December 29, 2010

This Sunday January 2nd at Alameda Sangha: The 10 Paramis: Dana (Generosity)

Hello Everyone,
May this find you well and looking forward to the New Year.
By popular requests, I will be starting the 10 Paramis as I did in January of this year. These are the 10 Perfections of the heart and mind that we try to cultivate in order to reach liberation. The practices are uplifting and I look forward to offering the talks on each one once again.

This Sunday, we will be starting with the first Parami, which is Dana or Generosity. In conjunction with the talk,  my daughter Natasha will be speaking about the Buddhist Global Relief which is a really amazing organization started by the Venerable Bikkhu Bodhi (A NY monk trained in Sri Lanka who was responsible for translating most of the discourses of the Buddha into English.) that addresses world hunger including within the United States.

Hoping to see most of you there, much gratitude for your practice,
Pauletta


December 27, 2010

This week's work with the inner critic

Hello and much gratitude for coming last night,
It was inspiring to see how many of you are so interested in working with the inner critic and overcoming his/her destructive effects on your life.

So the work for this week: Reflect on the triggers (situations) that encourage the arriving of the judge in your mind and what you can do to avoid these triggers if possible, or if not, how you can work with the judge so he doesn't continue to have a destructive effect on your life, your psyche and your mind.
Personalize your own metta phrases that you can practice saying to yourself each morning and at other times during the day, to break the trance of stress, anxiety or fear. This may even help with papanca (the Pali word for mental proliferation).
The classic phrases for metta practice are: May I be  happy, May I be safe, and May I live in peace and harmony. You can work to customize your own metta phrases from these.
Remember that this can be emotionally challenging work so direct lots of compassion towards yourself during the investigation process. Best to have someone you can trust to talk with, and get as much support from others as you can. Think about our workshop on Working with the Inner Critic in May 2011 as during the four sessions Anthony and I will offer, we will delve deeper in grounding support of one another in working with this difficult issue through exercises that we will offer and as much sharing with each other as all are comfortable with in a very safe container.
Looking forward to seeing you all this coming Sunday the 2nd and hearing about the reflections you may have done this week. Happy New Year!

Much metta, Pauletta


December 22, 2010

Working with The Inner Critic on Sunday the 26th 7-9 pm

Hello Everyone,
Looking forward to offering from my own direct experience this Sunday, what I know of working with the Inner Critic. It is essential to spend the time and energy overcoming this severe self-judge because he/she can really destroy our relationships, hinder our progression on the spiritual path and affect most other aspects of our daily life creating unneccessary dukkha.

With some mind training techniques and other suggestions from the Buddhist teachings on aversion, you can set up a plan of action to start working with before the New Year begins.
Attached, please find the double sided postcard with information about the daylong that Anthony and I will co teach in February.

Also, I attached the handout from this past January 2010 with 2 suggestions for deepening your practice. Pick only one of them to do for 2 months in the New Year and journal your observations. Then you can share your findings during check in and break at the sangha. I did the first activity, adding on 1-2 extra meditation sittings to my day (earlier this year) and the results were phenomenal. I am definitely inspired to try it again and work to free my schedule from its fetters to practice.
Hoping to see you this Sunday the 26th.........

Be well, Pauletta


December 15, 2010

This Sunday: INSPIRING STORIES: How we started the path to Liberation

Hello Everyone,
This Sunday the three of us, Anthony, Rebecca and I will be teaching. We thought it would be insightful and inspiring if we shared how we each came to the path leading to awakening. Hope to see most of you there to offer our stories.

FYI, after this Sunday, I will be teaching for the Sundays during the holidays. On the 26th, will be an exploration of The Inner Critic or Judge and how to work with him/her because if we don't and this is an issue for us, then it will certainly obstruct our progression on the path and even lead us off the path entirely.
Jan 2nd, I will be starting the 10 Paramis or Perfections of the Heart and Mind that lead us to awakening and liberation.

