May I suggest that if the Mindfulness Bell had an electronic format too, people like me would be able to read its content in developing countries through less pollution of worldwide transportation and less environmental costs, and it also would lower the price for us.Ana Cristina Atanes Brazil (via Facebook)
Dear Ana Cristina,
Thank you for your input. We would very much like to develop an online format for the Mindfulness Bell, and we are looking for Sangha friends who have the right skills and experience to help us move in that direction. Meanwhile, we are happy to be building an online archive of past issues, available at www.mindfulnessbell.org/wp. We hope this will nourish your practice.
Dear Thay, dear Sangha,
Every time it is a joy to find the Mindfulness Bell on the doormat. The first thing I look for is the Dharma talk from Thay. But I do wonder—why is there never a Dharma talk from one of the other masters? Going two times a year to the EAIB in Germany, I am thankful to receive the beautiful Dharma talks from Thay Phap An. And I’m sure that in the other monasteries, also, rich talks are given during the retreats. Wouldn’t it be lovely to share these talks also?
A lotus for you all, Els Prins The Netherlands
Thank you for your message. It is heartwarming to know that you enjoy the Dharma talks from Thay. The Mindfulness Bell does publish Dharma talks by monastics, such as Sister Dang Nghiem’s talk, “Scorpion Nature,” in the Autumn 2013 issue. This was transcribed and edited from a talk she gave in 2011, and she generously shared the transcript with the MB. It would be wonderful to publish more talks like this, and we will gladly take your suggestion and invite monastic Dharma teachers to share transcripts of their talks.
My dear editor,
I have so much appreciation for the questions and Thay’s answers about suffering in the last Mindfulness Bell––in particular, the questions asked by bereaved mothers. Not quite fifteen years ago, that could have been me asking those same questions. My son was killed by another person when he was twenty-one years old. The grief of bereaved parents goes deep to the core of one’s being. It is a long hard road to travel. I have so much gratitude for people who helped me. Someone gave me tapes on loving kindness and compassion, which I listened to over and over. All I could do at first was tonglen, taking in suffering and breathing out space...at first for myself, and then it spread to others and got bigger and bigger. Someone asked me to join one of Thay’s Sanghas, and I practiced with them for many years until they disbanded. Now I practice with another Sangha.
To the mother who asked if she could ever be happy again: positively, YES! At first it is very hard, but slowly, you work through the grief and can see that the love you had for your child will never leave. And if you relax in this love, you will be able to see your child in many forms. I feel Jake in the cool summer breezes that caress my face. I see him in the orange juice he used to drink. I hear the chirp, chirp of the robins and I know he is near. I find “heart rocks” and I know he is cheering me on. One time I even saw where someone had written the name, JAKE, with rocks, very big and bold, on the side of the road. That made me smile from ear to ear, and I said, “Thanks, Jake.”
To the parent whose sweet son died by violence: I wondered for many years what could be done to lessen the violence in this world. How can Jake’s death and so many other deaths by violence not be in vain? Then I read an article about teaching mindfulness in schools. I thought about how mindfulness has helped me to take good care of my anger. I took a curriculum class in Northern California, mindfulschools.org, and have been teaching mindfulness in our school district’s grades 1-3 for the past three years. Now two other Sangha friends are teaching with me. The children love to practice mindfulness. They know that it can help them calm down and focus right away.
My life is full of blessings. I never thought at first this would be possible. Thank you to all who helped me along this path, which leaves no one out.
Sincerely, Robin Correll Garberville, California
In the Winter/Spring 2014 issue (#65), the article “Calligraphic Meditation” incorrectly stated that Sister Dedication was the exhibition curator. Brother Phap Nguyen was the exhibition curator as well as Thay’s calligraphy assistant.