January 31, 2013

This After Super Bowl Sunday at Alameda Sangha: The Fourth Noble Truth: The Way to the Cessation of Suffering is the Noble 8Fold Path

Hello Everyone,

This Sunday, to accommodate those who would like to watch the end of the Super Bowl, we will be doing a 45 minute sitting meditation. Please come at any time and just enter quietly if we are still meditating. As always, the talk will be offered shortly after the 5 minute stretch break.

Come and explore the 4th Noble Truth. It is important to incorporate sila(virtue), panna(wisdom) and samadhi(concentration and mindfulness) practices in order to begin to have insights in one's practice. The 8 Factors will be offered not as a set of rules to be followed in order to become a good person, but rather to be reflected upon and contemplated in one's life in order to gain peace of mind and harmony of lifestyle.

Hope to see most of you this Sunday,

with metta, Pauletta

January 28, 2013

Practice for the Week: The Third Noble Truth - the Truth of the Cessation of Dukkha (Suffering)

Hello Everyone,

For this week, continue practicing with the First and Second Noble Truths, seeing our suffering in daily life, and then seeing with our mindfulness how craving takes us straight down the road to suffering. With the Third Noble Truth, it is important to see how suffering arises and passes away and then from this, that we shouldn't grasp on and identify with the suffering since it doesn't stay around forever.

Today I will have an MRI (my first ever!) and despite my practice, am very scared about doing it due to the claustrophobic conditions and length of time that one has to be inside the tube. Please send good wishes. I will really appreciate it. It happens around 4 pm this afternoon,

Thanks for your contributions to a mind not clinging last night,

with metta, Pauletta

January 24, 2013

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha: The Third Noble Truth - The Cessation of Dukkha (Suffering)

Hello Everyone,

Come and explore with me the Third Noble Truth which is about the Cessation of Suffering. If you have through some focused practice this week in examining dukkha, experienced moments of a mind without clinging, then you already have had the joy of a moment of liberation in the cessation of suffering. We can have some time to share any of these moments before the dharma talk this Sunday.

Looking forward to seeing all of you.

with metta to you, Pauletta

January 21, 2013

Practice for the Week: The Second Noble Truth

Hello Everyone,

I apologize for the double email today. Guess my fingers were typing too fast. So hopefully I can slowwwwww dowwwwwn and breathe.

"There are two kinds of suffering.The suffering that leads to more suffering and the suffering that leads to the end of suffering. If you are not willing to face the second kind of suffering, you will surely continue to experience the first." Ajahn Chah, A Still Forest Pool

With regards to our practice, the 'suffering that leads to the end of suffering' is in the effort that we put in getting to know our suffering in our lives better, with more scrutiny, a willingness to be curious and ardent investigation. Hopefully we can all be courageous and step up to the challenge because the rewards are so wonderfully liberating and lightening of our daily load of stress that we seem compelled to carry without questioning it very much.

So this week, after noticing that which can potentially lead to our suffering over, we can examine more closely what takes us there. How is it that we jump so quickly to craving and carry out that which satisfies our desires that may lead to on to more suffering for us? This is what the Buddha asks us to do in the Second Noble Truth in identifying the origin of dukkha as tanha or craving.

One quick lab experiment we can try. When we are experiencing the classic midafternoon slump at work, and our mind says, "hey! why don't I take a latte break!" Notice how this thought manifests in the body. Is it excitement? Is there a quick shuffling of the feet leading out towards the door? What is happening in the mouth? Is the tongue salivating with the anticipation of the taste of the latte? Pleasurable thoughts looking forward to the ritual of standing in the coffee line? Paying for it, getting it, then stirring in one's favorite additives, be it honey, raw sugar or (ughs) white processed sugar. We never take the time to actually slow down the film take and watch the various steps that get us from the thought of desire to actually indulging the desire. This is important to watch! It will help us with the bigger potentially wrong decisions we could make for ourselves and/or others in the future.

