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Taking care

Taking care

Our natural world is an interdependent community of living beings. It is in crisis, and invites us to cultivate a different kind of relationship. Our species seems to have lost its way. We seem to be going towards self-destruction, what with global warming, deforestation, ocean acidification, extinction of species, fresh water depletion, toxins (in increasing quantities) in our water, soil, air, bodies, food – and in our minds. All of which are only one part of our present challenges. We have forgotten that we ARE nature, and that Nature is much more than just a resource for the benefit of one species.  If we draw from Buddhist teachings  it is possible to direct our focussed attention onto loving kindness, generosity and wisdom – all based on the recognition of our interdependence.  Our current challenge is to create a new language; a new sense of being human. We could build a Noble Environment through a Path of Spiritual Commitment.

This can start from the experience of gratitude and of being a gift, which helps us in building a framework of trust, psychological elevation and Nobility of heart, reminding us of the sacredness of our own nature.
To the extent that we ourselves are spontaneously grateful, we participate in the gift economy. Our sacred nature knows instinctively how to respond adequately, and can then express itself through wise and compassionate manifestations. These contribute to our own wellbeing and also to that of the numerous species of the biosphere.

We can nurture our capacity of ‘being a gift’, being a resource, being a balm for our own wounds and for those of other species. We can do so by embodying the awareness of our inter-being and by orienting our actions towards that which is really important and essential, without being attached to results, and by making our actions sacred. One quite privileged aspect of the PienEssere project is the supporting of wise ones, teachers, poets and all those who wish to nurture ‘the good heart’, i.e. those who can make a difference in dark times and who seek to implement Dharma in their life by creating spiritual ‘holding fields’ permeated with the qualities of the Heart. Whoever accesses those holding fields can benefit immediately.  Project PienEssere APS is a non-profit association that, since its beginning, has been intended for both members and non-members. All can find in PienEssere freely available practice spaces, which they can choose freely to participate in. To enable wide access to Dharma, most of our content is recorded and available freely online on the website, Facebook page, or youtube channel, and MEDITAtona whatsapp chat.

 By nurturing generosity of the heart, a quality that contributes to the spiritual path, by remembering that “my good is your good”, members of PienEssere support the living expenses of the association and the monasteries of monks and nuns of the Forest tradition who have joined our project to offer their Presence and Teachings. The members, by offering their talents and economical support (offerings), allow non-members, those who are in economical difficulty and all those who seek to deepen their understanding of the Teachings, to receive Dharma teachings and contents freely. We cultivate Openness towards all beings, those who have economic means and those who don’t, those who are aware and ones who are less, with the intention to be ourselves an embodied gift.  Project PienEssere APS represents a starting point, for the realisation of a relational context that can contribute to a transformation, not only on the individual level, but of society as a whole. These contexts of different practices can become places of awareness and compassion in action, where little by little a Sangha Society can be created.

Our intention is to offer a contemplative training that encourages the fulfilment of the values of Dharma and spirituality in our culture. In the contemplative approach, the way the Buddha’s teachings are applied is extremely practical and embodied. The practice of Dharma represents an ethical project, which supports our human potential to flourish. According to this practice, our life challenges are addressed through situational ethics that emphasise ambiguity. We are asked to respond not by doing the “right thing” but by what is most loving/kind to do in any given situation.

Understood in this way, Dharma becomes a way to take care, to look for a way of living with no opinions and beliefs. Understanding of Dharma means implementing the teachings in practice so that they are fully embodied. The main aspiration of the Project PienEssere is to give birth to a Sangha, of a kind closer to poetry and further away from power (authority), in which it’s important to nurture the intention of developing community bonds that we all need. In difficult times, one of the most important things is to be surrounded by a loving community whose members are present for each other, and where there is attention and respect both for the earth as well towards the members of the community.  When Sangha manifests itself, it is like a music where each one plays the music not for oneself but in order to be of service.

As Thich Nhat Hanh is saying,

“Sangha acts as an organism, produces stability, solidity, peacefulness, deep understanding and actions that can not be reached on an individual level.”

PienEssere Project is a work in progress, open to those who wish to give their contribution in taking care of a space dedicated to an awakening of the heart that can generate a movement. If we orient towards caring for each other, humanity can guide our actions towards a limited use of resources, cultivating a monastic style of life, supporting the development and nurturing a spiritual dimension that spontaneously orients towards caring. We can let go of the consumerist approach, by not taking more than what we really need, similarly to what indigenous traditions knew so well. From this point of view, the Buddhist path is incompatible with a lifestyle shaped and driven by consumerism. It encourages a gaze towards many aspects that are often not noticeable, and generates a culture in which the sacred and the ordinary are one. Within those intentions various projects had emerged, to nurture the mind, the heart and the body with awareness, as written by Giuseppe Ruggiero, one of our volunteers:

“We can not take care of our wounds, in our bodies and our minds, without taking care of the wounds of the world.”

