February 22, 2012

This Sunday: Dana, Sila and Bhavana with Rebecca, Anthony and Pauletta at Alameda Sangha from 7-9 pm 2/26/12

Hello Everyone,

May this find you well and having a good week.

Come and join us this Sunday to hear the teachings on Dana (Generosity), Sila (Ethics) and Bhavana (mental development; mental culture). We will also be acknowledging the volunteers who help Alameda Sangha behind the scenes in numerous ways and exemplify the practice of dana in the heart and mind.

Below are two great links to articles about dana written by Thanissaro Bhikku. He gives a wonderful historical perspective on how it has been practiced in Asia, where most dhamma teachers are monastics vs. mostly laypeople here in the West. The other article, No Strings Attached gives his astute analysis on how the practice of dana has in his opinion, unskillfully transplanted itself here in the West and has taken the same overtones as fund raising with subliminal expectations of contribution at the end of talks, retreats, etc. Given the difficulty of practicing dana and attempting to maintain the purity of it in Asian cultures in our money culture, he still gives alternative methods for us to consider in how dana gets offered and received. Both articles are definitely good reads, stimulating serious reflection for modern Western Buddhists everywhere.



See you all soon,
with metta, Pauletta

February 16, 2012

Sunday 7-8:30 Our relationship to practice

Dear Friends,

Having "Faith in Practice" means having confidence.  It is essential as we meditate, and as we move along the path of this practice.  We need to have confidence that this activity of meditating is worthwhile, and on a more subtle level, we have to trust the practice to do things that we can't accomplish through exercise of will.  This Sunday we'll talk about how this faith develops and how it works for us even when we think our practice isn't working.

The following week will be special.  It will be the last Sunday of the month and Dina will be offering yoga instruction staring at 6:00 pm.  Then at 7:00 pm, all three teachers will lead the meeting.  Anthony, Pauletta and I will talk about the three aspects of lay practice:  Dana, Sila and Bhavana.  That meeting will continue until 9:00 pm.

Looking forward to seeing you all again,

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

February 13, 2012

Buddha's Advice to Laypeople Reflections/Practices for the Week

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for coming and listening last night. The talk should be on the website mid-week. Remember that the three of us will be teaching on February 26th. If the volunteers could make a special effort to be there, we would like to acknowledge what they do for the sangha.

In reflecting on the teaching in the Sigala Sutta this week, think about the nature of our relationships with others, particularly the 6 mentioned by the Buddha: parents and children, teachers and students, partners in committed relationships, employers and employees, householders and monastics. Consider the duties both sets of relationships have in "worshiping" each other as the Buddha spoke about. See if  it is necessary to investigate on a deeper level any aspects of contention or ways in which to have more skillful and wholesome interaction and relationship in the realm of any one or more of these 6 sets of relationships that we can have in our daily lives.

And have a peaceful week of work, practice and life in general,

with metta, Pauletta

February 8, 2012

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha Sigalaka Sutta: The Buddha's Advice to Lay People on How to Live one's life for increased Happiness

Hello Everyone,

I will be offering the teachings from the Sigalaka Sutta where the Buddha advises Sigalaka how best to live his life, but also I will be touching upon some of the Buddha's less popular but equally important suttas on economic and political wholesome ways in which to interact with the rest of the world. He says that it starts with the individual doing their own practice for increased happiness and compassion and kindness towards others, but all those individuals of any one nation can have an impact on the rest of the world.

In the history of mankind, emperor of India in the 3rd Century BC, Asoka, was the only king who upon becoming Buddhist, reigned following the Buddha's principles of non--violence and economic welfare to decrease crime and dissatisfaction in a nation at large.
It proves that despite the naysayers who say that only military power insures peace in a nation, that "....hatred never ceases by hatred, only through love is hatred overcome....." from the Dhammapada.

Also, FYI, my talk for last Sunday on the misconceptions of meditation is now available on the Alameda Sangha website.

Hope to see you all this Sunday,

With gratitude and gladness for your practice, Pauletta

February 6, 2012

Mindfulness of Breathing practice for the Week

Hello Everyone,

Thanks so much for coming last night after the Super Bowl!

Two (hopefully simple) practices to do this week throughout your day is to remember to return to your breath in order to ground back in your body.

Second is to track what is happening in your body when something arises in your waking moment experience that grabs your awareness in a big way, pleasant or unpleasant.

Have a peaceful week,

with gratitude for your practice, Pauletta

February 1, 2012

This Superbowl Sunday, Bhavana: Misconceptions of Meditation

Hello Everyone,

Learn about the real sense and meaning of "bhavana". It's not "meditation"! And maybe explore your own ideas about meditation and what the meaning of a "good" sit might be for you. What did the Buddha have to teach about meditation practice on and off the cushion? This talk hopes to shed some light on what this practice really entails, and how the teachings dispel mistaken ideas that meditation is about getting rid of thoughts, getting somewhere, attaining something, etc. etc.

As another related but different topic, please take some time to visit this link and hear what the well-respected monk and scholar, Thanissaro Bhikku has to say about the "real" practice of dana and how it has gotten somewhat distorted in its transplantation in the West from its Asian Theravada roots. It is truly enlightening!

No Strings Attached offer by Thanissaro Bhikku

Lastly, please don't be afraid to come in late after the Super Bowl. We will be starting off right away with our 30 minute meditation sitting, so anyone wanting to do both on Sunday - the Super Bowl viewing and coming to the sangha, can just mindfully and quietly enter the church. Hope to see you all,

With metta and gratitude for your practice,