Letters to the Editors

Although we are greatly heartened to hear of ways the Mindfulness Bell works for you, we also welcome critical thoughts and suggestions on how to make it better. Please send us your insights. I was recently introduced to the Mindfulness Bell and to the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh by a Mend with whom I practice meditation. The back issues she lent me quickly became new and wonderful tools for sangha-building.

Don Bertschman Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

It must be good to know how valued the Mindfulness Bell is to lots of people. Thank you again for all the hard work that goes into this beautifully edited magazine.

Aleda Erskine London, England

Recently, I heard the new version of the Five Precepts at a retreat at Lyn Fine's in New York. I appreciate the rephrasing of the precepts from the "command" form; however, I am disturbed by the change in the third precept, by which sexual abuse of children is added to a precept which is concerned with the harmful effects of consensual sex between adults. In a very broad sense, sexual abuse of children causes suffering, as can consensual sex between adults, and therefore they could be seen as similar. However, sexual abuse of children is an act of rape, involving both the exercise of physical and psychological coercion, and is a qualitatively different experience, with different effects, than sex between consenting adults. It should be addressed separately.

David Flint New York, New York

Our group of eighteen from Geo Commons College had an amazing and beautiful week at Plum Village, six members asked to take the Five Precepts. Sister Annabel celebrated a moving ceremony at 7:00 a.m. meditation. Thay gave a marvelous talk to open the practice session. Monks and nuns were loving hosts and strong models. Young adults need many, many more opportunities to experience mindful ways of life. My daughter, who celebrated her seventeenth birthday at Plum Village, said this was one of the best weeks of her life.

Bruce Kantner Temple, New Hampshire

The Mindfulness Bell is the best newsletter I've ever read. The content is full, clear, and to the point I thoroughly appreciate the layout, print, and thoughtfulness.

Cindy Hoffman Fort Bragg, California

Dear Friends,

I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am for the continued publication of the Mindfulness Bell. It is a wonderful way to stay connected with Thich Nhat Hanh, Sister Phuong, and the other practitioners at Plum Village and elsewhere.

Desiree Webster Longmont, Colorado

I am sitting with the latest edition of the Mindfulness Bell, delighted, trying to remember to "eat" slowly and enjoy fully. As a house manager at a small residential hospice, I am more and more deeply involved in being present to people who are sick and dying, and their families and loved ones. Thay's poem to Alfred Hassler (and his story of the bedside visit with Alfred, which he rendered so eloquently at the Omega retreat), together with "The Teachings to be Given to the Sick," the text of Annabel's Dharma transmission talk, and Elizabeth OUagnier's article are refreshing and inspiring.

Ellie Hayes Montpelier, Vermont

We returned from Plum Village much inspired. I have been trying to maintain this inspiration, so it was wonderful to receive the Mindfulness Bell. I noticed that I had been looking for it in my mailbox. It was good to see your little ad for land to develop a community.

I am also enclosing $20 for the first four issues, as my copies have long been passed on. I keep the Mindfulness Bell in my waiting room and people always want them.

Lorena Monda, Austin, Texas

I experienced a heart attack this past Autumn. Two days later, I underwent a heart catheterization and angioplasty to allow more free flow of blood. All went well and there was minimal damage to my heart from the attack. I am gradually regaining my strength and beginning to integrate the survivor part of this whole experience.

Just wanted to say that my survival was, I think, directly attributable to my practice of taking care of myself, but more importantly to my strong spiritual foundation and loving connections to the sangha. For now, I enjoy the season, witness the rising and fading of each new day, and notice the simple blessings of life. May your lives all be full of peace and contentment, but never dull and complacent We have a responsibility as survivors to make each breath a tribute to life. May we continue to love one another with the sense of community necessary for our mutual survival and spiritual growth.

Jim Lakewind Composure of the Heart Fort Wayne, Indiana

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