March 27, 2014
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!
March 24, 2014
March 20, 2014
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.
March 13, 2014
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
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.
March 6, 2014
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!
March 3, 2014
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,