Monday, September 5, 2011

Buddhism on Campus "Wakes Up"

Carlin Green, Wisdom Quarterly,,,

I'm quite busy as school starts again. My personal experience with insight-meditation scholar-practitioner Sayalay Susila is brief but has really impacted me. I met her a month before the vipassana retreat she conducted at The Bhavana Society, West Virginia. I was at her public talks around Washington, DC. Somehow I ended up being the youngest person in attendance.

Later, when I was asking Sister Susila a question, she instead asked me my age. She told me it was inspiring to her to see someone so young practicing and wanting to learn about the Dharma. (

Honestly, I have no groundbreaking insights, no inspiring anecdotes, no moving stories of dazzling lights in absorption. I'm just eager to learn, and I was in the right place at the right time to meet a Buddhist nun who knows so much.

It was beneficial for me to attend Buddhist talks in public libraries staring at Mark Twain and a raft of magazines about dieting and cooking, dating and being happy, economic news and war. It was beneficial because she spoke about things never heard before -- the "Exposition of the Elements" (Dhātuvibhanga Sutta) and the Five Aggregates in her talks.
These two topics formed the basis of the insight-meditation (vipassana) instructions she gave us during the retreat, so I was glad I had been familiarized with them beforehand. If I could encourage others to hear such thing, what a change it might make in the country. But I'm only in college; what can I do?

Something To Do:
Waking Up
What should we do when we feel overwhelmed by despair, despair coming from inside of us and despair about the world's situation? How can we find the energy, the strength to do something about it?

Speaking at Plum Village in 2011, Thay uses the Buddha's own life to encourage us. Youth, let's nourish ourselves with the joyful energy of sisterhood/brotherhood and the strength of a clear aspiration to do something helpful.