December 31, 2014

A Simpler Life this Sunday, January 4, 2015 at Alameda Sangha

Dear Ones,

"This is what should be done by one who is skilled in goodness and who knows the path of peace: Let them be....Contented and easily satisfied, unburdened with duties, and frugal in their ways." Metta Sutta Sn 143-4

Instead of making New Year's resolutions that are difficult to maintain or impossible to keep, why not aspire to a simpler life?

Let's explore together how letting go of those things which we thought were bringing us happiness but are actually causing dukkha (dissatisfaction, unreliability and unpleasantness) can bring us greater calm, peace and spaciousness to incline our minds towards compassion, kindness and respect towards ourselves and others. We will be looking closely at what Buddha has had to say about nekkhama which has the unfortunate translation into English of renunciation. Renown monastic teacher and scholar, Ajahn Amaro talks about the more accurate sense of the Pali word nekkhama as being that of "ease with simplicity". We will look at the reflections and practices that offer greater ease in letting go as an inspirational way to begin the New Year.

Don't forget to print out or download on your devices, and bring to sangha, the chanting on Reflections on Sharing the Blessings.

1) Save the date for upcoming daylong, "Deepening One's Practice" with Richard Shankman and I on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the church from 930-5. Details on the home page announcements of our website. See link below. Come and offer yourselves the New Year's gift of coming into stillness and a day of practice to nourish and nurture yourselves to benefit yourselves and others

2) We have had a request from Pastor Michael Yoshii of the church to please be sure to restore all furniture, mikes, etc in the sanctuary to how it all was when we first came in to the space every Sunday evening. During the announcements, after the stretch break, Beth and I will volunteer our ideas on how you can all help us accomplish this.

Happy New Year as we enter our 5th year of existence as Alameda Sangha!​
with metta and gratitude for your practice,

December 25, 2014

Yoga @Sangha this Sunday 6pm

I'll be teaching a yoga class before the sit this Sunday, Dec. 29th starting at 6pm-6:45pm. Bring a mat and clothes you can move in--please no jeans or belts.

Hope to see you then. All levels welcome!

Happy Holidays,
Dina Hondrogen
Yoga Instructor

Perception Deception this Sunday at Alameda Sangha 7-9 pm December 28, 2014

Dear Ones,

Come and hear about how the Buddha showed his monks how Perception can get us in trouble, with ourselves and with others in our lives. Whatever we are receiving from the world that we interact with everyday and from moment to moment with our 6 senses is never as it seems. The practice is to try to notice with mindfulness when we are making assumptions, creating stories and meeting each moment with a fresh start. If you may have put your foot in your mouth with a family member or two due to perception deception and habituation, this talk's for you!

Hope to see you this Sunday to meet some stillness in the midst of holiday chaos!

with metta,

December 22, 2014

Holiday gift from Barbara Williams

Dear Friends,
Barbara wanted you all to have this as her holiday gift to the sangha.
Joy I have discovered is a quality within.
It's a matter of perceiving as we go through thick and thin
It is what we ought to feel as we find out who we are,
And learn to share the me in us with others near and far.
It is a dynamic process of fully living life,
Of accepting our ambivalence as a constructive kind of strife.
It is knowing that we are endowed with a Creative Power
To function as a person every day and every hour.
It's awareness to appreciate and freedom to make a choice.
It is giving right to everyone the Thou in them to voice.
Joy is not a destination but a feeling that we know.
It is a state of Being and a way in which we go.
Barbara J. Williams
Written in 1969 at a major branching point of my life.
Influenced by Martin Buber - I and Thou, Will Schutz-Joy,
Everett Shostrum-Man The Manipulator

December 19, 2014

This Sunday: Merry Stressmas: The Grinch, Scrooge and other holiday visitors

Dear Friends,

The holidays are well known for the stresses they bring. No matter how much I intend to plan ahead and get it all done, it never seems to work out that way. I find I fall into the gap between expectations and reality, and old patterns of harsh self-judgment come flooding back.

This Sunday we'll explore how to recognize the stressors, remember some basic mindfulness practices, and pause long enough to open to the possibility of equanimity, joy, and peace on earth. Can the Grinch, Scrooge, and other holiday visitors be held in an awakened and kind heart/mind, whether we encounter them in others or inside ourselves?

Come for an evening of practice and discussion as we bring warm lights into the dark corners of the holidays, and as we celebrate our lives together on this path of awakening, at the winter solstice.

with great warmth,
Deb Kerr

December 11, 2014

Sun 7-8:30pm Reviewing Our Lives

Dear Friends,

The year drawing to a close reminds us of things still incomplete. It's a good time to pause and reflect on our lives, to celebrate our goodness, savor our joys and recognize and let go of our dissatisfactions.

Regrets, resentments, and misunderstandings can all be held in a spacious and loving heart, and healed. Looking over our pasts can fill us with gratitude for the miracle of our lives, which have brought us to this shining moment of embodied awareness.

This Sunday, 7-8:30 pm, we'll look at how to use the heart's power and joy to bring peace to the arc of our lives, from our deep pasts to our obscure futures. I hope you can join us for this adventure of a lifetime.

With boundless metta,

December 4, 2014

Sun 7-8:30 The Heart's Power and Joy

"If your every day practice is to open to all your emotions, to all the people you meet, to all the situations you encounter, without closing down, trusting that you can do that - then that will take you as far as you can go. And then you'll understand all the teachings that anyone has ever taught."
~ Pema Chodron

Dear Friends,

Our hearts have the power to take in suffering, heal it, and broadcast joy. What we call the "difficult states of mind" are those we intuitively wish to end, or avoid. Buddha's teaching is counter-intuitive. He said we should turn toward these forms of suffering and embrace them with compassion and good will. Then the heart will blossom with love and joy for the benefit of all.

This Sunday, 7-8:30 pm we'll look at how this alchemy works in our real lives. Bring your stories about opening to fear, grief, anger, dislike, regret or other difficult states of mind. We need to hear -- often -- about how this works, in order to have the trust and courage to make this our own every day practice.

Looking forward to seeing you there,

November 28, 2014

Text for Pauletta's talk on Nov. 16 on Wise Speech and Intention

Dear Ones,

Some of you requested the written text of my talk I gave when I last taught on Nov. 16. You can find it on the resources page of our website here.

Please know that I also have the audio of it posted on the Alameda Sangha website which may be more informative than the written text as I sometimes add or improvise on the written, planned one, depending on the energy of the room on a particular Sunday.

See you all on Sunday,
with metta, Pauletta

November 26, 2014

Forgot the chanting link plus invitation for Thanksgiving

Dear Ones,

Here is the chanting link for Sunday or check the Resources page on our website link below. Direct link is:

Last call for if there are any one of you that might be alone for Thanksgiving and would rather not be alone, please come to our home at any point that day. All are welcome. Contact me by using the AlamedaSangha form here to let me know if you will be coming. We will already be cooking a large turkey with many side dishes and Filipino food. Come to whatever feels most comfortable:

Morning - 10:30-12:00 walk and meditation by the boats, weather permitting
Eating - 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm 
I will be giving a heartfelt blessing ritual to all present for giving so much support, love, food and company when I was very sick with cancer last year. I still have stage 4 cancer but for the duration of the holidays at least do not appear to have to have another chemo treatment and I am so blessed and grateful. I attribute this period of reprieve and healing to all of you who have helped me personally and distantly with your good wishes, prayers and metta.

Walking: 315 - 345 walking around the neighborhood by the boats
Dessert: 400 pm

I am looking forward to a very peaceful and heartwarming event,

November 25, 2014

Reminder of Intention, Wise Speech, Breathe and The Vicissitudes of Life this Thanksgiving Sunday, November 30, 2014 at Alameda Sangha

Dear Ones,
As we approach crunch time for the most celebrated holiday in America, I wish you all calm, peace, tranquility and groundedness. Remember to stay with the intention to be kind and respectful at all times no matter what. Breathe through any difficulty or even any joyous chaos that can be equally overwhelming in another way.

Remember the 4 guidelines of the Buddha for wise speech to ourselves and others: truthfulness, kind, helpful and appropriate.

