The Spring issue of The Mindfulness Bell, dedicated to Sangha Dynamics, prompted me to write and share an endeavor that has enriched our Sangha family. Several months ago, I read Learning True Love by Sister Chan Khong, and was totally moved by the work she does. I decided to write her at the address in the back of the book to find out how I could sponsor a child or student. Her response was a report which she had prepared for her various supporters. From this report I learned that $5.00 U.S. per month buys rice for a poor orphaned child, a toddler staying for lunch in the local day care, a handicapped person, an elderly person, or a young college or university student. Ten U.S. dollars a month provides a young person over the age of fifteen with vocational training. When I realized how much could be done with so little, I decided to share the information with my Sangha. They were equally enthused, and we decided to prepare a donation box to set out each week when we meet. Now we look forward to emptying the box at the end of each month, and writing a check for our extended family in Vietnam. In July, four of my Sangha family visited the Green Mountain Dharma Center in Vermont. There they learned of Sister Chan Hy Nghiem's recent trip to Vietnam and saw videos of food and packages being delivered to the poor. They saw the excitement and appreciation of those we help and returned to Sangha filled with gratitude and further resolve. They also shared with us a sponsorship program emanating from the Dharma Center. This program makes it possible to sponsor a specific child, toddler, student, handicapped, or elderly person for just $60 (U.S.) per year, and to be in touch directly with that person. A sponsor form and information about this program can be obtained from the UBC Relief Committee, Attn.: Sister Chan Hy Nghiem, P.O. Box 182, Hartland-Four Corners, VT 05049, USA.
Our Sangha family has benefitted both individually and collectively by developing our compassion through the understanding that other people's suffering is greater than our own. Perhaps other Sanghas would also benefit from sharing in this way.
Marian Gable Elberson, Pennsylvania, USA
Thank you so much for the helpful magazine. I find Thay's Dharma talks especially helpful. It is important to read how others are integrating mindfulness practice into their lives. Reading The Mindfulness Bell is like tapping into the larger Sangha.
Lynda Schaller Gay Mills, Wisconsin, USA
I enjoyed the latest issue of The Mindfulness Bell very much. The contributions on Sangha practice reverberate with lots of common issues. I am pleased to see the greater Sangha finally entering a new phase of practice—touching and dealing with real difficulties. Nothing beats "Sangha eyes."
Khanh Le Van Sydney, Australia
I have a concern about The Mindfulness Bell. The last few issues have read to me sort of like "how-to" manuals for mindfulness practice. I'm sure they are useful when everyone is trying to figure out how to "make Sanghas work," but I miss very much the old style where there seemed to be many more articles by individuals simply sharing their practice in a great variety of situations. I find those articles so inspiring, so vital, and so enlivening. The variety was a big part of vitality of the mix.
Perhaps Thay's notion of a magazine will be the inspiration we need to really express the very dynamic mix of democratic and elder-oriented [elements] in our governing and decision-making. I hope in our publishing practices as well, we will honor the creative forces of the individual as he approaches the living mystery of life with awareness and conscience.
Katharine Cook California, USA
Thank you for the beautiful work you do for us all in producing The Mindfulness Bell. We will be using much of the most recent edition [Sangha Dynamics, issue no. 24] for a Sangha-building retreat here in Adelaide. May you be well loved.
Peter Hawkins Adelaide, Australia