Our sittings generally include a reading drawn from the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh or another Buddhist teacher. Whoever is leading a particular sitting chooses the reading. We generally pass the book around the circle, each person reading a paragraph or two, or passing the book along if they do not care to read that evening. The reading is generally followed by Dharma discussion in which we may reflect our experience in light of the reading, or we may share another aspect of our practice with our brothers and sisters.
Dharma discussion is an opportunity to benefit from each other’s insights and experience of the practice. It is a special time for us to share our experiences, our joys, our difficulties and our questions relating to the practice of mindfulness. By practicing deep listening while others are speaking, we help create a calm and receptive environment. By learning to speak out about our happiness and our difficulties in the practice, we contribute to the collective insight and understanding of the Sangha.
We base our sharing on our own experience of the practice rather than about abstract ideas and theoretical topics. We may realize that many of us share similar difficulties and aspirations. Sitting, listening and sharing together, we recognize our true connections to one another.
Please remember that whatever is shared during the Dharma discussion time is confidential. If a friend shares about a difficulty he or she is facing, respect that he or she may or may not wish to talk about this individually outside of the Dharma discussion time.