June 27, 2013

Sunday Night at the Sangha

In Buddhism, spiritual practice is likened to a tripod whose 3 balanced legs hold a bowl steady & firm. The legs are the practices known in Pali as sila, samadhi and pañña, which can be translated into English ethical conduct (virtue), meditation and wisdom. They work together, helping to support the others. It is important to cultivate all three. Wisdom and meditation will not develop without virtue. We can't really practice meditation without practicing Right Conduct. Join me for a discussion on practicing Right Action/Conduct with a focus on the Third Percept "Not harming ourselves & others through our sexuality and sexual feelings."

A reminder about the Half Daylong this Saturday, June 29, 2013 – 9:00-1:00 pm. Pauletta, Rebecca, Deb and myself will be teaching. This is a great opportunity for a extended practice.

Peace and blessings. 

June 26, 2013

Yoga at Sangha this Sunday @ 6pm

Hello Yoga Enthusiasts!
Please come and join me for yoga this Sunday 6pm-6:45pm. All members are welcome, especially beginners. Yoga will help you sit with more comfort and ease; and it helps to quiet the mind.

Bring your sticky mats, barefeet, empty stomachs, and clothes that you can easily move in (no jeans or belts). If you have other props, please bring them i.e. Mexican (firm) blankets, blocks, straps etc.

Donations are welcome.

Dina Hondrogen
Yoga Instructor


June 19, 2013

This Sunday, Two Kinds of Thought: Mind Training July 23, 2013

Hello Everyone,

Come and join me this Sunday for a talk on MN19 or Two Kinds of Thought. It is one of my favorite suttas because it has many pertinent universal metaphors and really points to how we can begin to incline our mind towards goodness (training the amygdala to respond in a more wholesome way) and away from mind states that create suffering for ourselves and others. Most importantly, it is a teaching that the Buddha arrived at when he was a mere Bodhisatta and not yet awakened under the bodhi tree. This shows that we do not have to be a fully enlightened being in order to reap the rewards of practice.

Before I forget, Ronald Pineda, has announced that his father will be having memorial services this Thursday evening at 6 pm at the Greer Family Mortuary and all are invited to attend. If you are able, please come and support Ron in his grieving for his dad.

Last night, I had my girlfriend come to shave my head because everytime I touched my hair, handfuls of strands would come out and so I did not want to wait until I was balding to do this.She chickened out because she just finished her rounds of chemos herself and did not want to cut my scalp with a razor to create an infection. So I am attaching a photo of myself so that you won't be shocked although I will be wearing either a pill box hat or a turban on Sunday. I think that I look  like a monastic.

Walkers next week when I have chemo, please still come if you would like. I will be sprawled on the couch and it would be nice to have you each just sit and be present with me. We can meditate for 10 minutes together. I may not feel like talking much if I am nauseous but would still appreciate the company.

with gratitude and metta, Pauletta

June 15, 2013

Tomorrow night at Alameda Sangha, The Beauty of Investigation

Hello Everyone,

Very sorry to let you all know that Rebecca Dixon has pneumonia and won't be able to teach, so instead, I shall be teaching in her stead.

It will be nice to see many of you again after my first chemo treatment which was pretty horrendous but now I feel pretty good afterwards!! So that's the good news!

Much of what I attribute to a calm mind in my death journey process is lots of Mind Training as I've mentioned but much setting the foundation for the mind training to grow, through Investigation. This is in the First Foundation of Mindfulness in the Satipatthana Sutta where it is actually necessary to do lots of training first with the body.

Our culture which emphasizes a lot of mental activity which unfortunately creates so much of our suffering has lost the connection between the body and mind. It's interesting that in Buddhism, there is only one Pali word for both because they are considered to be inseparable. So we need to forget about training the mind first in this practice until we spend enough time training with the body which will in turn facilitate working with the mind and allowing the mind training to take a foothold effortlessly.

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow night,

June 13, 2013

Sun 7-8:30 The Tenfold Path

Dear Friends,

A little-known Tenfold Path is mentioned in a few places in the Pali scriptures. It doesn't assign us more work to do than the Eightfold Path. It does present two more aspects of the path, but they are what we accomplish by following the Eightfold Path. They are Wise Knowledge and Wise Release.

In an earlier talk I took a poetic approach to indicate where the Eightfold Path leads, which I called, "Beyond Joy." This Sunday I'll take a more traditional look at those capacities of ours which grow through our following the Eightfold Path to its conclusion.

Please bring friends and join us for this look at what's possible.

With metta,

June 6, 2013

Sun 7-8:30 Our Favorite Little Stories, after 6 pm Support Group

Dear Friends,

We tell them to ourselves all the time. They become building blocks in our constructed reality – aka delusion. Most of them mold our sense of self. Although they take up so much mental bandwidth, we may not realize we're telling ourselves these stories. If we fact-checked them, most of them would fail.

We can recognize them because they repeat so much, and because they usually cause an unpleasant feeling. We'll talk about them on Sunday: their genesis, purpose and role in our suffering. See if you can spot any in the next few days. Any you can share will help us understand this aspect of Mind. Invite people you think might be interested in joining us.

I just launched a web site, RebeccaDixon.org The current (brief) blog post deals with constructed reality a bit, so you might want to check it out.

Also: Before the sangha meeting, at 6 pm, I'll hold the first support meeting for anyone thinking about helping Pauletta as she deals with her illness. This meeting will offer tried-and-true techniques to make helping an opportunity for our own spiritual growth and minimize suffering for all concerned. It will also be a chance for us to give and receive support as a sangha. It will be confidential and respect every point of view.

Looking forward to seeing you there,

June 2, 2013

References from tonight's talk on fear; daylong June 23rd at EBMC

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your interest in the topic tonight. Here are the two books I used and recommend:

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche p. 16

Small Boat, Great Mountain by Amaro Bhikkhu, p. 113-114 and 116. (This book is only available through Abhayagiri Monastery: http://www.abhayagiri.org/books/small-boat-great-mountain)

If the link does not work, go to: www.abhayagiri.org and click "menu" then "books" and search for the title (they have lots of books). You can then download it as a .pdf file or write them to have them send you a copy.

I forgot to announce tonight that I'll be leading a daylong retreat at East Bay Meditation Center on Sunday, June 23rd, with Charlie Johnson. The topic is Being Free and the retreat is for people with chronic illness, issues around aging, or disability. We will be using mindfulness, shared stories, lovingkindness and joy to explore and work with whatever inhibits our freedom. For more information or to register, go to www.eastbaymeditation.org.

sending blessings,
Deb Kerr