November 28, 2012

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha: The nuns from Aloka Vihara

Hello Everyone,

This Sunday we have a real treat and exciting event! The nuns from Aloka Vihara will be coming and will offer a dharma talk to us. Here is the link to their website if you would like to learn more about them.

This will be the first time in the history of Alameda Sangha that monastics will be coming to offer us teachings. It will be a chance to experience the embodiment of the Buddhadharma in monastics who have dedicated the rest of their lives to practice and helping those around them (as bodhisatvas) to lessen suffering.

Please reserve the date and Anthony and I will see you all there!

with metta,

November 26, 2012

Practices for the Week: Simple Practices to do with Your Partner

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for all your rich contributions last night in the discussion following the talk, When Your Partner Doesn't Practice. It was definitely a beneficial exploration together that was much appreciated by all.

For this week, please pick only one of the following suggested practices and set the intention to work together to see what is forthcoming through concerted efforts.

1) Gratitude Practice aka Appreciation Practice: Sit quietly together in meditation and spend some time opening the heart. One in the couple can guide a simple lovingkindness meditation sitting. Afterwards, open the eyes and take turns speaking with the other deeply listening and bring forth 2-3 things that the one speaking appreciates about the other who is listening. Reverse roles. Spend time with each aspect of appreciation to have a felt sense in both persons' bodies, look at one another's eyes and feel into how and why these aspects have contributed to a loving and committed relationship between the two persons.

2) Vulnerability Practice: Taking the time to sit together as in the instructions above, open the eyes and take some time together to reflect and discover areas of vulnerability within each other, setting the intention to trust and have the courage to speak to one another about. Ex. it could be shame that one in the couple does not feel as though they measured up in terms of providing for the family, afraid to admit fear in the face of aging, wanting to spend more time with the other but not knowing how to ask, etc.

3) Impermanence Practice: Here we can really feel into and mark by noting/verbalizing the beginnings and endings of our daily life activities together and separately. So the beginning of the day, waking up and taking some time to feel into the stirrings of consciousness, moving the awareness into the body, then getting up together. Saying goodbye to one another as each leaves each other for the day, coming back together at the end of the day, beginning to prepare and then eat dinner together, etc etc. The point of the practice is to notice with a higher degree of mindfulness the beginnings and endings of how we go through our day in our lives together.

Hoping that you will all have a productive week of practice. Do not forget that the nuns are coming next Sunday. This will be the very first time that our sangha will have a night of monastic teachers! Should be an exciting event. Below is the link to the Aloka Vihara website to the history of how it came to be and how the nuns decided to come to the US from the UK.

Aloka Vihara Website and the Saranaloka Foundation who supports them.

with metta, Pauletta

November 21, 2012

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha, November 25, 2012 from 7-9 pm: When Your Partner Doesn't Practice

Hello Everyone,

Deep breath for tomorrow's beautiful holiday: Thanksgiving. Remember to set intentions to give yourself some renewal time, especially if you are in charge of the turkey and hosting the holiday, but even if you are travelling to relatives and anticipate some moments of contention, we can set the intention to be kind and respectful without being a doormat or losing ourselves in past deep conditioning ways of relating to whomever we may be dreading coming in contact with.

Announcements: This Sunday, November 25th, Dina will be teaching yoga at 6 pm at the church. Bring your own mat and any other favorite props that you like to use, i.e. strap, block, blanket, etc.

The Aloka Vihara nuns will be visiting us and giving us a dharma talk on Sunday, December 2 at the church. Here is the link to their website if you would like to find out more about them.
Ayya Anandabodhi will be coming to speak so you can listen to her talks on the website to see how she offers the dharma if you are curious.

This Sunday, I will be speaking from direct experience (without airing any dirty laundry of course!!) about how to arrive at your own mutual resolution when your partner doesn't practice by relying on your inner wisdom which we all have cultivated for ourselves through this beautiful practice. This segways from my talk last Sunday on Balancing the Fetter of Delusion with Wisdom. This talk will be up on the website soon.

Hoping that you can come and explore this area of daily life householder practice with me, of course bringing any of your own insights and questions to this topic.

with metta, Pauletta

November 15, 2012

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha, November 18, 2012: Balancing the Fetter of Delusion with Wisdom

Hello Everyone,

Hoping that everyone is able to consider the practice of Equanimity or Upekkha as the holiday closely approaches. Deep breaths and relax one's posture!

This Sunday I will be offering how to balance the fetter of delusion, (which is the last in the list of the Three Poisons) with wisdom or panna. This is the last talk in the series of 7 which I introduced with the Six Sense Spheres. There will be a quick overview of the teachings on the Six Sense Spheres (the talks I gave are available on line if any would like to listen to them before this Sunday or sometime in the future) and how to work with the most common three fetters that cause us suffering: Greed, Hatred and Delusion.

Then, we will look at how to recognize delusion as it presents itself in our daily lives, because when we are deluded, how would we know that we are? Finally, we will explore ways to cultivate wisdom in order to transform and dispel delusion. Hoping that you will join me in this fruitful exploration and practice.


The nuns from Aloka Vihara in San Francisco will be visiting us on Sunday, December 2. We will be requesting them to give us a dharma talk on that evening. Please click on the link below if you would like to learn more about them and what they do and offer in their San Francisco digs.

with metta for your practice, Pauletta

November 8, 2012

Sun 7-8:30pm Wholehearted Living

Dear Friend,

A new friend once told me her goal in life was to get the most out of living. We chatted about travel, and love, and fine things, and eventually she said, "You know, I guess the best way to live fully is to be really present for your experience." Thus began a long, deep friendship.

Commercials would have us believe that wholehearted living takes gusto, enthusiastically grasping what we want. When we're talking about opening to whatever is in the moment (without any grasping), what is the right approach? What about days when we're tired or sick or distracted by powerful emotions? Can we live wholeheartedly even on off days?

Come this Sunday with a friend and we'll explore this question together.

With metta,

November 1, 2012

Sunday 7-8:30 pm Forgiveness

Dear friends,

"Forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past." – Jack Kornfield and/or Lily Tomlin

Imagine having no regrets, no guilt or shame about anything: a conscience completely at ease, utterly at peace with your past. Even the little embarrassments, times you mis-spoke and never suspected you'd hurt someone until it was far too late. All gone. Forgiven. There's an expression in the suttas: the bliss of blamelessness.

Now imagine the mirror image: letting go of resentment about every misstep others have made. Feelings that no longer hurt. The grudge almost too heavy to carry, finally dropped like another dead weight on the rock pile, your arms lifting with the delight of release. At peace with your past experience.

What separates us from the bliss of such acceptance? What clinging keeps us from being free of these burdens? Come this Sunday, 7-8:30 pm, with your own stories in mind, of forgiveness found or refused, and help us explore together what binds us to this form of suffering – and what can liberate us. Bring your friends.