Hoping that these tools along with our innate goodness will help us through the holiday and offer transformation and greater understanding with interconnection for us all. May you all have a peaceful time and a nourishing meal.

Remembering gratitude during sitting meditation, bringing to mind at least 5 things to be grateful for in one's life. This can help to really mellow out the day.

This Sunday, please join me in exploring the vicissitudes of life. These are 4 pairs of conditions that can typically make us lose our ground, push us around like the wind and cause us so much unnecessary suffering. Come and see how we can practice to become aware that this could be starting to happen for us in any moment and how to end the cycle of dukkha and samsara around these 8 earthly conditions.

Last, after the hectic aspects of the holidays, please save the date: Saturday, January 31 to give yourselves the gift of spiritual nourishment. Join Richard Shankman and myself for a day of sitting and walking practice together. There may not be a theme to the day, but short talks will be given and it will be possible to interview with either one of us during the walking periods. The day will begin at 9:30 am and end at 5 pm. We will having the daylong at Alameda Sangha in the church.

​with metta, Pauletta

November 24, 2014

Yoga at Sangha this Sunday

Hi all,

We will be having yoga on Nov. 30th, this Sunday at 6pm before we sit.
Please come with your yoga mat and clothes you can move in.

All levels welcome.

Namaste, Dina

November 22, 2014

References for Anapanasati Sutta

Dear Friends,
If possible before tomorrow night's meeting, I recommend reading the sutta via this link:
and reading this study guide for at at this link:

Once you get into this pdf, go to pages 28 and 29. I recommend printing out these two pages for ongoing reference for your practice.

Even if you just get a sense of the structure of the sutta, that would be helpful. I love the whole thing, but find the introduction to be especially inspiring because of the full picture we get of the Buddha's community of practitioners at this point in his career.

The remainder of the sutta is amazing for the comprehensive teaching it offers: incorporating the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, the Seven Factors of Enlightenment and the cycle of Transcendental Dependent Arising, all in one carefully crafted set of breathing instructions. The Buddha was a genius of human psychology, and this sutta illustrates that very strongly.

with warmth,

November 21, 2014

Anapanasati Sutta This Sunday at Alameda Sangha

Dear Friends,

This Sunday 11/23, I'll be presenting an overview of the Anapanasati Sutta, one of the central teachings of the Theravadan Buddhist tradition. On first glance, this sutta seems to be very simply about breath meditation. But on more in depth study, it is clear the Buddha meant this teaching to be an encapsulation of the entire path. Because of the context in which this teaching was given, we can deduce that the Buddha was quite well along in his teaching career, and that maturity is reflected in the beautiful way this sutta is structured.

Come learn how the Buddha taught us to use simple breath practice to lead all the way to liberation through non-clinging.

Judi Fruge will also be continuing our wonderful series of classes in American Sign Language, starting at 6 p.m.

Looking forward to learning and practicing together.

with warmth,
Deb Kerr

November 13, 2014

This Sunday, November 16 from 7-9 pm at Alameda Sangha: Even When Difficulties Come Up

Dear Ones,

Please join me this Sunday to kick off and start your holiday preparation practice on setting intention and using wise speech. The two practices work very well together and support one another nicely. If we start now, and practice the week prior to Thanksgiving and continue on through prepping for the December holiday festivities, I'm sure that we will find what an amazing positive difference these practices will make in managing holiday stress, expectation and actual real time interaction. Then, after we see the fruits of the practice, these will hopefully carry through and become part of our tool kit for life beyond the holidays. I am very excited to offer these two teachings of the Buddha so that we can make a positive difference this holiday season.

Please download or print the chanting: (also available from our Resources page on the website) So that we can end the evening together.

Saran Aloka Chanting Book

This Saturday, the three of us Alameda Sangha teachers, Rebecca Dixon, Deb Kerr and I will be teaching a daylong all day at this same location from 9am to 430 pm. Come and spend the day in silent walking, sitting and eating practice. Give yourselves the gift of spiritual nourishment as we explore together, the 3 Poisons of Greed, Hatred and Delusion. This is one of Buddha's important teachings. When Sariputta asked him why he was teaching about these 3 kilesas (mental defilements - major categories under which all others fall into, i.e. envy, addiction, divisive speech, anger, etc) Buddha answered, "if one can work with these 3 kilesas and are able to dispel them, the end of suffering will be reached and Nibbana attained."

Thus the importance of learning to understand, work with and become liberated from greed, hatred and delusion. What a difference this would make in our world together!
In the morning we will talk about how to recognize their arising in the mind, simple examples of how to work with them and in the afternoon, the counterpart practices of generosity, lovingkindness and wisdom in order to awaken from the trance and hold that these can have on all of us in our daily lives.  It will be quite an amazing day indeed! Wear comfortable clothing, bring a bag lunch and bring any cushions and zabutons that you may be accustomed to sitting in at home. Otherwise the chairs are very comfortable. Plan to arrive early to settle in. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Last, in light of the coming holidays, if there are any one of you that might be alone for Thanksgiving and would rather not be alone, please come to our home at any point that day. All are welcome. Contact me by using the contact form on our website here to let me know if you will be coming. We will already be cooking a large turkey with many side dishes and Filipino food. Come to whatever feels most comfortable:

Morning: 1030-1200 walk and meditation by the boats (weather permitting)

Eating: 200 pm - 315 pm 
I will be giving a heartfelt blessing ritual to all present for giving so much support, love, food and company when I was very sick with cancer last year. I still have stage 4 cancer but for the duration of the holidays at least do not appear to have to have another chemo treatment and I am so blessed and grateful. I attribute this period of reprieve and healing to all of you who have helped me personally and distantly with your good wishes, prayers and metta.

Walking: 3:15 - 3:45 walking around the neighborhood by the boats
Dessert: 4:00 pm

looking forward to a very peaceful and heartwarming event,

with metta and gratitude for your practice, Pauletta

November 7, 2014

Sun 7-8:30pm Freedom through the Precepts

Dear Friends,

When we look at the Five Precepts for lay people, they can seem like a list of chores, or admonitions to do things. There can be resistance to thinking about our conduct and how we would have to act to follow the precepts perfectly.

The precepts are actually gateways to freedom, offering us guidelines for minimizing suffering. They're like hiking poles that can help us up or down steep hills and keep us on the trail. This Sunday, Nov. 9, I hope you'll join us to contemplate the way these suggestions for wise action can make life easier for all beings.

With metta,

November 5, 2014

Service to Honor the Life of David Borglum

Dear Ones,

A service for David Borglum is planned for Friday night, November 14 at 7:00pm at First Congregational Church of Alameda at 1912 Central Ave, Alameda.

sending blessings,
Deb Kerr

October 31, 2014

David Borglum

Dear Ones,

I got this message tonight from a friend of mine, Christy, who is also a minister and friend of David's.

We got news through our clergy partner that David died today at 1:45.

The message we received read..."Robbie Borglum asked me to let you know that our friend and colleague David Borglum passed away peacefully today at 1:45. We had gathered family around his bed to read a psalm and offer prayers of gratitude for his life. As the last prayers were said...he passed peacefully. Please keep Robbie, his wife, in your prayers as well as his daughter Angela and his son Christopher. Christopher is on an airplane now heading to Alameda."

In this moment, may there be gratitude, blessings and peace.


Keeping David and his family in the heart of love,
Deb Kerr

Love and Compassion for David Borglum

Dear ones,

Just wanted to let everyone know that David Borglum may not have much longer to live. A small group of us has been practicing with him on Friday mornings for the last few months, and today he was no longer able to be with us.

Please hold David and his wife Robbie and daughter Angela in your hearts, and send as much metta and compassion as you can.

May David, and all of us, remember our beauty and goodness.
May David, and all of us, be free from fear and pain.
May David, and all of us, be held completely in the arms of love and compassion.
May David, and all of us, be free.

with much love,
Deb Kerr

October 27, 2014

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha, please welcome Ayya Sobhana

Dear Ones,

Please let us come together to welcome Ayya Sobhana who will be coming to offer us the dharma this Sunday, November 2 at the usual time. Please bring open hearts and minds and a rested body to the evening. Bundle up as winter has surely begun!

