There is never a bad time to open ourselves to the spirit of the holidays! Reflecting on the ‘season of generosity’, Jack shares holiday Dharma stories on quieting the mind and opening the heart.
In this Dharma talk stemming from Spirit Rock’s Monday Night Dharma Class on 12/14/2015, Jack Kornfield focuses on the holiday season, relating various stories and perspectives to how we can move about human incarnation and our daily lives in a compassionate and generous way.
This talk from Jack Kornfield was originally published on DharmaSeed.org
How the Buddha Stole Christmas
Opening this unique session, Jack explores western holidays and their place in the time of the year when the light recedes. Sharing spiritual insights highlighting the spirit of generosity, care, compassion, selflessness, and renewal beholden to holidays; he offers a story of Ajahn Chah’s Buddhist forest monastery installing a Christmas tree, describes the frustrated reaction of the nearby villagers, and shares the loving words which helped win them over to create the holiday Christ-Buddha-mas.
“There’s something in spiritual life that’s not about gaining or changing ourselves—it’s called fruition practice or resultant practice. It’s owning with gratitude the fact that we are here and that we’re beautiful, and that others are, and that we get to live this human incarnation. Your job then is to be fully present for your life.” – Jack Kornfield
In another holiday-focused episode, Jack explores autumn’s relationship with death, on Ep. 134 of Heart Wisdom
Loving Awareness & Inner Freedom // Sitting & Sweeping // Quiet Mind & Open Heart (18:01)
Viewing spirituality and mindfulness through the metaphor of the turning of the seasons, Jack offers wisdom connecting mind, body, and spirit so we can begin to move away from viewing our lives from the fears of the small self, and instead from the limitless spaciousness of loving awareness. From here, he offers a Zen perspective that sifts life and practice down to their simplest essence; before sharing on how sometimes the best way we can serve others is by allowing them to serve us.
“In Zen, they say there are only two things: you sit and sweep the garden. And it doesn’t matter how big the garden is. So you take the time to quiet the mind, open the heart, remember your interconnection with life, remember what really matters to you. Then you get up from your sitting, and you pick up the broom and sweep. As MLK Jr said, ‘If one sweeps streets for a living, they should sweep as Michelangelo painted, as Beethoven composed music, as Shakespeare wrote his plays—with that kind of care and dignity.” – Jack Kornfield
Omid Safi explores the spirituality of the turning of the seasons, on Ep. 25 of Sufi Heart
‘Just Like Me’ Guided Meditation // Setting Intentions // Blessing Chord Ceremony (42:00)
Jack leads a guided meditation practice based around two individuals eye-gazing with each other in the recognition that though the other person may seemingly appear separate and different, they are actually “just like me.” Next, he invites us to set intentions going forward into this life through the lenses of a quiet mind and an open heart, as well as sitting and sweeping the garden. Then, he leads a blessing chord ceremony for remembering our refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha; before closing with a “Namoh” chant.
“May your holidays and the turnings of the seasons bring new light, bring great love, wisdom, and understanding into your life to all you touch and across this beautiful blue-green globe.” – Jack Kornfield