November 24, 2015

No Yoga This Sunday, Nov 29

Hello Yoga Enthusiasts,
I have a special family activity planned for the holidays so will not be teaching on Sunday night. Have a great Thanksgiving holiday.

Dina Hondrogen
Yoga Instructor
www.dinahondrogen.com

October 27, 2015

Sun 7-8:30 Everyday Mindfulness

Dear Friends,

It was a big disappointment that I wasn't well enough last Sunday to join you and give the talk I announced a week ago. But I was very glad Walt Opie could step in and carry the teachings in my stead.

I still mean to talk about everyday mindfulness, so here's what I wrote about it last week (with a new date):

Our meditation practice is a powerful training that can lead to the end of dissatisfaction. We often forget that this path to contentment runs through what we might regard as the "ordinary:" our normal daily lives.

Just as in formal meditation, daily life practice brings mindfulness to whatever arises. In the process, the "ordinary" is often quite transformed.

Please join us this Sunday, Oct. 25, with your friends and stories about your practice of everyday mindfulness.

Looking forward to seeing you again,
Rebecca

October 10, 2015

Dear Sangha Friends,
Last week we discussed the relationship of love and emptiness; love inclines us to less self-clinging, and emptiness naturally gives rise to compassion. This week we will explore specific ways of working with both love and emptiness, and we’ll reflect on Nisargatta’s sublime realization: “Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between the two my life flows.”

Looking forward to seeing you and practicing together.

with warmth,
Deb Kerr

October 2, 2015

This Sunday: Love and Emptiness, Part 1

Dear Friends,

Although "emptiness" is not a word we might usually associate with love, in the Buddhist teachings and practice, they are inextricably tied to each other. This Sunday we will explore the ways in which love blossoms more fully in the light of emptiness, the ways in which emptiness is seen as love is cultivated; and the ways in which both lead us toward freedom, and manifest as fruits of our practice.

Looking forward to seeing you and practicing together!

with warmth,
Deb Kerr

September 26, 2015

Total eclipse included in tonight's sangha meeting

Dear Ones,

Like some of you, I've been wishing to see the rare eclipse tonight, and then realized there need be no conflict. Tonight, after the sit, we'll have a lunar break! Then back for the dharma talk & discussion and out in time to see the last half hour of the eclipse's end. For those not interested in traipsing outside, it will just be "a break."

Best wishes,
Rebecca

September 17, 2015

Sun 7-8:30 pm Coming Back to the Breath

Dear Friends,

If there's one single teaching or activity that can be said to characterize Buddhism, it's coming back to the breath. It's the mainstay of Vipassana meditation, and it's much more.

As our practice grows and we learn more about the teachings, we can lose the immediacy of this simple but extremely powerful action. As we go through our lives, remembering it can bring the present moment and our intentions into sudden, meaningful focus. Bring your stories, and a friend.

Join us this Sunday, Sept. 20, 7-8:30 pm, as we explore the benefits of coming back to the breath.

With metta,
Rebecca

September 11, 2015

ASL Interpreted Video, "Signs of Mindfulness"

Dear Ones,
In case you missed this link on the weekly sangha email, here it is again!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCdyV7pe5d8

This is a video project I participated in along with other volunteers from Alameda Sangha, Judi Fruge, Steve Lowery, Lauren Zane created by Geoff Geiger and filmed by Jampa Thinlay.

Enjoy!

With metta and peace for the weekend,
Pauletta

September 10, 2015

Healthy Shame and Intention this Sunday at Alameda Sangha September 13, 2015


Dear Ones,

Come and explore with me what Buddha taught about Healthy Shame and Intention. First we will explore, the Guardians of the World, or the twin emotions known as, in the Pali, "Hiri-Ottapa". Bhikkhu Bodhi, an American monk, Pali scholar and acclaimed teacher explores these two qualities in a wonderful article he wrote:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/bps-essay_23.html

Buddha refers to these two qualities as the bright guardians of the world and Bhikkhu Bodhi says, "He gives them this designation because as long as these two states prevail in people's hearts the moral standards of the world remain intact, while when their influence wanes, the human world falls into unabashed promiscuity and violence, becoming almost indistinguishable from the animal realm." I will offer how awareness of these two qualities can really shift the way in which we think about our intentions before acting and additionally, the impact that the action could potentially have out in the world. Therefore, it is not enough to have good intentions, rather we also need to go the extra mile to consider how what we say, do or think will land on the person(s) or situation. Hmmm. Important stuff to reflect upon and remember to try to do!

Then we will explore a short sutta, entitled, Instructions to Rahula at Mango Stone which is a discourse given to Rahula, the Buddha's son when he was only 6 years old.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.061.than.html

Of particular interest in this teaching is how Buddha emphasizes to Rahula, the importance of extensive reflection on verbal, bodily and mental actions (this is where the intention comes in). Reflection needs to occur when the desire arises to do these actions, and then reflection once again, during the doing of any of these actions and reflection once again, after the action is completed. By this instruction alone, one can see how active our practice can really be in daily life off the cushion, and that it takes some effort in order to reverse the effects of the defilements of the mind in order to let our beautiful and innate Buddha nature come through. When this happens, of course we will have less suffering. I personally, have been working with the mental actions a lot, and seeing my own responsibility whenever my unique conditioning bumps up with someone else's in an unpleasant and usually unskillful way. It is hard to move beyond the tunnel vision that our own conditioning encourages so that it tricks us time and time again to create stories and assumptions that may or may not be true. Remember that Mahasi Sayadaw, Buddhist meditation master said that the mind creates 98% of our suffering!