Lastly, the three of us, all have talks on the website, www.GayBuddhist.org under Audio if you would like to give a listen in between our meetings.
Hoping to see you all. If you get caught up in the holiday rush and stress this week, remember to pause, breathe and collect your mind before doing the next thing

Much metta and gratitude, Pauletta


December 9, 2010

This Sunday: Beyond Orthodoxy

Dear Friends,

Last week we took a look into the dark places of our minds and hearts, where mindfulness and compassion bring light and healing.  The same technique we use the first time we meditate can be used to turn our internal darkness into enduring illumination.  We practice directing our attention, over and over, from idle thinking to mindfulness of the present moment as we experience it through our body's senses.  Wise Effort uses this capacity to direct attention, as Thich Nhat Hahn puts it, to "water the flowers, not the weeds."  We simply withdraw the energy of our attention from states of mind that lead to suffering, and shower nourishing attention on mindstates that lead to real happiness.

This coming Sunday, Dec. 12, we're going to look, "Beyond Orthodoxy."  First, we'll have to determine what is 'orthodox' in Buddhism.  What, actually, is Buddhism?  Where did it come from, how did it get this way and where is what it is now going?  As we practice, how do we stay inside the lines of what's "correct?"  And just how much do any of these questions matter?  Join us Sunday and help us find out.  Tell your friends about our group, practice the ultimate dana and invite them to share the dharma (whatever that is) with us.  It should be fun.

Best wishes,
Rebecca

December 8, 2010

Pauletta guest speaker at gay buddhist fellowship


Hello Everyone,

Hope this finds you all well. I got to teach in a wonderfully welcoming sangha on Sunday morning in the city and received this email from them with a video of beautiful inspirational music by Jennifer Berazan that is definitely worth watching.
Baruch, my friend who invited me to teach says all are welcome to the sitting at their sangha when she comes. Just check out the Gay Buddhist Fellowship website for the schedule. It is www.gaybuddhist.org
Also, FYI, in about a week, the talk I gave which was recorded will be available on their website to listen to under the navigation button, AUDIO. There are talks also by Rebecca and Anthony as they have also taught there in the recent past.
Much metta and hope to see you soon, 
Pauletta

December 2, 2010

This Sunday: Finding Light in Our Darkness

Dear Friends:

This Sunday from 7-8:30pm, we'll meditate and then discuss the challenge presented by things that are hidden away from the light, those things in us that are scary or unappealing.  Through our practice, we can shine light on these things.  But even more wonderful is that these rejected aspects of ourselves can be transformed into sources of new light in themselves -- through this process of 'enlightenment.'  We can use mindfulness not only to see in the darkness, but to turn our own darkness into enduring, guiding light for our future growth.  Come join our exploration of how to turn the feared into friends.

With metta,
Rebecca

November 24, 2010

This Sunday: Settling Into a Practice

Hi everyone,

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.  This Sunday we'll be meeting as usual even though it is a holiday weekend.  I hope many of you will be able to make it.  This week I want to explore the topic of settling into the practice of meditation, or whatever you consider to be your 'practice'.  I am choosing to talk about this because of the time of year and the possibility of having our practice overtaken by the holiday spirit; so to speak.  There is something to be said about having a spiritual practice that consists of values that are more stable than the ebb and flow of the cultural seasons.  But, it's not easy.
I wish everyone a good holiday and weekend, and I really hope to see you Sunday evening.