Speaking of time, please don't forget that daylight savings time as we know it will end on this Sunday, Nov 2 and we get to set our clocks one hour earlier and sleep longer.
There is more information about Ayya Sobhana on her website Retreats with Ayya Sobhana

with metta,

October 24, 2014

This Sunday Oct. 26th: The Unfolding of Liberation

Dear Friends,

This Sunday at the Alameda Sangha, we'll be exploring how suffering gives way to the unfolding of liberation and well being. I'll include some classic accounts of the stages of awakening, as well as very simple descriptions of what it means to be free. There will be time to share experiences of awakened awareness, and discuss how we hold our deepest aspirations for practice.

looking forward to practicing and sharing the dharma together,
Deb Kerr

October 22, 2014

Yoga this Sunday at Sangha

Please join us for yoga on Sunday at 6-6:45pm right before the sit. Yoga really helps settle the mind and puts the body more at ease for meditation.

Bring a sticky mat and a firm cotton or wool blanket if you have one. I have straps and blocks to use. All levels welcome.

See you there!

October 16, 2014

Sun 7-8:30pm Metta for the Planet

Dear Friends,

When ours was a new species, our needs were met rather simply by the planet. We wandered and gathered and hunted. Sometimes there wasn't enough; at one point the weather was so harsh for so long that humanity almost became extinct. But we were clever. We developed language and agriculture, cities and science. We became ever better at taking more from the earth.

Now we have taken so much and in such harmful ways that the weather is becoming harsh again. Many think the survival of civilization and maybe even the species is at risk unless we change.

This Sunday Walt Opie and I will talk about reviving a good relationship with Earth through metta. Please come with your heart open for this dynamic world and its many, ever-evolving forms of life.


October 9, 2014

Sun 7-8:30 Accepting Uncertainty & Picnic

Dear Friends,

They say people make plans and the gods laugh. We humans are so oriented toward the future that we cherish the predictable and loath uncertainty. We take comfort from global communications and the sense it gives us that we're in touch with whatever's happening. Yet all we know for certain is what we're experiencing right now.

In the midst of so much that we simply don't know, we go on filling out calendars and suffering when our assumptions prove false. It's remarkable we manage at all. How can we address the uncertainty of life skillfully, so that it doesn't cause so much distress?

This Sunday, 7-8:30 pm, I'll take a look at the wisdom passed down on this matter and we can discuss how it can be applied to our own way of thinking and dealing with this truly unpredictable world.

Don't forget the annual sangha picnic is this Sunday, too! We'll gather in McKinley Park (Buena Vista & Walnut St) starting around 5 pm. Bring a dish to share if you can (don't forget beverages count). Compostable/recyclable cups, plates & utensils will be provided. We clean-up in time for our regular sitting at 7pm. The class in American Sign Language will be incorporated into the picnic.

With metta,

October 1, 2014

Sources of Our Usual Responses to Difficulty, this Sunday, October 5, 2014 at Alameda Sangha

Dear Ones,

Please contemplate on this passage from the Culatanhasankhaya Sutta or the Shorter Discourse on the Destruction of Craving from the Pali Canon before coming on Sunday.

'Venerable Sir, how in brief is a bhikku liberated in the destruction of craving, one who has reached the ultimate end, the ultimate security from bondage, the ultimate holy life, the ultimate goal, one who is foremost among gods and humans?
Here, ruler of gods, a bhikku has heard that nothing is worth adhering to. When a bhikku has heard that nothing is worth adhering to, he directly knows everything; having directly known everything, he fully understands everything; having fully understood everything, whatever feeling he feels, whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, he abides contemplating impermanence in those feelings, contemplating fading away, contemplating cessation, contemplating relinquishment.

Contemplating thus, he does not cling to anything in the world. When he does not cling, he is not agitated. When he is not agitated, he personally attains Nibbana. He understands: Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being. Briefly, it is n this way, ruler of gods, that a bhikkhu is liberated in the destruction of craving, one who has reached the ultimate end, the ultimate security from bondage, the ultimate holy life, the ultimate goal, one who is foremost among gods and humans."

You got it! The sources of our usual responses (conditioned) to difficulty has its inception in grasping, clinging, attachment and identification. Come and learn how to stop the cycle of samsara! It will be a worthwhile exploration.

Here is the link to the beautiful chant on the Reflections on Sharing the Blessings when we end the evening together, of practice. IT is also located on the Resources page of the Alameda Sangha website (see link below)

Do not forget about our picnic at the park near the church on Sunday October 12 at 530 pm. Please bring real plates and silverware to avoid adding more stress to our mother earth when we dispose of so many paper plates and plastic forks and spoons! Vegetarian dishes and non alcoholic beverages are appreciated!

Looking forward to seeing you all this Sunday!

with metta, Pauletta

September 24, 2014

Delusions, Expectations and Travelling with the Dhamma, this Sunday, September 28, 2014 at Alameda Sangha

Dear Ones,

Delusion and expectation go hand and hand as clinging to certain outcomes arie and self created assumptions are established. Delusion is one of the 3 Poisons that the Buddha taught about - greed, hatred and delusion.

Join me this Sunday in "killing two birds with one stone" to hear about my recent travels and how the dhamma showed up for some rich but sobering insights.

Reminder: We will be having Ayya Sobhana visiting us on November 2nd. If there are any requests for a teaching that you would like to hear about, please email me and I will pass them on to her.

Thank you once again, one and all for all your help and wonderful energy at the daylong last Saturday. We are truly a sangha that works well together to help us all nurture ourselves and each other! The Buddha would have been proud of our lay community!

with metta and gratitude for your practice,

September 22, 2014

Yoga this Sunday at Sangha

Please join us from 6-6:45 for yoga directly before the sit.
Bring your yoga sticky mat, barefeet and empty stomach.
All abilities are welcome!

Namaste, Dina

More Info:

September 18, 2014

This Sunday: Anatta Part 2: Joy Shines Through

Dear Friends,

This week, Sept. 21st, I'll once again be speaking about Anatta. Last week, we covered the basics of the Buddha's teachings on not-self, emptiness or anatta. This week I'll be exploring the implications of anatta, and what happens when we are able to let go--even a little bit--of clinging to things as "I" or "mine."

Anatta is really at the core of our ability to be joyous and spacious, to relate to beauty, and to touch the states of freedom that are always within reach. It is also at the base of what allows us to find an appropriate response to the present moment, however it is. Cultivating deeper and deeper realization of anatta is central to the path of awakening.

Bring your questions from our discussion last week, and let's dive in more deeply.
with warmth,

Deb Kerr

September 11, 2014

This Sunday: Anatta and Emptiness

Dear Friends,

Who are you, really? This Sunday Sept. 14th I'll be talking about the third characteristic of existence--anatta, or not-self. This is frequently taken to mean "I don't exist" but it is not at all that black and white. Not-self and emptiness are closely linked in the Buddhist teachings, so we will be exploring emptiness as well, to see what light it can shed on the doctrine of not-self. The bottom line of all this is that we can learn to take things less personally (even our-selves), and by relaxing our often limiting identities, begin to find freedom.

Very much looking forward to practicing with you on Sunday.

with blessings,

September 4, 2014

Sun 7-8:30 pm The Nature of Perception

Dear Friends,

Last week I talked about how the mindset with which we meet new experience can determine if it appears to be good or bad fortune. This Sunday I'll take a closer look at how that happens. Understanding this process can liberate us from being at its mercy, and from the attachment to it that causes so much distress, or dukkha.

If you've been thinking about situations you've labeled either "good" or "bad," bring those stories this Sunday, 7-8:30 pm, and we'll explore how we can either be enslaved by old mental patterns, or set free.

See you there,

August 28, 2014

Sunday 7-8:30 pm, Meeting Good & Bad Fortune

Dear Friends,

Some relationships just get off on the wrong foot. The way we meet people and events can depend on so many factors, like how the day has gone or preconceived ideas we have. In turn, those first moments with something new can set the course for our future.

How we meet good or bad fortune is very important. This Sunday, Aug. 31, from 7-8:30 pm, we'll focus on how we can relate to new developments in a way that will cause us and others the least distress.

