March 29, 2012

Sun, 4/1 7-8:30pm Gradual Awakening

Dear Friends,

Most of us who meditate for a while understand that we're on a path that progresses through our lives.  Much of the Buddhist teachings point to Awakening, Enlightenment, Liberation or Nivana as the direction in which this path takes us.  After hearing so much about these seemingly far reaches of the path, it can be difficult to imagine how that relates to us.  Surely we've seen benefits from our practice, but how can they be compared to Awakening? 

This Sunday we'll discuss the way our practice unfolds and we keep growing when we continue on the Eightfold Path.  I hope you can join us, and bring a friend.


And don't  forget:

May 6 Meeting Moved to Island Yoga, 911 Central Ave.

Our hosts, the Buena Vista United Methodist Church, will have their annual fund raiser on May 6. An afternoon of music, companionship is offered, along with box dinners for $10. Because the cleaning up after then event may not be complete we will be meeting that evening, at our regular time of 7pm at Island Yoga, at 911 Central Ave.

March 26, 2012

Practice for the Week: the 4 Brahmaviharas

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for coming last night. I'm glad you all found the talk very beneficial. It should be up on the website in a few days.

For this week, last night I suggested a simple but potentially very transforming practice to try this week. When I talked about Upekkha, or Equanimity, I mentioned that, life in general is filled with the extremes of pain and pleasure from any one moment to the next. We can be feeling very balanced, clear and stable at any one moment in our daily life and then all of a sudden we read a disturbing email and it changes our mood completely. So the practice this week is to set aside a period of time, i.e. the next 2 hours of one day in order to be mindful and notice these extremes of pain and pleasure in one's experience.

Then, the key here is to notice how you respond to the change from pain to pleasure or vice versa. Reflect on this response whether or not it was wholesome or skillful and think about it in terms of cultivating Equanimity, particularly the piece about acceptance and letting go.

Reminders and Forgotten Announcement:

1) Next month, Dina will be offering yoga practice on April 22nd instead of on the last Sunday in April.

2) Don't forget to pick up a postcard about the daylong in June with Anthony and the 5 day workshop at the church starting in May.

3) See Sue Baizerman or one of us to buy a chicken teriyaki dinner at the church for their festival May 6 and consider sitting and being part of the Alameda Sangha table while you eat and enjoy the entertainment so that you can let all who are curious about us know what we do.

4) Remember that we will be meeting for Alameda Sangha on May 6 only from 7-9 pm at Island Yoga instead of at the church that night because the festival will not have been cleaned up for us to meet at the church. Details on location on the website, thanks to our web person extraordinaire, Sue Haumeder.

5) My forgotten announcement was to let you all know that I have been accepted into the Zen Hospice Project Program in San Francisco. The 10 day intense training meets on at least two Sundays at the Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco until 6 pm, so I wouldn't be able to get back in time to teach. I will also be away on silent retreat mid-April. So, I won't see you all again until May 20 when I will begin with Metta as the first in a series of the 4 Brahmaviharas. That week, I will remind you all to listen to my talk that I gave last night as a refresher on the Intro and interrelationship of all 4 of them so that we can then move seamlessly into the Metta teaching on May 20.

I will miss you all but hope to perhaps see you on May 6 at the festival if my granddaughter permits!!! Haha!

with metta and gratitude for your practice, Pauletta

March 22, 2012

This Sunday: Yoga with Dina 6-6:45pm and Dharma Talk onThe Four Brahmaviharas 7-9pm

Hello Everyone,

May this find you all well and enjoying the cessation of our much needed rain.

This Sunday, Dina will be offering her last Sunday of the month yoga from 6 to 6:4pm5. Don't forget to come with your mat and any props you may need, i.e. blanket, block, strap, etc.

At 7, I will be offering the teaching on the Four Brahmaviharas. It will be an introduction to the fourqualities: Metta (Lovingkindness), Karuna, (Compassion), Mudita (Sympathetic Joy) and Upekkha (Equanimity). We will also explore each Brahmavihara's near enemy and far enemy. The near enemy is an ego distortion of the heart but very closely resembles each Brahmavihara and can be easily mistaken for either one of the four. The far enemy is also an ego distortion but very easy to spot because it is clearly the opposite of each  Brahmavihara . The next four times I teach, will be devoted to each  Brahmavihara so that we can explore each heart quality in depth. This Sunday's talk will also explore the interrelation between each of the Four Brahamaviharas and how they work together in our practice to support each other and the potential to keep the ego distortions at bay.

Hope to see you all this Sunday for yoga, sitting and talk.

With metta and gratitude for your devotion to practice, Pauletta

March 19, 2012

Practices for the Week: for the Destruction of the Taints

Hello Everyone,

Happy Monday, May this find you all well and ready for the work week. Attached is the postcard with information for the 5 week workshop at the church on Thursday nights with Baruch Golden and I starting in May for the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness Dhammas and the June 2 daylong at Island Yoga with Anthony Rodgers and I. Mark your calendars! Drop-in for the workshop is fine. No need to commit to all 5 nights, although one dhamma does lead into the next.

