire exercise, she engaged the group in a discussion of the Noble Eight Fold Path and the concepts of attachment and suffering.
Ven. Thay Thong Dat joined the group for the 2:15 PM meditation and dharma talk. Thay Dat used the story of the piece of wood flowing down the river to the ocean to demonstrate several Buddhist concepts including walking the middle path (don’t hit the sides of the river). In a reference to our NC Outer Banks visitors, Thay Dat also revisited the story about the tomato “tree” (ripen slowly, don’t be in a hurry) he first told when he visited the Outer Banks in 2017.
The retreat concluded with a lively drum circle lead by Kyle Carrigan in which most of the participants played some type of percussion instrument followed by a tea service provided by the Dong Hung Temple Youth Association.
Here are some of the teaching points we heard during the day:
From Ven. Thich Chuc Thanh:
- What are the four things you should think and say to a sick or injured part of your body, or to address other difficult situations?
- I love you.
- I am sorry.
- Forgive me.
- Thank you.
- As you should pay attention to what you eat and drink, you should also be mindful of what you consume intellectually.
- When you see a stranger suffering, send good thoughts to him or her.
From Ven. Bhante Vivek:
- Practice loving kindness. Release from anger, live peacefully.
- If you judge people, you don’t have time to love.
- If you can love a mosquito like a butterfly, you have a good heart.
From Ven. Thay Thong Dat:
- Everything is impermanent.
- Don’t indulge in anything too much.
- Abstain from the five sensual pleasures (money, beauty, fame, food, and logging).
The next “Lazy Day” temple is Saturday, April 14 at the temple from 9 AM to 4:30 PM.
Mark Palamara, January 15, 2018