With Gratitude,
Anthony

November 22, 2010

News for the sangha from Pauletta and Turkey Day good wishes

Hello Everyone,

Hoping that this short holiday week finds you all well. I miss you all. Hoping to come one of these Sundays soon just to be in sangha. Otherwise I will be teaching again on the 19th of December with Anthony and Rebecca. The Sunday after Christmas, the 26th I will be teaching about Working with the Inner Critic or Judge which if we don't address it, will definitely impinge and hinder our practice. Though the Buddha doesn't specifically address self-judgement, there are many teachings on aversion (one of the 5 hindrances, remember?) for which there are tools we can use to work with this in all of us.
Then through popular demand, I will be starting the 10 Paramis or 10 Perfections once again, beginning with dana or generosity in January. Rebecca and I will be teaching mostly in January because Anthony will be away on a month long retreat.
On December 5th, I have been invited to teach at the Gay Buddhist Fellowship at 10:30 am in the Mission District in San Francisco. I will be offering teachings on mind training. All of you are welcome to come and/or please tell anyone in SF whom you know may be interested.
Our wonderful blog techie amongst other wonderful attributes, Susan Haumeder has created a really cool blog for our Alameda Sangha. This is where we can have conversations about the various teachings that the three of us have offered you on Sunday nights. So hopefully this will be up and running soon and she will let us know how you can all access the blog.
Anthony and I will be teaching a daylong at Island Yoga here in Alameda in February on a Saturday. We don't have the exact date yet. More info to come. And in May he and I will be doing a 4 week workshop on Working with the Inner Critic. Dates and more info will be forthcoming.
Otherwise, hope you all have a peaceful Turkey Day. Remember that if you anticipate going into a family gathering with aversion, take some time to reflect and meditate that morning if even for a few minutes a set an intention for how you will handle any difficulty or irritation that arises. Examples of intentions are: to remember to breathe when something charged comes up in conversation and you feel it in your body. Ground yourself, rubbing hands and feeling feet on the ground, you can set an intention to only listen and be fully present without allowing yourself to get reactive, etc.
And above all, don't forget the 4 principles of wise speech, before you might say something you regret: 1) it's helpful 2) it's kind 3) it's appropriate and 4)truthful
Have a peaceful and interconnecting Thanksgiving! Remember Anthony will be teaching this coming Sunday after Thanksgiving,

Much metta, Pauletta

November 18, 2010

This Sunday: The Sense Door of Hearing

Hi everyone,

This week I'll explore the topic of our senses.  Isn't it amazing that everything we take in is experienced through sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch?  And then our mind can get involved and be pretty creative as well, and the mind is included as the sixth sense door in Buddhism.  I have found a good way to explore the senses is by looking at one specifically.  Hearing is very effective for this due to its apparent objectivity and seeming harmlessness.  Rarely we do encounter sounds that are actually physically painful, but we are always perceiving/interpreting sounds as they enter our awareness, and these often end up as pleasing, disliked, or ignored.  What can we learn from this process?

Well, I hope to see many of you this Sunday at 7pm, and I hope many of you arrive curious.

With care, Anthony

November 4, 2010

Early This Sunday: Embodied Awareness

Dear Friends,

Seven thirty will seem an hour earlier this Sunday, after our clocks "fall back" in the middle of the night before.  I hope you'll be at the Sangha when we begin a half hour meditation at 7pm, and then discuss our nature as embodied awareness.

What does it mean to be aware?  To be bodies?  How does the mind feel about this apparent duality in our natures?  How often do these aspects of our nature seem to be at war with each other?  And how can love for all beings resolve the confllct?

We'll be talking about these things.  Come and find the answers for yourself in our discussion.

See you then,
Rebecca


November 1, 2010

Half-day Retreat with Rebecca & Deb Nov. 20

Dear Friends,

My dharma buddy, Deb Kerr, and I will be leading a day-long silent retreat on Saturday, Nov. 20 on the topic, "Finding Light in the Darkness."  Not only can practice help us through difficult times, but in bringing open-hearted awareness to the dark parts of life -- and our selves -- we can lighten our entire lives.

A copy of the flyer is attached.

Space is limited, so if you are interested, please register as soon as possible.  It will be held in Deb's lovely home in Oakland.  Address and further details will be sent with your registration confirmation.

Best wishes,
Rebecca


October 27, 2010

This Sunday: The Role of Compassion in Practice

Happy Halloween!  If you can get away from the goblins for a couple hours this Sunday, come join us to meditate, and talk about The Role of Compassion in Practice. 

How important is it?  Well, have you ever run your car when it was out of oil?  Things can overheat pretty quickly, even seize up and just stop working.  Without compassion, much of what meditation is all about simply isn't possible.  And it can cause the very kind of suffering we're trying to end.

From another angle, it's easy to see that with compassion, our practice is much easier and far more fulfilling.  So come to Sangha this Sunday and bring an open heart.  And leftover candy, if you want to.

