June 29, 2011

9th Paramis: Metta or Lovingkindness for Sunday July 2, 2011 and Pauletta Chanco's Newsletter

Hello Everyone,

May this find you well and purified from the bizarre rain yesterday!

Come and learn about one of the most important Buddhist practices this Sunday, known as lovingkindness or metta. The definition is the heartfelt wish for the well being of oneself and others. It is a powerful practice that serves many purposes: i.e. an antidote to fear, counteracting the inner critic as many of you got to experience in the Inner Critic Workshop which Anthony and I offered a few weeks ago, and one of many forms of concentration practice amongst others. It also serves as a powerful reflection once undertaken as a daily practice, of oneself and what is truly going on inside oneself be it self-aversion, aversion towards others, the incapacity to feel love in general. With this practice, one cannot hide from oneself. But with perseverence and khanti (patience), establishing a daily metta practice with one's sitting meditation practice can give forth powerful healing, and interconnection with others and the world all around.

Hope to see you all there...much metta, Pauletta

Here's my summer newsletter, Pauletta Chanco Newsletter. I've included my recipe for Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce. Enjoy!

June 28, 2011

8th Paramis: Aditthana Practice for the Week

Hello Everyone,

This week, if you would like to cultivate  Aditthana, here are things to remember and reflect upon:

Four Qualities of Aditthana:

1) Discernement : Setting wise goals/ having a clear understanding of what needs to be done to achieve this
2) Staying true to the goal
3) Relinquishment: Realizing that in order to go through the steps and process necessary to achieve our goals, some things may need to be given up
4) Peace: Keeping the mind calm during the process, no extra suffering, i.e. complaining, etc. and seeing if there is calm once the goal has been achieved.

Happy Practicing. Let me know how it goes at the check in on Sunday when we meet again for Metta.

Metta for your practice,

June 23, 2011

8th Paramis: Aditthana (Resolve or Determination)

Hello Everyone,

May this find you well. I am happy to be back with you all again this Sunday to speak on the 8th Paramis which is Aditthana. Come and find out the four qualities to incorporate in cultivating Determination in our daily lives to accomplish the wholesome goals that we set out for ourselves. The process by which we experience working towards arriving at our goal(s) can truly take us to places in our practice that we never will have imagined. Come and find out how this can happen!

Also, after the dharma talk, we will have a presentation by Martha Kay Nelson who conducts grief workshops at Alameda Hospital and would like to create one for us and others in the community to come and participate in. Bring all your questions on Sunday night to ask of her, be they logistical or exploring different aspects of grief that you would like to suggest she consider incorporating in her proposed workshop.

I am looking forward to sharing Sunday evening with all of you in the support of our spiritual and daily life practice together,

much metta, Pauletta

June 16, 2011

This Sunday: Equanimity

Hi everyone,
This week we will explore the subject of Loss and the inevitable presence of Loss in our life.  I think this is a timely subject to follow Rebeccas talk on Equanimity.

As this weekend is Fathers Day (a helpful reminder for some of you, maybe:)), I hope that some of you will still be able to make it to sangha this Sunday evening.  And if not, I hope you have a great weekend.

Hope to see you soon,

June 14, 2011

Notes from June 12 talk on Equanimity

Dear Friends,

Here are my notes for the talk I gave Sunday on Equanimity, which I'm sending in the hope they might be of some help to some of you.

Best wishes,

Equanimity: a habit of mind that is only rarely disturbed under great strain contrast to composure.
Composure: controlling emotional or mental agitation by an effort of will

Equiniminity is not a dry neutrality or cool aloofness. Equanimity produces a radiance & warmth of being.
The English word "equanimity" translates two separate Pali words used by the Buddha. Each represents a different aspect of equanimity.

1) Upekkha, meaning "to look over." the ability to see without being caught by what we see; gives rise to a great sense of peace.

Upekkha implies sense of ease from seeing a bigger picture. Colloquially, meant (in Pali) "to see with patience," or "understanding." Eg, when we don't take insults personally, we're less likely to react. This "big picture" gives us space to feel our emotions, not get lost in them.

It could be seen as grandmotherly love: she clearly loves her grandchildren but, thanks to her experience, is less likely to be caught up in the drama of her grandchildren's lives.

2) Tatramajjhattata, a compound made of simple Pali words. Tatra, meaning "there," sometimes refers to "all these things." Majjha means "middle," and tata means "to stand or to pose." Put together, the word becomes "to stand in the middle of all this." Being in the middle" refers to balance, remaining centered in the middle of whatever is happening. It comes from inner strength or stability, like a ballast keeps a ship upright in strong winds.

I had the opportunity to help lead a retreat for women in prison with Wendy Palmer, author of The Intuitive Body,  and a 4th level black belt in Aikido. She describes Aikido as a method of entering on: 1) breathing, 2) sensing body's energy field, 3) gravity. If you aren't centered, you cant't do anything. The art of both Aikido and equanimity is always returning to center, or 'balance.' As equanimity develops, we feel it more continuously in balance.

Equanimity is also seen as protection from "eight worldly winds": 1) praise and blame, 2) success and failure, 3) pleasure and pain, 4) fame and disrepute. If attached to success, praise, fame, pleasure, we suffer when the winds of life change direction. For example, success is wonderful, but if it leads to arrogance and failure really hurts. Clinging to praise becomes conceit. If our well-being is independent of these eight winds, we are more likely to remain on an even keel.