The project of Contemplative activism is supporting the practice of generosity, sympathetic joy, of abundance, available to all through many different talents put at the service by volunteers of the project. A set of practices, teachings and deep listening settings are offered by teachers, volunteers who are putting at service their talents, time and their knowledge to the benefit of all beings. Offerings like teachings, moments of practice, friendly gestures, giving attention and listening deeply, are sometimes more meaningful than offerings of material objects. In the long term, one of the benefits is that through generosity we begin to add more happiness to relationships.

Developing connections through shared values can guide us towards the opening of our hearts, because we share with others and support each other. Furthermore, the sense of beauty in making a free offering throws off the judgmental mind and replaces it with what is right, equal, deserving. For the Project PienEssere it is important to cultivate the possibility of giving to wise ones (monasteries, teachers, poets) because it means supporting the ones that themselves are supporting many others. Here is the link to access the contributions offered by monks and nuns from Theravada Tradition and by all the volunteers of the Association.

Attivismo contemplativo

MEDITAtona is our online Sangha (whatsapp chat) in which there are different resources, awareness practices and other inputs from our volunteers that nurture the heart, available for both members and non members of the Association. We can give our contribution because we can recognise that we are receiving something that is beneficial for ourselves and others. In this way we nurture the culture of giving, of spontaneous arising of generosity and sympathetic joy, and of acknowledging a multitude of talents offered. When we realise that we are not separated from each other it comes spontaneously to engage in the community in order to help others. Il PienEssere we nurture the “little Bodhisattva” that inhabits us. Here is the link of the annual program: https://progettopienessere.org/attivismo/meditatona-360days/

An online project that includes usually one teaching per month, of one hour and a half, given by monks and nuns from different monasteries from Italy, Europe and Worldwide, of the Therevada Forest Tradition. Thanks to the pandemic we opened a “Zoom monastery”, which enabled us to bring you to our homes teachers and teachings, creating an online Sangha. This was a first step for nurturing sympathetic joy, and for cultivating interest and abundance of precious teachings so that more people can benefit from them. A cultivated quality of heart and of our beings can make a difference in our own ordinary life, both personal and professional.

Program 2023 

Wednesday 4.01.2023. from 19.30 to 21:00 | AJAHN MAHAPANYO “The right speech” 

Wednesday 8.02.2023. from 19:30 to 21:00 | AJAHN VAJIRO “The right effort” 

Wednesday 1.03.2023. from 19:30 to 21:00 I VENERABILE CANDA “…to be defined…” 

Wednesday 8.03.2023. from 19:30 to 21:00 | AJAHN VAJIRO “The right mindfulness” 

Wednesday 4.04.2023. from 19:30 to 21:00 | AJAHN ABHINANDO “…to be defined…””   

Wednesday 3.05.2023. from 19:30 to 21:00 | AJAHN KALYANO  “Body as a vehicle for enlightenment ”

Wednesday 17.05.2023. from 19.30 to 21:00 | VENERABILE SANTACITTA `”Close and far enemies of Metta” 

Wednesday 13.09.2023. from 19:30 to 21:00 | AJAHN KHEMASIRI “…to be defined…”

Wednesday 27.09.2023. from 19:30 to 21:00 | AJAHN SUCITTO “The right View” 

Wednesday 5.10.2023. from 19:30 to 21:00 | AJAHN ABHINANDO “…to be defined…” 

Wednesday 8.11.2023. from 19:30 to 21:00 | VENERABILE KHEMA CARI “Social action and practice of service“ 

Wednesday 6.12.2023. from 19:30 to 21:00 | AJAHN CHANDAPALO “…to be defined…” 

Here is the link : https://progettopienessere.org/attivismo/insieme-nel-dharma/

For the last two-three years the general pandemic situation has generated a painful condition for humanity as a whole and in a particular way for those that in their everyday life are taking care of others (doctors, teachers, nurses, psychotherapist, care givers…). They were asked to act in completely new situations and with a different  pace, often in quite demanding ways, in order to respond adequately. For many of us, this new situation had provoked traumatic events, and had influenced us in a way that got us further away from our eternal nature. This is especially true for those people who are involved in cultivating awareness, peace of mind and a genuine sense of preoccupation for the other, all which are at the base of creating a supportive community.  Our intention is to create a model of an encounter, where solidarity and small everyday gestures are the supporting pillars.

he project “CO-CREATING FIELDS OF CARE AND BLESSINGS” starts with realising the fact that suffering and pain are universal. However, how we elaborate the suffering and what we decide to do with it is not. We can discover that we are not alone and that we can move in a direction of kindness, in all our actions, by creating fields of care and blessings.  The most elevated  type of Dana is when a worthy person gives to another worthy person, knowing that the wise ones can support many others. Recorded and live practices offered by PienEssere originated as moments of contemplative practice and blessings, and were aimed as alleviation for the hearts, open to all, but especially for ones that are supporting others.  In order to be transformative the contemplative attention needs to express the ability to encounter whatever arises in a moment, with presence and open heart, allowing a space for emerging of wisdom.

