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  1. REMINDER — 8/20/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both closed until after the Labor Day holiday, but this Saturday morning, August 24, we will host “A Kind Way of Being,” our very own lovingkindness and mindfulness meditation retreat with Chris Crotty from 9:30am to 1:00pm:

    “Mindfulness supports us in calming the mind and focusing our attention. Loving-kindness (metta) meditation systematically cultivates friendliness, benevolence and good-will. Loving-kindness is a natural foundation for happiness and well-being which is not reliant on external factors. In this half-day retreat, Buddhist teacher Chris Crotty will guide students in the practices of mindfulness and Loving-kindness through sitting and walking meditation, periods of silence, and instructional dharma reflections.”

    Thank you to those of you who have already registered for this event; it looks like we will have a good turnout. If you haven’t yet RSVP’d, there is still time to do so: https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/a-kind-way-of-being-mindfulness-and-loving-kindness-meditation/ 

    For this week’s recommended reading I suggest taking a look at Cara Dibidin’s interview with Ajahn Pasanno following honors recently conferred to him, Ajahn Amaro, Ajahn Jayasaro, and Ajahn Sumedho by the King of Thailand:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/ajahn-pasanno/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  2. REMINDER — 8/13/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. David will be this week’s facilitator.

    Please note that the Chelmsford Community Band is scheduled to hold its final performance on the town common starting at 7pm. Parking at the First Parish lot and along Westford Street will be severely limited. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road (law offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman) and at 17 North Road (former Eastern Bank).

    This Saturday, August 17 — the third Saturday if August — marks the occasion of the Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival. This day-long event takes place along Pawtucket Boulevard in Lowell and the north bank of the Merrimack River, with a variety of cultural activities centered around the Sampas Pavillion.

    Cambridge Insight Meditation Center is closed until after the Labor Day holiday, but this Sunday, August 18, Rebecca Bradshaw will be at IMCN for “Embodying the Feminine In Buddhism: Bowing to Kwan Yin” a morning (9:00am to 12:30pm) retreat:

    “Kwan Yin is a bodhisattva manifestation of compassion, known as “the one who hears the cries of the world with ease.” For this first half day retreat in our yearlong program “Embodying the Feminine in Buddhism”, we will engage in a bowing practice from Mahayana (later) Buddhism. Developing the qualities of surrender and compassion, we will devote this time to cultivating a heart that can engage with the suffering of this world with ease and wholeheartedness. Each student will be encouraged to bow in a way that is comfortable for them, ranging from a nod to a full bow.

    “This year-long program (for all genders) will use our mindfulness practice to develop and nurture what are known as the feminine aspects of being: the receptive, relational, intuitive, the embodied in the natural world. Living in a patriarchal culture which values doing, being productive, being goal oriented, and transcendence, many of us have lost touch with the energy of being, immanence, and listening in stillness. We will meet for a residential weekend retreat and five half-day retreats during the year to support each other in discovering the strength of our feminine energy within a Buddhist context. Some themes to be covered include: Sense based versus thought based reality, stories of our female Buddhist elders, mindfulness and being in nature, circle versus line energy, developing the graceful heart, Kwan Yin practice, nurturing surrender, and relational mindfulness.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Thank you once again to those of you who have already registered for our Saturday morning retreat with Chris Crotty on August 24. It is not too late to register if you would like to join us for “A Kind Way of Being,” a morning (9:30am to 1:00pm) loving-kindness and mindfulness meditation retreat:

    “Mindfulness supports us in calming the mind and focusing our attention. Loving-kindness (metta) meditation systematically cultivates friendliness, benevolence and good-will. Loving-kindness is a natural foundation for happiness and well-being which is not reliant on external factors. In this half-day retreat, Buddhist teacher Chris Crotty will guide students in the practices of mindfulness and Loving-kindness through sitting and walking meditation, periods of silence, and instructional dharma reflections.”

    To RSVP for this event, please visit https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/a-kind-way-of-being-mindfulness-and-loving-kindness-meditation/

    For a quick read this week, I recommend the following Lion’s Roar piece on the effort by monks at Samorang Pagoda in Cambodia to protect vulnerable forest from illegal logging:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/buddhist-monks-cambodia-forest/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  3. REMINDER — 8/6/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    Please note that the Chelmsford Community Band is scheduled to hold its penultimate performance on the town common starting at 7pm. Parking at the First Parish lot and along Westford Street will be severely limited. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road (law offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman) and at 17 North Road (former Eastern Bank).

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, August 10:

    Matthew Hepburn will host a day-long (9:00am to 5:00pm) “Retreat for New Retreatants” at CIMC:

    “Retreats are an invitation to nurture a continuity of mindfulness. The “Retreat for New Retreatants” is a supportive opportunity for those who have little or no meditation retreat experience to practice for a full day in the company of others who are also new to silent retreats.

    “Our time together will include instructions on how to be on retreat, meditation instructions and guidance as well as a sequence of relatively short sitting and walking meditation sessions. The day will be spent mainly in silence, however, there will be adequate time for questions and discussion, including an exploration of how to sustain formal practice in daily life.

    “This day-long program is appropriate for beginners and for anyone who would like to revisit the basics of meditation and deepen their practice. Everyone is welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, on Saturday morning (10:00am to 12:30pm) Ted Jones will be at IMCN for “Mindful Presence: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students”:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Then on Saturday afternoon, Chris Crotty will join forces with Julia Barry for “Attachment and Nonattachment: The Dharma of Relationship” an afternoon (12:30pm to 4:30pm) workshop at the Arlington Center:

    “One of the basic tenets of Buddhist practice is that attachment causes suffering. Western psychology, on the other hand, promotes secure attachment in relationship as central to physical, emotional, and psychological well-being, health, and happiness. How do we resolve this paradox? How do we resolve our need for deep connection in relationship alongside our wish for the deep happiness espoused by Buddhist teachings? How can meditation help us achieve greater ease, skill, and satisfaction in our relationships? In this program we will explore Buddhist teachings on impermanence and not-self, as well as attachment theory, which addresses how our early childhood relationships inform our adult views and behaviors. The format will include meditation instruction, Buddhist and Western teachings on attachment, and relational mindfulness practices. We are all in relationship, whether it be intimate partnership, family, friendship, or community – all are welcome and encouraged to attend this program!”

    To register, please visit https://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/#retreat0

    Also on Saturday afternoon (2:15pm to 3:45pm) the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation Meetup group will gather at the Watertown Center for Healing Arts. Ron Levine’s focus this week will be “Pitfall! Mindfulness and Insight Meditation Traps.”

    Plenty of spaces are still available; to join the Meetup, please visit https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/events/263531054/

    Thank you again to those of you who have already registered for our Saturday morning retreat with Chris Crotty on August 24. It is not too late to register if you would like to join us for “A Kind Way of Being,” a morning (9:30am to 1:00pm) loving-kindness and mindfulness meditation retreat:

    “Mindfulness supports us in calming the mind and focusing our attention. Loving-kindness (metta) meditation systematically cultivates friendliness, benevolence and good-will. Loving-kindness is a natural foundation for happiness and well-being which is not reliant on external factors. In this half-day retreat, Buddhist teacher Chris Crotty will guide students in the practices of mindfulness and Loving-kindness through sitting and walking meditation, periods of silence, and instructional dharma reflections.”

    To RSVP for this event, please visit https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/a-kind-way-of-being-mindfulness-and-loving-kindness-meditation/

    For this week’s feature article, I want to share a teaching from Sayadaw U Pandita on “Acts That Purify Our Existence: Dana, Sila, and Bhavana.” This article originally appeared in the now defunct Inquiring Mind quarterly, and was recently republished online through Tricycle’s efforts to maintain the IQ archive:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/dana-sila-bhavana/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  4. REMINDER — 7/30/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    Please note that the Chelmsford Community Band is scheduled to perform on the town common starting at 7pm. Parking at the First Parish lot and along Westford Street will be severely limited. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road (law offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman) and at 17 North Road (former Eastern Bank).

    There are a couple of events coming up this weekend:

    On Saturday, August 3, Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC for a day-long (10:00am to 4:00pm) Metta workshop:

    “The word ‘metta’ is translated as lovingkindness or boundless friendliness. It is a sincere and heartfelt wish for the peace and happiness of ourselves and others. Metta is not a feeling; rather it is an intention that can be practiced and sustained. It is cultivated through a process of inclusivity, gradually expanding to include all sentient beings. Especially in times of uncertainty and pain, metta practice helps us to work with habitual patterns such as anxiety and doubt.

    “The Buddha taught metta as a specific antidote to fear and anger. The fruit of the systematic practice of metta is twofold: steadiness and tranquility which strengthen the mind, and sensitivity and openness which soften the heart. In cultivating metta, we directly experience a fundamental kindness as the very ground of our being. It is an invaluable practice in the midst of the unexpected changes in life.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include specific instructions, guided practice and time for questions and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Then on Sunday, August 4, Chas DiCapua will be IMCN for “Freedom Through Non-Clinging,” a day-long (9:00am to 5:00pm) retreat, with a morning-only option until 12:30pm:

    “This is basically what the Buddha taught. If we cling (want and not want) to experience, we will suffer. If we let go of clinging, suffering will end.

    “During this day long retreat we will bring awareness to the areas where we tend to cling, feeling the suffering in that, and allowing the Citta (heart/mind) to naturally let go of the suffering. In this way we can experience freedom through non-clinging directly for ourselves.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Thank you to those of you who have already registered for our Saturday morning retreat with Chris Crotty on August 24. It is not too late to register if you would like to join us for “A Kind Way of Being,” a morning (9:30am to 1:00pm) loving-kindness and mindfulness meditation retreat:

    “Mindfulness supports us in calming the mind and focusing our attention. Loving-kindness (metta) meditation systematically cultivates friendliness, benevolence and good-will. Loving-kindness is a natural foundation for happiness and well-being which is not reliant on external factors. In this half-day retreat, Buddhist teacher Chris Crotty will guide students in the practices of mindfulness and Loving-kindness through sitting and walking meditation, periods of silence, and instructional dharma reflections.”

    To RSVP for this event, please visit https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/a-kind-way-of-being-mindfulness-and-loving-kindness-meditation/

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  5. REMINDER — 7/23/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Kent is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Please note that the Chelmsford Community Band is scheduled to perform on the town common starting at 7pm. Parking at the First Parish lot and along Westford Street will be severely limited. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road (law offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman) and at 17 North Road (former Eastern Bank).

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, July 27:

    Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC for “The Practice of Relationship as the Path,” a day-long (10:00am to 4:00pm) workshop:

    “We can easily see the path of a practitioner as a solo path, each of us individually engaged in the contemplative practices taught by the Buddha. Although these practices are invaluable, we must get up from our cushions on a regular basis and join the world in the most ordinary of ways. When we do, we are in immediate contact with one another in the forms of family, intimate connections, friends, work relationships and people we don’t know. We cannot avoid relationship.

    “As we know, relationships with others are the source of intense joy and satisfaction as well as great pain and irritability. In any case, we can take relationship as practice and learn from our encounters. We can make relationship into another opportunity for practice, thus awakening into greater wisdom and compassion.

    “Some of the themes we will engage: Learning how to be present within ourselves while responsive to others; respecting our own needs while respecting the needs of those we are with; and understanding more deeply our interconnectedness.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include sitting meditation, talks and discussion. Everyone is welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, Alexis Santos will be IMCN for “When Awareness Becomes Natural,” a day-long (10:00am to 4:30pm) retreat:

    “‘When awareness becomes natural,’ as Sayadaw U Tejaniya explains, our practice becomes part of our life, rather than a separate activity or pastime.

    “Wisdom and compassion are natural to the mind and they develop when we learn to attend skillfully to our experience with awareness. They arise when the mind is not obscured by confusion and distractedness, anxiety and fear, and the relentlessness of desires and wants. And yet these afflictive habits of mind are natural as well – meaning they are not a self. They also arise due to causes and conditions that can be understood.

    “Through relaxing the body and mind, we can come to understand the effortless nature of being mindful. This natural awareness leads to the blossoming of wisdom and compassion.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Again, looking ahead to next month, Chris Crotty will join us at First Parish for “A Kind Way of Being” a morning (9:30am to 1:00pm) loving-kindness and mindfulness meditation retreat:

    “Mindfulness supports us in calming the mind and focusing our attention. Loving-kindness (metta) meditation systematically cultivates friendliness, benevolence and good-will. Loving-kindness is a natural foundation for happiness and well-being which is not reliant on external factors. In this half-day retreat, Buddhist teacher Chris Crotty will guide students in the practices of mindfulness and Loving-kindness through sitting and walking meditation, periods of silence, and instructional dharma reflections.”

