Welcome to the first issue of the new Deer Park Monastery newsletter, called Coyote Tracks. Here we hope to keep you up to date with fresh practices to nourish your beginner’s mind, stories from the monastery, and upcoming events happening in the hidden valley.
In 2000, shortly after Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh (whom we call Thầy, meaning teacher) founded Deer Park, he recognized that “when we build brotherhood and sisterhood, it is a hundred times more important than the meditation hall or the bell tower—but people may not see it if they are not mindful…. The elders as well as the younger people have come together with all their love and hope to build this Deer Park Monastery. In my eyes, this is a great monument. When we do things with all our love and hope—even though it may not be visible—it is something real that we can see with mindfulness.” With that same energy of mindfulness we continue Thầy’s path of building community online, bringing the practice straight into your inbox.
Today we begin the annual Tết (Lunar New Year) Festivities with a Dharma talk with poetry offered by Thầy Pháp Chứng (in Vietnamese; please join on Zoom for translation into English), followed by a ceremony to bring in the New Year of the Ox. On Friday morning we will have the ceremony of paying our respects to Thầy and the Most Venerable Hoà Thượng Phước Tịnh, who has supported our practice as an elder in Deer Park for almost twenty years now. This will include the invitation of the Prajñā Drum and Bell, followed by a traditional Lion Dance (múa lân).
If we have time on Friday, and continuing on Saturday morning, we will offer the interpretation of the Kieu Oracles (bói Kiều). We encourage those of you who are familiar with this practice—as well as those of you who are new—to hold a deep question about your practice in your heart. We will invite a few friends to present themselves on Zoom, draw a practice oracle on their behalf, and then invite them to ask their question. The senior monks and nuns will then have an opportunity to interpret the poet’s response to the question.
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, where we regularly post live content from Deer Park.
May we see you soon together online.
With trust and gratitude,
The Monks and Nuns of Deer Park Monastery