InterMindful News - Newsletter for the Sangha - Dallas, Texas
InterMindful News
May 1, 2011

Buddha Paint Enlightenment Month A Letter of Encouragment

Dear mindful friends,

Happy "Enlightenment Month!"

Thank you to the 49 persons who attended our beautiful "Refuge/Precept" Ceremony (May 1, 2011, Awakening Heart). I was very moved by your dedication and intention of commitment to the universal Buddha, Dharma, Sangha within your heart.

If you missed the ceremony, don't worry. I will offer the ceremony to you this week or next week in a shorter version individually (and you will receive a diamond and sacred white scarf [kata] too). So come by DMC today or tomorrow and make an appointment with me. I want EVERYONE who is a regular participant at DMC to partake of this ceremony and to practice the 31-Day "Spiritual Practice Period" during the whole month of May.

Please join us each of the first four Sundays in May at our Awakening Heart gathering (5-7pm) as we celebrate "Enlightenment Month":

May 1: WESAK WEEK 1:
3 Refuges & 5 Precepts Ceremony
Speaker: Brother ChiSing.
May 8: WESAK WEEK 2:
Speaker: SOTO ZEN TEACHER Gaelyn Godwin
from Houston Zen Center
Facilitator: Brother ChiSing.
May 15: WESAK WEEK 3:
"Buddha's Birthday" Celebration
Speaker: Brother ChiSing.
Music: Robin Hackett
May 22: WESAK WEEK 4:
Anniversary Celebration
Speaker: Brother ChiSing.
Music: Gary Floyd
Monthly community vegetarian potluck dinner @ 7pm
Daily Dharma Below are some messages that I would like you to read and reflect on this week, to inspire your Dharma practice. Thank you for letting your Light shine. AMITABHA!

(Divine Gratitude to the Infinite Light of our Awakening),

Brother ChiSing

Listen to this talk...
A Raft of Refuge for All Beings (20 min.)   ◄ RECOMMENDED  
Buddha's Birthday Celebration 2010
Open House weekend at the Dallas Meditation Center
May 23, 2010 - Dallas, Texas

Some letters to deepen your practice...

► Seven Great Practices of Initial Enlightenment
► Encouragement for your Life and Practice
► A Personal Letter of Encouragement from Brother ChiSing to You
► A Prayer written by Thich Nhat Hanh
► Letter of AMITABHA Encouragement

Here are ELEVEN SPIRITUAL PRACTICES highly recommended:

1) "Easy Amitabha Practice" -- This is an ancient spiritual practice from Chinese Buddhism, and millions of practitioners, both past and present, can testify to its power. I have adapted it for our modern Western lifestyle. Here is the practice:
          Chant a mantra at least 11 times during 11 periods of the day (or whenever you think of it). The mantra I recommend is the mantra "OM NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHAYA" (Gratitude to the Infinite Light of Awakening). You can also chant a shorter version of this mantra by simply chanting "AMITABHA" (Infinite Light) or "NAMO AMITABHA" (Gratitude to the Infinite Light). Other variations are "OM AMITABHA HRIH" or "OM AMIDEVA HRIH" (Infinite Divine Reality). If you prefer the Divine Feminine manifestation of the Buddha, then you may chant "NAMO AVALOKITESHVARAYA" or "NAMO GUAN SHI YIN PUSA" (Quan Yin) or "OM MANI PADME HUM" (Enlightened Wisdom Compassion Activating) which evokes the Buddha/Bodhisattva of Compassion, one of the major emanations of Amitabha.
          Simply put, the practice is to chant "OM NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHAYA" (or "AMITABHA" etc.) at least 11 times during 11 periods of the day (or whenever you think of it):
  1. Upon waking
  2. Before breakfast
  3. After breakfast
  4. Before work
  5. Before lunch
  6. After lunch
  7. After work
  8. Before dinner
  9. After dinner
  10. At bedtime
  11. In your sleep/dreams

2) Daily Meditation -- (preferrably at least 20 minutes twice a day before breakfast and before dinner).

3) Weekly Sangha -- Attend group meditation every week. The minimum is once a month.

4) Meditation Retreat -- Attend a meditation retreat sometime during this 10-week period. It could be a weeklong retreat, or a weekend retreat, or even just a daylong retreat, but the minimum is a half-day retreat (at least 3 or 4 hours).

5) Nature -- Spend time regularly in Nature (preferrably in silence).

6) Gratitude -- Practice reciting out loud for at least 3 minutes nonstop all that you feel grateful for, or all that is positive, or at least all that is not bad. If you do this every day alone or with a friend, you will notice a major shift in your energy. The minimum is to practice this once a week, preferrably with a friend, taking turns.

7) Journal-writing -- Buy a new journal and write in it every day or at least once a week. Express yourself on paper.

8) Dharma-reading -- Read good spiritual Dharma books during this period. Immerse your mind in positive teachings.

9) Yoga / Qigong -- If you don't already practice Yoga or Qigong, then this is the best time to start. Take a gentle Yoga class or energizing Qigong class. There are several to choose from at the Dallas Meditation Center and other places. You will be amazed at how much this supports your meditation practice and your spiritual growth.

10) Semi-Vegetarian Diet -- Consciously cut back on your meat consumption. When eating meat, choose fish over other forms. The next best would be poultry. Eliminate or cut back on pork and beef. Eat more fresh vegetables. Perhaps take a vegetarian cooking class. There are several great vegetarian restaurants, such as "Veggie Garden" on Arapaho Rd. @ Custer Rd. in Richardson, Texas. Consider having at least one vegetarian meal per day, and maybe one day a week that is completely vegetarian.

11) "Dana" (Generosity) & "Seva" (Service) -- Consider making a donation of at least $11 each week during this Spiritual Practice Period to the Dallas Meditation Center. Or give a one-time gift of $111. Or $1,111. And serve through volunteer work here or elsewhere. Dana and seva are at the very heart of our practice. AMITABHA!