February 6, 2011
Imagine the brown-robed sweetness of Ajahn Metta, a visiting Buddhist nun, kneeling and bowing three times on the cement floor of the prison chapel in the Northern New England Correctional Facility in Berlin, New Hampshire. It was a stunning moment for all those present. The incongruity with prison protocol, the archetypal ancientness, and the full-bodied courage of this simple act of faith riveted our attention and immediately softened our hearts. Sister proceeded by voicing an aspiration for the liberation of all of us and then lit the candle to formally begin our monthly 3-hour practice time with this northern-most sitting group of our Valley Insight Meditation Society. We chanted the requesting and receiving of the Refuges and took the 5 Precepts together; then sitting and walking practice began.
It was an amazing day in which one could feel the roots of the Dhamma deepening within this setting. Afterwards, Sister expressed her heart-felt appreciation to the men – appreciation for the great effort shown in the depth of their practice and their understanding, as well as gratitude for their opening so sincerely to her presence. The men in turn expressed their gladness with her visit. They were beaming. She promised to return. All of our faces were radiant. The joy accompanied us as we traveled home through a harrowing snow/rain/ice storm – scared at times, working together to see through the white-outs, chanting the Metta Sutta with playful riffs, laughing. We made it home safely, mindfully and happily through an extraordinary day spent with an extraordinary woman.
Peace and best wishes,