For this week, please choose one of the two practices below to focus on and I look forward to hearing about it at check in next Sunday evening:

1) For a day, practice seeing impermanence in all aspects of our daily life and formal sitting practice. During sitting as you get more quiet and settled, you can focus your awareness on when a breath begins (with the inhale) and when it ends (with the exhale). Throughout your day, bring some attention to the beginning and the ending of each activity, i.e. a meeting at work, washing the dishes, checking your email, etc.

2) Choose one of the 7 ways for destroying the taints. Put this into practice for a defined period of time.

a) Seeing - practice with seeing and understanding the Four Noble Truths in daily life
b)Restraining - really observing and watching what comes in through the sense doors and how it affects you. Ex. late at night - what happens to the quality of your sleep if you watch an action movie shortly before going to bed?
c) Using - not indulging and using only what is necessary to keep you from getting too cold, hungry or stressed.
d) Enduring - the discomfort of physical sensations and unwelcome words. Practice patience here.
e) avoidance of non-likeminded friends, unsuitable seats and dangerous animals and environments
f) removing arisen thoughts of sensual desire, ill will, cruelty, evil and unwholesome states.
g) developing the 7 enlightenment factors: mindulness, investigation, energy, rapture, tranquility, concentration, equanimity

Don't hesitate to email me with any questions you may have. The talk should be on the website in a few days for review.

with metta, Pauletta

March 14, 2012

This Sunday March 18th at Alameda Sangha: The Sutta on Getting Rid of Cares and Troubles

Hello Everyone,

May this find you well and cozy on our rainy days. There are a number of announcements in this email for the sangha. First, Michael Yoshii, that pastor of the church would like to invite all you and your friends and family to the church spring bazaar festival on May 6. I went last year and it was amazing! The food was yummy and there was a lot of different types of entertainment including the Taiko drums which always make me very emotional - the percussion is so intense. This Sunday, they will be leaving tickets for $10 chicken teriyaki bento boxes. I will leave a separate offering plate for all who are interested.

Michael also asked if anyone at the sangha was interested in hosting a table for Alameda Sangha (there is no charge for the table) and just being available to answer questions about what we do. If so, I could provide postcards for our upcoming daylong with ANthony, and a 5 week workshop starting later in May on the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness that I will be teaching with Baruch at the church this time and not at Island Yoga. Let me know if any are interested in representing us at the festival.

My new  Winter/Spring 2012 Newsletter  is out. There is an article on the Third foundation of Mindfulness and how to work with the mind and all the dukkha it can cause us. It is possible to subscribe to this newsletter if you would like to receive it whenever it comes out. There are two yummy vegan recipes also included and one of my newest paintings from a series inspired by a trip to the desert.

Finally, this Sunday, I will be offering a talk on the teaching in the MN2 translated by Bhikku Bodhi as All the Taints and by Rahula as Getting Rid of all Cares and Troubles. I think it has a lot to offer householders even though in some parts it is directed specifically towards monastics. It is yet another profound teaching that Buddha has to offer us on how to work with dukkha to not keep repeating the same mistakes and to not remain in delusion about the nature of the reality of things.

If you would like to read it before Sunday click here. This is quite a meaty and practice packed sutta so I lovingly advise those of you planning to come on Sunday to take a restorative nap that day to be able to skillfully receive it. I won't be offering all aspects of this sutta in detail due to its density in content and understanding, but have hopefully distilled the most pertinent aspects that could really be helpful to householders living their daily lives and practicing the wonderful teachings that we have inherited from the Buddha. So I look forward to sharing my investigations with you all this Sunday.

With metta, Pauletta

March 8, 2012

Alameda Sangha: Sunday, March 11, 2012; 7-9pm

Hi everyone,

I am looking forward to seeing everyone who is able to make it this Sunday evening.  The topic will be on the divide that exists in Buddhism between practice as a lay person and practice as a monastic. A member of the sangha mentioned several months ago that they were curious about this, and so I've finally got around to addressing this question more fully. I would like to explain some of the history of the lay/monastic categories, investigate how it affects our own engagement with practice, and hopefully hear how some of you work with this apparent distinction in the teachings of the Buddha. Ultimately, I would also like to bring up some questions about whether this divide is as clear as it initially seems, or if the line is actually more fuzzy.

I hope many of you will be able to make it this Sunday at 7pm.

With care,

March 1, 2012

Sun 7-8:30 Stages of Enlightenment

Dear Friends,

The sangha's teaching schedule has undergone some changes to accommodate developments in our personal schedules, and as a result I will be with you this Sunday.  The topic will be "Fetters that Hold Us Back."  In the traditional scheme, enlightenment comes in stages, dependent on our letting go of what binds us to ignorance and delusion, and thus the suffering of samsara. 

Bring a friend and join us as we review this scheme of 10 Fetters and the stages of enlightenment, and discuss contemporary (and our own) views of where this practice leads.

With best wishes for the enlightenment of all,