Don't forget there will be no yoga before Sunday's sangha meeting. Instead, from 6:00 to 6:45 pm this Sunday, Judi will again teach ASL. If you have the sheet she passed out on fingerspelling the alphabet, please bring it with you. She will have extras for those who missed last Sunday's class.

Looking forward to seeing you again,

August 22, 2014

Sunday 8/24/14: Seeing the Truth & ASL Class

Dear Friends,

One of the ways to think about taking refuge in the dharma is taking refuge in the truth of how things are. One of the main facets of mindfulness is seeing what is true in each moment. When we do this, we can stop struggling with our experience, we can stop trying to make it other than it is.

The Buddha realized there are three things that are always true in every experience and every phenomenon--the Three Characteristics. If we live in accord with the truth--these characteristics of life--wisdom and compassion grow naturally, and we begin to experience liberation.

This Sunday I'll be teaching about the Three Characteristics and where they fit in the scheme of the Buddha's teachings, and why they matter very much.

A Reminder: From 6-6:45 p.m. Sunday, Judi Fruge will continue teaching us American Sign Language. Please join us as we build the skills to communicate more easily with all members of the sangha.

Happily looking forward to practicing with you all.

August 21, 2014

No Yoga This Sunday-Holiday

Due to the holiday weekend, I will not be teaching yoga on Sunday night before the sit. There will be a regular Sangha meeting.

Enjoy your long weekend!

August 20, 2014

Pauletta's talk, From Anger to Liberation

Dear Sangha,

Unfortunately something went wrong with the recording of Pauletta's talk last Sunday. Before Pauletta left for the east coast she was able to pass to me the outline of her talk and the notes she made to herself. I have attached this file and posted it on our website here. It's not the same as her voice but it does contain the material. I hope you find it useful.

On a related matter, I will continue notify you when I post the text of talks as they are available in the Resources page of our website. You can find them in reverse chronological order in the list at the top of the page. You can download the text by going to the bottom of the page, finding the title as it appears in alphabetical order, and clicking on the adjacent red download arrow. (Eventually I will move these to the dharma talks page of the teacher. I've become a little overloaded with tasks in my life. Thank you for your patience.)

With appreciation for your companionship in the practice,

August 13, 2014

This Sunday, from Anger to Liberation and ASL class before at Alameda Sangha!

Dear Ones,

Last Sunday we explored anger in group socially engaged situations to starting with ourselves first. My talk on this theme is posted on the website here.

This Sunday we will talk more about anger, its destructive nature, what causes anger to arise in the first place, the responsibility of the person whom we are directing anger towards to not escalate it further by using Patience as the path to liberation!

We will be having our 3rd American Sign Language Class taught by Judi Fruge and Erika Geiger at 6 pm. Hope to see you all there. It is definitely breaking any barriers between the hearing and the deaf members of the sangha in an amazing heartful way!

We use The Chanting Book provided by the Saranaloka Foundation for the chanting which is how we now end each evening. Please download on your phone, IPad or print so we can all chant together.

Next main event at the sangha will be September 20, 2014 Saturday daylong with the Aloka Vihara nuns from 930 to 5 pm. Please feel free to bring food to share and offer to the nuns. Please check the link on the home page of our website below to find out the food restrictions for the nuns.

I would love some volunteers to coordinate with Ron in my absence (taking both kids to college in August and early September, to return on September 18th) to come to the church by 9 am to vacuum, set up flowers 2-3 arrangements, bring 2 candles, incense in preparation for their teachings. Food should be set up in the lunchroom area across from the back entrance to the church. We need a volunteer to set up the lunch room before the midday meal. The nuns will instruct us on the ritual to offer them food and later to wash their alms bowls. It will be a beautiful daylong and I look forward to it as all of you too!

with gratitude for your practice,

August 8, 2014

American Sign Language Class taught by Judith Fruge this Sunday, August 11 from 6-645 pm and next Sunday the 18th at the same time at Alameda Sangha

Dear Ones,

I hope to see you all there at the church for the American Sign Language class with Judith Fruge at 6 pm. Tell your friends who may be interested in this free class.

Please forgive my forgetfulness in sending this announcement this week with the regular sangha email. I have new health challenges (with new tests that I am having to schedule and take) which I am working with and will talk about a little when we have announcements after the break and before the dharma talk.

IF you are curious, please visit my site on here. You will need to be a Charingbridge member. (It's free.) There are instructions on our website here.

See you all soon.

with metta and gratitude for your understanding, Pauletta
Dear Sangha,

The text of Rebecca's talk, Practicing with Humor. View the text here.

If you'd like to download the document go to the resources page of our website here and scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the Practicing with Humor document in the list of attached resources. (They are listed alphabetically.) To start the download, click on the red down arrow associated with the document.

(Shortly these will also be available on the same page as the audio talks.)

Best wishes to all,

August 7, 2014

Link to chanting for ending our evening at Alameda Sangha

This is the link to download or print the Reflections on Sharing the Blessings that we will chant each time to end our evenings at Alameda Sangha on Sunday nights.

Please do not be self critical to oneself in participating. It feels amazing and heart opening to chant these blessed and noble words of the Buddha whether or not we sound to ourselves as though we are out of key!

See you all this Sunday!

with metta,

August 6, 2014

Anger and Perception - Two Sundays in a row at Alameda Sangha

Dear Ones,

Join me this Sunday and next to explore anger and perception, Both talks segway into one another. When we decide to embark on socially engaged Buddhism, good intentions are not merely enough. Learn how anger and other destructive emotions can actually undermine efforts to further a particular cause that one may be passionate about. The work all starts with ourselves first - patience to be with the anger and its pent up and destructive energy which can move us to act unskillfully. Perception or the creation of stories can really fuel anger that is already past the point of being able to keep it in check.

Anger, not expressed unskillfully, can actually be a useful motivating factor to spur us to action.

May we have wholesome exploration of the seeds of reactivity that can make us move towards more kindness, respect and compassion as well as wisdom to know what is appropriate and when.

with metta,

July 31, 2014

Sun 7-8:30 Practicing with Humor & ASL class!

Dear Friends,

Buddhists have a reputation for inscrutable pronouncements, but not for hilarity. However, I often find myself chuckling at my own mind as I sit in meditation and watch its antics, and I've heard many dharma talks that have made me laugh till I cried.

Humor has a wonderful way of deepening the lessons we learn through practice. It gives us access to parts of our mind we can't even glimpse if we're not able to laugh about them.

Please bring your friends to join us Sunday, 7-8:30 pm. I can't promise the dharma talk will make you laugh, but it should make you think about adding fun to your practice.

Don't forget: at 6 pm, Judi Fruge will offer the first of free lessons in American Sign Language. Later lessons will build on this one, so I hope you can join Pauletta and me this Sunday, 6-6:45 pm at the church, as we gain skills to share the dharma with all our sangha members.

With metta,

July 30, 2014

Notes from Deb's talk last Sunday night

Dear Sangha,

The notes from Deb's talk on Taking Refuge in Practice are now available.

You can also view notes here. If you'd like to download the notes go to the resources page of our website here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and find the Taking Refuge in Practice document in the list of attached resources, then click on the red down arrow to start the download.

Best wishes to all,

July 26, 2014

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha: Taking Refuge in Practice

Dear Ones,
Following up on Rebecca's talk from last week, and mine the week before, this Sunday I'll be talking about taking refuge in practice--from both conceptual and practical viewpoints.  There are many ways in which our practice provides safety, shelter and ease.  I'll be exploring some about how mindfulness is a refuge, all by itself; and also presenting several different ways of looking at what it means to take refuge in the Three Jewels:  Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

Looking forward to a lovely summer evening of practice with you.
with warmth,
Deb Kerr

Yoga Tomorrow!

Happy Summer!
I will be teaching yoga tomorrow at 6pm (last Sunday) directly before Meditation, everyone is invited.
Bring a sticky mat, and clothes you can move in easily.
All are welcome, I can help you modify poses to your ability.
Looking forward to seeing you.

Namaste, Dina

July 22, 2014

Read or hear 7/20/14 Talk on the Two Truths

Dear Ones,

You can now hear or read my dharma talk from Sunday night on Relative and Absolute Truth.

