Give the Priceless Gift this Season: A Holiday Letter From Br. Pháp Dung

Dear Beloved Thầy,
Dear Sanghas throughout the World,
Dear Dharma Brothers and Sisters,

Our loving Mother Earth is still there for us, right beneath our two feet. She is a miracle, a jewel in the cosmos, refreshing and healing. She has shown unlimited patience throughout human history and an uncanny ability to transform just about anything with equanimity and acceptance. She is now calling us for help. She is suffering from our human activities based on our craving, discrimination, fear, and despair.

The Gift of Practice – This holiday season, we have a chance to express our love and care for Mother Earth by the way we care for our self, our family and our environment. We can practice mindfulness to care for our inner environment, our feelings and our emotions so that we do not lose our self in worries about the future or regrets about the past, or lose our self with our feelings and thinking in the present moment. We practice in such a way that we are peaceful, free and happy right in the here and now. We can practice to be more relaxed in our body and mind as we drive our car to work, or cook for our family, or play with our friends, or even rest when we return home. We can look deeply into our relationships with our loved ones, with our environment, our neighborhood, and our workplace and find skillful ways to care, to renew and to improve them. Care is a priceless gift.

You have enough

Having Enough – Concretely this Holiday Season, we invite you to make an effort to find ways that you can give a gift that does not require you to spend a lot of money or even any at all. The greatest gift is, of course, our practice, our true presence, our understanding and love. The giving of this gift will require more effort, more creativity, and deeper looking into your beloved. You can make something. You can surprise him or her with a message that has been waiting for so long. “Dear Father, I know you are there and I am happy.” “My son, I am here for you completely.” “My dear, I am sorry; let us begin a new chapter.” “Dear Mother Earth, I take refuge in you and bow down deeply.” A reminder, a memory, a simple attention with skillfulness in expression can touch and transform. Understanding and compassion cannot be bought.

This is an invitation to all practitioners throughout the world to join us this Season for a silent resistance – to the mass pressure to consume, to the forces that cause us to run away from our self in forgetfulness. Let us change the way we spend our Holiday Season this winter. Let us show our care for the planet in concrete ways. Let us say to Mother Earth that She can have trust in us. And please share this with the larger community by writing about your priceless gift: your gift of practice; your gift of transformation.

Please post your insights below.

With trust and confidence in your own practice,

Brother Pháp Dung for the Plum Village Community

22 thoughts on “Give the Priceless Gift this Season: A Holiday Letter From Br. Pháp Dung

  1. I have no regrets. I am free. I walk lightly on the earth, leaving no trace. I am in awe of the perfect beauty that surrounds me.

  2. This reminder of Care and Have Enough touches my heart and soul with synchronicity in my own thoughts and feelings. I earn to learn to be more peaceful and be grateful for what I have, and the family I am connected to. All I want is to love and forgive and move forth in harmony.

  3. Our presence in this moment is the best gift we can give, for ourselves, all other living beigns, and our planet.. it’s also our outmost reponsibilty….now or never!

  4. Mother Earth is a reflection of our true self. Never has this awareness been more important than now. With every major weather event, a mindfulness bell is ringing loud and clear. I aspire to manifest ever deeper levels of love and care for the totality of my awareness.
    Much peace and love to all.

  5. Giving thanks for this sweet reminder. I’m being more immediate in the lives of my loved ones–my children, boyfriend, parents, and siblings, removing the distractions such as other objects and activities, gazing at them lovingly and listening with attunement, and writing them letters of love letters and gratitude.

  6. On a practical note- several years ago I started making gifts for friends. I take the most beautiful photos I have taken in the year and pair it with an inspirational saying (often from Rumi or Thay) and turn it into a calendar. It brings both me and my friends a lot of joy throughout the year, and it doesn’t cost very much money.

  7. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. We held a day of mindfulness here in Brittany last Sunday and once again sitting together, listening to a teaching from Thay, walking by the Sea together, eating a meal mindfully and doing a Touching the Earth practice was all so nourishing. Yes, no expensive gifts can bring the joy of just being relaxed and happy in the present moment. I plan to write a short story for my family and friends this Christmas, rather than buy consumer goods. Blessings to all of you.

  8. we have glitter and are making the decorations. we are cutting paper into strips and gluing and glittering, then gluing them into spheres. gluing and glittering pine cones and other cones. making flat ornaments from beeswax. so far it’s beautiful and it’s m aking the excitement last longer too. Making cookies.

  9. thank you Thay, thank you monastic communities near and far, thank you lay friends the world over….. this is a wonderful reminder to practice what we already have abundantly – our presence for each other, the most beautiful gift we can offer during this special season…. and with this reminder, i am awaken once again to the calling and the practice, one breath at a time, one step at a time, and one smile at a time…. on the bus ride today, i listened to a sharing of an elder gentleman, and felt blessed to be able to hear his story, his families, his aspiration, and saw myself reflected in the same fabric of life we all share….

  10. Hello transplant from Deer Park to Blue Cliff, I have made about 90 percent of my gifts this year from yarn I had in my yarn storage and by getting involved in a lapidary workshop in the community where I live, that along with other supplies I have been hanging on to and storing and in my case moving cross country I have been able to cut my holiday spenditure down to just mailings. They all come out nice and I think it is great that friends and family are getting something from me that I had my hands on for a long time, while thinking of them. Hope they feel the same.

  11. Day by day I attempt to return to myself and return to the earth. Christmas time for me is gathering with family and friends, no gift exchanging involved. Breaking loose from the grind of consuming is a freeing experience and the more you experience it the more you realize how you are trained from birth to consume.

  12. Such a timely note with such a resonate message. Thank you so much. I just read it as I prepare Holiday cookies (pizzelles!) for my 90-year old aunt, a Catholic nun for 70 years, and also for my 91-year old Mom, a Bodhisattva if I ever met one. I’ve got 8 hours of driving ahead tomorrow to deliver the cookies, and my presence, as presents. I am so grateful for these two beautiful women who have been such shining examples of love in my life. Blessings to all.

  13. happy 12/12/12…knowing that nothing is permanent and nothing is totally independent, that everything is interconnected and in constant flux, we rejoice in the present moment now….thank you Phap Dung, monastics and beloved Thay…

  14. Pingback: Staying Present is a Priceless Gift « Cosmic Loti

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