“I have arrived. I am home.” Thich Nhat Hanh
All are welcome. We are a growing Zen Buddhist community (Sangha) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which aspires to develop peace and happiness in ourselves and in the world. We practice mindful living according to the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (affectionately referred to as ‘Thây’, pronounced ‘Tie’), which means spiritual teacher. Thây’s teachings, which can be followed by people of all ages, and by people of any religion or none, are notable for their emphasis on mindfulness, joy, and engagement in the world.
The general flow of our Sangha’s gatherings may include the practices of silent meditation, walking meditation, Dharma teaching, and Dharma sharing. Our Sangha gathers in a circle, so we can see and hear each other clearly. You may sit on a cushion, sit in a chair, lie down, or position yourself in whatever manner accommodates your needs. The facilitator guides the group’s focus, proceedings, and practices. Leadership of the meeting rotates among the more experienced members of the Sangha.
The bell is an important part of this tradition. When the bell is invited we stop all activity, sitting silently and breathing.
At the sound of the bell, we stop and breathe.
When we ‘bow’, it is to honor the Buddha within each of us.
Sample Sangha gathering outline: (This is one possible schedule. Items, times, and order are all flexible.)
- (4:00 p.m. in winter or 5:00 in summer): Opening bell, greeting the Sangha and introducing ourselves.
- Brief reading and/or introductory words (5 to 10 minutes)
- Sitting meditation and/or walking meditation (outdoor if weather permits) (15 to 20 minutes).
- Evening chants or songs and individual or group readings (10 to 15 minutes).
- Dharma talk, readings and remarks (10 to 15 minutes).
- Dharma sharing (about 20 to 30 minutes).
- Closing (finish by 5:30 pm in winter or 6:30 pm in summer) and Announcements (approximately 5 minutes).
During Dharma sharing, we can mindfully share our experience of the practice, as well as our questions and struggles. Our practice is to bow in to speak and bow out when we have finished. Whatever is shared during this time is confidential. Dharma Sharing offers the opportunity to express our truths from the heart and mind, and to practice deep listening. Our practice is that of interbeing, so each sharing of our joys and struggles on our path nourishes us all. The community can be of great support when our hearts and minds are open. We only share once until everyone has had a chance to speak.
We meet on Sunday evenings from 5:00 to 6:30 pm in the Zendo of the Albuquerque Zen Center (AZC), where we have rented space for the meetings. It is not necessary to remove your shoes when you enter the Zendo.
Contact: For more info you can phone Bee at (505) 573-8448 or David at (505) 480-4197.
Albuquerque Zen Center (AZC) Address: 2300 Garfield Ave. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
Directions: From Central Avenue by UNM turn south on Yale Blvd. Continue south on Yale for four long blocks, and turn left (east) on Garfield Ave. SE. The Albuquerque Zen Center is on the south side of Garfield three or four doors east of Yale. There is a small parking lot and plenty of street parking. Please do not park in the Abbot’s reserved parking spot (the westernmost parking spot in the southernmost row). Thank you. We look forward to seeing you.
The book Happiness by Thich Nhat Hanh
Alone we are vulnerable, but with brothers and sisters to work with, we can support each other. We cannot go to the ocean as a drop of water—we would evaporate before reaching our destination. But if we become a river, if we go as a Sangha, we are sure to arrive at the ocean…
You need a sangha;
you need a brother or sister, or friend to remind you what you already know.
The Dharma is in you, but it needs to be watered in order to manifest and become a reality.
A Sangha is a community of resistance,
resisting the speed, violence, and unwholesome ways of living that are prevalent in our society.
I’ve been a monk for 65 years, and what I have found is that there is no religion, no philosophy, no ideology higher than brotherhood and sisterhood.
Not even Buddhism.
In society, much of our suffering comes from feeling disconnected from one another. Being with the Sangha can heal these feelings of isolation and separation. We practice together, share a room together, eat side by side and clean pots together. Just by participating with other practitioners in the daily activities we can experience a tangible feeling of love and acceptance.
A sangha is a garden, full of many varieties of trees and flowers. When we can look at ourselves and at others as beautiful, unique flowers and trees we can truly grow to understand and love one another. One flower may bloom early in the spring and another flower may bloom in late summer. One tree may bear many fruits and another tree may offer cool shade. No one plant is greater, or lesser, or the same as any other plant in the garden. Each member of the sangha also has unique gifts to offer to the community.
We each have areas that need attention as well. When we can appreciate each member’s contribution and see our weaknesses as potential for growth we can learn to live together harmoniously. Our practice is to see that we are a flower or a tree, and we are the whole garden as well, all interconnected.
Supported by the Sangha Body
My practice flows easier,
Allowing me to swiftly realize
My great determination to love and understand all beings.
– Thich Nhat Hanh
(formerly Rainbow Sangha)