Let's explore these together!

Don't forget the chanting! http://saranaloka.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/chanting-book-33.pdf

Also, please check out this wonderful YouTube video that our own talented and creative Geoff Geiger initiated with the help of many wonderful volunteer gifted sangha members! It was created for the Deaf community. The title of it is Signs of Mindfulness in case this link doesn't work and you would like to view it. Enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCdyV7pe5d8&feature=em-upload_owner#action=share


​with metta,
Pauletta

For my dharma activities, visit www.paulettachanco.com/meditation.html
Follow me on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/pauletta.chanco.5
Follow me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/PaulettaMChanco,

September 3, 2015

September 2, 2015

This Sunday, Shame and Spiritual Bypassing at Alameda Sangha

Dear Ones,

Come and join me in exploring how such an aversive emotion like shame is spiritually bypassed so that we avoid this shadow side that could otherwise instruct us in practicing in an open and honest way with our unresolved wounds.

Shame is the inner critic in disguise and then we can have a tendency to project this unresolved wound on others, which can pollute any relationship we have in which it appears.

We will also discover the goodness of healthy shame or hiri-ottappa in the Pali which are "conscience and concern" or moral shame and moral dread. These are twin emotions, aka the guardians of the world and are associated with all skillful actions. More about these twin emotions will be discussed in Part 2 of this talk on shame, next week - Shame and Intention: a teaching for Rahula (the son of the Buddha)

We will see how shame manifests as spiritual bypassing, how to work with shame and how to sit in the fire of shame.

Hoping that it will be a purifying experience for all of us in this journey together!

Don't forget the chanting! http://saranaloka.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/chanting-book-33.pdf


For a listing of my upcoming dharma teaching activities, visit:
Follow me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/PaulettaMChanco

with gratitude and respect for your practice,

Pauletta

August 28, 2015

This Sunday: How Did I Get Here? Conditioning and the Possiblity of Change

Dear Friends,

The good news of karma is that it carries the seed of freedom in every moment. This Sunday we will continue to discuss karma, seeing both the skillful and unskillful things that we have fostered, and that in turn create our lives. We'll talk about why, in the Buddhist cosmology, it is considered so rare and precious to be born human; and we will review the importance of intention. We'll see that it is possible to change, and that one essential way of dong that is to work with our "ways of looking"-- at both ourselves and the world.

Looking forward to being with you and practicing together.

with warmth,
Deb Kerr

Yoga this Sunday

Yoga will be taught this Sunday 6-6:45pm. Come in clothes you can move in. Bring a sticky mat, bare feet and an empty stomach. All levels welcome.

Dina Hondrogen
Yoga Instructor
www.dinahondrogen.com

August 20, 2015

This Sunday: Sangha PICNIC and "Sila, Karma and the Bliss of Blamelessness"

Dear Friends,

This Sunday, August 23, I'll be talking about Sila, Karma and the Bliss of Blamelessness. We'll be exploring the role of morality as a protection and essential support for our practice and our lives; some "nuts and bolts" about karma and its interplay with sila; and the ease, peace and happiness that come from living lives of non-harming, in accord with others.

Reminder: Our Fifth Annual Sangha Picnic will be on Sunday August 23 from 5 - 6:30 at McKinley Park, 2165 Buena Vista Ave, Alameda. Please label your dish to indicate if it is vegan, vegetarian, or non-vegetarian.

This is a wonderful opportunity to socialize, get to know each other better, and enjoy amazing food. For more details, visit our website, noted below.

sending all good wishes,
Deb

Awesome Wes Nisker Daylong Next Saturday!

Dear Friends,

Here is a wonderful opportunity to experience the teachings of one of our most treasured dharma masters and Spirit Rock teachers, in Alameda on a dana basis! At the Alameda Sangha on August 22, renowned dharma teacher, journalist and performer Wes Nisker will be leading a daylong on How To Be An Earthling-- Mindfulness Meditation and Modern Science: A Path of Self-Liberation and Amazement. Wes was my first and most influential dharma teacher, and I highly recommend his light and humorous yet profound teachings.

The daylong will be at Buena Vista UM Church from 10 - 4 on Saturday August 22. For details, and to register, see the Alameda Sangha website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/

Come and bring your friends for a delightful day of dharma!

with warmth,
Deb Kerr

August 13, 2015

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha, August 16, 2015 Understanding the Mind or the Third Foundation of Mindfulness

Dear Ones,
Join me this coming Sunday to spend time with my favorite aspect of the dhamma, which is mind training and getting to know one's various mental states, wholesome and unwholesome. We will explore the Three Poisons which the Buddha points to as encompassing the entire range of our unwholesome mental states. If we learn to incline our mind away from these and more towards the wholesome mental states, we can train our minds to approach closer to liberation from suffering.

We will also look at Two Kinds of Thoughts, a sutta from the Mahjima Nikaya that the Buddha came up with before he awakened. In it he points us to wise discernment of what leads to long term, lasting happiness and liberation and what on the other hand leads us to suffering.