Looking forward to seeing you again,
Rebecca


October 21, 2010

This Sunday: Opening our Awareness

Hi friends,

It's been a while since I've led the group, so I'm really looking forward to seeing you all.  This week, I'll be exploring the idea of 'awareness' and how it is that we use it; mainly I mean in how we direct it, shape it, confine it, but also open it.  All of these can have different functions and can be appropriate at a given time of practice, so this week I'll try to explore the idea of opening our awareness in meditation practice.  And, as can be imagined, this practice can have profound impacts on our 'everyday' awareness.

Well, I hope many of you will be there this Sunday evening.  And, by the way, I'm leading a half day-long on Sunday morning from 9:30-1:30 at the East Bay Healing Collective near the Berkeley/Oakland border.  If anyone is interested in the info for that, respond to this email and I'll get back to you before Sunday.

Many blessings as your week winds down.
Anthony


October 18, 2010

Practices for working with the second arrow this week

Hello Everyone,

Hope you all had a peaceful night's sleep last night. Here are 2 good practices to try to do this week:

The first is something I offered last week which was:
1) to observe when you notice you are experiencing dukkha in your daily life (or even when you are sitting if a bad memory comes up for ex). Then ask yourself the question, where is the craving, grasping or aversion? Watch what your mind does around this few minute mindful activity.
2) If you forgot and popped off in reactivity sometime this week or realize that you are obsessing over some problem for which you don't have a solution yet, explore during reflection, how you may be shooting yourself with the second arrow and if there is a way to lighten up around it, or let it go.

Have a fruitful week of practice,
Metta, Pauletta

October 13, 2010

This Sunday: The Difference between True and Ordinary Happiness

Hello Everyone,

We will be talking about the difference between true and ordinary happiness. Ordinary happiness is the kind that doesn't last.....when we mistakenly think that pleasure (whether from an experience, time with someone, acquiring something, etc.) = happiness.

True happiness is that of the Buddha's and it's when we are no longer governed by having to change a particular experience or situation, manipulating and controlling people, circumstances and events in order to have a certain outcome. When we can let go of the tendency to grasp, crave or resist (aversion), and rest in equanimity and peace with what is in the true nature of reality, then we can be truly happy.

There will be some overlap in the content of this offering between the workshop on Saturday and our meeting Sunday night, the difference being that for us, what I will offer on Sunday will be more expanded with a few more stories to illustrate the differences.

Hope to see you all there and looking forward to our check-in with the suggested practices for the week,

Much metta, Pauletta

October 11, 2010

Suggested Practices for the week: Cultivating Mindfulness and Wisdom

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the newcomers last night. Here are the practices I suggested you try for the week:
1) Every hour of your waking moment, choose one minute to just be mindful. Close your eyes if you can and bring your attention to your breath for that one minute several times during the day. By the end of the week, observe any changes.

2) When caught up in dukkha (suffering; dissatisfactoriness), stop and take a deep breath and ask yourself, where is the grasping, craving and/or aversion? That will be the source of the dukkha.

3) Take some time to reflect back on something unskillful and/or unwholesome that you feel some regret about. Investigate and see how it caused suffering for yourself and possibly others and what you can do to try to do this differently in the future.

4) When faced with a dilemma to resolve, develop wise discernment by asking the three questions: a. What's skillful? b. What's unskillful? and c. What can I do that will lead to long term happiness?

Just pick one of the above to really spend time focusing and practicing with. I look forward to your check-ins this coming Sunday the 17th when the topic will be " The difference between ordinary and true happiness."

Happy practicing!
Pauletta 

--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/


October 6, 2010

This Sunday: Mindfulness and Cultivating Wisdom

Hello Everyone,

Hope you are all well this week and easing into our beautiful Fall weather.

On Sunday, we will be revisiting what is this "knowing" that lets us know we are being mindful and what does mindfulness really mean? We will explore how to cultivate it as a tool for our practice of inquiry and investigation to lead us closer to more moments of awakening and liberation.

Mindfulness as a tool moves hand in hand with cultivating wisdom. I will revisit what we learned about developing wisdom as a parami (perfection of the heart and mind). And we can see where this can lead us in our practice.

Looking forward to seeing you all and hearing about your intention to reflect on watching what your mind and body does around a daily life episode this week,

Much metta and appreciation for your practice,
Pauletta

--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/


October 4, 2010

Reflection/exercise for the week of Mind Training

Hello Everyone,

Glad and hoping all who came last night profited well from our fruitful discussion and investigation into the Mind.

