Welcome Letter

Dualism is a basic feature of words—and consequently our thinking: left/right, up/down, black/white, alive/dead, coming/going, one/many. Thầy trains us to be skillful with words and not get caught by their trap of ideologies and concepts. Dogmatic and absolutist thinking arises from seeing the world through a dualistic lens of words and thoughts. To break through in our practice, we train ourselves to use words without letting ourselves be used by them.

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Dualism is a basic feature of words—and consequently our thinking: left/right, up/down, black/white, alive/dead, coming/going, one/many. Thầy trains us to be skillful with words and not get caught by their trap of ideologies and concepts. Dogmatic and absolutist thinking arises from seeing the world through a dualistic lens of words and thoughts. To break through in our practice, we train ourselves to use words without letting ourselves be used by them. Through meditation we develop non-conceptual awareness—we touch what is right here and now when we bring our attention back to our breathing, to the visceral experience of the breath entering our nostrils and moving down through our trachea, filling our lungs, and to the air then being expelled back up and out, lending CO2 to the atmosphere. There is nothing dualistic about such lived experience, and yet so often we simplistically and erroneously stake our beliefs on the mental tool of language—a kind of technology tens of thousands of years in the making. The Buddha intuited this during lengthy periods of silent introspection; he saw that the key to observing things as they really are (and thereby avoiding dogmatic or absolutist thinking) was moving beyond conceptual thinking, asking himself, “Am I sure?” with regard to every assumption or preconceived notion.

irradiating by Alfonso Montellano Lopez

Yet words can be a skillful vehicle. Using them, this issue of The Mindfulness Bell explores the radiant nature of nonduality at a critical moment on our planet, at a time when our tendency toward dualism seems to be taking over the collective consciousness, leading to dangerous and violent polarization. Never before have Homo sapiens been so well equipped to wreak destruction on a massive scale as we are now. The realization of nondual awareness in every moment is urgent in our own lives.

I hope the stories, poems, and experiences shared in these pages inspire us to act, here and now, to recognize the hidden ways in which we base our actions on dualistic beliefs. May we free our mind with the practice of nondual awareness, for our healing and transformation.

Brother Pháp Lưu

Advisor and Editor

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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