    To RSVP for this event, please visit https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/a-kind-way-of-being-mindfulness-and-loving-kindness-meditation/ 

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  6. REMINDER — 7/16/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Dave is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Please note that the Chelmsford Community Band is scheduled to perform on the town common starting at 7pm. Parking at the First Parish lot and along Westford Street will be severely limited. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road (law offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman) and at 17 North Road (former Eastern Bank).

    There are a number of events coming up this weekend:

    On Saturday, July 20, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN to offer “The Mindful Moment: A Retreat For Beginning And Newer Students.” Details of this morning (10:00am to 12:30pm) event are as follows:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    CIMC’s “Experienced Practitioners’” non-residential weekend retreat with Narayan Liebenson also begins on Saturday morning at 9:00am. (The retreat concludes Sunday evening at 5:00pm):

    “The Experienced Practitioners Weekend Retreat offers an intensive opportunity to practice in the company of other dedicated practitioners. The meditation instructions offered will be suitable for those who have walked the Eightfold Noble Path for some time (three or more years) and are interested in deepening their practice through the ancient forms originally taught by the Buddha. One of the many beautiful aspects of this retreat is the invitation to merge one’s everyday life with one’s dharma practice.

    “In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat includes open periods of individual practice in the four postures of sitting, walking, standing and lying down. This format is intended to encourage making the practice one’s own, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. This is called the practice of “evening out the postures” which means bringing an equally caring attentiveness to each posture.”

    Saturday-only and Sunday-only options are also available for this event. For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Then on the afternoon (1:00pm to 4:30pm) of Sunday, July 21, the Boston Meditation Center will sponsor “Cultivating Emotional Balance” a half-day workshop with Dave Smith:

    “Our emotions can lead us to our greatest joys and most painful sorrows. In their most creative capacity, they are guides pointing us toward who we truly are and what is most meaningful in our lives. At their most destructive, we are caught by them: lost in the grip of anger, sadness, fear, or overwhelm. This suffering is something we have all felt, but we can create more space, choice, and ease in the face of it.

    “Cultivating Emotional Balance was born at the Mind and Life Conference in Dharamsala in 2000. The subject for this meeting of a group of scientists, philosophers, and monks with H.H. the Dalai Lama was Destructive Emotions. The meeting was captured in the book Destructive Emotions by Daniel Goleman. By combining contemporary scientific research with contemplative practices drawn from Buddhism, Cultivating Emotional Balance gives participants practical tools for working with emotion.

    “Over centuries, Buddhism has refined meditation methods which probe the nature of the mind and promote positive states of mind, including compassion. In these challenging times, the development of methods for ‘cultivating emotional balance’ and promoting compassion for others is a tremendously important scientific and humanitarian goal.

    “During the workshop, Dave will offer an overview of the CEB work and how it can enhance our practice and understanding of Dharma.”

    This event will take place at The Arlington Center. For additional details, please visit https://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/

    And looking ahead to next week, Sharon Salzberg’s “Real Love” online course begins next Monday, July 22:

    “We are told many stories about love. Our culture tells us that romantic love will make us happy. Advertisers imply that certain products will make us feel content. We’re conditioned to believe that we will finally be loveable once we’ve achieved certain goals or when our projects of self-improvement come to fruition. What if we could let go of these stories? What would it be like to love ourselves for who we are and to extend that love to those around us? And what if we were to extend unconditional love to all beings?”

    To register, please visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/real-love?utm_source=sharon1

    Finally this week I want to share a short article by On Being radio host Krista Tippett on “the most helpful message Buddhism can offer in the coming decades,” from the March 2019 issue of Lion’s Roar:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/tools-to-wake-up-and-grow-up/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  7. REMINDER — 7/9/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30p in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Please note that the Chelmsford Community Band is scheduled to perform on the town common starting at 7pm. Parking at the First Parish lot and along Westford Street will be severely limited. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road (law offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman) and at 17 North Road (former Eastern Bank).

    There are a number of events coming up this weekend:

    On Saturday, July 13, Chris Crotty will be at IMCN for “Freedom Simple & Profound: The Liberating Path of Insight Meditation,” a day-long retreat (9:00am to 5:00pm) with a morning-only option:

    “In the Satipatthana Sutta the Buddha’s profound confidence is made clear: …this is the direct path…for the surmounting of sorrow…for the disappearance of dukkha…for the realization of nibbana. The sutta, outlining the four foundations of mindfulness, provide us with a simple map to explore and understand the true nature of our mind. All experience we learn, can be observed directly and understood through these four “great frames of reference:” body, feelings, mind, dharmas. This is the liberating path that leads to wisdom and freedom from distress. Using the Satipatthana Sutta as our guide, Chris will walk students step-by-step through the practice of mindfulness, or insight meditation, through silent periods of sitting and walking meditation.

    “Dharma reflections will be integrated throughout the day which will conclude with a question and answer discussion period. Students will leave with a clear understanding of the Satipatthana Sutta as a model for practice along with a handout covering the four foundations of mindfulness in detail to support further practice and study.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    On Saturday afternoon, from 2:00pm to 4:30pm, Ron Levine and the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp group will host the workshop “Revealing Inner Peace” at the Watertown Center for Healing Arts:

    “Are you your own drill sergeant in an army of one? Are you ready to let go of endless (and needless!) pressure to be ‘good enough?’

    “We often gravitate toward self-loathing rather than self-compassion. For example:

    – Do you berate yourself for relatively minor things, or long ago events?
    – Do you feel like you treat yourself worse than you treat everyone else?
    – Does your mind feel more like a war zone than a safe haven?
    – Are you motivated more by fear than love?
    – Has anyone (including you!) suggested easing up on yourself?
    – Do you feel the need for constant inner vigilance or control?

    You’re not alone. More importantly, you’re not permanently stuck with this.

    [Participants will learn:]

    1. The sources of your negative self-thinking
    2. The dysfunctional “logic” those thoughts follow
    3. Where to break the vicious cycle that gets created
    4. How to use one simple mindfulness practice to reveal your inner peace

    “These deep shifts and insights come from years of painstaking work, but the short, simple guided sessions in this workshop make it so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel to understand this thought pattern … or make it disintegrate.”

    There are still plenty of spaces left. To sign up for this event, please visit https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/events/262671036/

    Meanwhile, CIMC will host events on both Saturday and Sunday.

    On Saturday, Matthew Hepburn will offer the day-long (10:00am to 5:00pm) workshop “Living Compassionately As Men”:

    “Out of compassion, the Buddha taught the way to the end of suffering. In today’s world, boys and men embody and perpetuate a significant proportion of our cultural suffering and now–as much as ever–we need healing and compassionate spaces to be with other men to build toward a wholesome collective masculinity. This daylong workshop invites people across the gender spectrum who identify as men to spend the day practicing together, sharing wisdom and offering mutual support across generations and life experiences.

    “We’ll explore the ways we inherit patriarchal conditioning, how it can be expressed toxically (knowingly and unknowingly) and how it can be transformed. We will use meditation, contemplative inquiry, and the teaching of the Dharma to strengthen compassion, sharpen investigation, and build community. The schedule will include several periods of silent sitting meditation and walking meditation to nourish our contemplative exploration.”

    Then on Sunday, July 14, Alexis Santos will offer the day-long (9:00am to 5:00pm) retreat “Knowing The Mind: Cultivating A Compassionate Awareness”:

    “The Buddha described the mind as the forerunner of all things. When we speak or act with an agitated mind, suffering naturally follows. Conversely, with a well-cultivated mind, actions and speech become harmonious, bringing happiness to oneself and the world.

    “In this day-long retreat, we will explore how to know the quality of mind that is meditating as well as the meditating mind itself. For example, are you meditating with a desire to have only pleasant experiences? Is there aversion or resistance in the mind? We’ll explore how to cultivate a compassionate awareness that can be with anything that is arising, including the range of pleasant and unpleasant experiences that are an unavoidable part of life.”

    For more information on these and other upcoming events at CIMC, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, looking a bit further ahead, please do not wait to RSVP for our very own morning retreat with Chris Crotty coming up on Saturday, August 24:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/a-kind-way-of-being-mindfulness-and-loving-kindness-meditation/

    There are a handful of odd-and-ends to pass along this week.

    First, Tricycle’s Matthew Gindin recently wrote a short profile of Ajahn Sona and his efforts to establish the Sitavana/Birken Forest Buddhist Monastery in the wilderness of British Columbia:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/ajahn-sona-forest-monastery/

    You can also watch Ajahn Sona’s TEDx talk on “Green Monasticism” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_6RPkmqLeM

    A bit closer to home, Jon Kabat-Zinn was Meghna Chakrabarti’s guest on “On Point” late last month, discussing mindfulness and the question “Is it working for everyone?” (47 min.):

    https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2019/06/21/mindfulness-meditation-peace-stress

    Finally, I would like to share a very nice Lion’s Roar essay from Kate Lila Wheeler entitled “How Meditation Works (In My Life, Anyway)”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/how-meditation-works-in-my-life-anyway/

    That is all for now. I will not be at this week’s sitting, but I wish you all a good practice and look forward to rejoining everyone on the 16th.

    Metta,
    Tim


  8. REMINDER — 7/2/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    An important reminder: For the next 6 Tuesdays (July 9 – August 13), the Chelmsford Community Band will hold performances on the town common from 7pm to 8pm. Parking at the First Parish lot and along Westford Street will be severely limited. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road (law offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman) and at 17 North Road (former Eastern Bank).

    For anyone who will be in the area on Saturday, July 6, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN for a morning (9:30am to 1:00pm) workshop based on Kilung Rinpoche’s book, The Relaxed Mind:\

    “Could you use a little more relaxation in your meditation practice? In your life? Kilung Rinpoche in his book, ‘The Relaxed Mind,’ leads us through meditations that may have a unique contribution to what it means to be ‘relaxed.’ The approach is based in mindfulness, but also draws deep inspiration from Tibetan Buddhist wisdom, and is secular in its instructions. It emphasizes both ease and relaxation but also clarity. It is designed to help us to undercut habits of making ourselves and others ‘right and wrong’ and unlock a deep abiding capacity in ourselves for compassionate presence and relaxed wakeful ease. In this workshop we will be guided through building a foundation of simple grounding mediations and then explore in detail the fifth, sixth and seventh meditations (Open Heart-Mind Meditation, Pure Mind Meditation, and Non Conceptual Meditation) along with time for discussion.

    “This offering complements the earlier workshops but may be taken on its own. Matthew has worked with Kilung RInpoche for many years and has been authorized to teach this approach. No previous experience is necessary. If interested, reading Kilung Rinpoche’s book would be a wonderful complement to the retreat, but is in no way required.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    In other exciting community news, the Boston Meditation Center (Chris Crotty, et al.) recently announced that it will open a brick-and-mortar dharma center in Union Square, Somerville, this fall. BMC has started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover the cost of the center’s needs (e.g., an audio system for the hearing-impaired; meditation cushions; etc.). To learn more about the fundraising campaign, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/boston-meditation-center

    Finally this evening, if you are interested in attending our morning retreat with Chris Crotty on Saturday, August 24, please register using the “Contact” page on our website. (So far only 2 people have confirmed that they plan to attend this event.) For additional information, please visit https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/a-kind-way-of-being-mindfulness-and-loving-kindness-meditation/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  9. REMINDER — 6/25/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a handful of events coming up this week, starting this Wednesday evening, June 26. The Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp group will hold a special condensed workshop on “The Simple Trick For Reaching Acceptance” at the Watertown Center for Healing Arts from 7:00pm to 8:30pm:

    “We hear a lot about “acceptance” and “letting things go.” We hear a lot less about HOW to actually do it effectively, and our efforts often leave us feeling like we’re banging our heads against a wall. Instead of freeing us, trying to let go ironically becomes yet another thing we have to carry.