Just a reminder for the week of what I started out the talk with: To set the intention (before a meeting at work, an encounter with friend or foe, some pleasurable experience that you are looking forward to having) to watch your body sensations and what your mind does and/or says around the episode. This is the off the cushion practice.

In your sitting practice, try to see if there were moments of dukkha in your day (everyday this week if you can) in which you could have eased it by not buying into what your mind was telling you around that particular moment of dukkha. What was the mind heaping on top of the actual dukkha that you were experiencing (whether it was a moment of irritation at someone or something that happened, ) that was just extra baggage that it would have been possible to extricate or choose not to engage in to lessen the actual dukkha that was happening?

May you all have fruitful practice this week,
Pauletta

--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/


With Gratitude for Sunday Night Sangha


Hi Pauletta,

I'm sending this to Tarrin and David, as those are the only other email addresses I have. Could you please forward this to Bob, Mary, Colleen and Natalie?

I just wanted to thank everyone for being a part of an evening that was very inspirational and uplifting to me. First, I want to thank Pauletta for her wonderful talk tonight. Maybe I was just ready to hear it, but I heard many things that will be very helpful to me and that I can continue to use as valuable tools in my future steps toward the proverbial enlightenment that we all seek.

I also appreciate that we have a space open to us every week where we can come together and explore the path toward less suffering, more loving kindness and greater compassion at all of our individual paces (gee, maybe you should also forward to Rebecca and Anthony). What wonderful people you all are to be so willing to share your vulnerability, fears and questions with all of us. And let's not forget joy. And calm. And forgiveness. And compassion.

On the way home, Tarrin and I spoke about how the session had been for each of us. I personally had one of the most productive, inspirational, enervating and uplifting "sits" I have ever had. I opened my eyes to hear Pauletta speak about things that addressed some of the personal challenges that I suddenly felt empowered to face and grow through. I'm still feeling the glow. And, although there had been talk amongst us of the gloomy outlook and massive uncertainties in today's world, Tarrin had a wonderful thing to say about her hopes for having children despite those uncertainties. She said that at one time she had been very scared about what the world was coming to and how unfair it would be to bring a child into this mess. A friend pointed out to her that if SHE didn't have any children, it would leave the birth of the next generation to people who might not be as thoughtful or responsible about raising those children as Tarrin would be. Who better to have and raise the next generation than people like Tarrin - and, from my perspective tonight, all of you who are so willing to turn inward and examine those things that are not always easy to explore. From Mary, worrying about her grown son, to Natalie, loving her friend's 2-year-old, it just made me happy to think of all of you raising the bar in my world. I choose to play with you, and you, and you, and you, and, well, just all of you.

Thanks for an evening well spent! Much metta and (as Anthony signs off) may you be loved! Larel.

September 29, 2010

This Sunday - Cultivating the Mind Part 2

Greetings everyone,

Hope that you are all enjoying your Indian Summer. I am subbing for Anthony this Sunday and will be teaching for the next two following Sundays as well. Here is the line-up: This Sunday, Cultivating the Mind Part 2, Next Sunday, the 3rd of October will be Mindfulness and Cultivating Wisdom, and the Sunday after, October 10th will be The Difference Between Ordinary Happiness and True Happiness.

So this Sunday will be both a continuation of my last talk on Cultivating the Mind that I offered to all of you way back on August 1st before I went off on retreat and a logical progression of the Five Aggregates that Rebecca has offered in the last two Sundays of deconstructing the self. I will be offering on the cushion and off the cushion practices on mind training to bring more ease in our daily lives, encouraging being more fully present and engaged especially with those we come in contact with.