Should be a rich evening and a nice segway from the monastic daylong on Vedana or the second foundation of mindfulness earlier in the day for those of you who come.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

with gratitude for your practice,
Pauletta

August 6, 2015

7-8:30pm Sun, Nothing to Hold On or Cling To

Dear Friends,

We all want something to hold on to, not just when the going gets rough, but every day. There can be many days in a row when we do have a solid grip on "what matters to us," and we can come to expect it will continue that way. But nothing is certain.

Buddha taught that in fact, there's really never anything to hold on or cling to, and that we're actually better off if we accept that, deeply. When we have what we want, it's hard to imagine letting it go with equanimity. It may be in the difficult times, when crisis hits, that we're best able to see this teaching for what it's worth.

I hope you can join us this Sunday, 7-8:30, when we explore the difficulty – and value – of having nothing to cling to. Bring your stories, and friends.

Warmly,
Rebecca

July 24, 2015

Sun. 7-8:30 "Lay Practice"

Dear Friends,

Buddhist practice is more than being mindful of the breath when we sit. The traditional formula for lay people is dana, sila, bhavana or generosity, ethics and mind-training. Lay practice encompasses more even than that; it includes all of our complicated lives.

Can we engage with each unfolding moment of our day generously, ethically and mindfully? Can we apply the precepts to our primary relationships, and go to work with a commitment to end suffering and foster joy in each moment?

This Sunday we'll discuss "Lay Practice," as it functions not just as a part of our lives, but the very way we live them. Please come with friends and examples from your own life to share with your sangha.

Warmly,
Rebecca

July 15, 2015

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha: Buddhist Peacemaking with Ayya Sobhana

Dear Ones,

Please read more about her (she has visited us in the past) on the home page of our website. (see link below)

See you all there!

With gratitude for your practice,
Pauletta

For my most recent dharma newsletter and other dharma activities:
www.paulettachanco.com/meditation.html
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulettaMChanco
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July 9, 2015

Sun, 7-8:30 pm: Tending the Conscience

Dear Friends:

Anyone whose conscience has ever bothered them knows that is a real form of suffering. To follow the Eightfold Path, we need to keep the conscience tuned to when we've acted wrongly. And we also need a way to let go of the suffering of old, pointless guilt.

This Sunday, 7-8:30 pm, we'll look at teachings from the suttas and from other spiritual traditions that help us do both. I hope you will bring a friend or two and join us.

Looking forward to seeing you again,
Rebecca

July 8, 2015

Notes from talk on The Four G's of Happiness

Dear Friends,

Here are the notes from my talk tonight. Thanks to all for a most enjoyable evening.

with warmth,
Deb Kerr

Save The Dates! Wes Nisker Daylong and Sangha Picnic

Dear Friends,

There are two great events coming in August.

On August 22, renowned dharma teacher, journalist and performer Wes Nisker will be leading a daylong on How To Be An Earthling-- Mindfulness Meditation and Modern Science: A Path of Self-Liberation and Amazement. Wes was my first and most influential dharma teacher, and I highly recommend his light and humorous yet profound teachings.

The daylong will be at Buena Vista UM Church from 10 - 4 on Saturday August 22. See the Alameda Sangha website (below) for details, and to register.

On August 23 we will have our annual Sangha Picnic in McKinley Park, just down the street from the church, starting at about 5 p.m. More details will be forthcoming. This is always a wonderful time of enjoying our warm and lovely community, along with amazing potluck food.

with warmth,
Deb Kerr

July 2, 2015

This Sunday: The Three G's of Happiness

Dear Friends,

This Sunday I'll be presenting the Three G's of Happiness and how they can support practical happiness, here and now, throughout all stages of life. The move toward liberation happens on two fronts: the one where we confront suffering and work to reduce and remove the mental states that contribute to it; and the one where we discover what brings lasting happiness, and work to cultivate and habituate those states of mind and heart.

The Three G's will be revealed----this Sunday at 7 p.m.

Let's practice together and share our ways of supporting happier states of being.

with warmth,
Deb Kerr

June 29, 2015

Talk on Spiritual Bypassing 2 is up on the website.

Dear Ones,

Thanks for joining me last night for fascinating discussion and sharing. My talk from last night is up. Please go to our website (see link below)

For the next time I teach, please prepare by reading this sutta on shame, reflection and telling lies. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.061.than.html

with gratitude for you practice, Pauletta
For my dharma activities and teaching: www.paulettachanco.com/meditation.html
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulettaMChanco
Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pauletta.chanco.5

June 26, 2015

Yoga at Sangha this Sunday 6pm

Hi all,

Please come to yoga class on Sunday 6-6:45pm. Appropriate for all. I'll have blocks and straps. Bring you mats, empty stomachs and bare feet. Donations happily accepted.

Peace,
Dina Hondrogen
Yoga Instructor
www.dinahondrogen.com

June 25, 2015

Stable Heart, Stable Climate Monastic Daylong this Saturday, June 27, 2015 930-5 and Anxiety, Anger and Shame in Spiritual Bypassing

Dear Ones,

Please don't forget our monastic climate change daylong this Saturday which promises to be insightful, nourishing and inspirational. Visit our home page Events for more details about the day and don't hesitate to email me or reply to this email with any questions you may have. Best to arrive early to get settled.

