January 30, 2014

Sila or Ethics this Superbowl Sunday at Alameda Sangha, February 2, 2014

Dear Ones,

In light of the Superbowl this Sunday, doors will open at 7 pm as usual, but the sitting meditation and regular evening together will begin at 715 to allow those wanting to see the end of the superbowl to arrive as unrushed as possible. If the game goes overtime, please do not hesitate to quietly enter the church if it is past 715 and the meditation has begun.

The logical next step as Buddha outlined in his 5 step plan for a layperson interested in beginning a spiritual path is sila, or ethics. Come and join me this Sunday to explore the undertakings that the Buddha prescribed for us to really begin and deepen our spiritual practice in the most wholesome way possible. The 5 Precepts really resonated for me in my early years of practice because of the nature of its overall message of non-harming, non-harming to oneself, the planet and others as we go through this life together. They are 5 beautiful guidelines to consider and reflect upon, not "rules" or "commandments" which can engender lots of judgements, and is not given enough air time when the Dharma is offered in the West. At the same time, they very much echo the ancient Western adage of "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you", in most respects (which is where the non-harming aspect comes into play).
Reflection and inquiry into these 5 precepts,  without self-judgement or judgement towards others, mandatory!

bowing to your practice,

January 27, 2014

Generosity Practice this week

Thank you for the wonderful, connecting and beautiful evening last night. Much heart opening for everyone there!

Here are some simple suggestions for ways we can all think about cultivating Generosity (Dana) in all of our lives:  Remember it is important to track the inner reactions as we think about giving, during the giving and after the giving. We also must do this in the receiving and practice letting go into the delight of receiving.

  1. Similar to tithing, we can think about regularly donating to a favorite non-profit organization that we believe in. I donate 10% of my art sales to Buddhist Global Relief.
  2. Spend time with an older person who is lonely, feeling out of touch with greater society or anyone who has trouble connecting. 
  3.  Freely offer one's talents to someone in need. i.e. computer skills for someone who is not tech savvy
  4. As we discussed last night, offering food to homeless people at street corners. I carry a bag of oranges in the car to offer whenever I can.

These are just a few suggestions of many more we can all come up with. Have fun tracking your experience as you all move towards cultivating generosity in your daily life!

with metta and hugs, Pauletta

January 26, 2014

Yoga Tonight at Sangha

Come to yoga tonight 6pm-6:45 before we sit for meditation. I teach in the Iyengar tradition. All are welcome. Bring your mats!

For more information you can look at the Sangha website or go to

Look forward to seeing you.


Dina Hondrogen
Yoga Instructor

January 25, 2014

Request for Sunday, March 2, 2014 at Alameda Sangha

Dear Ones,

So March will be here before we know it, and I am sending out a request for two volunteers to help Steve and I set up and clean up the church for Jacques Verduin's visit. We would need to vacuum the sanctuary, make sure there is toilet paper and paper towels in both bathrooms and have two simple flower arrangements plus a pretty tablecloth/scarf to throw on the stand for the Buddha. I will bring two candles.

Visit the Alameda Sangha website to learn more about Jacques Verduin and the amazingly inspiring work that he does at San Quentin.

Please bring a friend to this exciting evening.

with gratitude and metta for all your practice, Pauletta

January 22, 2014

The Pleasures of Giving and Receiving this Sunday, January 26, 2014 at Alameda Sangha

Hello Everyone,

Come and explore the pleasures of giving and receiving. The Buddha taught that generosity is not only a wholesome way to incline the mind, but also a cultivated practice that reaps many rewards for both the giver and receiver. It is a great intention to cultivate for the new year.

Please read the handout here: Dana in the Theravadan Tradition by Gil Fronsdal to get a complete understanding of how and why the importance of this teaching arose and what we can do to reverse the paradigm of staunch individualism and independence rather than inter-dependence in our country today!

Do not forget to sign up for our daylong on February 22, Saturday at the church from 9 to 430 taught by Baruch and I. Postcards will be available to keep and pass out around the island, this Sunday during the break.

Looking forward to seeing all of you,

​with metta, Pauletta

January 15, 2014

This Sunday: Intention, Purpose and Habits

Dear Friends,

This Sunday Jan. 19th I'll be speaking about the importance of setting intentions, the relationship of intention to karma, some ways of working with intentions, and the role of intention in reinforcing or changing habits. We'll also be looking at how the Buddha described Right Intention as part of the Noble Eightfold Path, and how our habits can be a source of power for us (or not!) as we wake up.

Looking forward to practicing together.

with warmth,
Deb Kerr

January 9, 2014

Sun 7-8:30 Boundaries & Interbeing

Dear Friends,

This Sunday, I will look at Buddhist teachings on interdependence and what that means in terms of our actual relationships with others. It can seem that being interconnected with all other beings leaves no room for personal boundaries, but that's not so. Healthy boundaries, built on a foundation of kindness, make good neighbors.

Come with a friend and your stories about boundaries good and bad, and together we'll look at how to help the limits we place on others – and ourselves – work to the benefit of all.


January 4, 2014

Refining Mindfulness: Four Elements Meditation

Dear Sangha,

Happy New Year! May the new year bring peace, ease and freedom to you and all those you love.

Tomorrow, Jan. 5th, I'll be speaking about mindfulness in regard to the four traditional elements that make up our world. The Buddha taught this way of being mindful of the body, and it is very, very useful in refining the detail with which we pay attention to body sensations. This leads to a larger vocabulary, if you will, for us to use in being precise about what we are feeling, which in turn brings increased concentration, tolerance for unpleasant sensations, and greater ability to relax with what is present in any moment.

Looking forward to starting the new year off with all of you.

with warmth and appreciation,
Deb Kerr