By Tara Mulay, Interim Guiding Teacher
Dear Insight Pioneer Valley Sangha,
As the deaths in the United States from COVID-19 reach 100,000 and above, I would like to invite you to come together in community on Thursday, May 28 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm to honor those whose lives have been lost and all those who are facing challenges during this pandemic. A short dharma talk will be offered, and we will meditate for 20 minutes. Members of the community will be invited, if they choose, to share their reflections.
The motivation of this communal gathering is to further align our intentions with the dharma. The Pali word “sati,” which is often translated as “mindfulness,” literally means “to remember.” With mindfulness, we remember to be aware of the present moment and also to meet our present circumstances with compassion and wisdom, rather than with rejection, clinging, or denial. As we open our hearts we can experience greater tenderness in knowing the suffering of others and become aware of our profound interconnectedness, including the vital ways we draw strength from our communities and dharma friendships.
Many have recognized that our dharma practice is more precious than ever in the times of this pandemic. COVID-19 has changed our world, our lives, and the way we connect. As the pandemic has disproportionately impacted vulnerable communities and workers, it has laid bare inequities in our society that impact the health and livelihoods of so many. People of color, in particular, have been sickened and died in disproportionately greater numbers. Many feel an impulse to assist and to bring about change in the myriad conditions that are worsening the impact of the virus, and at times we can experience wholesome joy when we see so many acting out of goodness to contribute to others’ well being.
In 2007, Bhikkhu Bodhi called upon Western Buddhists to address the “systemic embodiments of greed, hatred, and delusion.” We can always begin by taking refuge in the dharma, the sangha, and the Buddha, which is manifest in our individual and collective capacity for awakening. In that spirit, I invite you to join in this community act of remembrance and honoring on Thursday at 5:30 pm.
Interim Guiding Teacher
Blog posts are written by various IPV and guest teachers. Biographies can be found on the Teachers page.