Hoping that this will inspire you all to practice,


January 16, 2013

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha: The Second Noble Truth: The Origin of Dukkha (Suffering)

Hello Everyone,

Come this Sunday and explore together the three kinds of desire that can lead us to craving which is the origin of dukkha.(suffering)

1) Delights of the senses (kama tanha)
Watch and notice how many times a day we move towards pleasurable distractions because we are bored or can't be with what is.

2) Desire to become something (bhava tanha)
A good example of how to practice with this is discussed in the article The Artist as a Full Human Being, in my newsletter. Click to read

3) Desire to get rid of something (vibhava tanha)
Wanting a situation, someone or a mental state to go away rather than trying to work with it in the body and to investigate the relationship that we have towards that which we want to be gotten rid of.

Looking forward to seeing you all this Sunday,
with metta, Pauletta

January 14, 2013

Practice for the Week: The First Noble Truth - There is suffering

Hello Everyone,

Thank you all for coming last night. I felt nurtured by your practice and presence.

Here is the reflection I mentioned towards the end of the talk last night:

Is there some aspect of suffering in my life that I would like to be able to know better so I can change my relationship to it?

Spending a few minutes or so everyday this week contemplating this, recognizing the habitual pattern that makes the suffering repeat itself and then thinking about another way of responding the next time, are good places to start.

See you next Sunday for the Second Noble Truth, the origin of suffering.

with metta, Pauletta

January 9, 2013

This Sunday, January 13, 2013 at Buena Vista United Methodist Church: The Four Noble Truths- The First Noble Truth

Hello Everyone,

Come and explore the very first teaching of the Buddha. When the Buddha realized that this was the way to the end of all suffering, and reached awakening, he decided to never share it with anyone because he felt it to be too difficult and subtle to grasp. Hear the story of how he came to decide to do otherwise which is how we are fortunate to have his teachings up to this very day! I will be offering each Noble Truth as a teaching for the next 4 consecutive Sundays! Don't miss the chance to hear these teachings in their proper sequence and in its entirety!

Second, here is the link to my Winter Newsletter 2013 with new artwork, two good dharma articles on humility and acceptance, and one article on anatta or not-self, as well as a yummy recipe to try.

Last, I am in need of a ride to the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies in Redwood City early Friday morning, the 18th of this month. I would need to be there by 8:30 am. Steve (my husband can pick me up at 5 later that day) My usual carpool buddy who habitually drives us both there on Fridays, is not able to go this particular Friday. I am unable to drive myself over due to this autoimmune condition which makes it difficult for me to drive in long, stop and go traffic which is how it is both ways over and back. My legs cramp up and my feet feel number and more tingly having to constantly shift back and forth between the brake and gas pedals. It's really the pits! But if no one is able to do this, no worries, please. I am just trying my best to not have to miss this once a month meeting for the Chaplaincy program.

Thank you all for your practice and looking forward to seeing you all this Sunday,

January 3, 2013

Precepts for a New Year & Beginners Class

Happy New Year, Dear Friends!

If you can be free from the habits that cause suffering NOW, making every moment new and full of opportunity, does that mean you can go wild and Do Anything?

Well, seriously, it's obvious the answer to that is, no.  Last week as we explored our dreams and resolutions for the new year, I offered one guiding principle for walking the Eightfold Path: loving kindness.  With metta in our heart-minds, we will naturally make decisions that liberate us and avoid harming others.

But there are moments when our hearts and minds are not all that loving and kind.  Like when we're wounded by those "first arrows" of life.  When we've forgotten that we can be free, right now. 

What guidance do the teachings offer us for those times?  Well, plenty, actually.  Not as rules that can't be broken without punishment, but as guidelines and support as we travel this path.  Come this Sunday 7-8:30pm and bring a friend to help us explore how the 3 aspects of the Eightfold Path concerned with conduct, and the five precepts offered for lay people can help us become generators of happiness for ourselves and the world around us.

And if you think of yourself as a Beginner, or have questions about your practice, please come early on Sunday for a 20-minute class that will begin at 6:40 pm.

Best wishes,