The three principles of Mountain Spring

I found this video really useful when listening to it this evening, and wanted to share quickly the three principles that Br Phap Hai shared in a video during 2020.

We use what we have: He laughs at the story of how they didn’t even have a shovel when they started their retreat centre. I love his example of not having a meditation hall to share with their visitors, and so they take meditation and classes in the nearby forest, as well as the local community hall that is also close by. This has allowed them to connect with the local community, as well.

We can often think that we’re not enough, or that we don’t have enough. That we’re limited. Changing our focus to what we do have, helps us bring ourselves fully to our path as we are.

We are what we are. We have what we have.

We will not ask for anything: Practicing in Oregan, where he was enjoying a solo retreat. He had very limited conditions, and limited things. As he practiced with his full heart, and be joyfully open to receive. To not worry about things. As Br Phap Hai suggests, this isn’t about being passive aggressive, but about being open to joy and accepting what is and what people will bring. He shares the story of sitting on the floor of Mountain Spring centre, and discussing a their idea of finding a coffee table. Days later, a practitioner unexpectedly showed up and brought with them an old coffee table.

Always just enough. Never too much. Don’t demand anything in particular, but live simply and celebrate the gifts that are received. Don’t live, wishing that things were different.

What we have, we share: We we have something, or receive something from our friends, then we share. With our neighbours or with others that need it. I liked his example here of when they have three apples one week, and begin to discuss how to ration, and limit, how they distribute those – before they reassess that and look instead to share them with abundance.

When we have the mentality that we have finite things, then we always seem to be lacking something. But if we share out what we have, then counterintuitively we have an abundance. It just flows like that. This can be applied to insights, as well as material goods.

“We won’t hold back, thinking we’re not ready. Rather, we’ll do our best to react to the environment we’re facing. Even when we feel like the view of the insight we have isn’t complete, we’ll do our best to share.”

I really enjoyed this talk. I hope you do, too.