Thanks to Ron and Beth, we have volunteers for the day. I do have a need for one volunteer to greet people as they arrive and show them where to put food for the nuns as well as personal lunches. No food or drink is allowed in the sanctuary. Only water.

This Sunday night, for our usual sangha meeting on the 28th, we will be continuing to explore Spiritual Bypassing and its appearances in anxiety, anger and shame. Please visit the website link below to hear my talk on Spiritual Bypassing Part 1 from last Sunday in preparation for this Sunday, the 28th.

We will look at the investigative process to work with these areas of stress and suffering without bypassing what we can learn from each in order to grow more intimately with others and ourselves as well as enrichen our lives. Is it possible for us to learn to begin working with low grade anxieties in big ways that could carry over to bigger anxieties as they arise? Can anger actually coexist with compassion? How can healthy shame free us? Let's reflect together!

Looking forward to seeing you all!
​To see Pauletta's dharma teaching activities visit:
www.paulettachanco.com/meditation.html
Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulettaMChanco or
on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pauletta.chanco.5


with gratitude for your practice,
Pauletta

June 21, 2015

Please read this blog link to the monastics if you plan to come to next Saturday's climate change monastic daylong at Alameda Sangha

Dear Ones,

If you are planning to come to Alameda Sangha's climate monastic daylong next Saturday at the church from 930-5 pm, please read the blog (link below) to familiarize yourselves on the theme of the day:

http://awakeningbuddhistwomen.blogspot.com/2015/06/on-front-lines.html#more

Enjoy and may you continue to enjoy the summer,

with gratitude for your practice,
Pauletta

June 19, 2015

This Sunday, June 21, 2015 at Alameda Sangha; Spiritual Bypassing

Dear Ones,

IMPORTANT Announcements:

1) First, to remind, that on Saturday, June 27, 2015 will be our monastic climate change daylong with Ayyas Santacitta and Santussika from 930-5 pm at the church. Please visit our website (link below) for details on what to bring if offering food for the nuns, and what their diet restrictions are. We ask that you do not bring any disposable silverware or paper plates, not even compostables. We do not want to create a lot of garbage for the church (we should still plan to take any garbage we accumulate in the lunch room, out of this venue)

2) This Sunday, during announcements, I would like to be able to have a sign up sheet for volunteers to help out on that day. Here are the jobs available so that you may reflect on which you might be moved to offer as part of your practice of generosity:
a) Bring flowers in vases for the church to make it beautiful and welcoming for our honored teachers.
b)Clean up - restoring the church and lunch room to their original states which may include vaccuuming of the sanctuary.
c)Check our current stash of tea and if not enough, please bring a variety of teas.
d)Someone to direct people as the arrive to put their personal lunches and any food to offer the nuns in the lunch room across from the sanctuary.
e)Someone to set up the lunchroom for the nuns - put food to offer them on one large table in the center of the room. Check in with the Ayyas to find out if qi gong will be offered before or after lunch. (My guess is after lunch like last time)
f)Washing of the alms bowls. Again, check in with the Ayyas about this. They will instruct the volunteer on how to do this after lunch is over.

Dear ones, best to arrive early for this beautiful and insightful daylong to get settled and be fully relaxed to receive the offerings from the bhikkunis.

This Sunday, the 21st of June,

Please come and explore with me the importance of learning more about this shadow side of spirituality and how it manifests in many ways. It is a fascinating area to discover because we often are deluded enough to not even be aware that this is happening for all of us.

This is a two part teaching on Spiritual Bypassing. The first part on the 21st will define what it is and why it is important, how it manifests and how to cut through it, which interestingly enough is actually about the Four Noble Truths. We will also look at blind compassion which is a more subtle form of spiritual bypassing.

Next Sunday, the 28th, I will offer more in depth exploration of spiritual bypassing and look at how to work with anxiety, how it manifests in anger and shame.

I'm very excited to delve deeply into this topic with all of you and look forward to hearing your experiences and any insights you may have, ie. indications in spiritual practice that something didn't feel very authentic, the honeymoon was over with spirituality, etc.

May you enjoy a peaceful rest of your week,

with metta, Pauletta

June 12, 2015

This Sunday June 14: Getting Up and Out: Taking Practice Off the Cushion

Dear Friends,

This Sunday I'll be presenting an overview of practices to take mindfulness and lovingkindness out of sitting meditation and into everyday activity. If we are to wake up, we need to make the awakened qualities of mind stable and portable, so they are with us more than when we are formally meditating.

One concept that is useful is that of a suitcase full of practice options, or that of a toolbox. We'll list and explore what those options might be, and see how practice can be brought to infuse all aspects of life with the qualities of a clear mind and open heart--and how the nurturance that we often find in sitting practice can be found all around us.

Looking forward to practicing with you on Sunday,
Deb Kerr

June 5, 2015

Sun 7-8:30 The 4th Heavenly Messenger

Dear Friends,

The story goes that the Buddha-to-be was raised in a pleasure palace separate from the suffering of the world. One day he escaped the palace and saw, for the first time, the effects of old age, illness and death. These visions of the first three "Heavenly Messengers" shocked him out of his concern with impermanent pleasures. Then he saw a mendicant with a begging bowl, following a spiritual path, and he was powerfully called to that path himself. It was this fourth messenger that drove home the point that what really counts is liberation from the suffering caused by hollow attachments.