    “In this workshop, we’ll cover all the critical aspects of discovering acceptance, including:

    – The crucial starting point (which is usually missed)
    –  Recognizing what acceptance really is
    – What blocks us from acceptance
    – The ‘Shatterpoint’ technique to remove that block
    – Why acceptance is actually much easier than we think”

    To register, please visit https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/events/262296259/

    Then on Saturday, June 29, Andrew Olendzki will conclude the 3-part Integrated Practice Series at CIMC with a day-long workshop (10:00am to 5:00pm) on “Living With Integrity”:

    “Sīla—ethical living and integrity—is the cornerstone upon which the entire Noble Eightfold Path is built. We look at how to live skillfully, understand and purify habitual patterns of behavior, and build a stable foundation of ethical action upon which progress in developing the mind and deepening wisdom can be supported and sustained. Topics we will investigate include:

    – the importance of the practice of generosity, not as a form of financial remuneration but as a “gift of harmlessness” one gives to others;

    – the basic principles of careful speech;

    – understanding the distinction between healthy and unhealthy mental states and how to encourage one and abandon the other;

    – harnessing the power of intention; and

    – cultivating the quality of contentment.” 

    For more information, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org/product/integrated-practice-series-sla-samdhi-and-pann/

    (Andy was also recently appointed as Professor at Lesley University and director of its Mindfulness Studies program. For more information on the program, please visit https://lesley.edu/academics/graduate/mindfulness-studies-masters)

    Finally, Rebecca Bradshaw is offering “Embodying The Feminine in Buddhism” as a residential retreat at IMCN beginning on Friday evening at 7pm and ending on Sunday at noon. There is also a Saturday-only option from 9:00am to 8:00pm:

    “This weekend retreat (for all genders) will use our mindfulness practice to develop and nurture what are known as the feminine aspects of being: the receptive, relational, intuitive, and embodied in the natural world.  Living in a culture which values more doing, being productive, being goal oriented, and transcendence, many of us have lost touch with the energy of being, immanence, and listening in stillness.  This weekend we will discover the strength of our feminine energy within a Buddhist context.

    “This weekend retreat is the beginning of a year long program where Rebecca will be offering five separate half day retreats related to the theme of embodying the feminine in Buddhism. Some themes to be covered in these retreats will include: sense based versus thought based reality;  stories of our female Buddhist elders; mindfulness and being in nature; circle versus line energy; developing the grateful heart; Kwan Yin practice, nuturing surrender; and relational mindfulness.  The first of these half day retreats will be on August 18th.  You do not have to attend the beginning June weekend retreat (but it is recommended) in order to attend the following half day retreats.”

    To register, please visit https://www.imcnewburyport.org

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  10. REMINDER — 6/18/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Kent is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Thursday, June 20, the Lexington Meditation and Mindfulness Meetup group will be hosting a dharma talk called “Unconditional Principles of the Buddha” at The Sitting Room from 7:00pm to 8:00pm. As of this writing there are still a couple of spaces left:

    Dharma Talk: Unconditional Principles of the Buddha

    Thursday, Jun 20, 2019, 7:00 PM

    The Sitting Room
    10 Muzzey Street Lexington, ma

    7 Members Attending

    Join Alex Amorosi, yoga teacher and long time meditator for a discussion on the universal principles of the Buddha including sitting practice. Alex brings wisdom and humor to his talks. Space is limited to 10 so make sure to sign up early. Must register online prior to the event at: http://www.thesittingroommeditation.com/bookacushion

    Check out this Meetup →

    Then on Saturday, June 22, there are several events happening:

    From 9:30am to 1:00pm, Jim Austin will be at IMCN for a morning of “Mindfulness Yoga and Insight Meditation”:

    “How can a yoga asana practice be used to support our mindfulness meditation practice?  Can we bring the qualities of mindfulness and openness developed in sitting meditation practice onto the yoga mat thereby creating continuity between our practice on the mat and our practice on the cushion?  We’ll explore these questions and others during this half-day workshop. The workshop will include short periods of sitting meditation, yoga, and discussion.  This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and beginners are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    From 1:00pm to 4:30pm, Matthew Daniell will be at the Arlington Center for a half-day retreat on “Compassionate Awareness”:

    “Compassionate awareness arises naturally when our mindfulness is open and connected. It is not so concerned with perfecting concentration on the breath or any object in particular. Nor is it concerned with eliminating thoughts. Its strength lies in fostering relaxation through emphasizing a light steady touch of attention. It teaches us to rest with experience as it is rather than insisting that it be this way or that. This allows us to be with ourselves and others in a more open and flexible way. We experience a sense of ease where clear seeing and wise action flow, naturally bridging the gap between formal meditation and daily life. Come and explore for yourself how compassionate awareness can strengthen wisdom and joy in your life. And the best part is is that it takes less effort than you might think!”

    This event is being held under the auspices of the Boston Meditation Center; please visit https://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/ for more information.

    And from 2:15pm to 3:45pm, the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation Meetup group will meet at the Watertown Center for Healing Arts for a one-hour silent meditation. There are still several spaces available:

    Sit Happens (One hour silent meditation)

    Saturday, Jun 22, 2019, 2:15 PM

    Watertown Center for Healing Arts
    17 Spring Street Watertown, MA

    13 Members Attending

    I’ve received a few inquiries about having some sitting-only events, of which this will be the first. Please arrive before 2:15 if possible; we’ll ring the bell at 2:20 to begin a one-hour silent meditation session and then have time for our usual Q+A/discussion afterward. **LOCATION** This event will take place in the Charles River Room at the Wat…

    Check out this Meetup →

    Then on Sunday, June 23, Luang Por Sumedho will be at the Temple Forest Monastery for a traditional Offering Ceremony and dharma talk (the schedule for the day runs from 10:15am to 2:30pm; the dharma talk itself will begin at 1:00pm). Ven. Sumedho is one of the most senior Western monks in the Thai Forest tradition, and this is a special opportunity for anyone who is able to attend. More information on the event can be found at https://forestmonastery.org/news/2019/6/13/offering-ceremony-and-dhamma-talk-by-ajahn-sumedho-sunday-june-23 

    Of course don’t forget about our own half-day retreat with Chris Crotty coming up on Saturday, August 24. Please spread the word as it would be very nice to have good attendance for this event: https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/a-kind-way-of-being-mindfulness-and-loving-kindness-meditation/

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  11. REMINDER — 6/11/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Dave will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, June 15.

    Ted Jones will be at IMCN on Saturday morning from 10:00am to 12:30pm for “Waking Up To Your Life: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students”:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Leigh Brasington will be at CIMC for a day-long (9:30am to 5:00pm) workshop on “Dependent Origination”:

    “At the heart of the Buddha’s wisdom teachings are those on the interdependence of all phenomena, often called “Dependent Origination”. Nothing exists on its own; everything is dependent on earlier circumstances. Dependent Origination is described as a chain with twelve links the first of which is ignorance, the inability to perceive things clearly.

    “Over the course of our day together, we will investigate and clarify each link, and ultimately comprehend the causes of suffering. We will begin by looking at simpler and earlier lists that clearly show what the Buddha is trying to teach us. From this foundation, the twelve links become more accessible. Dependent Origination also has deep implications for how we understand the universe of our human perception and cognition. We will explore these aspects as well.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Our time together will include formal meditation and discussion of sutta passages as well as time for questions and discussion.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Then coming up next week, from June 16-21, Steve Hickman and Beth Mulligan will be offering a 5-day mindfulness retreat at the Rolling Ridge Retreat Center in North Andover. This program is primarily intended for those who teach or are interested in teaching mindfulness-based programs, but is also open to anyone interested in furthering their mindfulness practice:

    “This 5-night silent retreat will consist of sustained periods of silence, alternating sitting and walking meditation, with periods of Mindful Movement; (All vital for deepening a personal practice and fundamental to teaching and living a rich full life). There will be afternoon sessions exploring the attitudinal foundations of mindfulness with additional meditation practices to foster and strengthen kindness and compassion, and evening talks. Throughout the week there will be scheduled group and individual meetings with the teachers. The container of Silence, which includes refraining from speaking (except with the teachers as scheduled and as needed) reading, writing, and technology, with the exception of emergencies of course. It is a rare opportunity to slow down and give our hearts and minds some space to access our inner wisdom and compassion.”

    This program is offered under the auspices of the UCSD Center for Mindfulness. For more information, please visit https://mbpti.org/mbpti-events/a-5-day-mindfulness-retreat-training-june2019/ 

    I have a couple of Lion’s Roar articles to share this week.

    First is a short piece by Ryan Fitzpatrick reflecting on his experience experimenting with meditation and sensory deprivation:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/walking-the-path-on-water-flotation-tanks-and-meditation/

    Next is an “Ask the Teacher” feature in which Guo Gu, Sebene Selassie, and Rose Taylor Goldfield address the question “What kinds of personal changes can we reasonably expect from Buddhist practice?”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/ask-the-teachers-what-kinds-of-personal-changes-can-we-reasonably-expect-from-buddhist-practice/

    And, finally, a reprise of CIMC/IMCN founder Larry Rosenberg’s 2014 Shambhala Sun essay “Be A Lamp Unto Yourself,” adapted from his book “Three Steps to Awakening”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/be-a-lamp-unto-yourself-january-2014/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  12. REMINDER — 6/4/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up later on this week.

    Boston Meditation Center will hold their week-long spring residential retreat at IMC Newburyport starting this Thursday, June 6. Guiding teachers for this retreat at Sayadaw U Inndaka, Chris Crotty, and May Myint Oo.

    “Insight meditation (vipassana) is the central Buddhist practice aimed at awakening. The Buddha taught that the cause of discontent and suffering can be understood, and this insight, or wisdom, is the natural foundation for greater peace, well-being, and freedom. Through the practice of insight meditation we calm and stabilize the mind, and then we investigate the mind’s true nature. We wake up to the truth of life, and we enjoy the freedom of our awakened mind.

    “On this retreat, Burmese meditation master Sayadaw U Inndaka and Chris Crotty will guide students in the development of insight through guided meditation, extended silence, individual interviews, and dharma talks. This is a unique opportunity to practice and learn with Sayadaw U Inndaka, and to rest your mind in the quiet natural surroundings of Insight Meditation Center Newburyport.”

    To register for this event, please visit https://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/residential-retreats/

    There is also a Saturday-only option for June 8, from 8:00am to 6:00pm — with the option to continue until 9:00pm. Saturday registration is available at either the BMC website listed above or through IMCN at http://www.imcnewburyport.org.

    Also on Saturday, Andrew Olendzki will return to CIMC for part 2 of his “Integrated Practice” workshop series. The theme for his weekend is “Deepening Wisdom”:

    “Learning how to meditate, and how to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy habits, is of great inherent value. But in classical Buddhist tradition, these practices are the precursors to the most important aspect of the path—the development of paññā or wisdom. This involves the cultivation of a series of specific insights, emerging from the close investigation of experience, that are ultimately transformative and provide access to deep and sustainable levels of well-being. Topics we will investigate include:

    – understanding wisdom as a gradual and natural process;
    – reviewing the obstacles to wisdom that need to be cleared away;
    – accessing the core Buddhist insights of impermanence, suffering and non-self through meditative engagement with the stream of consciousness;
    – a close examination of both the theory and the experience of non-self;
    – an examination of interdependent origination; and
    – a practical, accessible model of awakening.

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    For anyone who is interested in a more intensive period of practice, the folks at Trike Daily recently profiled computer programmer and meditation enthusiast Alan Ni, who has just launched RetreatBase — a new searchable database of meditation and retreat centers.

    To learn more about Ni and the RetreatBase project check out the short article at https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/silent-meditation-retreats/

    To check out RetreatBase itself, please visit https://www.retreatbase.com. (I will also add this link to the Retreat and Study Centers section of our website: https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/resources/retreat-and-study-centers/)

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  13. REMINDER — 5/28/19 meditation group

    Greetings! I hope everyone has enjoyed a safe and relaxing holiday weekend. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    In coming attractions, there are several events taking place this first weekend of June:

    On Saturday morning (9:30am to 1:00pm), Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN for “Exploring Aging, Sickness, and Death As A Gateway for Living A Fuller Life”:

    “The Buddha taught that old age, illness, and the inevitability of death can be powerful positive teachers in our lives. In this workshop we will combine discussion, reflection, and silent meditation periods to help us explore how these universal themes can actually help wake us up to a richer, more fulfilling life, now. All are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    On Saturday afternoon, from 2:15pm to 3:45pm, the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp group will gather at the at the Watertown Public Library. This week’s theme is “Hey, Who Do You Think You Are?” exploring the thorny concept of “self.” There are currently 17 spots available:

    Hey. Who Do You Think You Are?