I will also be reading and investigating with all of you, short passages from the Dvedhavitakka Sutta or Two Kinds of Thought from the Majjima Nikaya number 19. Those of you who have this book of suttas, can read ahead before we meet on Sunday. It's an inspiring sutta for several reasons. First, the Buddha brilliantly came up with organizing the mind as engaging in two kinds of thoughts: a set of unwholesome thoughts and another corresponding set of wholesome thoughts. With beautiful visual metaphors, he explains the process of working to incline the mind towards more wholesome thoughts. By so doing, we can virtually eliminate the mental activities that tend to habitually cause us distress if not totally, at least to the point that we recognize its arising in the mind and can then decide to incline away from this tendency. The other cool thing is that he did this investigation and practiced with these two kinds of thoughts before he became fully enlightened! So you see there is hope for all of us in this lifetime with a little knowledge of effective techniques and diligent practice! Remember, we can't control our bodies - they will continue to age, sag and become sick but we can definitely control our minds to help decrease our suffering in daily life!

Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday,

Metta and gratitude for your practice and generosity, Pauletta

--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/

September 24, 2010

This Sunday: What the Aggregates Mean

Dear Friends,

I hope you've had a chance to observe some of the "processes of being" at work in your very own mind this week.  I'm looking forward to our meeting Sunday, when we will put our observations together to see what they tell us about our true nature.

Which of the Aggregates, the categories of processes, have you observed most?  In my own experience, seeing Vedana is very hard.  I know it's happening, I can feel the results of that instantaneous liking or disliking, but it's hard to see at the moment it happens.  That's OK, though.  Just knowing that I have this like or dislike because, well, it just automatically happened, allows me to hold my preferences a little more lightly.

It's interesting to observe what happens with these hitch hiker attitudes, once we start making decisions.  In fact, it's this process that I find easiest to observe:  Sankhara, where mental formations morph into motive, or volition.  And it's soooo informative to watch this process.  We can learn so much about how bad decisions are made!  :-)    If you haven't yet, you might try the Practices # 8 - 10 on the handout from last Sunday, which I e-mailed out on Monday.

I just got an e-mail today with some information that explains a lot about American politics while illustrating the point Buddha made repeatedly, that we should beware of our own tendency to cling to views.  Here's the (scanned & virus free) main points:

In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.

How can we have things so wrong, and be so sure that we're right? Part of the answer lies in the way our brains are wired. Generally, people tend to seek consistency. There is a substantial body of psychological research showing that people tend to interpret information with an eye toward reinforcing their preexisting views. If we believe something about the world, we are more likely to passively accept as truth any information that confirms our beliefs, and actively dismiss information that doesn't. This is known as "motivated reasoning." Whether or not the consistent information is accurate, we might accept it as fact, as confirmation of our beliefs. This makes us more confident in said beliefs, and even less likely to entertain facts that contradict them.

Also, you might just take a quick look at Practices 11-13 over the weekend, because I suspect we'll get around to talking about these questions Sunday evening. 

Can't wait,
Rebecca

--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/


September 21, 2010

Working with the Aggregates or Processes of Being

Dear Friends,

On Sunday evening, we discussed Buddha's teaching on how to cut through the ignorance about our true nature which is at the root of clinging -- the cause of suffering.  This teaching works not through intellectual reasoning but through direct experience, through certain practices.  I presented the diagram that's attached to this message and elaborated on how the 5 categories, or Aggregates, operate together.  The diagram lists 13 practices related to this teaching on the Five Aggregates.

The practices are meant to be done in order.  In other words, work with simply identifying which category you're experiencing and observe it changing, first -- don't skip way down the list. 

Note that consciousness is aware of all the other categories, and in this way they influence each other.  Practice # 9 says to watch how Sanna influences Sankhara.  # 10 asks what other factors influence Sankhara, or Volition.  Here it's asking you to explore what mental factors might come to your awareness such as past experiences, attitudes, assumptions and mental habits.

Don't worry about doing this 'right.'  Any exploration you do of these "processes of being" can provide valuable insight into your true nature and how to reduce -- even end -- your suffering.

Wishing you the best,
Rebecca

--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/


September 17, 2010

This Sunday: What Are We?

We know that clinging is the cause of suffering -- but what is the cause of the clinging?  It is ignorance about our true nature, causing us to live in delusion and make mistakes over and over.

Buddha gave a teaching that can cut through this delusion and ignorance, not intellectually but through direct experience. 

Join us this Sunday from 7 to 8:30 pm and find out how to look directly into the workings of your own mind.  See what "you" are made of and why the truth is so different than most people think.