We don't need to see ascetics to be reminded of the possibility of liberation. Whatever form this Fourth Heavenly Messenger takes, it can call us back to spiritual awareness and our true, full potential. Join us Sunday, 7-8:30 pm, to consider this teaching and the ways we can receive and heed that liberating fourth message.

With lovingkindness,
Rebecca

June 2, 2015

Creativity after last night's explorations - Simple, non-judgemental creative exercises to try

Dear Ones,

Thank you for the lively exploration on creativity and meditation that we shared last night. It was amazing to hear about each one's creative endeavor and to also realize that even those that are not normally considered to be "creative" actually are. Our living on this earth and how we choose to navigate our time here on the planet is a series of creative acts, including the dukkha that keeps making its appearance from time to time.

As I finished working in the studio this morning, I had these creative exercises that came to me and that I would like to pass on to all of you to try.

After a 20-30 sitting meditation:

1) Using a pencil, pen, Japanese sumi brush dipped in black ink, try to hold the instrument in a way that is not as though you are preparing to write. You can hold the brush or pencil inside your hand formed as a fist, or a hand that is about to pick up a stick. Then just make repetitive marks on paper. One could use sheets of old newspaper to paint on. Try getting your whole arm involved and not just the wrist in making the marks. Try repetitive circles, ovals, squares, or just groupings of lines. Don't think about trying to make anything, just let you hand and arm flow.

2) Set your alarm for 10 minutes, open your journal/notebook and embark on what is known as automatic writing. It's kind of like stream of consciousness. For the 10 minutes, just keep writing anything that comes to mind without judging, not concerned about grammatical errors or spelling errors. Stop mid-sentence when the alarm rings.

Try doing one or both of these exercises every day for a week, reviewing what you did the day or days prior in either case before beginning again.

It's possible that these exercises may spark you to do more. I would love to hear about it the next time I teach and meet with you all again.


with gratitude and respect for your practice,

Pauletta

May 28, 2015

This Sunday, May 31, 2015 Creativity and the Practice of Meditation

Dear Ones,

No matter what level of creativity one engages in one's life, meditation and the path of practice has much to offer. The practice of creativity and the practice of meditation have many parallels and as each interconnect and reinforce one another in meaningful ways, this then leads to a more balanced lifestyle. As our inner selves get nourished and nurtured through creative expression along with the stabilizing effects of meditation we are better equipped to meet the world with other beings.

Let's share our observations and experiences together with both! Buddha's teachings have a lot to complement the creative process whether it's painting, writing, cooking, gardening, knitting, woodworking, life coaching, interfacing the technical with the real world, etc. Looking forward to our time together!

Announcements:
1) June 27, 2015 Monastic Climate Daylong from 930-5 pm. Please check our website for appropriate food to share for the monastics. Please do not bring any disposable plates or silverware. Ex. bring your own mug for tea
2) August 23, 2015 Alameda Sangha Annual Picnic at McKinley Park near the church from 5:00-6:30 pm. Please bring a dish or beverage to share. Please do not bring disposable plates or silverware.

Do not forget the chanting: http://saranaloka.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/chanting-book-33.pdf. Download on your device so that we can end the evening with this beautiful chant together before we go out into the evening,
​with appreciation and gratitude for your practice,

Pauletta

May 21, 2015

Sun. 7-8:30 pm Equanimity & Mindfulness

Dear Sangha,

This Sunday, guest speaker Walt Opie will join us. He plans to talk about how the quality of equanimity supports our mindfulness by helping us stay non-reactive and balanced in the face of seeing what's difficult. If we had no equanimity at all, it would be very difficult to stay mindful for any length of time.

Sharon Salzberg refers to equanimity as the "secret ingredient of mindfulness" which allows for more spaciousness. What does she mean by this at a practical level? How can we cultivate greater equanimity and therefore greater moment-to-moment awareness which leads to freedom?

Come join the sangha to explore this topic with Walt, and practice together.

Best wishes,
Rebecca

Sun 7-8:30 What’s Wanting in Our Lives

Dear Ones,

A major factor in mindfulness can be called the "attitude" with which we practice. As we direct our attention to the present moment, is it with greed, hatred or delusion, or is there kindness and acceptance?

This Sunday we'll look at What's Wanting in Our Lives – if we feel gratitude, or craving, when we contemplate how our lives unfold. Come explore together how we can influence our lives for the better when we're "doing nothing" more than sitting and meditating.

With deep appreciation for our sangha,
Rebecca

May 7, 2015

Sunday May 10: What Does It Mean To Wake Up?

Dear Ones,

This Sunday I'll be talking about what we mean when we say "nirvana," "enlightenment," or "the awakened state." How does this differ from our usual ways of being? How is the awakened state described in the Buddha's teachings? Why are we so attracted to this possibility? Did the Buddha really mean WE ordinary twenty-first century westerners can aspire to this goal? What gets in our way?

Come and bring your curiosity and we'll explore this topic, and practice together. We'll also honor our mothers and send lovingkindness to all mothers, and to ourselves.

