February 28, 2011

4th Paramis: Panna or Wisdom Practice Guide #2

Hello Everyone,
Hopefully you are all enjoying the sun today.
Remembering the 4 aspects of Panna as: 1) Cognitive - understanding and knowledge (Pick one of the main teachings of the Buddha to read and study this week, i.e. The Four Noble Truths, seeing how sila and dana can work well together in your daily life, the 8Fold Path, or one of the three characteristics of existence, Annica - impermanence, dukkha - dissatisfactoriness or anatta - non self.
2) Insight - practice watching your thoughts come and go in sitting meditation or for a period of time (like 1 hour) in daily life, really observing their ephemeral qualities. Listen to my talk on Mind Training and see if you can try some of the tools for yourself.
3) Liberating discrimination - our ability to make distinctions between options, perspectives and then to choose a path to follow. Track this when a situation comes up for you in daily life where you find yourself able to have clear thinking in order to go systematically through the steps without being charged or upset in order to reach a wholesome response.
4) The mind which does not cling - try to imagine what it would feel like if your mind was nnot being burdened by  preoccupations, fear, ambitions or desire.
Remember to reflect and ask yourself, (in order to develop discernment) what is skillful? What's unskillful? What can I do that will lead to long-term happiness?
Have a fruitful week of practice, with gratitude, Pauletta

February 24, 2011

4th Paramis: Panna or Wisdom Practice Guide

Hello Everyone,

Hoping you have had a fruitful week of practice with nekkhama. I failed miserably with one incident that I will share at check in, but at least I noticed that I was doing it while it was happening! As I've said before, the practice is not a magic bullet but with persistence, we can only get better in our lives with ourselves and others!

I received what I am designating as the Alameda Sangha copy of the film, The Dhamma Brothers, so I will bring it this Sunday to begin lending out. Maybe one of you can organize a film night at your house, if a few of you are wanting to see it this week. Remember, after the actual documentary, it's best to also look at the Extras on the Main Menu.

Don't forget about the daylong this Saturday at Island Yoga (flyer attached). It's filling up nicely but we can always accomodate more. Come and see how to deepen and intensify your practice a few notches more for more serenity and benefits to daily life.

Finally, this Sunday, come and learn about cultivating 4 aspects of wisdom or panna which is the principal tool on the path to enlightenment. Panna is simply the act of knowing, understanding and discerning that leads to transformation. Buddhism itself has often been referred to as the wisdom tradition so we can see that this Paramis is quite significant as part of the path of awakening and liberation.

Looking forward to seeing all of you this Sunday,

Much metta, Pauletta

February 21, 2011

3rd Paramis: Nekkhama or Relinquishment Practice Guide #2

Hello Everyone,

May this find you well and rejuvenated from the 3 day weekend.

As I closed with last night, here are the Three Ego Renunciation Practices from Phillip Moffit. Best to pick only one to practice with and remember to watch your mind each time you remember to practice the renunciation. What does the ego begin to do? Get angry, justify, strategize or feel sorry for itself?Notice any feelings of liberation from movement away from being solely motivated by desire.

1) Renounce your attachment to being right.
2) Commit to no longer measuring the success of your life by how many of your wants are met.
3) Give up being the star of your own movie.

If any strong responses, questions or need to share experiences come up for any one of you, remember that our blog is the perfect place to post a comment and carry on an ongoing conversation about this Paramis for this week.

See you on Sunday when we will be exploring the 4th Paramis of Panna or wisdom.

Have a fruitful week of practice, much metta, Pauletta

February 17, 2011

Two retreats with Anthony and Pauletta

In 10 days, on Saturday, Feb 26, Pauletta and Anthony will be leading a half day retreat to support us in deepening our practice.

Coincidentally it's called Deepening Our Practice.

You can register on our web site by filling out the form here. To learn more about the Deepening Our Practice event click here.

They will also be leading a month long workshop in May. For four Saturdays from 1-3pm they will offer teachings on Working with the Inner Critic.

