Dear Sangha Members,

As I logged onto one of my social media accounts this week, I was pleasantly reminded of my journey on the Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage by a “three years ago today” photo that popped up in my feed. The beauty of the cherry blossoms in this photo and the warm weather today inspired me to include it at the top of this newsletter. 

This weekend is nearing peak viewing season for many of the cherry trees down in Washington DC, and cherry trees further north will start to bloom in a few more weeks. Viewing these trees in bloom is a wonderful way to recognize the nature of impermanence and to practice non-attachment. One reason we appreciate the beauty of cherry blossoms is because their season is so short-lived. Each tree’s flowers only last 1-2 weeks each year, so seeing a tree in full bloom may help us recognize that time passes swiftly by and opportunity is lost. Seeing a cherry tree in peak bloom can remind us that we need to dwell right here in this moment before it’s gone. Standing fully in this moment, recognizing its beauty without clinging to it, is how we find joy.  

As you begin to see signs of spring bursting forth in the next several weeks, take this as an opportunity to contemplate the nature of impermanence and non-attachment in your life. Use the beauty around you to infuse new energy into your spiritual practice, recognizing that it is through practice that we develop the wisdom to experience life without clinging or aversion.