Looking forward to being with you,
Deb Kerr

April 30, 2015

This Sunday Alameda Sangha will be in Room A Alameda Hospital 2nd Floor - Obstacles to a Life Fully Lived Part 2


Dear Ones,

Come and explore further and deeper, the hindrances or those 5 which cover over our inner nature of goodness, kindness and generosity by cultivating a more intimate understanding and relationship with them rather than turning away or continuing to remain on automatic pilot. Ajahn Sumedho says to adopt an "affectionate curiosity" towards them.

Those who would like to delve deeper, must bring a journal. We will review the 5 hindrances from last Sunday, learn how to practice, reflect and explore them in a general way, and then more specifically, spend some time with each hindrance so that in selecting which of them tends to predominate for any of us in our daily lives and on the cushion, can observe in the next week or so by noting in the journal any patterns, triggers and habits of reactivity that are specific to our own conditioning.

Also, please save the date for the June 27th Climate change daylong taught by the Aloka Vihara nuns at the church! Tell your friends.

Do not forget to download the chanting on your phones or tablets to end the evening as always, http://saranaloka.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/chanting-book-33.pdf

There will be ASL class offered by Judi and Aldon at the hospital this Sunday at 6 pm in Room A.

with gratitude for your practice,
Pauletta

April 23, 2015

This Sunday, Obstacles to a Life Fully LIved Part 1

Dear Ones,
Explore in depth, this Sunday and next, the 5 Hindrances of the Buddha which keep us from living fully in our bodies, hearts and minds, in open hearted kindness, respect and generosity towards ourselves and others in our daily lives.

We may or may not uproot these mental and bodily defilements in this lifetime, but through our greater understanding of how they cause us suffering, can c
hange our relationship and habitual responses. Looking forward to the lightness of liberation and the sweetness of transformation.

​Announcements and Reminders:

1) Next Sunday's meeting will be at Alameda Hospital Room A second floor due to the Spring Bazaar at the church.

2) Don't forget the chanting! http://saranaloka.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/chanting-book-33.pdf

with metta,
Pauletta

April 22, 2015

Yoga Sunday at Sangha 4/26

Join us for Yoga on Sunday at 6-6:45pm right before the sit.

All levels welcome. Bring a yoga sticky mat and wear clothes you can move in (no jeans, belts please). Eat lightly, if at all within an hour of yoga.

Namaste, Dina
Yoga Instructor

www.DinaHondrogen.comog.blogspot.com/

April 16, 2015

The Eightfold Path Through Life

Dear Friends,

As we progress through life, we encounter all sorts of events that effect us in all sorts of way. The Eightfold Path leads us confidently on through it all, no matter how we may suffer in response to events. Beyond both fortune and the emotion it causes is the open awareness that holds it all, the realm of the dharma.

Sunday night from 7 to 8:30, we'll talk about how the Path can guide us to this awareness each moment, whatever that moment holds. I hope you and your friends will be there.

Warmly,
Rebecca

May 3rd, 2015 Alameda Sangha will be in Room A of Alameda Hospital

Dear Ones,

Forgive my confusion about the location of this room in the hospital. It is on the second floor, NOT on the first floor.

On this day, due to the church's spring bazaar, we will be meeting instead at Alameda Hospital from 7-9 in Room A. Directions and parking, etc. is on our website here.

Please make a note of this change for this day only.

Apologies and karuna, Pauletta

April 9, 2015

This Sunday: Finding Comfort and Ease

Dear Ones,

This Sunday, April 12, the topic will be Finding Comfort and Ease. I'll be talking about how mindfulness, morality, lovingkindness and other dharma practices can be used to find comfort and bring ease, both on the cushion and in the midst of our daily struggles. By investigating wholesome pleasant sensations, we find some respite from pain. By cultivating positive states of mind, we unravel the difficult conditioning that brings so much of our suffering, and move toward the ease of greater and greater freedom.

Looking forward to practicing together--

with warmth,
Deb Kerr

April 3, 2015

this Sunday at Alameda Sangha: Human Vulnerabilities and the Dharma

Dear Ones,

Come and explore the vulnerabilities we experience in aging and the potential to view it as an amazing learning opportunity to grow and transform.

We will reflect on the 5 Regrets of the Dying and discover how we can move away from our prior obligations and expectations from the world and the ones in our lives to a renewed understanding of how happiness is actually a choice we make to have less dukkha (suffering) in our lives.

Don't forget the chanting below:

http://saranaloka.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/chanting-book-33.pdf

Save the date for the next daylong, which will be monastic on June 27 and the theme will be Climate Change!

with karuna and kindness for all our daily dukkha, big and small,
Pauletta

March 30, 2015

Notes from Talk on Pain Last Night

Dear Friends,
Thanks for a lively discussion of pain, and exploration of tools we can use to work with it.  Here are my notes for the talk.  The poem I read at the end is "Monet Refuses the Operation" by Lisel Mueller.

with warmth,
Deb

March 27, 2015

Yoga at Sangha this Sunday 3/29 @6pm

Please come to yoga on Sunday! Bring a yoga sticky mat, barefeet, and an empty stomach. Wear clothes you can move in, no belts or jeans please.

See you there.

Namaste, Dina Hondrogen
www.DinaHondrogen.com

March 26, 2015

This Sunday Night: Pains in the Neck, or Elsewhere

Dear Friends,

This Sunday March 29 we will discuss working with pain in the body, heart or mind. What is our usual response to unpleasantness? How does mindfulness work when things hurt? We'll go over some basic tools for working with painful states, and also look at how we can use pain to be more mindful of others, and to help us remember compassion. We'll also explore particular ways to help bring back our sense of connectedness, which is often lost when we feel isolated by pain. And of course, we will remember the importance of the funny bone in alleviating pain.


