Inspiring the spread of kindness

By Joanne Dahla

“…240 acres of heart…” This is something I said during our breakfast session on the last day of my first visit to Sravasti Abbey. I was attempting to describe what I had experienced here. The five days of my visit have been the most profound and wonderful days of my life. I truly believe that I have never been treated with more kindness or have ever felt more welcome than I have here at the Abbey. This place does that to you; you become part of that 240 acres of heart.

I am a new student to the Dharma and am swimming in obscurations and worldly concerns. Upon beginning to learn the Dharma (now with this first visit – one of many to come for me – to Sravasti Abbey), there has been a light appear at the “end of the tunnel” for me, and now I know that it is not a train rushing towards me! It is the light of Dharma and what joy I feel!

While staying at the Abbey, I’ve discovered further that the teachings by Venerable Chodron and happy, thoughtful discussions with the Abbey residents, along with offerings of daily service and meditative practice sessions, plus ample quiet, study and reflection time have become like a ladder for me to begin to climb up and out of adversity.

I am inspired to be a better person; I am inspired to continue to learn the Dharma; I am inspired to be more compassionate; I am inspired to take more care with the environment; I am inspired to be kinder to myself and others-all for the benefit of others. Whatever kindness and consideration I can convey to others could start something positive to grow and expand outward.

How fortunate I am to have this life and opportunities like learning the Dharma and visiting Sravasti Abbey!

To my friends at Sravasti Abbey, I am reminded of, and desire to say this to you, a Lamrim reflection/wish on love: May my friends and all those who have been kind to me have happiness and its causes. May you be free of suffering, confusion and fear. May you have calm, peaceful and fulfilled hearts. May you be liberated from all of the miseries of cyclic existence. May you attain the bliss of enlightenment!”

Thank you also for providing me with information on how to contact a Dharma community in my area. This is a very definite need for me. I will be connecting with them very soon and look forward to making new Dharma friends there. Life is just too big to go it alone… and of course, we are never alone…

You are my second home and the miles between us are merely a formality.