Have been meaning to do this for a long time and conditions finally came together for my second visit to Blue Cliff Monastery this weekend. It is in Pine Bush, NY. I had stayed here in February 2008 and have been meaning to come back since then.
The monastery is residence to monks and nuns of Order of Interbeing, institution started by dear Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. The monastery is very peaceful and quiet. There is lot of emphasis on mindfulness. Work is done slowly and mindfully, no one is in any rush to go any where or achieve anything. They actually request you to slow down and not worry if something is not finished because there will always be another time to finish. This is in such contrast to my daily life living in suburbs of NY and working in corporate America. I am supposed to do as much as I can and as fast as I can!!
Continuing on my thoughts of greed and hoarding, it is amazing to see the sisters who live here - they are so peaceful and light. They have minimal material possessions, they live in community and everything is done together for the community - cooking, taking meals, cleaning, laundary etc and yet, they are some of the most content, radiant and loving people I have seen in my life. This shows how little we need in terms of material wealth to be happy. Most of us have everything we need (not want) and we still cannot seem to realize even bits of happiness.
I am thankful that I was able to come here and spend the weekend.The food is just super delicius! The service is beautiful - with chanting of sutras (we chanted Diamond Sutra this morning), verses of gratitude and bows (they call it touching the earth). Most of all, I am reminded of the importance of mindfuless. Hopefully, it will stay with me atleast for a few days after I leave from here.