The "Five Aggregates" is a teaching that is often misunderstood.  My goal for the evening is to make it not just simple but readily available for you to use on a daily basis so that you can free yourself from the mistakes and suffering that so often plague our lives.

I'm looking forward to seeing you again,
Rebecca
--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/


September 15, 2010

INQUIRING MIND BENEFIT/DANCE PARTY - OCT. 2nd

Hello everyone,
 
Here is a nice dharma event coming up by Inquiring Mind a BUddhist magazine that I wanted all of you to be aware of.
Hope you are all having a great week!
 
Metta, Pauletta
----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Dennis Crean <dcrean@inquiringmind.com>
Sent: Tue, September 14, 2010 11:21:19 AM
Subject: INQUIRING MIND BENEFIT/DANCE PARTY - OCT. 2nd

Friends and Inquiring Mind Readers,

Just a reminder about the first-ever Inquiring Mind Benefit/Dance Party coming up on Saturday, October 2nd. This will be a fun opportunity for the Bay Area Dharma Community to come together to dance, be entertained, and just have a great time—while helping to support the journal that has been part of this community for 27 years. I hope to see you there!

All the details about this event are in the attached flier. Here are the bullet points:

            Date and Time:  Oct. 2, 7:30 –10:30pm
            Place:  Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda, Berkeley, 94707
            Music by CLASSIFIED  (a great dance band!)
            Performances by Wes Nisker and Nina Wise
            Special Musical Guest: Kevin Griffin
            Suggested Donation:  $20 - $100 per person
            (Proceeds to support the continuing publication of Inquiring Mind)
 
Tickets are available for purchase by regular mail, postmarked by Sept. 20th. Checks only. Please include your email address so we can send you a confirmation. Mail your donation to: Inquiring Mind Dance Benefit, PO Box 9999, Berkeley, CA 94709
 
Tickets will also be available at the door—by Cash or Check only.
 
Please forward this message to other people you know who are part of the Dharma community, or readers of Inquiring Mind, or friends who just might enjoy an evening out!
 
Please do come and help make it a great evening!
 
Peace,
 
Dennis Crean
Managing Editor
Inquiring Mind




--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/


September 13, 2010

So what do we do once we unmask the root underneath the hindrance?

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for your sharing last night - it was really rich and much courage was revealed overall to work with the Hindrances (Nivarana).

So if fear underlies aversion, we can investigate and see if it is based on a belief about what may or may not happen in the future, whether there is anything we can do to alleviate it, either through further examination, discussion with someone who would understand what we are going through, and to try to relax and breathe into the part of the body that contracts in the fear.

If sensual desire is masking sorrow, unmet needs, stress, or other things we may be trying to avoid by indulging in the sensual desire, this is where our real work begins. We need to first be with the sorrow, unmet need, stress etc. feel it in the body, how it manifests and then when some acceptance of it arrives, begin to investigate it further if necessary.

RAIN is the universal mnemonic that we can use as a tool to learn to work with all things difficult: emotion, thoughts, hindrances.

R is for Recognition of what is arising that's difficult and challenging.
A is for Acceptance that it is present.
I is for Investigation when we attempt to detach ourselves somewhat from the difficulty so we can examine it more closely.
N is for Non-identification with the difficulty. Knowing that we are not the anger that is present nor that we are an "angry" person, that the difficult state like every other conditioned state that arises is impermanent and will pass.

May you all have a fruitful week of practice and living in your daily lives,

Pauletta



--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/

September 8, 2010

This Sunday: The Last 3 Hindrances

Hello Everyone,

Hoping to see all of you this coming Sunday for the last 3 hindrances:3)sloth and torpor 4) restlessness and worry and 5) doubt
I will present antidotes to help the challenging and difficult process of practicing with getting to know these hindrances when they arise, a little bit more palatable and less discouraging.

Much metta and gratitude for your practice, Pauletta

--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/

September 6, 2010

Practicing with the Hindrances of Sensual Desire and Aversion for the rest of the week - Antidotes, and quotes, announcement for a daylong on Practicing with Physical LImitations next Sunday at East Bay Meditation Center

Hello Everyone,

Really enjoyed coming back after a long time away last night. Welcome to Sue Baizerman who came for the first time.

