Words from the teachers from the January 2014 newsletter

Dear dharma friends,

However arbitrary and provisional our marking of time may be, and how subjective our experience of it—how it flies or drags, we do organize our society around the cycle of the year. It often seems to make more sense to celebrate the lunar New Year that falls closer to the turning of the season from winter to spring. But we do celebrate close to the winter solstice, which is often a time for reflection on darkness and light, birth and death, cycles and transformations. The end of one year and the beginning of the next seems to be a time when we reflect on our values and aspirations and whether we are living a life that is aligned with our deepest vows.

We’ve been doing that ourselves, and maybe it’s something to do with being past sixty with less than half of our lives remaining, that we’re feeling we want to be more daring, take risks (and not be constricted by what we think time is)—to lay down the to-do list (even if it’s a dharma to-do list!), to write a poem or a letter to a politician, to paint or draw or sculpt a bodhisattva that looks a bit different from the ones of old, to make a human connection outside the lines of our everyday routines, to find dharma teachings in the most unexpected of places. We want to encourage you to respond to any such urgings within you, and to feel and know the limitless support of the dharma all around us. “The bodhisattva depends on prajna-paramita, and the mind is no hindrance. Without hindrance there is no fear.”

Wishing you peace and well-being in 2014,

Myoshin Kate and Shinmon Michael