April 25, 2013

Sympathetic Joy

Dear Friends,

When our hearts open to other beings, they resonate with compassion when we observe suffering, and with joy when we see happiness. This Sunday I will share with you stories that illustrate our often under-developed capacity for sympathetic joy.

Like life itself, our experience in caring about others can be a kaleidoscopic mix of sadness and delight, and it's up to us to recognize and savor the loving joy that can surface in often unexpected moments.

Join us Sunday, 7-8:30 pm for an exploration of the 10,000 joys available to us if we simply care about others. Invite friends, too.

With metta,

April 24, 2013

Yoga This Sunday! 4/28 6pm

Yoga class will be held this Sunday (the last Sunday) from 6 to 6:45pm in the church before the sit.
Please bring your yoga mat if you have one and wear clothes that you can move in easily (no jeans/ belts).

Looking forward to seeing you all.
Namaste, Dina

April 22, 2013

Sunday April 21

Greetings. It was very nice to see many of you last night. Here are requested links to the short article by Rachael Naomi Remen entitledIn the Service of LIfehttp://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/dailylife/helpserve.html

The poem by Courtney A. Walsh entitled "Dear Human" about love is below and can be foud at

peace and blessings.  baruch

Dear Human

You've got it all wrong.

You didn't come here to master unconditional love.  
This is where you came from and where you'll return. 

You came here to learn personal love.
Universal love. 
Messy love.
Sweaty Love.
Crazy love.
Broken love.
Whole love. 
Infused with divinity. 
Lived through the grace of stumbling. 
Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up.

You didn't come here to be perfect, you already are. 

You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous.  

And rising again into remembering.

But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. 

Love in truth doesn't need any adjectives. 
It doesn't require modifiers.  
It doesn't require the condition of perfection.

It only asks you to show up. 
And do your best.
That you stay present and feel fully.
That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU.  

Its enough. 

It's Plenty.

-Courtney A. Walsh    

April 18, 2013

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha: Compassion, Aging and Ilness

"We might reject everything else: religion ideology, all received wisdom. But we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion."
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The topic for this Sunday will be a discussion on compassion, aging and illness. Can you imagine a mind state in which there is no bitter, condemning judgment of oneself or of others? Compassion allows us to bear witness to the suffering in the world, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear. Join me for an exploration of how we can cultivate compassion in our life through our practice, on and off the pillow. 

Blessings. Baruch

April 10, 2013

Sunday 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. The Larger Context of Lovingkindness, with Deb Kerr

Dear Friends,
This Sunday April 14th I'll be talking about "Going Beyond Love for Ourselves, the Larger Context of Metta."

Two weeks ago I talked about "Acceptance as the Essence of Love" and laid out some of the foundations of metta (lovingkindness) practice, particularly for oneself.  This Sunday I'll be exploring the larger context of metta, both in terms of those to whom metta is directed, and in terms of how metta operates in the mind and heart to diminish aversion, greed and delusion.  When these difficult mind  states lessen, suffering eases and we find that there is a natural upwelling of joy and peace.

Please come on Sunday night and bring your friends.  Looking forward to practicing together with you.

with warmth,
Deb Kerr

April 8, 2013

Pleasure & happiness discussion on our blog

Dear Friends,

Last night we explored the concepts of Pleasure and Happiness from the perspective of Buddha's teachings in select suttas. Click  here to read the text of my talk is. (It is also listed on the website Resource page here.)

A few weeks ago the Chronicle ran an article on how, "new research in the field of positive psychology… shows that indulging in life's pleasures in smaller doses, or even giving them up for stretches of time, helps us enjoy them significantly more." (The article can be read in full at http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Why-Lent-makes-people-happier-4368230.php#ixzz2Pj05eQOh) This seems like an excellent article for an exchange of thoughts in the blog on our sangha web site. In terms of my talk on Pleasure & Happiness, I'd love to read what you think the Chronicle article is really talking about?

Here are excerpts from the article:

In one new study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers Jordi Quoidbach and Elizabeth Dunn had 55 people eat a piece of chocolate and report how they felt. Then the researchers instructed some of those people to abstain from chocolate for a week, told others to eat as much chocolate as they wanted, and gave a third group no special instructions.

When all 55 people ate another piece of chocolate at the end of the week, those who had abstained reported significantly greater happiness than either the bingers or the people left to their own devices.

In fact, the bingers reported feeling less happy after their end-of-week chocolate than they'd felt after eating their piece at the start of the week.

As it turns out, people tend to get used to sources of joy and pleasure very quickly. And when you have more of something pleasurable, it becomes easier to take it for granted, and harder to savor it. The result is a psychic numbing to the good things in life.

While that numbing effect may seem obvious, we're generally unaware of it in our own lives: Studies show that people (mistakenly) think that getting more of the things they value will make them happier.

This same misconception about happiness leads many people to covet wealth and material things. Research suggests that more money can bring us more happiness, but only until we earn up to about $75,000 a year. After that, there seems to be a negligible increase in happiness from making more money, meaning that many of us waste a lot of time pursuing a happiness we'll never reach. Or worse, our single-minded pursuit of wealth stresses us out, compromises our values and strains our relationships.

All of this research points to a paradox of happiness: It's not tied to abundance but to recognizing and appreciating what we do have.

Hope you enjoy exploring these ideas,


April 4, 2013

Sun. 7-8:30pm Pleasure & Happiness

Dear Friends,

Contrary to popular belief, pleasure doesn't accumulate into happiness. On the one hand, the suttas constantly remind us to beware of pleasure because the wrong attitude toward it can seduce us into suffering. On the other hand, pleasure can enhance the quality of life and be very helpful in our practice, if we're astute about it.

Come join us on Sunday to consider how to handle this powerful factor so it can be a beneficial force in our experience. Bring friends.

With metta,