    Saturday, Jun 1, 2019, 2:15 PM

    Watertown Free Public Library
    123 Main St Watertown, MA

    13 Members Attending

    To truly alleviate suffering, we must confront our own concept — and misconceptions — about our “self.” This session will pose some thoughts and questions to begin exploring this huge and and often confusing (but critical!) topic. We’ll be meeting at the Lucia Mastrangelo Meeting Room on the second floor of the Watertown library at 2:15. Feel fre…

    Check out this Meetup →

    Meanwhile at CIMC this weekend, on Saturday from 10:00am to 2:00pm, Nancy Barcelo, Ruven Liebhaber, and Sam Kourkoulakos will offer the first of the two-part workshop “Lessons From Hospice”:

    “This workshop is intended for those who are interested in pursuing hospice training and/or who want to gain more awareness of being with people who are facing life-limiting illness. It is not recommended for anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one within the past year.

    “We will explore hospice teachings and exercises that may add richness to being with those dealing with terminal illness — both the ones who are ill and the loved ones surrounding them. Although this is not a hospice training program for a specific hospice, we will investigate important issues that arise in working with the dying and their families based on hospice teachings. Some topics will include readings, discussions, exercises that will help facilitate being present to those dealing with terminal and other serious illness. Also, we will look at our own way of being with ourselves at such a time.”

    Then on Sunday, from 10:00am to 4:30pm, Matthew Hepburn will offer a Beginners’ Insight Meditation Workshop:

    “This Beginners’ Workshop will include formal meditation instruction, guided sitting and walking practice, and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation (vipassana). During our time together, participants will learn how to meditate along with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions.

    “This day-long program is appropriate for people who have little or no meditation experience, for those who are relatively new to Insight Meditation, and for anyone who would like to revisit the basics of meditation and deepen their practice. All are welcome.”

    For more information on either CIMC event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, the Boston Meditation Center will hold its spring retreat with Sayadaw U Inndaka, Chris Crotty, and May Myint Oo at IMCN from June 6-13 :

    “On this retreat, Burmese meditation master Sayadaw U Inndaka and Chris Crotty will guide students in the development of insight through guided meditation, extended silence, individual interviews, and dharma talks. This is a unique opportunity to practice and learn with Sayadaw U Inndaka, and to rest your mind in the quiet natural surroundings of Insight Meditation Center Newburyport.”

    https://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/residential-retreats/

    There is also a newcomer to the local meditation scene: the Lexington Meditation and Mindfulness Meetup group. I don’t know too much about the group other than that they seem to meet at The Sitting Room in Lexington on Tuesdays at 7:00pm:

    Lexington Meditation and Mindfulness Meetup

    Lexington, MA
    60 Members

    This is a group for all interested in slowing down, tuning in, decreasing stress and reactivity, and practicing meditation. The Sitting Room is a community practice space to h…

    Next Meetup

    Meditation Practice Meetup

    Tuesday, Jun 4, 2019, 7:00 PM
    9 Attending

    Check out this Meetup Group →

    That will be it for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  14. REMINDER — 5/21/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is this week’s facilitator.

    The only game in town this Memorial Day weekend is “Embodied” a half-day mindfulness yoga and meditation retreat with Chris Crotty and David Schouela. This event is offered under the auspices of the Boston Meditation Center and will take place at the Arlington Center from 2:00pm to 5:30pm:

    “Yoga and Buddhism share the same aim – the liberation of body, mind, and heart. Postures and breath practice support the body and mind for meditation, and mindfulness enables a more intentional, awareness-based yoga. This program is open to anyone interested in exploring the relationship between yoga asana (postures) and insight meditation. Together these mutually supportive practices foster self-awareness and insight into the conditions that underlie greater well-being and personal freedom.

    “This half-day retreat includes alternating periods of yoga postures and guided meditation based on the Four Foundations of mindfulness, and is aimed at helping students deepen concentration and investigate the true nature of mind and body. Yoga sessions will draw from yin, kripalu, and vini-yoga, and will be accessible to all levels of practitioners (of both yoga and meditation), including beginners.”

    To register, please visit https://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/

    Also, from June 6-13 BMC will join efforts with IMCN to offer “The Path of Peace and Freedom,” a residential retreat with Sayadaw U Inndaka, May Myint Oo, and Chris Crotty.

    For more information, please visit https://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/residential-retreats/

    For this week’s reading, I offer a look back at a 2008 Buddhadharma forum in which Sharon Salzberg, Judith Simmer-Brown, John Tarrant, and Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche “discuss skillful and unskillful involvement with emotions, offering new perspectives on how to think about and engage with our emotional lives.”

    https://www.lionsroar.com/forum-how-to-work-with-emotions/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  15. REMINDER — 5/14/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Kent will be this week’s facilitator.

    First, some excellent news: Chris Crotty has confirmed for a half-day retreat (9:30am to 1:00pm) at First Parish on Saturday, August 24. The theme for the day is “A Kind Way of Being: Mindfulness and Loving-Kindness Meditation”:

    “Mindfulness supports us in calming the mind and focusing our attention. Loving-kindness (metta) meditation systematically cultivates friendliness, benevolence and good-will. Loving-kindness is a natural foundation for happiness and well-being which is not reliant on external factors. In this half-day retreat, Buddhist teacher Chris Crotty will guide students in the practices of mindfulness and loving-kindness through sitting and walking meditation, periods of silence, and instructional dharma reflections.”

    The retreat will be offered on a dana basis; both beginners and experienced practitioners are encouraged to attend.

    To register, please visit https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/a-kind-way-of-being-mindfulness-and-loving-kindness-meditation/

    There are several events coming up this Saturday, May 18.

    Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN for “Simple Breath Awareness,” a day-long retreat (9:00am to 5:00pm, with a morning-only option) for students of all levels:

    “The Buddha taught breath awareness to calm and steady the heart and mind, and then open to all of life with clarity. In this retreat a progressive approach, drawing from the Buddha’s sutta (teaching) on Mindfulness of Breath, will be offered. As practice unfolds sustained breath awareness leads into an open restful clarity that sees things as they are. The mind and heart learn to let go of unwise clinging. Whether in the sustained silence of retreat, on in simple mindful pauses in daily life simple breath awareness provides an accessible key to unlocking nourishing calm, clear seeing and wise compassionate response.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC for a day-long (10:00am to 4:00pm) workshop on “Love and Attachment”:

    “In his poem ‘Ash Wednesday’ T.S. Eliot offers this as an aspiration, that we might learn how to love more and cling less. This is one of our key challenges as human beings: how do we care deeply without the attachment that is the source of so much of our suffering?

    – We practice bringing love and compassion together with spaciousness and letting go.
    – We cultivate friendliness moment by moment without the urgency and sting of wanting to possess and control others, situations, material goods or events.
    – We recognize the truth of impermanence of all life.

    “When we bring our practice of non-attachment off of the cushion and into our lives in relationship, we cultivate a serene and happy life. Non-attachment in relationships is not indifference or apathy to another person; on the contrary you appreciate others even more, seeing them clearly for who they are, not for who you want them to be.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include specific instructions, guided practice and time for questions and discussion.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Our friends at Souhegan Insight Meditation will hosting “Cultivating Kind Intentions,” a day-long (10:00am to 5:00pm) retreat with Rae Housman:

    “When we approach the practice of meditation and everyday life with right view, every aspect of our experience is an expression of our human nature. This awareness helps us take things less personally. Our thoughts, emotions, and mind-states are constantly in flux and come from specific causes. This doesn’t mean that we don’t take responsibility — the Buddhist concept of right view allows us to meet experience with kindness. In this day-long retreat, we will use right view to look at unfolding experience with kindness and care. Through this, we get a sense for what it is to bring kind intentions to our practice, and therefore to our lives.

    “This day of shared silence will include periods of walking and sitting meditation, instruction and time for questions and group reflection. This retreat is appropriate for all levels of meditation experience.”

    More details can be found at http://nhmeditation.org/events/2019-rae-houseman/

    Ron Levine and the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp group will meet on Saturday afternoon between 2:15pm and 3:45pm at the Watertown Public Library for “Anger’s Honeyed Crest and Poison Root.” As of this writing, there are still several spaces available:

    Anger’s Honeyed Crest and Poison Root

    Saturday, May 18, 2019, 2:15 PM

    Watertown Free Public Library
    123 Main St Watertown, MA

    15 Members Attending

    In this follow-up to our most recent session, we will examine the seductive side of anger; understanding its twisted allure is a key component for freedom from its siren song. This event is open to everyone; attendance at the first session is not required. We’ll be meeting at the Lucia Mastrangelo Meeting Room on the second floor of the Watertown l…

    Check out this Meetup →

    And last but not least, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy will host “Shame Through New Eyes: The Transformative Power of Mindful Self-Compassion,” a day-long (9:30am to 4:30pm) benefit event featuring Chris Germer:

    “Shame is probably the trickiest human emotion. It’s everywhere so we barely see it. It’s also the glue that makes other emotions stick around longer than they should – fear, anger, guilt—and it hollows out the observer in a way that there’s no one home to work with the emotions. The mere mention of the s-word usually sends people packing. However, seen through the eyes of compassion, we discover some surprising new insights about shame that loosen its grip in our lives. They are:

    – Shame feels blameworthy, but it is an innocent emotion
    – Shame makes us feel alone, but it connects us to the rest of humanity
    – Shame feels old and all-encompassing, but it’s a temporary state like all emotions.

    “These 3 insights, or paradoxes, correspond to the 3 components of self-compassion as defined by Kristin Neff (2003) – self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

    “Please join Chris Germer, a leader in the burgeoning field of self-compassion and co-developer of the Mindful Self-Compassion training program, for a daylong experiential workshop including talks, meditation, research, exercises, and discussion.”

    To register, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shame-through-new-eyes-the-transformative-power-of-mindful-self-compassion-tickets-56671777813

    For this week’s reading I will leave you with a short Lion’s Roar profile of Sutham Nateetong, a 57-year-old monk who is making a 3000-mile “peace walk” from Santa Monica, CA, to New York City:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/this-buddhist-monk-is-walking-across-the-united-states-to-promote-peace/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  16. REMINDER — 5/7/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, May 11.

    Oren Jay Sofer will be at CIMC from 10:00am to 5:00pm for a day-long workshop on “Freedom In The Body”:

    “Along with the gifts of a human body come inevitable experiences of physical discomfort: from daily aches to illness, aging and chronic pain. In this daylong workshop, we will explore how to work skillfully with body pain, and how practicing wisely with pain strengthens the heart and can be a doorway to release.

    “The workshop is designed for those living with pain, for care-givers and those working with people in pain, as well as for all practitioners who are interested in this topic. This workshop will include silent meditation in all four postures — sitting, standing, walking and lying down — as well as guided movement, reflection, dialogue and practical tools for working with pain.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile on Saturday afternoon from 1:00pm to 4:30pm, Jan Surrey will offer “Cultivating Friendship On The Path,” a half-day Insight Dialogue retreat at The Arlington Center:

    “This afternoon retreat will offer Insight Dialogue meditation practice to contemplate the power of spiritual friendship on the Buddha’s eightfold path. We will look at classical teachings and contemporary challenges and opportunities for the cultivation and nourishment of such friendship in our lives. This important aspect of the path has not yet been fully appreciated and supported in many contemporary Buddhist communities, and there is currently increasing attention to this factor of meditative practice and strengthening community.

    “Insight Dialogue is a relational meditation practice that brings together meditative awareness, the wisdom teachings of the Buddha, and our human sensitivity and power in relationships. It has the same purpose and roots of silent meditation: developing mindfulness, compassion and liberating insight while investigating the truth of the present moment together.

    “In this retreat the six guidelines of Insight Dialogue will be introduced: Pause, Relax, Open, Attune to Emergence, Listen Deeply, and Speak the Truth. The retreat is open to new as well as experienced practitioners of Insight Dialogue.”

    For more information, please visit the Boston Meditation Center website at https://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/

    There are also a couple of events coming up the next Saturday, May 18:

    The Souhegan Valley Insight Meditation Group will host “Cultivating Kind Intentions: A Day of Insight Meditation with Rae Housman” at the Pine Hill Waldorf School in Wilton, NH:

    http://nhmeditation.org/events/2019-rae-houseman/

    Also, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy will host “Shame Through New Eyes: The Transformative Power of Mindful Self-Compassion” at Harvard University with our old friend Chris Germer:

    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shame-through-new-eyes-the-transformative-power-of-mindful-self-compassion-tickets-56671777813

    Finally this week, I want to forward the link to Ajahn Jayanto’s talk that Judi shared with the group a couple of weeks ago (38 min.):

    https://www.amaravati.org/audio/observe-and-then-let-go/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  17. REMINDER — 4/30/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Dave is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday, May 4, Jessica Morey will be at IMCN for “Nurturing Our Sense of Belonging,” a day-long workshop (10:00am to 4:30pm):

    “During this daylong workshop, we will practice mindfulness in ways that help us reconnect to our essential belonging to the earth and to each other. We will explore nature awareness as well as relational practices of deep listening and authentic communication – come ready to practice outside and in community!”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    There is currently just one spot left for the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp group gathering on Saturday afternoon, from 2:15pm to 3:45pm at the Watertown Public Library. The theme of the afternoon will be “Anger: From Blind Rage to Clear Seeing.”

