May 20, 2015

"Happiness Here and Now" Presentation Given at South Plainfield Public Library

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. 

Ven. 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 strawberry grapefruit.