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Hello, Buddha
March 12, 2008

Br. ChiSing, Hello Buddha Dear mindful friends,

I am writing this letter to you from Deer Park Monastery in Escondido near San Diego, California. This morning, I woke up at 5:00 am and walked over to the main hall for the morning meditation at 5:45 am. The sitting began with the deep sounds of the bell and a hauntingly beautiful chant in Vietnamese, sung by one of the venerable older monks. 45 minutes went by smoothly and swiftly in a profound silence, broken only with a cough or two by one of the lay brothers in the hall; it felt like only 20 minutes. Afterwards, we all practiced three deep and full bows, reverently prostrating our whole bodies to the ground, allowing ourselves to stretch after such a long sit, and expressing our heartfelt gratitude to the great support of the Three Universal Jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Not a word was spoken. No one needed to. Putting my shoes on and going outside, I practiced walking meditation back to my room and then to the dining hall for breakfast.

"Aqui y ahora." Here and now. These words in Spanish are welling up from somewhere deep within my heart. Aqui y ahora, the sun is rising over the mountains. Aqui y ahora, birds are calling out with songs of love and joy. Aqui y ahora, the first blooms just before spring are early appearing everywhere -- the red, yellow, violet, white and variegated colors dazzling and amazing. Aqui y ahora, every breath is peace and every step is joy. Aqui y ahora, this is my spiritual family, this is my true home -- it is good to be back once again, here with the holy Buddhist monks and nuns, now with my dear lay sisters and brothers of the Order of Interbeing. "Aqui y ahora."

Yes. … Thank you. …

Last Sunday evening, over 50 persons gathered for sangha meditation at "Breath of Life." When it came time for the Dharma Talk, a profound peace swept over me, and I almost did not even want to say a word. Still, I did attempt to speak, and it was obvious to me after the first minute that I was definitely not going to stay on topic. Somehow, though, it felt alright. Clearly, Buddha had something else in mind. There were several moments of prolonged silence throughout the talk. And for those who truly understood, the real Dharma Talk was being given and received in the silence itself. The few words that were spoken were just there for the benefit of those who might not be able to "hear" the true message in the silence. But the real message was wordless, heart to heart. Did you feel it? Did you understand?

A few persons spoke to me afterwards and expressed their gratitude for that evening. One couple told me that the Dharma Talk felt truly "inspired" to them. No matter that I said very few words. So I know that at least two or more persons understood the real message. Buddha was just having a cup of tea with Buddha. Enlightenment was simply giving enlightenment to enlightenment. The giver, the gift and the recipient are One. There is only just This. Just Enlightenment. And when enlightenment is the giver, we call this Buddha. When enlightenment is the gift, we call this Dharma. And when enlightenment is the recipient, we call this Sangha. But it's all just Enlightenment. It's all just Buddha. Buddha having a cup of Buddha with Buddha. Hello, Buddha!

I love you, dear Buddha, in all your many guises!

In joyful gratitude,
Br. ChiSing

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