You can hear a recording of it by going to our website. Click here to go to the list of my Audio Dharma talks. Talks are listed by name and date.

You can view text of the talk here. If you'd like to download the text go to the resources page of our website here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and find the Relative and Absolute document in the list of attached resources, and click on the red down arrow to start the download.

Best wishes to all,

July 18, 2014

Sun 7-8:30 pm Absolute & Relative Truth

Dear Friends,

There's been a change in our teaching schedule, and instead of Deb teaching this Sunday, it will be Rebecca.  Please see the sangha website for the rest of the Sangha schedule.

Buddha intended for the Eightfold Path to lead us to "seeing things as they truly are."  Contrary to pop belief, Buddhism doesn't hold that "it's all illusion."  But the way things truly are, according to Buddha, is very different than the world most people believe they inhabit.

This apparent dichotomy gave rise within a few centuries after Buddha's death to the idea of Two Truths.  On Sunday I'll talk about this idea of the Absolute and Relative and how it can help us live with (what can feel like) one foot in each.

I hope you'll bring a friend and join us.


Save the Date!  Alameda Sangha has welcomed new members who are deaf, and their interpreters.  Beginning 2 weeks from this Sunday, Judi will be offering a way to bring the sangha more together:

It's official, Sangha Members! The first ASL class will be offered on Sunday, August 3, from 6:00 to 6:45pm. I'm looking forward to narrowing the communication gap between the hearing and deaf members.

With Metta, Judi

July 9, 2014

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha: Does Anything Fall Outside of Practice?

Dear Ones,

This Sunday July 13th we'll be exploring the limits of meditation practice. Often we set limits on our practice based on unexplored assumptions about what is and isn't in its purview. What limits have you encountered in your own practice? We'll look at expanding the horizons of practice, spotting and questioning our own assumptions, and practicing in spite of those assumptions...that can limit or even de-rail our progress on the path.

Looking forward to meditating and discussing the dharma with you.

with warmth,

July 2, 2014

Forget to include the chanting link!

Dear Ones,

Please download or print this chant so that we can ALL sing it to end the evening this Sunday, July 6 2014!

Saran Aloka Chanting Book

Practice your best singing voices!

with metta, Pauletta

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha: Watching the Mind and Practicing with Annoying People

Dear Ones,
Save the Dates:

Saturday, September 20, 2014 from 930-5pm Daylong with the nuns (Ayya Anandabodhi and Ayya Santacitta) at the church Bring food to share and offer to the nuns

Sunday, October 12, 2014 Alameda Sangha Picnic at the park 2 blocks up away from Park Street past the church 5:15 to 6:45 pm Please bring a vegetarian dish to share

Sunday, November 2, 2014 Ayya Sobhana will be teaching

According to the Buddha, there are no "annoying" people! Only those whom we perceive as such and even then, we only perceive them as such because it has more to do with our relationship to how we are reacting to their acting out by taking it personally.

Come and explore the tools we can use to lead us to greater freedom, fluidity and possibility in lessening our dukkha when faced with those who challenge our comfort zones.

Hoping to see you all there,
with gratitude for your practice, Pauletta

June 24, 2014

Dont forget the Chanting! This Sunday at Alameda Sangha June 29, 2014

Dear Ones,

Don't forget to download and/or print this so that we can chant together at the end of the evening. Aloka Chanting Book

See you all there!
with metta, Pauletta

ps I will be having chemo once again on July 1! Receiving all your good wishes and metta that day!

June 23, 2014

This Sunday, June 29, 2014 at Alameda Sangha: Recognizing the Habits of the Mind

Dear Ones,

Come and explore with me the tools and techniques that the Buddha himself has offered to us as aids to recognize the habits of the mind. Meditation practice moves us into stillness that we may never have known before to really help us see the patterns that we tend to adopt as ways in which we interact with our world in daily life.

The practice helps us differentiate between wholesome and unwholesome mind states, learning how not to buy into the unwholesome and unskillful thoughts, ideas and movements and how to appreciate and take note of when we are abiding in wholesome mind states. Some time will be spent in learning how to work with ongoing anxiety that arises and ceases in our daily lives as well as other real time examples common to all with tools on how to be with the dukkha and at the same time nurture and nourish ourselves so that we don't feel a victim to the temporary and constantly changing phenomena that meet our senses.

Hoping that the evening will be enlightening to all!
with gratitude for your practice,
Painting Show Postcard

June 19, 2014

This Sunday: Moving From Anger and Fear into the Divine Abodes

Dear Ones,

This Sunday we'll be looking at how suffering gives way to the unfolding of liberation and well-being, especially the movement from afflictive emotions to the states of mind and heart known as the Divine Abodes. These four facets of love were taught by the Buddha as antidotes to anger and fear.

We will explore how lovingkindness, compassion, joy and equanimity work together to bring freedom to heart and mind. No matter what our physical or mental state, it is possible to hold ourselves, and others, with love and care and move into greater ease.

Looking forward to practicing together with you.
sending warmth,

Deb Kerr

June 18, 2014

No Yoga at Sangha 6/29

I regret to say that I will not be here to teach yoga on 6/29. I will be going East to move my Mom again, and cleaning out the family house.

Send me some Metta, I will need it during this difficult time.

Kind Regards,
Dina Hondrogen

June 12, 2014

Sun 7-8:30 The Heart's Deepest Desire

Dear Friends,

What is the heart's deepest desire? When I think of all the things we human beings want, it seems like an artichoke. Every leaf has its tasty little bit at the bottom of some tough foliage. You go around the artichoke and keep going deeper as you eat, one layer of desires revealing another, each layer with slightly bigger tasty bits and softer petals. And eventually, you arrive at the heart, with its spiny core almost hiding the biggest, softest, most satisfying bit.

Every now and then I can settle into a clear awareness of what's beneath all those tough leaves of wants, and recognize the deepest desire in my heart. What's in yours? This Sunday, 7-8:30, we'll take a look at the desires that propel us through life, and this sweet central guide we so often don't heed. Bring your stories and your friends.


June 5, 2014

Friday Morning Sangha and Compassionate Service

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, a member of our Sangha, David Borglum, is very ill with cancer. Pauletta, Rebecca and I have been sitting with him weekly on Friday mornings at his home on Bay Farm Island. David has asked me to extend an invitation to the larger Sangha to anyone who wants to come and sit with us on Friday mornings at 10. He envisions this being kind of an Alameda Sangha extension, and happening every week, starting June 13th (he is on retreat this week).

David's townhouse has a small patio which could use some tender attention in the form of weeding and bush pruning. If you are willing to donate an hour or two for gardening, probably after sitting on the 13th, that would be a great boon. If you are interested in either the sitting or the 'garden party' on the 13th, please contact me and I will give you the details. If you are new to the sangha, please use the contact form on the our website here.

with warmth,
Deb Kerr

This Sunday "Exploring Inner Space" 7-8:30

Dear Friends,

After nine days on retreat, I'll be talking this Sunday, June 8, about Exploring Inner Space. As we usually do when we begin to meditate, I'll use the dharma's lists of factors to bring my attention to the present moment, and then go where my practice leads. I'm writing this before leaving for the retreat, so I can't predict where it will take me. This Sunday (the day after I get back) we will consider together what our explorations of the mind's inner space reveal, as interpreted by the Buddha's teachings.

Please join me and bring a friend for an evening of deep exploration into our own possibilities.

With metta,

May 28, 2014

This Sunday, June 1 at Alameda Sangha: Buddha's Advice to Householders

Dear Ones,

Please download the chanting book from this site and print page. 33 which is the chant entitled, Reflections on Sharing Blessings (English) that Ayya Suvijanna so beautifully chanted for us last Sunday. We can carry on this tradition and begin this Sunday by ending the evening with this beautiful chant. If you download it onto a portable device such as your smart phone or tablet, you can simply chant from it paperless!

