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Many Petals. One Lotus.
Laughing Rivers Sangha will again participate in this year's Vesak, the Celebration of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and parinirvana (death). This annual event, which unites all Buddhist traditions in the Greater Pittsburgh area, is truly wonderful. Around the world, Vesak is celebrated during the spring period, most often tied to the first full moon in May. Pittsburgh's celebration is a bit early this year as several of our local monastics will be away in May.
Laughing Rivers will offer our song We Are All One as part of the joint Ceremony, which will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church in North Side. A festive procession follows the in-church program, carrying the Buddha and blessed water to the Allegheny Landing where the participants' intentions for Peace are added to the Three Rivers. Light refreshments follow. More information can be found at the Buddhist Society of Pittsburgh.
Members of Laughing Rivers Sangha joined in 2 local Interfaith actions during November and December to support the Water Protectors at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Native American tribes and their friends have been resisting the building of an 1170 mile pipeline that would pass through their Treaty-chartered lands, and under a portion of the Missouri River, which is their primary water source.
On Nov 15th, Natalie Neal, Kate Fissell, George Hoguet and Anne Kolesar joined hundreds of others in downtown Pittsburgh for 3 hours of ceremonies led by local Native Americans, which included a Mindful March, and ended in a moving, Water Blessing Service at the Allegheny landing under the Convention Center. At the gravesite of Shanwee Chief Red Pole, where the Ceremonies began, George was invited to share with the gathering the Buddhist Statement of Support for Standing Rock. Anne Kolesar carried our banner, with Thay's teaching, as part of the Mindful March.
On December 4th - the Interfaith Day of Prayer called for by Chief Arvol Looking Horse - Pat Cassidy, Jon Robison and Laura Langer also joined Natalie, George and Kate for a silent flash meditation at the Point in Pittsburgh at the exact hour that thousands of US Veterans, clergy and spiritual practitiones from 30 Faith communities were praying together with the Native Americans at the Camp of the Sacred Stones. Three others from various faith communiites joined our meditation. Such efforts and more were being shared at that exact time by hundreds of Plum Village practitioners during retreats at all the monasteries and in sanghas worldwide.
The Good News is that after 8 months of struggle and assaults by police and contractor security, and before the Interfaith Day of Prayer could even conclude, the US Army announced that it was halting the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. Courage, Unity, Non-Violence and Prayer won out.
To help celebrate Thay's 90th birthday on October 18th, the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation invited all Plum Village practitioners to submit short videos about how they and/or their sanghas are helping to continue Thay's teachings in the world. Hundreds of videos were submitted, and many were not only shared with Thay on this Continuation Day, but also with the public via the Foundation's YouTube Channel.
One video, submitted by a Laughing Rivers Sangha member, offers how the new worldwide Earth Holder Sangha (a resource for earth holding practices) is continuing Thay's vision of Dai Dong, The Great Togetherness, dating back to the 1970's.
The Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness Studies at the University of Pittsburgh will sponsor a Mindfulness Fair on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at the Frick Fine Arts building on the university campus. All are welcome to this family friendly event which will run from 10am to 3pm. The Mindfulness Fair will showcase the resources and activities available to both the campus community and the Pittsburgh region, and will feature information tables, collective practices, talks, discussion groups and activities for children. Snacks will be provided, and there is no charge for this event. Four LRS members will be presenters. For more information, see: mindfulnesspitt.org.
View & Download Promotional Flyer and also the Program of Workshops
Each year, in preparation for the celebration of the Lunar New Year, Plum Village offers the Community two Gathas that are matched as a set of verses. This set beautifully conveys our focus and aspirations, as a Community, for the year ahead.
For 2016, our verses could not be more appropriate in recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Order of Interbeing, while continuing Thay's Call to Action in protecting Mother Earth.
Learn more here_.
Mark Your Calendars! Our Spring Retreat will be held April 14- 16, 2016 at the Shambala Center on Highland Avenue.
OPENING OUR HEARTS TO THE EARTH: Discovering True Nature Through Mindfulness
Dharma Teachers Chan Huy and Tony Silvestre will support the Retreat. Check here for more details !