Online Schedule 2023

Wednesday 15.02.2023. at 19.30 | Venerable Santacitta

Tuesday 4.04.2023. ore 19.30 | Ajahn Khemasiri and the Dhammapala Community 

Tuesday 2.05.2023. ore 19.30 | Ajahn Abhinando and the Dhammapala Community 

Wednesday 7.06.2023. ore 19.30 | Venerable Santacitta

Tuesday 12.09.2023. ore 19.30 | Ajahn Khemasiri and the Dhammapala Community 

Wednesday 20.09.2023. ore 19.30 | Venerable Santacitta

Tuesday 17.10.2023. ore 19.30 | Ajahn Abhinando and the Dhammapala Community 

Tuesday 14.11.2023. ore 19.30 | Ajahn Abhinando and the Dhammapala Community 

Wednesday 22.11.2023. ore 19.30 | Venerable Santacitta

Tuesday 19.12.2023. ore 19.30 | Ajahn Abhinando and the comunità di Dhammapala Community 

Wednesday 20.12.2023. ore 19.30 | Venerable Santacitta 

Here is the link for the relevant page https://progettopienessere.org/attivismo/creiamo-insieme-campi-di-cura-e-di-benedizione/

This ongoing (continuous) training for “Little Bodhisattva that grow” is for those who wish to  be at the service for others in their life. The training stems from a very creative spiritual growth experience started more than 15 years ago, of a continuous training with Anne Overzee and Deirdre Gordon, two contemplative therapists from Karuna Institute (UK), and from learning inputs from Maura Sills and Franklin Sills, founders of Karuna Institute. Implemented transpersonal approach is taken as a basis for inquiry and deepening our knowledge. It is acknowledging spiritual and transcendent aspects of human experience and wisdom, and is being enriched by different spiritual traditions.  The training is supporting a cultivation of transcendental aspects and the acts of kindness.

It promotes one’s own spiritual inquiry, deepening the authenticity, and encourages the transformation of suffering into a shared poetry. The uniqueness of the training is in the continuity of the Sangha, that creates a particular psico-spiritual holding field that allows those who join to benefit from the awareness and heart qualities generated over time. The intention of the PienEssere project is to cultivate the experience of Sangha, of a Spiritual Community, to support and expand it.
Here is the link for the relevant page on the website https://progettopienessere.org/formazione-psico-spirituale/braveheartfulness-school/

Venerabile Khema Cari – Impermanence

Paolo Testa – Calm abiding and deep insight

Venerabile Ajahn Abhinando – Kindness and Compassion 

Venerabile Ajahn Chandapalo – Mind, body, nature 

Venerabile Ajahn Khemasiri – The awakening 

Here is the link for the relevant page on the website https://progettopienessere.org/ritiri-ed-eventi/ritiri-di-vipassana/

“receiving as a gift a place for the practice, open to all, at no charge, supported by the Community”

PienEssere Project has a dream… to be able to offer a place free of charge, a sacred space, where one can develop an interest towards contemplative practices and give its contribution for emerging of a culture that is more connected to a way of living that is nurturing beauty, wholeness, wisdom of living here and now, including a healthier lifestyle. These qualities are largely supported by various spiritual traditions, and not only. Scientific studies on Mindfulness and on meditation have shown benefits in many contexts. 

The most ambitious wish, would be to bring the contemplative practice in places which in past were used for spiritual practices and are today to be found as ex-convents, deconsecrated churches. Those places might have preserved a memory of silence that was a part of transformative and healing processes for many people. Bringing back a contemplative practice to those places can be a gesture of kindness, care and respect towards all the spiritual and material work dedicated over time.

The intention is to be able to offer meditation retreats, free of charge or with a possibility of free offerings, as it is done in ancient spiritual traditions. Service meditation practice allows one to develop an attitude of care and attention. That attitude allows us to observe our mind in the midst of turbulence, preparing it for a possibility of emerging of important qualities, such as wisdom. Values like care, attention, wisdom,  can give their contribution to the sense of interconnection and sharing, and add wellbeing to a community.

Significato del Pavone per l'Associazione

A place like that could become a refuge (also a temporary one) for the wise ones and teachers so that they could have an opportunity to resource themselves and receive support from the community, and the community could have an opportunity to nurture their gratitude by acknowledging the wisdom of the heart. https://progettopienessere.org/sogno-progetto-pienessere/