Thanksgiving: Stuffing or mashed potatoes? Pumpkin pie? Or perhaps a pause from work duties and a time to spend with loved ones. And traditionally, it is also a time for giving thanks. Many of us reading this may agree that giving thanks, or acknowledging our gratitude is a practice we have learned to weave into every day and beyond this annual holiday. In the spirit of the season, I would like to extend a warm letter of gratitude to our community.
Dear MOI Sangha,
I am grateful to be able to go to a place dedicated to meditation and the dharma. The 1895 Victorian house on Pacific that sits on the land of the Omaha, Ponca and Otoe tribes is this place. The house with its character, history, and the creaking welcome of the front porch steps has become a familiar ascent on Tuesday evenings. I give thanks for the initial greeting into the house by pairs of shoes of varying sizes and styles lining the entryway. The shoes are a symbol of our weekly ritual in coming together to share in the common bond of the dharma. The lights of the house shine bright and warmly against the dark wood of the interior and the smell of incense or palo santo lingers in the air. Each visit, I look forward to nestling into one of the maroon cushions or wooden chairs for the coming hour to listen to the teachings of the Buddha, socialize or sit in silent rest from the day. I am grateful for the cool air of the air conditioner, the breeze of the fans in summer and the warmth and gentle roar of the furnace in winter. I am full of gratitude for the place we call MOI.
I am grateful for the teachers and practitioners dedicated to meditation and the dharma. First, I would like to extend my gratitude to Johnathan Woodside, founder and guiding teacher of MOI who took a leap of faith and created this place we call MOI. I am happy to have him as a friend and teacher to share in the practices and gifts of the dharma. And the feeling of warmth and joy generated by my fellow teachers: Mark, Kyle, Katie, Carlos & Tracy…your friendship and insights are nectar for my practice. The teachings of the Buddha and the dharma are not alive without those practicing this wisdom. I am forever grateful to all those who have walked through the doors of MOI to gather, listen and share in the dharma. I am encouraged weekly by your presence, inquiry and dedication to our little sangha. I am full of gratitude for the teachers and practitioners of MOI.
Lastly, I am grateful for the Buddha recognizing the suffering of humans and dedicating his life to creating a path that has the potential to end suffering and enhance all lives. I am grateful for my first teachers: my mother, grandmothers, and father. I give thanks to my great relatives and all my ancestors. I give thanks to those who have gathered around the fire with me and the many teachers, poets, philosophers that have made me the teacher I am today. Thank you. To the students that have listened and participated in my offerings, thank you. I am full of gratitude for the buddha, dharma and sangha.
By Anne Savery