    For more information, please visit https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/events/260791967/

    Meanwhile at CIMC on Saturday, Tuere Sala will offer “A Journey Inward: Exploring the Five Spiritual Faculties,” a day-long (9:00am to 5:00pm) retreat:

    “The journey of inward awakening is a gradual unfolding of understanding and equanimity, and it requires more of us than force of will. The cultivation of five natural capacities of the mind—the Five Spiritual Faculties—is key to this unfolding:

    – Faith/Conviction;
    – Energy/Perseverance;
    – Mindfulness;
    – Concentration/Steadiness of Mind; and
    – Wisdom.

    “When developed together, these capacities gradually turn the wheel of the Dharma and move us along the path. Faith strengthens energy; energy strengthens mindfulness; mindfulness strengthens concentration; concentration strengthens wisdom, and vice versa. We will focus on learning how to cultivate and balance the Five Spiritual Faculties, and to recognize their impact on our practice.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. There will be periods of sitting and walking, guided meditation as well as reflections to support your practice. There will also be time for questions and comments. Everyone is welcome.”

    Then on Sunday, May 5, from 10:00am to 5:00pm, Andrew Olendzki will offer “Developing the Mind: Samadhi,” part two of his Integrated Practice Series:

    “This workshop focuses on samādhi—the various practices of meditation. When the mind can get free of its habitual restlessness and settle down upon a chosen object of attention, with some stability and tranquility, one can begin to see more clearly what is actually going on in the mind and body from moment to moment. This is a set of skills that can be learned, and the tradition teaches how to cultivate different practices for different circumstances. Topics we will investigate include:

    – a detailed look at the classical instructions for establishing and maintaining mindfulness;
    – a close investigation of the gradual stages of concentration and the development of equanimity;
    – a review of some of the less-well-known descriptions of loving-kindness and related “limitless” practices; and
    – an examination of the role of skillful effort in meditation.

    For more information on these upcoming CIMC events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Our own retreat with Chris Crotty is officially on the calendar for Saturday, August 24. Details are still being worked out, but please be sure to let me know what topics/themes you are interested in.

    For this week’s reading, I will share “The Best of Sharon Salzberg: Life, Teachings, Quotes, and Books” compiled by the Lion’s Roar staff:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/the-best-of-sharon-salzberg-life-teachings-quotes-and-books/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  18. REMINDER — 4/23/19 meditation group

    Greetings and happy Earth Day! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this weekend, Saturday, April 27, marks the beginning of CIMC’s multi-day retreat on the Five Recollections, with Matthew Hepburn and Narayan Liebenson:

    “The Buddha encouraged people of all ages to undertake the frequent contemplation of ‘The Five Recollections’ — aging, sickness, death, loss and karma – as a key practice leading to joy and liberation. In this five-day retreat we will bring our attention to this seeming paradox. We will explore how cultivating an intimate understanding of these great matters of life and death can help us face, and master, our fears. Over time, with mindfulness and an open heart, we can come to see these conditions of impermanence from a perspective of gratitude.Turning towards the inevitability of change and loss — rather than denying them or turning away — helps us to more fully appreciate the beauty and preciousness of a life inspired and guided by Dharma practice.

    “The format of this five-day retreat invites each of us to intentionally combine formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend, emphasizing the practices of sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three days, we will meet in the evenings only. Participants will be given a meditation exercise to practice with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life. Coming together again at the end of the day we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises.”

    Weekend-only registration is available for those who can attend both Saturday and Sunday. For additional details, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, at IMCN Matthew Daniell will lead a morning (10:00am to 12:30pm) insight meditation retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly.  As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    Then on Sunday, April 28, also at IMCN Ted Jones will be joined by Joel Grossman for a day (9:30am to 4:30pm) of interfaith dialogue and a workshop exploring meditation in the insight and Jewish traditions:

    “This workshop will explore some of the similarities and differences between the Buddhist practice of Insight Meditation and a variety of Jewish meditation practices. The unifying theme will be the emphasis in both traditions on receptivity and interior silence, along with love and kindness. The goal will be to demonstrate how these two traditions can be approached as complementary, affording a deepening spiritual journey when practiced together. The workshop will include instruction as well as periods of silent meditation and contemplation in each tradition. There will be ample time reserved for questions and discussion.”

    For more information on either of these upcoming Newburyport events, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    For this week I just want to share a “No Agenda, No Obstacles,” a short Lion’s Roar article from Tibetan teacher Judy Lief: https://www.lionsroar.com/no-agenda-no-obstacles/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  19. REMINDER — 4/16/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel; at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both quiet this coming weekend, however the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp group will be gathering this Saturday afternoon, April 20, from 2:15pm to 3:45pm at the Watertown Center for Healing Arts. This weekend’s meet-up will focus on “The Limits of Control.” For more information, please visit https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/events/260424054/

    Looking ahead to the weekend of April 27-28, CIMC will begin a multi-day non-residential retreat on “The Five Recollections,” (led by Matthew Hepburn and Narayan Liebenson). Meanwhile at IMCN, Matthew Daniell will offer a morning retreat for beginning and newer students on Saturday, and on Sunday, Ted Jones and Joel Grossman will lead a day-long workshop on “Interspiritual Dialogue: Meditation in the Insight and Jewish Traditions.” Stay tuned for more these events in next week’s e-mail.

    I also want to apologize for an error in last week’s e-mail. At that time I was still trying to work out details for a spring retreat in Chelmsford with Chris Crotty. (The initial dates in question should have been April 20 and May 25, not April 27 and May 23.) As it turns out, Chris will not be available until the end of August, so I am back to checking dates with First Parish. I will keep everyone posted as I learn more. In the meantime, please let me know if there are any themes that you might like Chris to address in a day-long setting.

    This week I would simply like to share a short Lion’s Roar article by Changing Han on “The Invisible Majority” of American Buddhist practitioners: https://www.lionsroar.com/the-invisible-majority/

    That will be all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  20. REMINDER — 4/9/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. In round two of “musical facilitators,” Dave will be sitting in for Kent this week.

    CIMC is quiet this weekend, but there are two yoga-and-mindfulness events taking place elsewhere this Saturday, April 13.

    Jim Austin will be at IMCN for a morning (9:30am to 1:00pm) mindfulness yoga and insight meditation workshop:

    “How can a yoga asana practice be used to support our mindfulness meditation practice?  Can we bring the qualities of mindfulness and openness developed in sitting meditation practice onto the yoga mat thereby creating continuity between our practice on the mat and our practice on the cushion?  We’ll explore these questions and others during this half-day workshop. The workshop will include short periods of sitting meditation, yoga, and discussion. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and beginners are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Then on Saturday afternoon from 1:00pm to 4:30pm, Chris Crotty will offer “Embodied” a half-day mindfulness yoga and meditation retreat at The Arlington Center:

    “This program is open to anyone (beginner or experienced) interested in exploring the relationship between yoga asana (postures) and insight meditation. It will include alternating periods of yoga postures and guided meditation based on the Four Foundations of mindfulness, and is aimed at helping students deepen concentration and investigate the true nature of mind and body.”

    For more information, please visit the Boston Meditation Center website: https://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/

    Incidentally, I am still trying to work out a possible spring retreat at First Parish with Chris C. The two dates currently under consideration are April 27 and May 23 (the latter being the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend). It is possible we could try to set up something for the summer instead if that seems more do-able for folks. At the moment I’m waiting to hear back from Chris regarding his availability, but if anyone has strong preferences for or against either of the proposed dates, please let me know.

    In this week’s rather random selection of articles, I’ll start by sharing Kooi Lim and Jaffee Yee’s profile of Wat Phra Singh, a historic Theravada temple located in Chiang Rai, Thailand:

    http://buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=18,13279,0,0,1,0#.XKvoDS-ZNTZ

    Another short piece that crossed my attention recently is Peter Harvey’s 2015 Buddhadharma article “In Search of the Real Buddha”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/in-search-of-the-real-buddha/

    I’ll close by sharing three leftover articles from Tricycle’s 2019 Meditation Month:

    In “Love Is A Skill,” Ayya Kema “teaches how to bring heart and mind together through lovingkindness meditation”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/ayya-khema-lovingkindness/

    In “Joy Is A Radical Act,” Scott Tusa shares a practice for cultivating joy that he learned from the Tibetan teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/joy-meditation/

    And, finally, Bhante Gunaratana offers his commentary on the “11 Benefits of Loving-Friendliness Meditation”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/benefits-loving-friendliness-meditation/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  21. REMINDER — 4/2/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be pinch-hitting for Dave, who was scheduled to be this week’s facilitator but has a family matter to attend to.

    There are a few events coming up this weekend:

    First, Chris Crotty will be leading “The Wisdom Of Vulnerability,” a 3-night study-and-practice retreat at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies beginning Thursday, April 4:

    “This course examines the Buddhist ideal of a life beyond suffering alongside the reality of day-to-day living, balancing the Buddha’s radical optimism with the practical concerns of our human lives: physical and emotional health challenges, past regrets and future desires, social injustice, relational challenges, and enduring questions related to finding and sustaining purpose in our life. Through this approach we learn to appreciate our own vulnerability, empathically acknowledge it in others, and allow it to bring us closer to our own freedom while creating caring communities where connection, compassion, and mutual support encourage each other’s awakening.

    “Combining meditation and sutta study with dialogue and relational mindfulness practices, we will co-create an experience that merges the clarity of wisdom with the acceptance of compassion.”

    There are still a few non-residential spaces open for this event, and a waitlist for residential openings. For more information, please visit https://www.buddhistinquiry.org/course/the-wisdom-of-vulnerability/

    Then on Saturday morning, April 6, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN to offer a morning (9:30am to 1:00pm) workshop based on Meditations 3 and 4 from Kilung Rinpoche’s book “The Relaxed Mind”:

    “Could you use a little more relaxation in your meditation practice? In your life? Kilung Rinpoche in his book, ‘The Relaxed Mind,’ leads us through meditations that may have a unique contribution to what it means to be ‘relaxed.’ The approach is based in mindfulness, but also draws deep inspiration from Tibetan Buddhist wisdom, and is secular in its instructions. It emphasizes both ease, and relaxation, but also clarity. It is designed to help us to undercut habits of making ourselves and others ‘right and wrong,’ and unlock a deep abiding capacity in ourselves for compassionate presence and relaxed wakeful ease. In this workshop we will be guided through exploring for ourselves the first two (basic sitting and working with an anchor for our attention) of the seven meditations, along with time for discussion. This offering will complements later retreats which will feature one or more of the meditations in a progressive manner, but may also be taken on its own. Matthew has worked with Kilung Rinpoche for many years and has been authorized to teach this approach. No previous experience with these meditations is necessary. If interested, the reading Kilung Rinpoche’s book would be a wonderful complement to the retreat, but is in no way required.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on April 6, Doug Phillips will be at CIMC for a day-long (9:00am to 5:00pm) retreat on “The Bahiya Sutta: The Buddha’s Direct Teaching on Non-Dual Awakening”:

    “On this retreat we will spend the day learning how to practice with one of the simplest, most elegant and most direct of the Buddha’s teachings, the Bahiya Sutta. The succinct pointers found in this teaching go straight to the essence of awakening: It is always and only in this moment that transformation and freedom can occur.

    “Using silence, sitting and walking meditation, discussion and interviews, we will examine such aspects as:

    How to bring energy and devotion to our practice;
    What direct and “non-dual” practice is, and what can we expect from it;
    How to integrate this practice into the ups and downs of where we spend most of our lives (which is not on the cushion!)”

