Practicing in the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh Since 1993

Charlotte, North Carolina USA

Offering Love in the Face of the Charleston Tragedy

The race-motivated violence against peaceful worshipers in Charleston, South Carolina is heartbreaking, the deaths tragic, and the hatred on which the tragedy rests corrosive to all it touches, victims and perpetrators. The Buddha calls upon us to respond to hatred with love, so healing is possible. Similarly, Dr. Martin Luther King taught that for healing and transformation to be possible, we must have strength to love in the face of hatred, in the way he saw Jesus offering love by asking God to forgive those who mistreated and killed him.

But love does not mean standing idly by in the face of hatred. As a loving community, we must find ways to respond with love not only to the Charleston victims, but also to the perpetrators. Our actions must be grounded in awareness of our own hearts and our own biases. The Buddha teaches us to be aware of body, mind, feelings, and objects of mind, the four foundations of mindfulness. With this awareness, we begin to recognize our own biases and unconscious prejudices. We cannot change what we will not see and turning a blind eye to racial bias and hatred will not transform them. Transformation begins in our hearts. Only then can we move through the world as love in action.

It is easy to respond to these horrible actions with disgust and hatred, considering ourselves separate from the perpetrator. But how do we respond to the smaller prejudices in our lives, strongly rooted in this American South through centuries of slave labor camps and racial dominance and patronizing. Where are our blind spots? We must engage mindfulness to see and begin to heal our own hearts and truly offer love to the world. We must also see where understanding, love, and compassion rest in our hearts so we can cultivate and sustain that energy, offering it to ourselves and to the world.

If we respond to the Charleston shooter's hateful acts with hatred, then hatred wins as we perpetuate it. Let us work for peace, for understanding, and for realizing the metta prayer, "May all beings be safe and free from harm." Every day, let us move in the world with the strength of love. Our hearts are with the Charlestonians and the shooter.

--- Leslie Rawls, Dharmacharya

About the Charlotte Community of Mindfulness

Inspired by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and supported by local Dharma Teacher Leslie Rawls, the Charlotte Community of Mindfulness is a small group of friends who study and practice the Buddha’s teachings on mindfulness and meditation. We aspire to live every moment deeply and compassionately. While practicing in the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism, we recognize and respect the value of all spiritual traditions as the heritage of humankind.

Newcomers are welcome. No experience needed. CCM offers Beginner’s Mind Days every few months. Newcomers are welcome any time, but may appreciate the additional guidance and basic instruction offered on Beginner’s Mind Days. On these days, the first hour will include meditation instruction and guidance. The second hour, we will explore other basic elements of our practice.

Please wear comfortable clothing. The floor is carpeted. We have a few extra meditation cushions and benches, as well as chairs. Click here for study schedule showing activities on specific dates.

We have a yahoogroup for Sangha news and announcements. To join, please visit charlottemindfulness and ask to join. We welcome anyone interested in our practice. Help us avoid spammers when you ask to join; let us know where you live and briefly explain your interest in our group.

CCM is a 501(c)(3) non profit corporation. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

For a .pdf document about our lineage, please click here