Looking forward to practicing together--
Deb Kerr

March 23, 2015

Donations outside the sangha

Dear Friends,

Sunday's talk about generosity included a statement of Alameda Sangha's policy about members' contributions to outside organizations. Deb and Pauletta asked me to pass this on to all members by email.

Alameda Sangha is dedicated to supporting the practice of generosity, a foundational practice for all lay people, so we keep dana within the sangha structured for this practice. We encourage members to practice generosity outside the sangha also, but we teachers do not suggest any specific outside recipients. Sangha members are welcome to bring outside organizations' fundraising flyers or postcards and set them out near the table and then take them away after the meeting. Also, you're welcome to use the Yahoo groups email to promote outside causes you support. If you're not on the Yahoo group, contact Mary Hynes.

If you missed any of my last three dharma talks, or if you want to hear past talks by any sangha teachers, you can find recordings of them on our website to stream or download.

Best wishes to all,
Rebecca

March 19, 2015

Sun. Joys of Generosity 7-8:30 pm, 3/22

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we'll delve into the Joys of Generosity. When you're truly feeling generous, you're not feeling anything but positive states of mind. During our evening together, I'll explore the true nature of generosity. You'll be able to observe generosity in action, discuss this heart-expanding practice, and investigate how it works for yourself.

I hope you will come join us, and invite anyone you know who might benefit from adding some uplift, peace, and happiness to their lives.

With mudita,
Rebecca

March 12, 2015

Sun 3/15, 7-8:30 Problems with Preferences

Dear Friends,

The idea of living without preferences can seem alien, even frightening. For the first five years of my practice, in Zen, I was told at least once a week, "having no preference is freedom!" Each time I thought, "Yeah, but… what harm can it do to know which of two things I prefer?"

It's taken many years for me to see the benefit of recognizing when the first faint feelings of a preference begin to take root and grow into clinging, fear and the many other forms of suffering.

This Sunday evening we'll investigate the role of preference, why it seems so indispensable to us, and how we can live happily without it. Bring your questions, stories and friends!

The following week, March 22, my talk will be on Generosity.

Warmly,
Rebecca

Sun, 7-8:30pm, What Disability Can Teach Us

Dear Friends,

Every human life includes years of disability, and yet most humans believe that "disabled" refers to a small segment of the population. How we think about disability determines much more than how politically correct we are. It sets up conditions for significant suffering – or freedom – in our own lives.

This Sunday we'll take a compassionate look at the uniqueness of each human body and mind, and the impermanence of our physical and mental states. Bring your hopes and fears, and your insights, questions, and friends.

I look forward to seeing you all again,
Rebecca

Notes on Four Elements Practice

Hi Everyone,

Here and here are my notes on the Four Elements, and the quotes I used tonight.
with blessings,

Deb Kerr

PS. Additional notes and resources can be found here on the Resources page of our website.

This Sunday Feb. 22: The Vicissitudes, Gratitude and Letting Go

Dear Friends,

This Sunday the topic will be the vicissitudes of life (starting with the ups and downs of travel to foreign lands!) and how the practice can bring us greater ease in dealing with ever-changing and unforeseeable circumstances.

Come to sit and share your own favorite stories of life's ups and downs. Where do they catch you, and where do you find that you have freedom in their midst?

looking forward to practicing together, and seeing you all,
Deb Kerr

February 27, 2015

This Sunday March 1st: Mindfulness of the Body: Four Elements

Dear Friends,

After our discussion of the vicissitudes of life and how to be mindful of them, a natural progression is to refine our ways of being mindful of the body. This Sunday we'll review the Four Elements practice and how it expands our way of being in the body and being aware of body sensations, including pain. As Philip Moffitt says: "Master the body and you master the mind."

Looking forward to being with you all on Sunday.
with metta,
Deb Kerr

February 17, 2015

Yoga this Sunday at Sangha 6pm

February is a short month. We will be having yoga class on Sunday 6:00-6:45pm. Wear clothes you can move in, bring your sticky mat, and no eating from 5pm onward.

See you there.
Dina
www.dinahondrogen.com

February 11, 2015

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha, The 5 Aggregates Part 3

Dear Ones,

Please come and explore the 3rd and 5th aggregates with me this Sunday - Perception and Consciousness.

When perception services insight for us, mindfulness is present to balance the experience. Otherwise, delusion and conditioning come into play to create a lot of suffering for ourselves and others.

With the 5th aggregate, or consciousness, it is required in order to see and understand the other 4 aggregates.

Let's see what we can learn together from what Buddha has to offer us.

There will be ASL class at 6 pm.

Don't forget the chanting;

http://saranaloka.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/chanting-book-33.pdf

Hoping to see you all there,

with gratitude and metta for your practice,
Pauletta

February 6, 2015

This Sunday February 8 at Alameda Sangha: American Sign Language is at 6:00 pm

Dear Ones,

I forgot to include this in my last message and I apologize. For those of you who are interested, Judi and Aldon will be teaching ASL at at the church before our regular sangha meeting. Come one and come all.