    Then on Sunday, April 7, Matthew Hepburn will be at CIMC to offer a day-long (9:00am to 5:00pm) “Retreat for New Retreatants”:

    “Retreats are an invitation to nurture a continuity of mindfulness. The ‘Retreat for New Retreatants’ is a supportive opportunity for those who have little or no meditation retreat experience to practice for a full day in the company of others who are also new to silent retreats.
    “Our time together will include instructions on how to be on retreat, meditation instructions and guidance as well as a sequence of relatively short sitting and walking meditation sessions. The day will be spent mainly in silence, however, there will be adequate time for questions and discussion, including an exploration of how to sustain formal practice in daily life.

    “This day-long program is appropriate for beginners and for anyone who would like to revisit the basics of meditation and deepen their practice. Everyone is welcome.”

    For more information on these and other upcoming CIMC events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Finally, next Monday evening (7:00pm to 8:30pm), April 8, Ron Levine and the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp group will gather at the Watertown Public Library for “Forgiveness? Forgive This!”:

    “Forgiveness sounds lovely, but the process of getting there? Not so much. I’ve worked deeply to navigate this mental and emotional maze amidst shock and betrayal in the past, and will share the insights that I’ve found most helpful.”

    Please visit https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/events/260034060/ for additional details. (There are still 9 spots left as of this writing.)

    The first article I would like to share this week is one that I actually meant to share last week, in conjunction with Andy Olendzki’s “Integrated Dharma” workshop at CIMC. Tricycle recently published Andy’s translation of and commentary on the Bhikkhunivasaka Sutta on “directed and undirected” meditation:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/directed-undirected-meditation/

    Another recent article (one that I am sure Andy would appreciate, in fact) is Derek Pyle’s fascinating report on “the tapestry of communities that make up American Theravada [Buddhism].” This is a longer article, but one that is definitely worth taking the time to read:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/theravada-buddhism-america/

    Following Pyle’s survey, Wendy Joan Biddlecombe Agsar’s “Buddhism’s Postmodern Age” forms a quite an interesting juxtaposition:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/postmodern-buddhism/

    And last but not least, I highly recommend Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s new profile of ABC News anchor and meditation “evangelist” Dan Harris:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/dan-harris-is-10-happier/

    That’s all for this now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  22. REMINDER — 3/26/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    The retreat centers are mostly quiet this coming weekend (CIMC will offer it’s “35 and Under” retreat this Saturday, March 23), but the calendar quickly fills up for the final weekend of March.

    On Saturday, March 30, Ted Jones will be at IMCN for “Awakening To The Present Moment” a morning (10:00am to 12:30pm) retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile at CIMC, from 9:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday, Gregory Kramer will offer “The Power of Relational Practice: An Insight Dialogue Retreat”:

    “This day-long retreat will be an introduction to Insight Dialogue for new ID practitioners, and an opportunity to grow and deepen practice for experienced ones. Six meditation instructions or guidelines — pause, relax, open, attune to emergence, listen deeply and speak the truth — form the core of ID co-meditative practice. The guidelines help establish and sustain the meditative qualities of the heart/ mind and support a direct relational inquiry into this human experience.

    “In this retreat we will practice ID to turn toward the realities of our social conditioning. Dharma contemplations of the Hindrances, internal and external, through work in dyads and small groups, will deepen our embodied awareness. This practice can open our hearts and provide a mindful container for dialogue across social identities, and expand our capacity for liberatory awareness, compassionate engagement and wise action.”

    Then on Sunday, March 31, Andrew Olendzki will begin his 3-part Integrated Dharma Series. The focus of the first day-long (10:00am to 5:00pm) workshop is “Living With Integrity: Sila”:

    “Sīla—ethical living and integrity—is the cornerstone upon which the entire Noble Eightfold Path is built. We look at how to live skillfully, understand and purify habitual patterns of behavior, and build a stable foundation of ethical action upon which progress in developing the mind and deepening wisdom can be supported and sustained.”

    For more information on these and other upcoming CIMC events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    This past Saturday I ventured up Route 495 to take part in Chris Crotty’s metta morning retreat at IMCN. This was my second sitting with Chris, and I highly recommend him as a teacher. Fortunately he keeps a fairly busy teaching schedule, which you can find on his website: http://chriscrottydharma.org/schedule/

    Looking ahead a bit, Chris will be at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies April 4-7, and then he will be joined by his teacher, Sayadaw U Inndaka, for a residential retreat at IMCN on June 6-13.

    One other resource of which I was reminded this past weekend, thanks to Chris, is the Worldwide Insight website:

    “Worldwide Insight is a Dharma practice group [virtual sangha] that you can join from anywhere in the world. Each Sunday, renowned Insight Meditation teachers offer meditation instruction, teachings, and live Q&A on video.

    “Worldwide Insight functions just like city based Insight Meditation groups around the world, but you can attend from anywhere. Worldwide Insight covers the whole globe, yet delivers the dharma right to you.”

    Regular classes take place on Sundays at 2pm Eastern time, and feature a venerable cast of teachers from the Insight Meditation tradition, including Chris Crotty, Martine and Stephen Batchelor, Tara Brach, Eugene Cash, Gregory Kramer, and Trudy Goodman.

    For more information, check out the website https://www.worldwideinsight.org

    As Tricycle’s 2019 meditation month draws to a close, Martine Batchelor leads a guided meditation on joy and gratitude in her week 4 video (18 min.): https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-joy/

    And in closing this week’s e-mail, I’d like to share a short Tricycle article by Chris McKenna on tips for creating a mini-retreat at home:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/home-meditation-retreat/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  23. REMINDER — 3/19/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, March 23:

    On Saturday morning, from 9:30am to 1:00pm, Chris Crotty will be at IMCN for “A Limitless Heart: A Loving Kindness Meditation Retreat”:

    “When we are in pain, confused, angry, feeling betrayed, or scared, we contract. We close ourselves off from the world in an effort to restore a sense of safety or peace. This pattern of contraction is appealing because it provides temporary relief, yet it closes the heart and numbs the mind. We are left disconnected and unable to see clearly. Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, systematically inclines the mind toward benevolence and love. Cultivating the ‘metta mind’ encourages us to stay present, open, and engaged in our life and the world around us with an attitude of friendliness. Join us for a morning of meditation practice and a Dharma reflection focused on the heart’s potential for limitless kindness.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Then on Saturday afternoon, from 1:00pm to 4:30pm, Wendy Garling will offer “Forgotten Stories of Women and the Sacred Feminine in the Buddha’s Life,” a half-day Boston Meditation Center workshop being held at the Arlington Center:

    “Drawing from the earliest Pali and Sanskrit biographies of the Buddha, Wendy Garling will share little-known stories of women and the sacred feminine that arose during the Buddha’s era but over time were “forgotten” or suppressed by patriarchy. A far cry from the minimally represented, passive, and stock female characters we find in his conventional biography, these stories tell us that women were influential figures in the Buddha’s life and in the emergence of early Buddhism, participating with agency, voice, and their own spiritual aspirations. Now more than ever these stories—of mothers, wives, daughters, solitary seekers, and upholders of the Dharma—offer today’s Buddhist women and men a deeper connection, not just to a more gender-balanced past, but to each other, and to women’s voices rising across a world calling for renewed wisdom, compassion, and nurturance.

    “In this afternoon retreat we’ll explore several women’s stories in depth, learning more about the Buddha’s mother Maya, his stepmother Gautami, his wife Yasodhara, his harem wives, and others who helped shape the Buddha’s journey to awakening. Together we will read and discuss the stories, followed by periods of silent reflection. How do the stories reshape the roots of Buddhism? How are these first Buddhist women relatable in today’s world? Questions like these are bound to arise. Women and men of any practice level are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit https://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/

    Then next Monday evening, March 25, Ron Levine will host another Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp at the Watertown Public Library from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. For details on this event, please check out https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/events/259822276/?_xtd=gqFyqTI0NDAyMzMyOKFwpmlwaG9uZQ&from=ref

    Tricycle magazine’s annual meditation month continues with Martine Batchelor’s week 3 video guided meditation on feeling tone and noting bodily sensations (20 min.):

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-feeling-tone/

    Two short readings that relate to this video are Scott Tusa’s “How To Be In The Body (Without Jumping Out Of Your Skin)” and Cyndi Lee’s “Take Refuge In Your Body”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-body/

    https://www.lionsroar.com/take-refuge-in-your-body/

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  24. REMINDER — 3/12/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday, March 16, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for the day-long (10:00am to 4:30pm) workshop “Exploring Aging, Sickness, and Death As Gateways to Living A Fuller Life”:

    “The Buddha taught that old age, illness, and the inevitability of death can be powerful positive teachers in our lives. In this workshop we will combine discussion, reflection, and silent meditation periods to help us explore how these universal themes can actually help wake us up to a richer, more fulfilling life, now. All are welcome.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Then on Saturday afternoon, from 3:15pm to 4:45pm, Ron Levine’s MeetUp group will gather at the Watertown Public Library. Details on this week’s event can be found at https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/events/259421509/. (There are currently 11 spots left.)

    On Saturday and Sunday, Narayan Liebenson will offer “The Four Beautiful Qualities of the Heart,” a non-residential weekend retreat at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center:

    “In this weekend retreat we will turn our attention to the “Four Beautiful Qualities of Heart” known as the Brahmaviharas, or Divine Abodes. These essential qualities are: loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. Each of us has the inherent capacity to strengthen these qualities in our own hearts and minds. Through practice they may become our dwelling places where we feel “at home”, not merely places we visit on occasion.

    “There are specific instructions and practices for cultivating each of the four Brahmaviharas. Over the course of the weekend there will be instruction and practice with each one. We will investigate:

    Loving-Kindness on Saturday morning;
    Compassion on Saturday afternoon;
    Joy on Sunday morning; and
    Equanimity on Sunday afternoon.
    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Our time together will include guided meditation periods, talks and time for discussion and questions.

    “Participants are strongly encouraged to attend both days, however, Saturday-only and Sunday-only registrations are also available.”

    The retreat hours are from 9:00am to 7:00pm on Saturday, and from 9:00am to 5:00pm on Sunday. For more information, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    I would like to start off this week’s e-mail by sharing the Week 2 video from Tricycle’s Meditation Month challenge. In the latest video, Martine Batchelor offers gentle instruction in “Listening With Compassion” (18 min.):

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-listening/

    I also would like to share another Tricycle video teaching, in this case featuring Ralph Steele on “Establishing Right Mindfulness” through the body (15 min.):

    https://tricycle.org/dharmatalks/mindfulness-of-the-body/lessening-our-attachments/

    And finally this week I’ll leave you with a short post on “Finding Refuge In The Places That Scare Us” by Lion’s Roar’s Ray Buckner:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/finding-refuge-in-the-scary-places-inside-us/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  25. REMINDER — 3/5/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are several events coming up this weekend.

    On Friday, March 8, the Harvard Buddhist Community will host its 5th Annual Buddhism and Race Conference from 8:30am to 5:30pm at the Harvard Divinity School:

    “During this conference, scholars, sangha leaders, activists, and students from diverse backgrounds will join together to engage in conversations about issues at the intersection of Buddhism, race, and beyond. Participants will have the opportunity to teach as well as to learn from one another. The speakers will be sharing their experience working in a variety of scholastic and religious practice contexts.”

    To register, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/buddhism-and-race-conference-centering-intersectionalities-tickets-55766783952

    Then on Saturday, March 9, Chas DiCapua will be at IMC Newburyport for “Cultivating The Paramis of Patience and Perseverance,” a day-long (9:00am to 5:00pm, with a morning-only option ending at 12:30pm):

    “Patience and Perseverance are two of the 10 Paramis we need to develop to continue to cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path. We are at the mercy of the ripening of our karma from moment to moment. What can arise in our hearts and minds can be difficult and repetitive. It takes much patience to be able to meet this material with a heart and mind that is non-reactive.

    “The pace of change and the non-linear nature of how the Dharma unfolds in not something we are used to and the result can be some form of frustration. In addition, the way forward can seem unclear. When faced with these difficulties in practice, we need to learn to persevere and simply take the next step.

    “We will use the very material that arises in our hearts and minds to develop Patience and Perseverance during this retreat. As these qualities are drawn forward in our hearts and minds, we can experience the freedom that comes with knowing that whatever arises, we have two important and powerful qualities of heart and mind to meet them with.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Narayan Liebenson will offer a day-long (10:00am to 4:00pm) CIMC workshop on “The Wisdom Of Anger”:

    “The experience of anger can be a signal, awakening one to the fact that something is wrong. As such, it can include a temporary feeling of power and strength. If prolonged longer than needed, however, it is one of the most destructive forces in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Anger is a habit of mind that can be transmuted into discernment and clarity. Understanding the energy of anger — and its roots of pain, fear and hurt — requires great compassion.