For those who weren't there last night, Rebecca wanted me to announce that there will be a daylong course next Sunday at the East Bay Meditation Center on "Practicing with Limitations".

From Analayo on Sensual Desire, "The particular dynamic of sensual desire is such that, every time a sensual desire is gratified, the act of gratifications fuels ever stronger subsequent manifestations of the same desire."

Antidotes to sensual desire: contemplating the potential harm indulgence can cause, or the inevitable end of all things physical and how briefly satisfaction lasts (anicca or impermanence); Recall your intention to practice

Antidotes to aversion: realize that aversion itself is a form of suffering and offer loving-kindness to yourself and the object of your ill-will. As per Analayo, "...often the irritating or repulsive feature of phenomena has received undue attention." (here he is referring to anger or disgust one may have towards another being. He goes on to say, "A direct antidote to such one-sided perception is to ignore the negative qualitites of whoever is causing one's irritation, and to pay attnetion instead to whatever positive qualities can be found in him or her" (I'm definitely not denying the difficulty of practicing this antidote, because particularly in regards to the level of intensity of aversion we have towards someone, our mind just doesn't want to incline to looking at their positive qualities, however it is still worth trying. I've been successful a few times with one person in particular in my life, but then I seem to slide right back into aversion again the next time. But at least I'm recognizing it and not just automatically reacting anymore) Last antidote is to try to relax and bring warmth to the parts of our body that are manifesting the aversion strongly.

Next Sunday, I will be speaking about the remaining 3 hindrances, restlessness and worry, sloth and torpor and doubt. I look forward to hearing your check-ins if you decide to undertake some practice with the first two hindrances this week. Happy practicing! Remember metta and don't judge yourself harshly. The rewards will come slowly but in a deep way if we persist!

Much metta and gratitude for you all, Pauletta
--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/

September 1, 2010

The Hindrances (Nivarana, in Pali) - learn what hinders us in our sitting and daily life practices from clarity, being wise, getting concentrated and staying on track

Hello Everyone,

Very grateful to be back from the most difficult retreat I've ever done so far!!

This coming Sunday the 5th of September, we will be looking at the 5 Hindrances. They are basically blocks to our mindfulness practice on and off the cushion. I will be presenting them as the beautiful visual metaphors which the Buddha used to describe their arising, the antidotes to deal effectively with them and then the metaphors which he used to describe the liberating ways in which we feel when they are no longer there.
This is where our practice can get challenging, but the rewards are huge and empowering to our awakening minds and hearts.  Therefore, have courage, patience(khanti), viriya (energetic effort) and perseverence (aditthana) to embark on this journey with me!

Also, don't forget to consider taking the Satipatthana Sutta workshop with Rebecca and I starting the first Saturday morning in October! See flyer attached,

See you soon, Pauletta


--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/


August 27, 2010

This Sunday: Practice


Hi everyone,


Over the last few months I've been going through the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path on the nights I lead the group. This past weekend we looked at the last group of topics for the Eightfold Path.  All in all, it was a lot of information over the many weeks where I've been focusing on these core teachings of Buddhism.


So, I thought it would be a good idea to wrap it up by exploring how we work with all of this material.  How does it affect our meditation practice?  And, how does it affect our lives?  As an extension of this, I may explore the general idea of incorporating teachings in our practice.


There is so much material to study, and here we are sitting silently with our eyes closed. How are the two related?


Well, I hope many of you will join me this Sunday night.  I'm looking forward to it as this group is so inspiring every week.


With Gratitude,
Anthony

August 19, 2010

This Sunday: Practice


Hi friends,


This week we will continue the series I've been leading on the Noble Eightfold Path.  We will look at the last three path factors which make up the meditation component (or mental training, you could say).  These three are Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.


As Eastern religions have come to the west, and in this case Buddhism specifically, the mental training component has been stressed, expanded upon, and in some cases become the only focus of practice. I will talk a little about what this means to us, and deal more with how these three aspects of the path relate to the rest of the path and to each other. Hopefully, this will provide some context for next week's topic which is approaching the entire path as practice.


I hope many of you will join us this Sunday and that you have a great Friday and weekend until then.


With Care,
Anthony