September 15, 2011

This Sunday: Greed, Hatred and Delusion Part 3

Hello Everyone,

May this find you all well and more or less adjusted to the Fall season.

Don't forget to register for the Mind Training Workshop - see postcards attached. I will be distributing a lot of handouts at the first session, so it would be helpful to get a head count sooner rather than later, as I will be gone on retreat the week before the workshop begins and back the day before it starts. Yikes!!! I'm sure it will be fine. Steve will be attempting to answer emails regarding registration the week of Sept 23 to 30th while I'm on retreat. There's still plenty of room in the workshop.

A second exciting development is that Martha Kay Nelson who came to the sangha to speak about the grief workshops upcoming, and I have secured a venue and dates for the workshop. Starting October 13th Thursday, from 7-9 pm, they will be on 5 consecutive Thursdays. October 27th will be the film, "Gifts of Grief" with the filmmaker herself to present it to us and there will be a panel discussion afterwards. She is donating the film to us at the sangha and we will circulate it just like we have the Dhamma Brothers. The venue will be at Trinity Lutheran Church on Central Avenue, closer to Sherman. It's not necessary to register - just show up and it's also not necessary to attend all 5 sessions, but they will probably be in a kind of serial format, with one session leading up to the next, etc. It will be dana based as usual, with all dana going to the church. You can read more about the film in this issue of Inquiring Mind, called Passages.

We will also be having our first Alameda Sangha potluck at McKinley Park, around 5 pm. It is about 2-3 blocks away from Park Street on Buena Vista on the same side as the church where we meet at 7. Bring food and drink to share.

After the potluck, we will meet as usual at 7 pm at the church and the topic for the talk will be Delusion or my preferred translation from the Pali, Confusion. It is the third kilesa or root of suffering and is really one of the three major unwholesome mind states that we try to turn away from and practice to reset our default system in our brain and incline our mind instead to more wholesome states like the Paramis which we explored together (Equanimity, which is the last Paramis will be presented on Christmas, December 25), the Four Brahmaviharas: metta (lovingkindness), mudita (boundless joy), karuna (compassion) and upekkha (equanimity), amongst the 7 Factors of Awakening, the list goes on.

Remembering that when we do happen to get caught in unwholesome mental states, that it isn't our "fault" but really due to our conditioning, thankfully, the teachings offer ways in which to first notice that these are arising with the tool of mindfulness and increased awareness, and ways to work once they have taken hold, how to incline our minds away from them, feel into and appreciate the wholesome when these arise or replace the unwholesome (this is how we change our default settings in the brain), and finally how to maintain the wholesome through daily life practice and reinforcing what we learn to more and more give us moments of peace and harmony in our lives. Sounds good, doesn't it? Whom amongst you does not want to be happy?

See you all soon,
with gratitude and appreciation for your practice, Pauletta

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