    “During this workshop, we will explore how to work with both calming and wisdom practices to free the heart from anger. In learning about and encouraging a wise attitude, patience, acceptance, and investigation, we become able to respond with care and interest instead of reacting only out of conditioning. We develop our capacity to observe anger without either pushing it away or entangling ourselves within it.”

    Then on Sunday, March 10, Rebecca Bradshaw will offer “Becoming Fully Human: Resistance And Authenticity On The Spiritual Path,” a day-long workshop from 10:00am to 5:00pm:

    “Through our meditation practice, we come down to earth as embodied human beings, basing our spirituality in expanding our capacity to meet the fullness of life with spaciousness and kindness. In this journey, we meet both resistance and increased capacity to touch the truth of our being at this moment. Together we will explore how to engage with resistance and how to cultivate the authenticity that melts the hardness in our hearts and embraces connection.”

    For more information on either CIMC workshop, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Sunday, Alexis Santos will join our friends at the Valley Insight Meditation Society for “When Awareness Becomes Natural: Lessons I Learned from Sayadaw U Tejaniya and Beyond,” a day-long (9:00am to 4:00pm) retreat in Lyme, NH. For more information, please visit https://valleyinsight.org/retreats/

    March also brings Tricycle magazine’s annual Meditation Month challenge. This year’s theme is “Four Practices for A Firm Foundation,” featuring weekly video teachings from Martine Batchelor:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-2019/

    You can watch first video, “Beginning With Mindfulness,” (~ 22min.) here: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-mindfulness/

    Also part of Meditation Month 2019, Oren Jay Sofer offers “Why Can’t I Get To The Cushion?,” an article on overcoming one’s motivational obstacles to practice:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/difficulty-meditating/

    Finally, I leave you with “Letting Go Of What It All Means,” an older, brief Josh Korda piece from Lion’s Roar:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/josh-korda-on-letting-go-of-what-it-all-means/

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  26. REMINDER — 2/26/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator. (For those who may be curious, I hope to work our new facilitators into the rotation over the course of the next month or so.)

    The last Tuesday in February holds a special place for me, as I consider it my anniversary of beginning this strange practice that has become such an important part of my life. I began this particular leg of my journey 13 years ago when I responded to a listing on the Spirit Rock website for a mindfulness meditation class meeting in downtown Lowell. There have been many guides and fellow travelers over the years, some of whom have since parted ways to follow their own trajectories, some who come and go and come again, and others who continue to meet and sit in silence, tears, rage, and laughter (almost) each and every week. Life unfolds in fascinating ways, indeed.

    One of the early influences on my practice was Sharon Salzberg, author, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, and world-renowned evangelist for metta. As some of you may have already heard, Sharon “went through a major health emergency” over the Presidents’ Day weekend. Lily Cushman, Sharon’s Director of Operations, wrote in an e-mail last week that Sharon “is now stable and on the path to a full recovery… [and] is receiving excellent medical care.” Sharon will understandably be taking the next several months off from teaching in order to focus on her health. May she be well, happy, and peaceful….

    Returning to the regular business of weekend events, this Saturday, March 2, Sebene Selassie will be at CIMC to offer the day-long (10:00am to 5:00pm) workshop “Hearing the Call to Embodiment: Exploring the First Foundation”:

    “‘If the body is not cultivated, the mind cannot be cultivated. If the body is cultivated, then the mind can be cultivated.’ (Majjhima Nikaya 36)

    “Can we hear the deep call to embodiment in the teachings, or is our head–centered approach to life inhibiting our deeper understanding of the Buddhadharma? Are we truly aware of the breath or are we just thinking about it? What’s the difference?

    “The First Foundation of Mindfulness is mindfulness of the body, but many of us in the modern, Western context have a hard time getting out of our heads to “cultivate the body.” In this workshop we will explore and practice this First Foundation of Mindfulness and connect more deeply to this key part of the path to liberation.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include specific instructions, guided practice, discussions and time for questions. Everyone is welcome.”

    For more information on this event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org.

    (Please mark your calendars for Thursday, April 25, when Dan Harris and Joseph Goldstein will join in an “evening conversation” at First Church in Cambridge. Proceeds from this event will go to benefit CIMC and IMS.)

    Also coming up this Saturday afternoon, the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp group will meet from 2:15pm to 3:45pm at the Watertown Center for Healing Arts. There are still a few (8, as of this writing) spaces available for anyone who is interested:

    Calming Your Inner Control Freak

    Saturday, Mar 2, 2019, 2:15 PM

    Watertown Center For Healing Arts
    22 Mt Auburn St # 10 Watertown, MA

    22 Members Attending

    Have you ever tried to control a situation or a person (including yourself!) in an attempt to increase your own happiness or freedom, only to find that your efforts were wasted … or even made things worse? Without understanding the true roots (and ironic limitations) of control, we rarely succeed; yet, it is so common to try to find safety and co…

    Check out this Meetup →

    This week I would like to highlight a collection of short videos featuring local teachers Susan and Bill Morgan, who as a couple, completed a 4-year silent meditation retreat at the Forest Refuge. In each of the 7 videos (ranging from approximately 3- to 9-minutes long), Susan and Bill recount their experience and reflect on its lasting impact on their teaching and their personal practice:

    https://www.dharma.org/a-deeper-dive-reflections-on-a-four-year-silent-meditation-retreat/

    In closing, I would like to leave you with “In The Moments Of Non-Awakening,” a short article by Spirit Rock teacher Larry Yang from the Spring 2019 issue of Buddhadharma:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/in-the-moments-of-non-awakening/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  27. REMINDER — 2/19/19 meditation group

    Greetings; I hope everyone has safely enjoyed the Presidents’ Day weekend. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday, February 23, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport to offer a morning (9:30am to 1:00pm) workshop based on Meditations 1 and 2 from Kilung Rinpoche’s book “The Relaxed Mind”:

    “Could you use a little more relaxation in your meditation practice? In your life? Kilung Rinpoche in his book, ‘The Relaxed Mind,’ leads us through meditations that may have a unique contribution to what it means to be ‘relaxed.’ The approach is based in mindfulness, but also draws deep inspiration from Tibetan Buddhist wisdom, and is secular in its instructions. It emphasizes both ease, and relaxation, but also clarity. It is designed to help us to undercut habits of making ourselves and others ‘right and wrong,’ and unlock a deep abiding capacity in ourselves for compassionate presence and relaxed wakeful ease. In this workshop we will be guided through exploring for ourselves the first two (basic sitting and working with an anchor for our attention) of the seven meditations, along with time for discussion. This offering will complements later retreats which will feature one or more of the meditations in a progressive manner, but may also be taken on its own. Matthew has worked with Kilung RInpoche for many years and has been authorized to teach this approach. No previous experience with these meditations is necessary. If interested, the reading Kilung Rinpoche’s book would be a wonderful complement to the retreat, but is in no way required.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    This week I would like to highlight the most recent episode from Krista Tippett’s On Being radio show. Her guest on February 14 was Richie Davidson, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and founder of the Center for Healthy Minds, returned to On Being to discuss “love and learning.” The full episode is ~50 min.:

    https://onbeing.org/programs/richard-davidson-a-neuroscientist-on-love-and-learning-feb2019/

    The other piece I would like to share is a short 2008 Shambhala Sun article on “Taking Refuge In The Triple Gem” by Christina Feldman:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/alone-together-finding-friends-on-the-path-2/?mc_cid=4e647da3c0&mc_eid=%5BUNIQID%5D

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  28. CANCELLED — 2/12/19 meditation group

    Greetings! Due to the forecast for inclement weather and hazardous travel conditions tomorrow afternoon and evening, this week’s meditation group is cancelled. Please feel free to practice in the safety and comfort of your own home.

    Coming up this Saturday morning, February 16, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN for “The Mindful Moment: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students” (10:00am to 12:30pm):

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly.  As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    Then from 6:00pm to 8:30pm, also at IMCN, Matthew will share a slideshow of his travels to Asia while guests enjoy a potluck dinner:

    “Come and enjoy a unique and intimate view into the life of our guiding teacher as a younger man exploring the richness of some of the cultures where some of our contemporary wisdom practices came from. In this evening community event Matthew will share slides of his journeys into Indian and Burmese culture and spirituality, as well as sharing in each others company over a potluck dinner. You are most welcome to bring friends and family!”

    To register for either (or both!) of this weekend’s IMCN events, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, on Saturday afternoon from 1:00pm to 4:30pm Chris Crotty will be at The Arlington Center for the half-day retreat “Unbalanced World, Balanced Mind: Meditation for Difficult Times”:

    “The world is often not as we want it to be. This is an understatement. Politically, socially, environmentally, we are confronted with the truth that human beings dominate the earth, while deeply embedded illusions of many types limit freedom for some people and protect it for others. On a personal level, each of us faces the continuous challenge of sustaining well-being within a constantly changing set of conditions within our work, family, health, and relationships. The Buddha’s teachings propose that through meditation practice, we can achieve equanimity, a mind that remains balanced when the world is out of balance. Is this a real possibility for us? If so, how? What if we have doubt or feel overwhelmed? 

    “This half-day retreat will explore the Buddha’s teachings on equanimity through meditation practices that are relevant to our personal lives today. It is open to all levels of experience – beginners are welcome and encouraged.”

    To register, please visit https://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/

    Then on Monday, February 18, the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp group will be gathering from 7:00pm to 8:30pm at the Watertown Center For Healing Arts. Ron’s topic is “Living Without Suffering… Off The Cushion.”

    Presently 20 spots are still available: https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/events/258850616/

    I’ll share a couple of short articles for your reading pleasure (perfect, perhaps, for a snowy Tuesday evening):

    The first is Anita Feng’s “How To Make A Spectacular Mistake” from the current (March 2019) issue of Lion’s Roar: https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-make-a-spectacular-mistake/

    The second is “You Are A Control Freak,” an excerpt from Ajahn Brahm’s book Kindfulness: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/ajahn-brahm-control-freak/

    (Thanks to Corey for his comment last week reminding me of this piece.)

    That’s all for now. I hope everyone enjoys a safe and cozy Tuesday evening, and I look forward to seeing you all again on the 19th.

    Metta,
    Tim


  29. REMINDER — 2/5/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this weekend, CIMC will host a non-residential weekend retreat for experienced practitioners starting Saturday, February 9, from 9:00am to 8:00pm, and continuing from 9:00am to 5:00pm on Sunday, February 10:

    “The Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat offers an intensive opportunity to practice in the company of other dedicated practitioners.

    “In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat will include open periods of individual practice in sitting, walking, standing and lying down. This format is intended to foster self-reliance, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. On Saturday evening, there will be a sharing circle; a meditative question will be asked and investigated.

    “Participants are strongly encouraged to attend both days, however, Saturday-only and Sunday-only registrations are also available. It is necessary to commit to being present for the entirety of the day, or days, you attend.”

    Narayan Liebenson will be guiding the retreat. For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also taking place on Saturday, the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp group has its next get-together scheduled from 2:15pm to 3:45pm at the Watertown Center for Healing Arts. To learn more about and sign up for this event, please visit https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/events/258442829/

    This week I want to share a link to a PDF copy of an earlier edition of “On Meditation,” the collection of Ajahn Chah dhamma talk excerpts from which I read last week:

    https://tisarana.ca/static/books/chah_on_meditation.pdf

    The other piece I would like to share this week is “How Meditation Saved My Mind,” a shorter contribution to the Lion’s Roar blog from writer Matthew Kohut:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/meditation-saved-my-mind-twice/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  30. REMINDER — 1/29/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    A few folks (David, Kent, and potentially Susan) have already kindly offered to help out as practice facilitators. If there is anyone else who is still contemplating throwing their name into the ring, please let me know of your decision as soon as possible. I would like to work on getting the logistics sorted out shortly. If there are any questions, please feel free to ask Brenda, Judi, or me.

    There are a pair of day-long (10:00am to 4:30pm) events coming up this Saturday, February 2.

    In Cambridge, Madeline Klyne will offer a Beginners’ Insight Meditation Workshop:

    “This Beginners’ Workshop will include formal meditation instruction, guided sitting and walking practice, and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation (vipassana). During our time together, participants will learn how to meditate along with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions.

    “This day-long program is appropriate for people who have little or no meditation experience, for those who are relatively new to Insight Meditation, and for anyone who would like to revisit the basics of meditation and deepen their practice. All are welcome.”