Look for supports for equanimity in: 1) virtue (confidence of blamelessness), 2) faith (based on experience & wisdom), 3) steady mind (thru practice), 4) sense of well-being (savoring life's goodness), 5) wisdom (the big picture: karma, understanding when equanimity absent/present), 6) insight (anicca & letting go), 7) freedom (from reactivity: noticing as equanimity increases)

We can develop equanimity in life using these supports. As a Factor of Awakening, the practice is to check for equanimity during meditation (or life), "Is equanimity present?" As with all Seven Factors of Awakening, this checking is often all it takes to evoke the factor.

June 11, 2011

New audio on Alameda Sangha blog/website: Pauletta's guided meditation and other news

Hello Everyone,
Just wanted to share upcoming events and exciting news for the sangha.  Hoping you are all well - I miss you all but will see you soon.
First, our sangha techie extraordinaire, Susan Haumeder, very kindly posted a 12 minute guided meditation recording of my voice on the website/blog so that anyone who wanted to be guided through a meditation sitting could tune in and listen. You would still need to set your own meditation timer as I didn't record 30 minutes of silence and then ring the bell at the end.
I have been creating handmade artist books about meditation in an edition variee of 10 books for the Stage Left Cellars art and wine event on July 2nd (information postcard attached) which I hope you will all come to. I will bring a book to show next time I am at the sangha teaching. I've already pre-sold 2 books to two Dharma practitioners who regularly collect my work.  The book is enclosed in a handmade envelope, with a statement about the interconnection between spiritual practice and art and a CD of me guiding a meditation sitting. Each book sells for $60 and I will donate $20 of it for each book sold to the Insight Prison Project which is a local meditation program similar in some ways to the Dhamma Brothers in the south, right here locally in the prison by Larkspur Landing. It was started by Jack Kornfield at Spirit Rock.
On June 26th, Mary Kay Nelson may be coming to do a short presentation of the Grief workshop she would like to offer for us at Alameda Hospital sometime in the Fall. (This is not completely confirmed, but I will let you all know when I send out my email for the 26th when I will be teaching Aditthana or Determination. This would be a time to ask questions of her in what she can offer, times that would work best, i.e. weekends vs weekday nights, etc.
In the August, I will be hosting at Alameda Sangha on one of the Sundays that I am teaching, the filmmaker of Gifts of Grief. She was interviewed in Passages of the Inquiring Mind current issue on the pages that also have my 3 drawings featured. She will be coming to make a brief presentation about the film, donating it to us as dana (it otherwise costs $65 to purchase) and we will decide to have a showing of the film with panel discussion afterwards at my house in the Fall. This will be by lottery only as I will have to have RSVP's by email and will only be able to have 25 people over in order to sit as comfortably as possible (though this will be still a tight fit) in order to view the film and then discuss it afterwards. We don't have a date yet for this and I may consider doing it twice in the Fall if there is a lot of interest.
Anthony and I will be teaching workshops at Island Yoga once again in the Fall. On two Saturdays in October, the 1st and the 8th, from 1-3 pm, I will be teaching a Mind Training workshop. Anthony and I will be doing a daylong workshop in just practicing (sitting and walking with some yoga movement) from 12-6pm on Saturday, November 5th. Mark your calendars and there will be postcards forthcoming.
This is a lot of good buddhadharma activity to look forward to and I hope you are all as excited as I am.
Thank you all for your attention to our upcoming events. Susan will be posting them on the website as they arise. Don't forget to breathe at intervals throughout your day and remember to notice Impermanence - it's a segway into the two other characteristics of existence, dukkha and anata. There is dukkha in the noticing of anicca because we can't keep holding on to the good things, and dukkha in the anata when we see that we also can't hold on to a firm identification/definition of who we are in any given moment in time.
May you all be well, much gratitude for your practice,

June 7, 2011

This Sunday: Equanimity

Dear Friends,

Equanimity is both a personal trait we can cultivate, as one of the paramis, and a mental factor in our practice that helps lead to awakening.  It is a state of being in the moment that enables us to feel with the full range of emotions, without losing our balance, or suffering terribly.  When we are equanimous, we live with ease and serenity. 

It's a good thing.

Come Sunday 7-8:30 and learn more about equanimity.  I bet your friends would like to know about it, too, so bring them.

See you then,


June 2, 2011

This Sunday: Concentration

Dear Friends,

About 10 years ago I had the great fortune to attend a day-long retreat with Thich Nhat Hahn.  His dharma talk was on Concentration, and what I remember to this day was his frequent and urgent admonition to us all to practice: "You must develop concentration!"  Whether he was talking about daily meditation, daily life or higher states of consciousness, the refrain was the same.  Concentration is the cornerstone of practice.

It's important to appreciate that there are different kinds of concentration, and different uses for them.  When does our practice take us beyond watching the breath?  And what if we stay there?  As a factor of awakening, just what is concentration and how does it work?  How should we work with it?

Come this Sunday, bring friends, and I'll try to answer these questions.

Looking forward to seeing you all,