On Tuesday, May 19, the Ven. Myong-Ahn Sunim, abbot of Soshima Zen Center, delivered the presentation “Happiness Here and Now” at the South Plainfield Public Library in the township of that name. The discourse, which began at 7 pm and lasted for about 75 minutes, was introduced by SZC Secretary General Aimee Goyette and about ten people were in attendance.
Myong-Ahn Sunim articulated on numerous topics, alternating serious
points with humorous asides. He expounded on the nature of suffering, on
the universal drive of sentient beings for happiness; about the cycle
of wanting what is perceived as pleasant and of not wanting what is
unpleasant, about opposites being aspects of the same thing, about the
crucial role of the mind in defining these terms; about the pitfalls of
emotional extremes; and about the importance of taking specific
individual action - with diligence - to escape this seemingly endless
“treadmill” of gratification and avoidance.
During the address,
concentration was evident in the posture and the facial expressions of
the audience, who alternatively paid close attention, then smiled and
laughed at the lighter moments, which were frequent. Questions were then
taken from the audience.
At the conclusion, Aimee
announced the upcoming SZC
open house, scheduled for June. A sign-up sheet was provided for those
interested in attending that event. Afterwards, there was discussion
around the table where librarian Linda Hansen had prepared a selection
of distinctive teas, among them green, ginger, black rose, and