Here is the link:

Join me in exploring the Sigalaka Sutta from DN 31 in which the Buddha gives advice to Sigalaka, a layperson, on how best to conduct his life with parents, wife, children, friends and companions, employees and employers, and wise, religious men. I am hoping that we can focus on what Buddha says about the reciprocal relationship between parents and children as it is not addressed in Western Buddhism and can go a long way (in my opinion) towards healing for those of us who came conditioned from dysfunctional families and towards positive reinforcement, good memories for those who are fortunate enough to have had wholesome conditioning from loving and functional families.

But of course, we can also discuss what Buddha says about creating a wholesome foundation in the workplace, our friendships with others and spiritual teachers and monastics. His teaching paves the way for fascinating reflection because his advice is so simple, but difficult to put in place in our current society and lifestyle. Why is this the case? Hmmmm.

Hope to see you all there!

​with gratitude for your practice,

May 21, 2014

Ayya Tathaaloka this Sunday at Alameda Sangha

Dear Ones,

Please join me in welcoming Ayya Tathaaloka this Sunday who plans to speak on karma and rebirth. I will be picking her up in Berkeley and bringing her to the sangha. IF anyone gets to the sangha first before us and it looks as though the floor could use a quick vacuum, please feel free to do this.

Someone else could take a photo of one of the tables in the foyer leading to the bathrooms and clear this table so that she may put any literature for us to choose from and take. After the evening ends, this volunteer could please put all the things back like the photo taken on the table so that the church will not complain that we have not restored it how we left it.

Ayya T would like us to visit her page and listen to her talk on karma and rebirth so that we may bring any questions to this Memorial Day weekend Sunday evening for her visit.

May you all have a peaceful rest of your week and weekend,

with metta, Pauletta

May 18, 2014

No Yoga this month @ Sangha

There will be no yoga this month since the nuns are coming on the last Sunday when we normally have yoga.

See you all next month if not before.
Namaste, Dina

May 15, 2014

Sawing our Way to Kindness and Respect this Sunday at Alameda Sangha

Dear Ones

My own deepest aspiration in practice is that of being kind and respectful at all times, even in the face of abuse! (remember my past talk Slow but Sure Fruits to Bear where I spoke of Patience under Insult). It's difficult at times to remember, but helpful when keeping the intention close to the heart.

Thus the inspiration for offering this teaching on the Simile of the Saw. This particular teaching is rich with many similes which time constraints cannot accommodate so I will focus on one or two where the Buddha shows how a latent tendency of a defilement is brought to manifestation and then full transgression as well as how best we can employ patience, kindness, respect, and compassion when faced with situations in which it is difficult to hold our tongue and even our bodily action. it is quite an inspiring teaching that I hope you all will appreciate.

Don't forget to sign up for the daylong on Wisdom this Saturday from 9-430 pm. Offer yourselves the gift of a day of nurturing silence and practice amongst other supportive ones. The theme of this daylong nicely completes the three aspects of the Path of Practice, aka the Noble Eightfuld Path. The first daylong of the year taught by Baruch and I covered Sila or Ethics which is Right Speech, Right Livelihood and Right Action. The second daylong in March taught by Rebecca and Deb, covered Samadhi or Concentration which is Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. This Saturday, I will teach Panna or Wisdom which rounds out the Eightfold Path with Right Understanding and RIght Intention.

Hope to see you all there!

​with gratitude for your practice, Pauletta

May 9, 2014

This Sunday: Every Being Was Once Your Mother

Dear Ones,

In the Tibetan tradition, we are invited to view every being as having once been our mother. In honor of Mother's Day, I'll present some reflections on mothers, motherhood, compassion and interconnectedness--from the Buddhist perspective; and I'll invite stories and remembrances from our collective life experiences.

I realize the schedule says I'll be talking about The Unfolding of Liberation, but I have decided to let that topic unfold itself more completely on June 22!

It will be a joy to be with you, and practice together on Sunday, 7 - 9 p.m.

with warmth,
Deb Kerr

May 3, 2014


Dear Ones,

Hope you all saw the beautiful fog rolling into the bay last night as our warm spring weather bowed out of the way for the next few days! It was magnificent rolling over the bay!

Hoping to see all of you tomorrow at the Spring Bazaar at the church! We will have a community table for Alameda Sangha and it promises to be a fun and yummy time!

Tomorrow night, sangha will be at Alameda Hospital Room A on the second floor and NOT at the church. As you enter the main entrance there will be an operator to the left who will assist you if you get lost.

Do not forget to sign up for the May 17 daylong which promises to be a deepening and insightful day of practice. Give yourself the gift of coming and nurturing you soul.

I am very excited to announce that the Aloka Vihara nuns, Ayyas Santacitta and Anandabodhi have offered to teach a daylong for us on Saturday, September 20 at the church and Ayya Anandabodhi will offer us the dharma the next evening, Sunday, September 21 at the sangha. Save the dates for this heartfelt and mind opening weekend courtesy of the nuns!

May you enjoy the rest of this amazing weekend!
with gratitude for your practice, Pauletta

May 1, 2014

Sun 7-8:30 What Adversity Can Teach Us

Dear Friends,

When things go against us, we feel an instant whiplash of aversion. We make instinctive facial expressions and gestures that are understood in all languages. What if, instead, we could welcome waking up with the flu, or the angry boss, or the flat tire as an educational opportunity?

It would be great if we could see it that way from the very first. We'd probably suffer a lot less as the setback played itself out. But even if we're instantly overwhelmed by dukkha, we can still learn from what's happened so far at any point when we remember to. That education "after the fact" can help us face the next, inevitable, adversity.

Come this Sunday, 7-8:30 pm to explore what adversity can teach us. Bring your own stories and a friend, and remember:

Due to the church's annual bazaar, just this Sunday we're meeting at ALAMEDA HOSPITAL, 2070 Clinton Ave, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 522-3700, in CONFERENCE ROOM A. As you enter the front doors of the hospital, there is an operator to the left to direct people to the room. There may be signs pointing the way to Alameda Sangha, and there are also building maps available.

Earlier that day, I hope you're able to join us at the bazaar. Be sure to check in at the Alameda Sangha table.

With metta,


April 24, 2014

7-8:30 Sun: What Money Can Teach Us

Dear Friends:

Money is a powerful force in this world, and there are few things we spend more time thinking about. Often our relationship to money is uncomfortable – it can generate a lot of suffering. If we're not worried about meeting our needs, we're struggling with the costs of what we want. Oddly, with all this attention we pay to our finances, we're shy in this society about discussing it with others, so we do that suffering in silence. But a clear-headed examination of money can teach us a lot.

This Sunday, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, we'll take a look at what money is to us and how we can use our relationship with it to grow spiritually. I hope you'll join us and bring a friend.


PS: Last time I was there, I brought a bottle for only one person. This time, there'll be one for everyone! And here's a note from Ron:

Members interested in tabling the Buena Vista United Methodist Church's Spring Festival Bazaar on Sunday, May 4, 2014, please email Ronald at In your email, please include your name, phone number, and preferred time in one-hour shifts (e.g., 1:30-2:30 pm). He will put together a list and distribute it to all volunteers on or before Thursday, May 1.
Members who purchased a ticket for the chicken teriyaki box, or who simply plan to attend the bazaar, please consider stopping by the Alameda Sangha table and enjoying your meal there. At least a few of us are planning to have lunch there at 1 pm. All are welcome.

April 23, 2014

Yoga this Sunday at Sangha 6pm

Please join us this Sunday at 6pm for yoga. Yoga helps to relax the body and put the mind at ease so one can settle into meditation more fully. Practicing yoga cultivates sensitivity in the body as well as increasing one's awareness outside the body.

Bring your mats, comfortable clothes to move in and an empty stomach.
Namaste, Dina

April 21, 2014

Book I mentioned last night, plus other small reminders

Dear Ones,

The book I could not remember last night is Living in the Light of Death by Larry Rosenberg.

May you all have a fruitful week of cultivating patience and noticing when and where it happens in your practice and daily life!

I received an email from David Borglum this morning who was most grateful to receive a call from Phil offering rides. However he miswrote the phone number and wishes to have Phil call again so he can correctly take down the contact information.

Last, please bring a small notebook to the May 17 daylong for a journaling exercise in the afternoon.

