May 26, 2011

This Sunday: Tranquility :-)

Dear Friends,

We are more than halfway through our study of those 7 mental factors in our practice that lead to awakening.  Overall, there is mindfulness, and then the three arousing factors of effort, investigation and rapture, which we've covered.  Balancing these energizing factors are tranquility, concentration and equanimity. 

This Sunday we'll spend some time with tranquility.  The mind needs to relax to open to the full truth of what is.  Stopping, letting go, spending time in nature, simplifying -- these are some of the routes to that tranquil place in the heart that opens up to liberation.

I look forward to seeing you again, hearing about your efforts with Truthfulness (from last week) and sharing thoughts about how we can encourage tranquility of mind.

With metta,
Rebecca

May 23, 2011

7th Paramis: Sacca or Truthfulness Practice Guide for the Week

Hello Everyone,
Thanks for your attention last night. It was a great discussion.
So for this week, here are 2 practices with Wise Speech that you can try. Report back to me via email, the Alameda Sangha blog through comments and/or Rebecca when she teaches this Sunday night on the results of your efforts.
Focus on and do only one of the following but not both:
1) Deep Listening - Finding your breath as the anchor and moving it towards the background of your awareness, also bring some attention to your body, particularly the heart center and the belly areas. Do this right before listening to someone during your day. Set the intention to fully listen to what they are saying to you, allowing them to fully express themselves without interrupting (noticing your body sensations and how it may be reacting to something they say that may trigger a contraction or tightness), not finishing their thoughts for them out loud, and not conveying the semblance of listening but really waiting for them to finish so you can then say what you have been waiting to say back to them, and see how this verbal interaction is different from your usual ones.
2) Before saying something, to anyone, see if what you are about to say is true, helpful, kind and appropriate (good timing and not gossip). Remember that all these 4 aspects have to be in place in order for it to be Samma Vacca or Wise Speech.
May you all have a fruitful week of practice,
With gratitude and light, Pauletta

May 19, 2011

7th Paramis: Sacca or Truthfulness this Sunday, May 22 from 7-9 at Buena Vista United Methodist Church

Hello Everyone,
May this find you all well. I am glad to be coming upon the end of what has been a hectic week for me with prom frenzy and ongoing college search drama in the family. I am hoping to reach some grounding and balance with the group this Sunday after all the hoopla!
So we are back to the Paramis and our joint exploration of cultivating these perfections together. Last Sunday in my talk on Are These Teachings for us? I mentioned that for me the Buddhist teachings brought instant gratification whenever I would try out the recommended tools and techniques in my daily life and interactions with others. So in cultivating Sacca, I can assure  you that you will experience instant results right away and see its benefits quickly.
Come and discover the simple 4 tools and techniques to use in cultivating Sacca with me this Sunday evening. Hope to see you all there!
Enjoy the better weather, with metta,
Pauletta

May 11, 2011

Are These Teachings for Us? this Sunday May 15th 7-9 pm at Buena Vista United Methodist Church Alameda, CA

Hello Everyone,
I'm so glad to be back from the delta! Below, here is a link to the sutta that my talk this coming Sunday will be based on. You may want to read it ahead of time so that you will be somewhat in tune with what I will be saying.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.065.than.html
The talk will be addressing what we can consider whenever at some point in our lives we decide to embark upon a spiritual practice, what we should be aware of in contemplating what teachings and/or teacher to embrace. The Buddha clearly outlines in this sutta the necessary criteria that can attune us to what is helpful for us in this life. It's an amazing teaching that everyone can adopt as a general guide no matter what spiritual tradition or teaching one decides to follow. You will see what I mean when we explore it together this Sunday from 7-9 pm.
And now, let's take a moment to close our eyes, set the watch if need be for a minute and breathe. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. In and out, focus on the sensation of breathing and just be here right now. Just for 60 seconds. ....................................................................
.............................................................................................................................................................................................
How was that? How does your body feel right now? How does the mind feel? Reconnect with your hands and feet on the ground.
The last thing I will say about this teaching of the Buddha, is that it is also known as his "charter of free inquiry" and explicity discourages blind belief in anything while at the same time really doesn't advocate personal opinion as directing a path of practice. It's all about making wise choices.
With that said, I hope you will come to join me this Sunday to explore this amazing teaching together. It will be great to reconnect with you all once again. I will bring baby photos for all who are interested to look at during break or after our time together.
And finally, the piece de resistance............the most all encompassing form of spiritual practice that my daughter in Louisiana is fully engaged in, whether she likes it or not....................................VOila!!

Thanks for indulging me, much metta and good wishes for a fruitful rest of the week of practice,

Pauletta

May 5, 2011

Sangha this Sunday, May 8th

Hi everyone,
I hope you're enjoying the warm weather.  We'll be meeting this week after our 'spring break' last week.  I hope many of you enjoyed the church's bazaar.

This week, I'm going to be talking a little about two different ways of approaching dharma; practice and study.  How can they be used to compliment each other; and are there dangers of having an approach that focuses on one more than the other?  I'll also bring a copy of the Dhammapada, which is a short but potent text that is very accessible for bridging the possible gap between textual tradition and practice.

Hope to see you Sunday,
Anthony