Letters to The Mindfulness Bell

Thank you for the hot MB issue! Well done. I think the guidelines for Order of Interbeing mentoring needed to be addressed. We are still a developing order. I hope we do not get caught in the "institution" idea, so that the essence of the practice can be realized. However, I believe the "Sangha eyes" will protect us from going too far from Thay's teachings.KhanhLeVan Sydney, Australia

Greetings from wind-swept London. The Mindfulness Bell goes from strength to strength and we greatly appreciated the last issue. The American Sangha appears vibrant and strong, full of joy in situations of suffering and distress as well as celebration, and we learn a lot from you. Thank you. I'm not sure how much interfaith or inter-tradition work is taking place in the States. There is a growing interest here, not an intellectual dialogue, but shared meditation, daily practice, social engagement, retreats, etc. Thay gives us a good basis for this. With the world situation as it is, maybe we should all be linking up to some extent with people of like mind, but different tradition. Maybe sometime in the future The Mindfulness Bell could foster interest in this area by seeing what contacts there are in the U.S. local or regional Sanghas. These would seem to be strong enough now to open up, to share the Dharma, and to receive insights from (what may be thought to be) "outside." Maire Pompe London, England

An informal discussion group for political/social activists met weekly during the 21-day retreat in Vermont last May. We were an international group, involved in many projects-world hunger, work to free political prisoners, organizing community-based discussion forums and peace vigils. We discussed issues such as how to work within social movements where there is anger, and how to work within organizations with hyperactive and stressed-out cultures or where the organization is invested in attacking "enemies" whom we hope to transform. We talked about Thay's teachings at the retreat on the importance of supporting brothers and sisters who have looked deeply at suffering and are ready to take action as engaged Buddhists. We discussed ways to be present in our various social activist meetings and projects, looking at each endeavor as a practice opportunity . We agreed to continue these discussions at retreats, to seek support from our Sanghas, and to encourage The Mindfulness Bell and other Order and Sangha communications to find ways of supporting activist work. Roberta Wall Brooklyn, New York

Thank you for the insight and awareness with which you presented articles on subjects which might otherwise be difficult to digest. It touched me deeply to read articles about biological depression, incest, and transexuality, presented in a calm, clear way. I was especially moved by the discussion of the role of medications in treating depression, having struggled with that myself. From the article I saw the wisdom in judicious use of medication and that the disease itself sometimes argues us out of doing what is healthiest. Katharine Cook Corte Madera, California

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