We are hoping to have Ayya Tathaaloka come and offer us a teaching on Memorial Day weekend Sunday at the sangha. Please let everyone know to not miss this opportunity to hear another beloved monastic offer and embody the dharma for us all to experience.

​with gratitude for your practice, Pauletta

April 19, 2014

A Dear one in our Sangha in immediate need of Care and Support

Dear Ones,

It has come to the teachers' attention that David Borglum has been diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer.

He will be starting Chemotherapy this Monday (in two days' time). He has not yet started a Caringbridge page with the Support Planner. Perhaps one of you could volunteer to help him and his wife start and organize this.

They could probably use help this week with meals, visits, he goes weekly to Kaiser to have fluid drained from his abdomen and so could perhaps welcome a ride to his appointments, check ins and relieving his wife and family so they can relax (similar to my morning and afternoon check in visits when I've had chemo myself). And last, companionship and meditation together. Rebecca and I will be going over this Friday morning to meditate with him.

If any of you are able and your hearts are moved to offer generous acts of support and companionship for David, here is his contact info:

510 749 9661 home
510 205 6082 cell

He lives on Bay Farm Island. Tomorrow we will be offering him metta during the guided meditation. He may or may not feel up to coming to the sangha after the Easter celebration at the church where he is minister.

Thank you all so much for your generosity, kindness, well wishes and support for David and his family during this very challenging time,

with metta and gratitude for your practice,


Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website:
Visit our blog:

April 17, 2014

Slow but sure insures wholesome consequences! at Alameda Sangha this Sunday, April 20 from 7-9 pm

Dear Ones,

Slow but sure can help to reassure us that doing our practice will generate wholesome consequences such as clearer relationships and boundaries, healthier self interactions and more ease and well-being in our daily lives.

Come and explore with me, the most under revered virtue in our culture today - that of khanti or patience. We will look at three ways to cultivate it both on and off the cushion as per the Buddha.

Don't forget to register for the daylong that I will be teaching on Saturday May 17 at the church! See our home page for more information.

See you all soon!
with metta and gratitude for your practice!

April 14, 2014

"Knowing " practices for the week

Dear ones,

Here are suggestions from the talk last night on how to "know" so the mind can "abandon" the stains or kilesas of the mind without much effort after sustained practice over time.

1) As per the First Noble Truth, really come to understand through curiosity, our relationship to experience, particularly when the reaction manifests as a defilement of the mind. So reflection would be a good start to this understanding.

2) Being willing to meet our difficulties so that we are not pushing away, or holding on to what is arising nor refusing to see the truth of the reality of a situation.

3) Mindfulness of the body work where we drop in and see what is happening as we work with the stains of the mind that fall into one of the three categories of the 3 Main Poisons : Greed, hatred and delusion.

Happy practicing! It will be good to hear what you have discovered next week. I will be teaching about cultivating patience whch is a much needed virtue in our culture right now! See you next Sunday!

with metta,

April 11, 2014

Daylong registration page date typo and other news

Dear Ones,

Someone alerted me that when you click the link, "here" on our home page to register for the May 17 daylong, that page still says March 29, the last date of last month's Concentration daylong with Deb and Rebecca. Susan is away on vacation right now but I've sent her an email to change the date to May 17. If you go ahead and register anyway and ignore the typo date, it will still register you properly so that I can give you information about the first day. So please go ahead and still register on line despite the date error on the page. It will help me a lot to know how many are coming so that I can properly structure the day for interview slots, etc.

On that same day, May 17 in the evening, starting around 6 pm will be an event announcing me as artist in residence at OACC, the Oakland Asian Cultural Center where they honored me a few months ago at a dinner. It will be another evening of amazing entertainment - music and dance, etc. There will be T shirts for sale with my woodblock prints silkscreened onto the front of the shirt. We will be announcing some activities which I will be doing and offering for dana to the center and all are invited to attend and participate.

1) Evening event at OACC on May 17. $20 for tickets and $40 for VIP seating and pre-reception. There won't be dinner served that evening as at the event many of you attended a few months ago, hence the cheaper ticket prices. Please email Tamiko Wong (email address above if interested)

2) I will be teaching a Folding Haiku Book class from 1130 am - 430 pm with another artist, Charles Valoroso on Saturday, June 14, 2014 at OACC which is located in Chinatown. Class is $20, all proceeds to go to OACC. Charles and I are teaching this class dana for the organization. We will collect an additional $20 from participants in the workshop on the day, June 14 to cover our materials expenses. Once again, contact Tamiko if interested in signing up.

3) Sometime in the summer I will be having a demo on woodblock printing with a show of my actual blocks that I used to make the prints and some silk screened prints of my woodblocks for about $50 each. Stay tuned.

4) Health permitting, I will be doing 4 noon Thursday meditation OACC that will be about 1 1/2 hours each time. We will meditate for the first 1/2 hour, then a 30 minute dharmette talk and the last 30 minutes to meditate. This will be dana based.

5) Last, I will be having a show at SFMOMA Artists Gallery in Fort Mason from July 19-August 21. The reception where I will be present will be on Saturday July 19 from 3-5 pm. The title of the show is Shifting Sands which is where I am on my death journey right now. Hope to see you all there.

And best but of course, temporary news is that my cancer markers went down to 96! So I won't need to have chemo at the end of this month as I originally thought. Phew! We will just check my blood monthly from now till the next time the markers start to rise again. Next week Steve and I will see the chief of breast oncology at UCSF to see if there are other non-chemo things I can take to help keep the cancer numbers down without so much exposure to toxicity as often. We will see. Send metta and good wishes. The appointment is on Tuesday the 15th at 930 am.

with loving gratitude and metta to all of you,

April 9, 2014

Cloth Never Speaks this Sunday, April 13, 2014 at Alameda Sangha

Hello Everyone,

Looking forward to seeing all of you again after some time away, with the busyness of visiting family and a rejuvenating and healing retreat!
This Sunday, I will be exploring the Simile of the Cloth which is a really visceral and visually symbolic sutta of the Buddha where he goes into the purification of the mind from kilesas or defilements.  I was able to have an in depth understanding of this sutta while on recent retreat when one of the teachers shared it with us.

Hoping to see you all there to enjoy this beautiful teaching together.

I will be teaching a daylong on May 17, Saturday at the church from 9-430. It will be exploring some of the wisdom teachings of the Buddha and how we cultivate wisdom in practice on and off the cushion. Please register on our website, see link below. Please bring a bag lunch, comfortable clothes and one needs to only be fully present to benefit!

with metta and gratitude for your practice, Pauletta

April 3, 2014

Metta and Concentration, Part II

Dear Friends,

Last week at Alameda Sangha I spoke about the unfolding of lovingkindness practice and the boundless potential of the heart.

This week, I'll focus more directly on how metta is used as an object to deepen concentration, and some common experiences that come with a focus on calming and collecting the mind. I'll be using some of my own experiences from retreat, as well as teachings from a British teacher I mentioned last week, Rob Burbea. If you get a chance, I recommend that you listen to a talk of his on Dharma Seed: "Samadhi in the Practice of Emptiness," dated 2009-1-24.

I will also dedicate some time at the meeting for us as a group to send lovingkindness and compassion to Pauletta specifically, as well as to other sangha members who are experiencing health difficulties.

Looking forward to seeing you,

with warmth,
Deb Kerr

March 27, 2014

This Sunday: Metta and Concentration Part 1

Dear Friends,

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha I'll be talking about the unfolding of lovingkindness practice and its relationship to concentration. Because the potential of the heart is boundless, lovingkindness also knows no bounds, and it is possible for the heart to keep stretching and opening in ways that defy the imagination.

This week I'll be discussing how metta practice (lovingkindness) is worked with in a long retreat, and the kinds of benefits that come with it. This includes touching into and exploring the core Buddhist teaching of not-self.

Next week, I'll focus more directly on how metta is used as an object to deepen concentration, and some common experiences (and potential pitfalls) that come with a focus on calming and collecting the mind.

