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Our Practice is Portable

By Jack Lawlor

Body, mind, and breath in oneness,
the flower of bodhicittotpada blooms,

and hearts grow helping hands.

The sangha rises and walks

with ancestral teachers

to and from the marketplace.

Village walls and temple

walls merge and disappear.

From the very non-beginning, no coming and going,

no fear, no one to tire.

With body, mind, and breath in oneness, we live. By developing the ability to look deeply in order to understand, we can love and contribute to society. Through our practice, the Bodhicittotpada flower blooms, and our joy-filled hearts find expression in our helping hands.

Our practice is more portable than a laptop computer or a cellular telephone. There is no need to leave our practice at a retreat center or in a meditation hall. We can carry our practice with us at all times. And we practice with others. When we walk the path of mindfulness, we are not alone. Many women and men have developed and refined this practice for our benefit, despite the pressures and obstacles posed by their own historical eras and civilizations. Think of the Buddha and his sangha, walking back and forth every day between their meditation centers—located just beyond the outskirts of the cities—and the busy towns of Sravasti and Rajagriha. Although we live in the city and have to go for retreats in the country, there is no coming or going between one and the other. We need not be dependent on a particular place. What is most important is practicing in the company of a supportive, harmonious sangha, a garden of beautiful friends. Seeing fellow practitioners is a bell of mindfulness that can help us return to our practice wherever we may be. Sangha is a portable Day of Mindfulness we can enjoy every day. Thay's response to my verse reflects this:

The True person is always sitting in front of us.
The Direction pointed by him
is the path of great togetherness.
Let us hold each other's hands and go.
Our happy song will bring a rosy sun to the East.

Jack Lawlor, True Direction, is an attorney in Chicago. This is adapted from the talk he gave at Plum Village in June upon receiving the Lamp of Dharma Transmission from Thich Nhat Hanh.

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Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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