Sunday, February 08, 2009

Nehan Instruction and Meditation

We have a little time before the ceremony to give instruction.

As I've noted elsewhere, I've found it helps with ceremonies to give some guided instruction during meditation. Then they have time for a quick check-in, which I use as a way for them to think about their roles in the ceremony. In this case, I gave instruction first, and I borrowed a technique from another tradition, Worship Sharing of the Friends. I explained it was kind of like combining their check-in with meditation.

I shared the story of the woman and the mustard seed to introduce death and loss.

  The Buddha met a woman who had lost her baby son. She was devastated. She had heard the Buddha could perform miracles. So she went to the Buddha, and she was holding her son, and she said, "Buddha, can you bring my son back?"
  The Buddha could see she was very distressed, and there wasn't much he could say, so he said, "I want you to go to every household in this area. If you can find a household that has never experienced loss, bring me a mustard seed from that household."
  So that woman did that. She went to every household and found out the losses that people had experienced. Doing that, she realized that she was not alone, that everybody experiences loss.  She was able to start letting go of her baby that she had lost.
  Finally she came back to the Buddha. He said, "Do you have a mustard seed for me?" And she told him, "No, I don't. But I'm ready now to let go of my son."

That is what our ceremony is about today, I said. There are people that come into our lives, and they go away, they die. Here is an explanation of the Nehan Ceremony. Then, the worship sharing medition...I explained that we don't sit so formally like we do with our regular meditation. We face each other, but don't want to be too distracting to others. If we feel like we have something we wish to share, we do that.

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