It will be wonderful to practice with you all again!
with warmth,
Deb Kerr

March 24, 2014

Yoga at Sangha

Come and practice with us this Sunday 6-6:45pm. Bring a sticky mat, bare feet and clothes you can easily move in.
Namaste, Dina

March 20, 2014

Sun 7-8:30 Service as Practice

Dear Friends,

We can practice sitting on a chair or cushion.  We can practice while walking, or doing some manual work, even while interacting with animals or people.  A big part of my practice has been service, which cultivates mindfulness in a rich variety of contexts.  Doing service as practice directly supports our ability to remain mindful as we live each day, while cultivating metta, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity.


This Sunday, 7-8:30 pm, I'll talk about ways to help others (including the whole planet) so that service becomes part of our overall practice.  Please bring friends and stories to share about your experiences of mindful service.

With metta,


Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website:
Visit our blog:

March 13, 2014

Sunday 7-8:30 Concentration

Dear Friends,

Approaches to concentration practice vary widely throughout the Buddhist world. You may have heard me sidestep questions about it, saying we don't need a lot of concentration for insight meditation.

But there are good reasons for practicing concentration, especially to develop samadhi -- a peaceful and unified mind. To do this, most people need a block of time like a day-long retreat. Well, one is coming up on March 29 with Deb and me!

In my dharma talk this Sunday, I'll offer a brief survey of concentration practices and explain an approach
good for calming and focusing the mind. This approach can be a valuable part of a regular non-retreat practice, and it's the one we'll be using on March 29.

Whether or not you can attend that daylong, do come this Sunday to get an overview of this eighth fold of the Eightfold Path, and look into an accessible way to cultivate it.

And bring a friend.


March 10, 2014

Concentration Retreat Saturday, March 29 and Dharma Talk this Sunday

Dear Friends,

On Sat, March 29, 9:30am - 4:30 pm, Deb Kerr and I will be leading a daylong retreat on concentration practice at the BVUM church. This is a chance to sit with members of our sangha and others. Please register and save the date.

Deb and I will offer guidance to develop greater concentration and serenity. It will be a day of silence (including the lunch period) with sitting & walking meditation. There will be some sitting instructions, very brief talks by the teachers and opportunities to ask questions. Bring a bag lunch.

This coming Sunday, March 16, I will give a dharma talk during our sangha meeting on the subject of concentration. This will be a good opportunity to explore the purpose of concentration and the techniques for developing it.

So we can send you updated information about the retreat, please register at: Meditation Daylong Retreat

If you have ever wished you could concentrate better, I hope you'll be able to attend the talk this Sunday and the retreat two Saturdays later. If you miss the talk, it will be on our web site by the end of next week.

With metta,

March 6, 2014

This Sunday: Progress on the Path: Curiosity, Continuity and Concentration

Dear Friends,

This Sunday March 9th the topic will be Progress on the Path. I'll be speaking about how our capacity for practice can increase over time, how that allows us to tune into more and more subtle layers of mind, and how that leads to greater ease both within ourselves and in the world.

Let's get curious about how mindfulness works day by day in big and small ways to establish some continuity of awareness and lay the foundation for greater concentration. We'll share stories about ways in which you have seen yourself grow in this practice, and stories about places where growth has seemed elusive, and what happened then.

Looking forward to practicing with you all again!

With warmth,
Deb Kerr

March 3, 2014

A big thank you to all of you for last night!

Dear Ones,

Thank you all so much for helping to make the church clean and pretty before Jacques and Dave arrived and for making them both feel very welcomed and heard.

Thank you all so much, also for all your TLC, food, and support this past week during my recovery after chemo. It means so much to me to have your care, concern and well wishes that it really helps me to have better healing from all the toxicity. I will keep you all abreast of what will transpire after decisions made with the oncologist this Wednesday via CaringBridge.

Future upcoming Alameda Sangha events are: the March 29 daylong with Deb and Rebecca, Memorial Day Weekend Sunday with Ayya Tathaaloka and hopefully the male monastics in the Fall. Stay tuned!

Have a blessed week, with metta,

February 27, 2014

This Sunday, March 2 at Alameda Sangha, special guest Jacques Verduin

Dear Ones,

Jacques Verduin will be joining us this Sunday. He is the Founder and Director of Insight Out, a nonprofit that turns violence and suffering into opportunities for healing and growth for prisoners and challenged youth.
He has worked in prisons for 17 years and his work serves as a catalyst for statewide prison reform in California.

Come and meet this most inspiring and amazing man, this Sunday and bring your questions about the state of prisons and prisoners today!

with metta, Pauletta

February 20, 2014

Dancing in the Midst of Sorrow this Sunday at Alameda Sangha Feb. 23, 2014

Dear Ones,

Come and receive my offering of how to navigate the 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows and the practices that we can do now to help us. Don't wait to get a terminal diagnosis to begin practicing with how to be with the difficult and still be able to descend into joy amidst our life's challenges!

Equanimity practice combined with compassion really helps us find the balance which turns suffering into awareness of the processes that happen in the body mind.

Don't forget to consider also coming to nurture your inner selves for an entire day this Saturday, Feb. 22 from 9 - 430 at the church.

with metta, Pauletta

February 16, 2014

Last week to sign up for daylong on Feb. 22 Saturday from 9 to 430 pm at the church!

Dear Ones,

Hope to see you there! Feel free to reply to this email to confirm your registration at the daylong!

with gratitude for your practice, Pauletta

February 13, 2014

Sun 7-8:30pm Indispensable Love

Dear Friends,

Freud said the two things we need to be happy are love and work.  But love is not just one item on the many lists people have made for a satisfied life.  It is indispensable, especially in following the Eightfold Path.  Just being mindful requires the capacity for love.


This Sunday, as Valentine's Day fades from our thoughts, let's take another look at love from the perspective of our practice.  What is this power of the human heart and how does it enable us to be mindful, kind and happy with our lives?  Invite a friend and join us 7-8:30 pm.

With metta,

Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website:
Visit our blog:

February 11, 2014

No Yoga at Sangha

There will be no yoga this Sunday. I'm going back East to see my Mom.
See you all next month!

Namaste, Dina

February 10, 2014

Daylong on Saturday February 22 taught by Pauletta and Baruch (details below)

Hello Everyone,

Please don't forget to sign up (register) for the daylong upcoming. It promises to be very nourishing to your practice as we explore in more depth, sila or ethics in the dharma.

with gratitude for your practice, Pauletta

February 6, 2014

Sun 7-8:30 The Spectrum of Desire

Dear Friends,

I spent much of the Super Bowl in front of the TV, looking up from my work to watch commercials. Some were clever, others heartwarming or hilarious. Most promoted desire. One was quite explicit in telling us that desire made life noble and our purpose was to cultivate and pursue desires as ardently as possible.

Some people believe Buddha condemned all desire, and a lot of suttas sound like that's true. Desire is actually a multi-faceted and inseparable aspect of the human experience. Our challenge is to understand what is tugging at our minds and hearts right now. Where did this desire come from, and where does it fit on the spectrum of healthy to harmful?

Please come this Sunday evening to explore the genesis and consequence of our attractions. Invite friends to join us for meditation, discussion and the support of a great sangha.

With metta,

February 3, 2014

Sila (Ethics in the Dharma) Practice this week

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for the great turnout last night and engaging discussion after our exploration with Sila, the 2nd in the 5 step plan that the Buddha outlined for the layperson interested in undertaking a spiritual path and practice.

This week, pick one precept to spend some time reflecting upon in how it does or does not resonate with your life today. What seems realistic to do and what seems difficult about this particular precept to carry out in real time?

The Five Precepts

I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from destroying living beings.
I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from taking things not given.
I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from sexual misconduct.
I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from false speech.
I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from liquor causing intoxication and heedlessness.
I undertake to observe the Five Precepts to the best of my ability.(3x)

Don't hesitate to discuss it with someone close to you in your life.

Remember to sign up for the February 22, daylong which is a Saturday at the church. You can simply reply to this email or sign up on the Alameda Sangha website (link below). Give yourself the gift of a day of nurturing your internal selves. Baruch Golden and I will be teaching and the focus of the day will be Sila. Along with sitting and walking practice, we will have some time to explore more deeply and at a slower pace, what our deepest values are and how they align with our spiritual practice.

May you have a good week of practice, with metta, Pauletta