The Buddha was Smiling

As many of you know, Change Your Mind Day started in 1993 by Tricycle Magazine. Tricycle’s intention was to hold the event outside, similar to the teachings that the Buddha held. The idea is to make the Dharma accessible, for those that maybe feel uncomfortable entering a center. It is an opportunity to not only learn about meditation, but to ask questions to those that have walked the path for a while.

Change You Mind Day – Cape Cod set out with the same goal. Dharma friend, Annette Miller, was the main force behind the event. She did all the dirty work, talking with the town to get usage of the village green, setting up the schedule, arranging times to meet with other folks that were involved, etc. She couldn’t have chosen a better place to host the event. In Hyannis (which is centrally located on Cape Cod), there is a very busy main street, with lots of foot traffic, especially this time of year.

The day was beautiful, a little brisk with the breeze, but all in all a magnificent day.  Unfortunately, out of the shade the sun was stronger than it seemed, and my shaven head is now a wee bit uncomfortable. I thought I was being the smart one, stay warmer in the sun. Yeah, nice move, Nate!

The schedule was simple, at the top of each hour there would be a Dharma talk given by local teachers (which were mainly various Zen folk as we do not have the largest Tibetan community here on the Cape), with the exception of Beth from Cambridge Zen Center. After each talk there was a guided meditation. Every half hour there was a new session of silent meditation, which were done in twenty minute increments. And, there were random walking meditation sessions. There was a little bit of everything, it was very inclusive for a beginner to an advanced practitioner.

The sense of community was overwhelming, even before people started to arrive. As we were bringing things in from the cars, some of the locals, who were not there for the event, offered to help moved some stuff. It really set the mood for the day.

As 10am neared, more and more people were coming in, and the first talk neared. The “stations” were ready to go, the tables that each group had brought were set up. To be honest, I was surprised by the amount of people already trickling in. I knew there would be a decent crowd, but the numbers that were showing up, and curiously dropping in, were fantastic.

I was asked to  “oversee” one of the silent meditations before the event. I’ve never done it, and while it’s not really a huge deal, instantly my nerves were shaky. Because of my personality, I wrote up this little “plan”. I had an opening, and a small dedication of merit at the end. Well the morning of the event, I left that paper at home, left the “plan” at home, and figured I’d just wing it. It went off well when it came to my time, no worries, no problem!

I met some old friends, and met some new one’s. The great thing about the day was the feeling of community, and in a way, nostalgia. Each teaching was held underneath an enormous, comforting tree. I think the Buddha would be smiling to see the way people came together. I say that because the Buddha in each one of us, was smiling that day. Even the folks who were just walking through the green to get to the beach couldn’t help but smile.

This was the first time for this event here on Cape Cod, and I hope it is held again next year. Thank you Annette for all your hard work, thank you to the teachers who spoke (Jim Calvin from Cape Cod Zen Center, Jim Kershner from Cape Sangha, Dan Joslyn from Falmouth Soto Zen Sangha, Chuck Hotchkiss from oldpondmind and Beth from Cambridge Zen Center) and thank you to all who attended! May the merit we created be dedicated to all beings, to lessen suffering in this world and bring a smile to each and everyone!


  1. Thanks for the memories Nate. As I was sitting in a somewhat stressful situation on Long Island I closed my eyes and thought of the group in Hyannis and just breathed with you all from afar. It helped! I hope to be around next year for this event. -Greg

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