Also, please read link below in preparation for Part 2 The 5 Aggregates this Sunday. It will be a good and informative read!

http://www.businessinsider.com/daily-practices-to-overcome-your-fears-2015-2?&platform=bi-androidapp

With blessings for a cozy, rainy Friday to all,Pauletta

February 5, 2015

This Sunday, February 8 at Alameda Sangha: Part 2 The Five Aggregates

Dear Ones,

Come and explore with me Vedana and Mental Formations the 2nd and 4th Aggregates. Vedana is the Pali word for Pleasant, unpleasant or neither pleasant nor unpleasant. Buddha says that every single experience that we have is either one of these feeling tones. Noticing these feeling tones arise and learning to be with them can help reduce reactivity. The Buddha shows us how.

Mental formations which comprise the mental activities of our minds, can really contribute to a lot of suffering if we don't pay attention and take some time to investigate them. Through our practice we can really learn that these are not real or who we are.

Let's support one another in our exploration of how these interrelate to all the aggregates together and have the potential to clue us in to our conditioning and reactivities.

Don't forget the chanting in the link below (or from our Resources page on the website)

http://saranaloka.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/chanting-book-33.pdf

with karuna and kindness,
Pauletta

January 29, 2015

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha at 6 pm

Dear Ones,

For those who are interested, Judi Fruge and her husband Aldon will be teaching ASL (American Sign Language) from 6-6:45pm.

with metta,
Pauletta

January 28, 2015

This Sunday, February 1 at Alameda Sangha: Part 1 The Five Aggregates

Dear Ones,
Come and join me to explore Part 1 of this important teaching of the Buddha becaue it lays out how we meet our experience in every moment. Understanding how the experience breaks down into its composite parts will help us understand and lessen our clinging.

Feel free to join us after the Super Bowl ends. No judgements!

If you are able to offer yourself the gift of nurturing your practice by moving into stillness for an entire day, please come to the daylong this Saturday, January 31 from 930 - 5 pm at the church (see address below). Richard Shankman, one of my beloved teachers and I will be teaching and the theme is Intention is everything. Wear comfortable clothes. A 45 minute yoga session will be offered in the morning before lunch. Please bring a yoga mat. If you don't have one, chair yoga will also be offered as an alternative to practicing on the mat. The day promises to be an auspicious day of deepening in our practice!

Hope to see you on both days this weekend!

with metta and gratitude for your practice,
Pauletta

January 26, 2015

Daylong this Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 with Richard Shankman and yoga with Dina!

Dear Ones,
Just a gentle reminder about the daylong this Saturday, January 31 from 930-5 pm. Please arrive early to settle in for the day, wear comfortable clothes and bring a bag lunch.

We have decided to offer yoga for 45 minutes at this daylong! Dina, will be teaching. If you would like to participate, please bring a yoga mat and if you don't have one but would still like to participate, bring yourself as Dina will offer chair yoga for those who don't have a mat. If you prefer not to do yoga, there will be walking meditation during this period and/or the choice to sit quietly in the sanctuary instead.

Come and explore with us the many options to deepen your practice while giving yourself the gift of stillness that nourishes and encourages our awakening!

See you all soon! with metta and karuna, Pauletta

January 22, 2015

Sunday 7-8:30 Adventures with Wise Speech

Dear Ones,

Wise speech is a challenge. I remember being shocked when a friend announced it was her principal practice. I couldn't imagine remembering the rules and applying them every time I communicated. Over the years I've tried to be as mindful as possible when I speak, and I've been amazed at the rewards and continuing challenges involved. It's been an adventure.

I invite you and your friends to come this Sunday and share your adventures with wise speech. I'll offer some insights and a few helpful techniques I've found, as well as guidance from teachers through the centuries, and stories from fellow practitioners. Together we can make the cultivation of wise speech less daunting.

Best wishes,
Rebecca

January 20, 2015

Yoga this Sunday 6pm

Come stretch your body before meditation to help relax the breath and quiet the mind. Bring a mat, comfortable clothes (no jeans or belts) and an empty stomach.

We start at 6 and end at 6:45pm.

Everyone welcome! Modifications or challenges given to those in need.

Peace,
Dina
www.dinahondrogen.com/

January 15, 2015

Sun 7-8:30pm Just This, Now

Dear Friends,

For something that's basically simple, practicing mindfulness can be difficult. It involves remembering, and we forget to do it. It's about the present moment, and we spend so much time in the past or future that we lose track of now, like a key we've misplaced.

This Sunday I'll share a phrase that can help us regain a calm and wise alertness. "Just this, now," also offers reminders about the purpose and nature of mindfulness and how it can help us respond wisely to the way life unfolds.

Looking forward to seeing you all,
Rebecca

January 8, 2015

This Sunday: Practicing with the Anapanasati Sutta: Mindfulness, Breath and Body

Dear Friends,

This Sunday I'll be re-capping the overview of the Anapanasati Sutta I did a few weeks ago, and getting into some specifics of how to practice with it. This beautiful sutta shows us the path from simple breath meditation through successively more subtle awareness, leading to insight that ushers in liberation.

Here is a link to a nice commentary on the sutta, if you want some more information about the topic for Sunday: http://www.wildmind.org/texts/anapanasati/anapanasati3

Looking forward to being together and practicing with you on Sunday night.

with warmth,
Deb Kerr