I was very inspired by the letters from people who are incarcerated that were in the Autumn 2008 issue of the Mindfulness Bell. Those letters jogged my memory of visiting the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, NY, as a law student over twenty years ago. It is a maximum security prison for women. I vividly remember how sad the inmates seemed to me. The crimes committed by the women were very serious. But such crimes were often provoked by the need to defend themselves in a life-or-death situation. I also learned that many of the women had young children who were now being raised by others. I remember feeling heartbroken by the circumstances of these women.
My dear teacher, Lyn Fine, was having a birthday in November. I decided to send a subscription of the Mindfulness Bell to the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Lyn’s honor. I feel so grateful to be able to share the Dharma through the joy of the Mindfulness Bell with the women at the prison in Bedford Hills.
There are many opportunities for us readers of the Mindfulness Bell to share the precious gift of the practice with others. I wanted to share my experience of the ripple effect of reading the Mindfulness Bell, to wanting to celebrate the birthday of a very special person, manifesting in a subscription of the Mindfulness Bell going to the shelf of the library of a prison that I visited for a day many years ago.
New York NY U.S.A.
My mother passed peacefully on October 19th. We were joined in complete oneness in a tunnel of gold, with eyes locked. I was smiling hugely and nodding at her, with my head on her chest, and my hand on her heart as it beat for the final time. I want to express to you how amazing it was to get the Mindfulness Bell a few days later with your article and the one on the still Christian mind. I was able to use the bell meditation for Molly’s witnessed cremation, as she was an engaged Christian. Many members of Plum Blossom Sangha were there, and we sent Molly’s body into the flames with New Baby and Sandy, the stuffed dog in her arms. Thank you Thay, Thank you Janelle.
Austin, Texas U.S.A.
Dear Mindfulness Bell,
I really enjoy reading the Mindfulness Bell. I only recently became a subscriber, but since then have also collected all the back issues I could ﬁnd. And have read them cover to cover. I have especially enjoyed features on Thay’s trips to Vietnam. Something I missed, however, was a general overview or summary of these trips. A letter like the one attached [about the India trip] might offer this kind of information to readers. Claire Venghiattis Mannheim Germany
Editor’s reply: Thank you for the suggestion. Your letter is printed in the Sangha News section, and we’ve also included an overview of Thay’s retreats in Vietnam last year, in an essay by Loan To Phan on page 11.
In this issue we feature photos of the newly ﬁnished Togetherness Meditation Hall at Blue Cliff Monastery by Tasha Chuang, Peaceful Calling of the Heart, who practices with the Morning Star Sangha in Queens, NY. She writes about one day being “completely astonished with the beautiful reﬂections of the sunlight diffused through the meditation hall, which morphed into interesting layering images with colors, shapes, and texture, from the forest and the architecture interweaving. They captured the essence of how I feel sometimes when I meditate in that spacious meditation hall surrounded by nature.”