Monday, December 20, 2021

 Dear Friends-

The rain is raining all around. 

It falls on fields and trees.

It's raining on umbrellas here.

And on the ships at sea.

                                Robert Lewis Stevenson

For days and days and days and filling the mountains with snow. Yesterday was sunny and we all went out dazzled by the brightness and the blue sky. Last night just off a full moon inside a wide ring. So much crazy weather and loss of life everywhere but here the gray and wet so familiar. The old Seattle with puddles and streams and rivers of water over the roadways.

As the year ends, ready for a few more busy clinic days. Before work, I will be going down to Pike Market, a busy market on the edge of Puget Sound to offer alms to a young monk I have met a few times. He travels to Seattle by ferry very early to stand in the market with his bowl and his robes. He and another monk are offering weekly Dharma talks to the community and their aspiration is to find land on which to provide a Thai forest refuge for themselves, other monastics (including women) and the lay community. I have sat with them twice. They are both Westerners who trained in Thailand and returned here to build a community in the PNW.Very exciting. 

Oh, offering alms means I will bring a lot of prepared food as he eats once a day...I remember well the daily meal we had when I was in Burma. 

After feeling purposeless for so long and with the winding down of my health care life, I am energized by the thought of starting my chaplaincy studies and engaging with this new community. The monks are so sweet. One if them graduated from college in 2012! so he's what? 30? Beyond their teaching, their earnestness has really touched me. Their desire to live the way the Buddha did but in the West is so touching and so...crazy. In the East, monks and nuns are everywhere and the community takes care of them, feeding and clothing them. In exchange, they offer the teachings freely. I guess most faiths have this component. Buddhist monastics are not able to handle money, drive, cook, etc. They rely on the community for everything. Transplant that to the West. I can only imagine a lone monk in ocher robes standing in the market with the tourists and the regulars swirling around them. 

Just had a dinner with a few friends and it was so joyful. We laughed so much we cried. As the virus may shut us away again, it was delightful to spend an evening with beloved people. 

What, you may ask, is this? Eden is in S Africa supporting a group of women who are walking a labyrinth for seven hours for seven days chanting a mantra, oh and painted red. On seven continents. It's an art/environmental/justice piece and Eden is cooking and supporting the project. And she's not my hippie child. The other one is. 

I continue to be amazed by my children.

Love to you all in the dark and rainy season. 


am said...

Love to you! The pond I can see from my porch is frozen today, but the sun is shining. The waning full moon is still bright and beautiful, isn't it? Love living here in the often dark and rainy northwest corner of Western Washington. Such good energy around the chaplaincy program and Eden in Africa.

Ms. Moon said...

You are on so much of a higher level when it comes to spirituality than I am. I admire your heart and your practice and at the same time, I know I could never do it.

beth coyote said...


thank you.

Mary dearest-you are angelic in the best possible way. Food, gardens, chickens, children and grands and your lovely husband are all recipients of your kindness and love. You don't need my practice. You have your own.

Oceans of love to you. B