Enrollment is limited so please plan early and let us know. They will not be able to accommodate drop-ins.

You can register for this event on our web site too. Fill out the form here. To learn more about this event click here.

3rd Paramis: Nekkhama or Relinquishment Practice Guide

Hello Everyone,

Hope that you are all having a fruitful week of practice and wholesome daily living.

Nekkhama is the third Paramis that we will explore this Sunday. It's unfortunate translation from the Pali to English is renunciation. In the Pali, it means an ease with simplicity or the recognition of the usefulness of simplicity in one's life and spiritual practice. Rather than a giving up as is the sense of the English word renunciation, the real meaning of nekkhama points to a relinquishment or letting go.

Come and share ways in which you have already begun to practice and cultivate nekkhama in your lives. (Maybe in ways you are unaware of!) Looking forward to hearing your insights..........

Also, I highly recommend that you watch The Dhamma Brothers. It is an inspiring documentary (available on Netflix) about how vipassana meditation has transformed the nation's most hardened prisoners at Donaldson Correctional Center in Alabama. It is such a good in-depth exploration on how vipassana works and how it can transform extreme dukkha into a wonderful sense of peace and serenity, that I have bought a copy for the sangha and intend to circulate it amongst you all so you can take turns watching it.

Also attached are: The information/postcard about the 1/2 daylong Anthony and I are teaching at Island Yoga on the 26th. And the info/postcard about our 4 day Inner Critic workshop in May.

See you all this Sunday, may you have a harmonious rest of your week,


February 10, 2011

This Sunday: A Humble Approach; and a request!

Hi everyone,
I (Anthony) will be leading the sangha this Sunday.  I hope many people can make it so we can have some time together exploring the topic of humility, and how it impacts our awareness and our ability to understand.  I love this subject, so I'm going to keep it simple here, but I hope many of you will be there this Sunday.

A couple of other things:  Pauletta, Rebecca, and I want to ask if any of you are interested in taking a little more of an active role in the sangha (community) by arriving ten to fifteen minutes earlier to help us set up.  It will be quite simple and would just involve arranging chairs, setting up the altar with the Buddha, making sure heater is on if necessary, etc.  We would appreciate the support this would provide for us and the entire community.  And, ideally, we would have a few people interested so that it could rotate so one person isn't responsible every Sunday.  Please reply to this email, and then we'll go from there as far as arranging further details.  Thanks for considering this, and thanks in advance for your generosity.

Lastly, as many of you know, Pauletta and I will be leading a half-day retreat on Feb. 26th, 12-6pm.  Please go to the website (below) to see details, and email Pauletta in order to register.  It will help us to prepare if we know how many are coming.  Also, there are minimal chairs at the yoga studio, so if you plan to sit in a chair, you may want to bring your own folding chair if you have one.  (We can always make it more comfy with yoga blankets, so a simple chair will work.)

Alright, thanks for your patience and attention, and I hope to see you Sunday.
With care,

February 3, 2011

This Sunday, Feb. 6, The Value of Retreat Practice

Hi everyone,
This week, I'll (Anthony) be leading the group.  It seems like it's been a while since the last time I was there along with Pauletta and Rebecca in December.  I hope you have had a great start to your year.

The topic this week will be 'retreat practice'.  I thought it would be a good topic as I just returned from a month of being on retreat in Massachusetts.  Also, Pauletta and I will be leading a half-day retreat the last weekend of this month, so we can discuss this Sunday evening such questions as, 'What's the point?'  'Why am I sitting/walking, closing my eyes/meditating for long periods of time?'   'Isn't thirty minutes enough, especially when there are so many things to be done?'  

Well, I'm not going to claim to know the answers to these questions, but this is where the practice of meditation and extended periods of meditation can become relevant for you.  Why are we doing this?

I wish you a gentle end of your week and weekend, and I'll look forward to seeing many of you Sunday night.
With care,