    For more details, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile in West Newbury, Matthew Daniell will lead the retreat “Loving Kindness and Insight Meditation for Daily Living”:

    “Love and wisdom are said to be the two wings of the bird of our spiritual life, we need both to fly. In this workshop we will work with cultivating loving kindness for ourselves and others through the power of positive intention. This heart opening practice will provide a foundation for the practice of Insight meditation, or the moment by moment experience of being with things just as they are. This retreat style workshop will have guided instruction, periods of silence for sitting and walking meditation, as well as a discussion period before lunch and at the end of the program. This offering is open to newer as well as experienced students. We will explore for ourselves the possibility that we need both love and mindful clear seeing for our spiritual lives to become a vibrant and integrated part of our daily lives.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also starting this week, on February 1, is Sharon Salzberg’s 9th (!) annual “Commit To Sit” 28-day Real Happiness meditation challenge. For anyone who might appreciate a catalyst for building and sustaining a daily practice, Sharon’s program may be just the thing.

    To find out more, please visit https://www.sharonsalzberg.com/rh-meditation-challenge-2019-registration

    In conclusion this week, I want to share a “Loving The Many Sides of You” a very brief Susan Piver article that came to mind during the discussion that Brenda led last week:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/loving-many-sides/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  31. REMINDER — 1/22/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    We’ve had a number of folks already express interest in helping out with group facilitation. If anyone else is interested and/or has questions, please send me an e-mail or talk to me tomorrow.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, January 26.

    On Saturday morning, Jim Austin will be at IMC Newburyport for a “Mindfulness Yoga and Insight Meditation” workshop (9:00am to 1:00pm):

    “How can a yoga asana practice be used to support our mindfulness meditation practice? Can we bring the qualities of mindfulness and openness developed in sitting meditation practice onto the yoga mat thereby creating continuity between our practice on the mat and our practice on the cushion? We’ll explore these questions and others during this half-day workshop. The workshop will include short periods of sitting meditation, yoga, and discussion. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and beginners are welcome.”

    For to register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport/org

    Then on Saturday afternoon from 2:15pm to 3:45pm the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp group will be gathering at the Watertown Center for Healing Arts. More information on this event can be found at https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/events/258078746/

    As some of you may have heard already, local poet Mary Oliver died this past Thursday. In my mind there is a special connection between Oliver and this meditation group, as I first became exposed to her work thanks to Abhaya, who I recall reading “The Summer Day” (among other poems) at the conclusion of our Tuesday night meditation sessions on Middle Street.

    Oliver’s life has been celebrated in the media over the past several days, and I’d like to share a few links for anyone who may have missed them:

    Beloved Poet Mary Oliver, Who Believed Poetry ‘Mustn’t Be Fancy,’ Dies At 83 (NPR All Things Considered — 3 min.):
    https://www.npr.org/2019/01/17/577380646/beloved-poet-mary-oliver-who-believed-poetry-mustn-t-be-fancy-dies-at-83

    Remembering The ‘Ecstatic Poet’ Mary Oliver, Who Wrote About The Natural World (WBUR Here and Now — 10 min.):
    https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2019/01/21/remembering-poet-mary-oliver

    Listening to the World (Mary Oliver’s 2015 conversation with On Being’s Krista Tippett — 50 min.):
    https://onbeing.org/programs/mary-oliver-listening-to-the-world-jan2019/

    And, finally, “The Life-Changing Words of Mary Oliver,” a short reflection from Lion’s Roar’s Rick Bass:
    https://www.lionsroar.com/mary-olivers-the-summer-day/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  32. REMINDER — 1/15/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Last week a few of us began an informal conversation around getting more people involved in the facilitator rotation. Many thanks to the folks who expressed early interest. I would also like to give an opportunity to hear from anyone who wasn’t able to be part of that discussion. Let’s keep the conversation open for another week or two before figuring out next steps. If you aren’t able to join the discussion in person, please feel free to share your thoughts via e-mail.

    For anyone who may be closer to Watertown than Chelmsford tomorrow evening, the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp group will be meeting at the Watertown Public Library from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. More details on this event are available at https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/events/257843402/.

    Then coming up on Wednesday, January 16, the Chelmsford Public Library will offer a short (7:00pm to 8:30pm) meditation workshop as part of its monthly Wellness Wednesday series:

    http://chelmsfordlibrary.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails?EventId=17464&backTo=Calendar&startDate=2019/01/01

    Thanks to Ruth C. for the heads-up on this event!

    The library will also be hosting mindfulness and meditation workshops every other Sunday through January and February: http://chelmsfordlibrary.evanced.info/signup/List?df=list&lib=all&kw=meditation&nd=61&ds=2019

    Looking ahead to this weekend, on Saturday, January 19, Ted Jones will be at IMC Newburyport for a morning (10:00am to 12:30pm) Insight Meditation Retreat for Beginners:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    At the end of last week’s sitting we had a discussion about taking on the Four Noble Truths as “tasks” or meditation practices rather than as metaphysical principles per se. I had pulled together a few choice articles from some of my favorite teachers for that conversation, and mentioned I would share them in this week’s e-mail.

    I recommend beginning by reading the short introduction to Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s study guide to the Four Noble Truths:

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/truths.html

    You can always double back and dive into the rest of the guide later…

    Next up, “The Four Noble Tasks,” is a very brief excerpt from a Stephen Batchelor dharma talk offered at the Upaya Zen Center in 2011:

    https://www.upaya.org/2015/02/stephen-batchelor-four-noble-tasks/

    In “Understand, Give Up, Realize, Develop” Batchelor is joined by Christina Feldman and Akincano Weber in a longer conversation on the same topic:

    https://tricycle.org/magazine/understand-realize-give-develop/

    And in closing I’ll leave you with Gil Fronsdal’s dharma talk on the Four Noble Truths from New Year’s 2005. (The audio version is about 45 min.):

    https://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/articles/four-noble-truths/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  33. REMINDER — 1/8/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    IMCN and CIMC are both back in full swing this week, with our friends at Souhegan Insight adding their own special event to the mix this coming weekend.

    IMCN will offer “Calm, Still, Quiet” — its Winter residential retreat with Chris Crotty — this weekend beginning on Friday evening and ending on Sunday afternoon. While the retreat has already reached capacity for the full weekend, there is still a single-day option from 9:00am to 9:00pm on Saturday, January 12:

    “‘In winter, the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity.’   – John Burroughs

    “Winter is a natural time for turning inward, while retreat provides an opportunity to focus attention on your meditation practice and contemplate the Buddha’s teachings. In this second annual Winter Residential Retreat with Chris, the outer stillness of the natural world supports us in quieting our mind, and directly experiencing the calm and stillness of concentration. With a mind free from distraction, we use mindfulness (insight meditation) to investigate the path to peace taught by the Buddha and perfected during retreat practice for over 2500 years.  

    “Combining periods of sitting and walking meditation, with Dharma teachings, the Winter Residential Retreat is held in noble silence. This retreat is suitable for those who have not yet sat retreat, as well as ongoing practitioners who wish to further their practice–meditation instruction and dharma talks will accommodate all experience levels.”

    To register for single-day option on Saturday, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Doug Phillips will be at CIMC to offer the day-long (9:00am to 5:00pm) retreat “Seeing Deeply Through Inquiry”:

    “This retreat will focus on using contemplative investigation (one of the crucial ‘Factors of Awakening’) to both deepen and broaden our direct, experiential understanding of who and what we are most fundamentally. We will use the basic practices of sitting and walking, along with discussion, guided instruction and individual interviews to support finding our own fundamental questions of inquiry and working with them throughout the day.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, our dear benefactor Doreen Schweizer will team up with our friends at Souhegan Insight Meditation for “Cultivating Joy In Times of Turmoil,” a special day-long (10:00am to 5:00pm) retreat to be held at the Pine Hill Waldorf School in Wilton, NH:

    “Many people are delighted to find mindfulness meditation is intrinsically intertwined with four positive qualities: Love, compassion, joy and equanimity. Practiced over time, friendliness or loving kindness frees us from feelings of ill will and hatred. The practice of compassion creates an air of intimacy and understanding of other beings, and frees us from the desire to cause harm. The cultivation of joy— especially the joy we feel when we reflect on our own and other’s good deeds and fortunes– release us from feelings of discontent and disconnection. All three of these practices are integral in helping us develop equanimity, the fourth important quality, which releases us from reactivity and allows us to accept things as they. These four qualities are called the Brahma Viharas, a term that translates as “the best home” for our minds and hearts to dwell.

    “This day of shared silence will include periods of walking and sitting meditation, instruction and time for questions and group reflection. There will be an emphasis on cultivating joy and its role in helping us maintain an equanimous mind.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/2019-doreen-schweizer/

    I would like to share three short-ish articles this week.

    The first article “Is Buddhism Scientific or Religious?” is excerpted from Tricycle magazine’s upcoming online course, Buddhism for Beginners, taught by University of Wisconsin professor John Dunne:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/buddhism-scientific-religious/

    The second article is a reprise of actor Sandra Oh’s 2016 Lion’s Roar conversation with Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman on “The Future of Buddhism”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/sandra-oh-jack-kornfield-and-trudy-goodman-on-the-future-of-buddhism/

    And last but not least, a short reflection on “The Four Highest Emotions” from the late teacher Ayya Khema:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/the-four-highest-emotions/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  34. REMINDER — 1/1/19 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will ring in the new year tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    As we head into 2019, Brenda, Judi and I are exploring alternatives to the current format in which the three of us rotate as the weekly facilitator. (We when first started this system there were more people involved, but as time as passed the numbers have dwindled.) We welcome you to add your voice to this conversation as we collectively set course for the coming year.

    CIMC and IMCN remain closed for another week. In the meantime Ron Levine has set up another gathering of the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp group this Saturday afternoon (2:15pm to 3:45pm), January 5, at the Watertown Public Library. The theme is “New Year, New Practice: Developing Consistency.” At the moment there are only 4 spots left. For more information, please visit https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/events/257514321/

    There are a number of events on the calendar for the following weekend (January 11-13): Chris Crotty will be leading the winter residential retreat at IMCN (with a Saturday-only option) starting January 11; Doug Phillips will be offering a day-long retreat at CIMC on Saturday the 12th; and Souhegan Insight Meditation will be hosting a day-long retreat with Doreen Schweizer, also on the 12th. Stay tuned to next week’s e-mail for additional details.

    I want to digress briefly to share a link to last month’s NPR Morning Edition story (4 min.) featuring our very own Fred Clay (I actually heard the story on the radio on 12/19 even though the dateline is 11/30): https://www.npr.org/2018/11/30/670180358/fighting-for-compensation-after-a-wrongful-conviction-and-38-years-in-prison

    And in closing out 2018 I will leave you with a pair of short Sylvia Boorstein articles. The first, “Winter Blues,” dates from 2003; the second, “How Endings Make Room for Beginnings,” is from 2004; each is timeless:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/winter-blues/

    https://www.lionsroar.com/how-endings-make-room-for-beginnings/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow evening, and I wish everyone a safe and happy new year.

    Metta,
    Tim


  35. REMINDER — 12/25/18 winter break

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will not meet this week due to the Christmas holiday. We will reconvene at our usual time next Tuesday, January 1, to ring in 2019.

    Neither CIMC nor IMCN have weekend events scheduled until after the new year.

    This week I would like to share two Lion’s Roar pieces:

    The first is a collection of short seasonal reflections from several LR contributors:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/have-a-very-buddhist-christmas/

    The second is a short reflection on generosity by Gina Sharpe:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/the-heart-of-generosity-gina-sharpe-on-joyful-giving/

    That is all for now; I hope everyone enjoys a safe and peaceful conclusion to 2018.

    Metta,
    Tim


  36. REMINDER — 12/18/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation will hold it’s final meeting of 2018 tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will reprise my role as facilitator this week.

    I received only a few responses to last week’s query, but it seems like the general consensus is NOT to meet next Tuesday, December 25, but instead to reconvene at our usual time on New Year’s Day evening. At the moment there looks to be about 4 or 5 of us who would be interested in ringing in 2019 in such a fashion.

    CIMC and IMCN are both closed for weekend events until January 11. Stay tuned, however; both centers have good things planned for right after the holiday hiatus, and Souhegan Insight will also be offering a day-long retreat with Doreen Schweizer.

    Coming up this Saturday, December 22, Ron Levine will hold another meditation MeetUp at the Watertown Public Library from 2:15pm to 3:45pm. There is still space available at the moment, so if you’re are interested in attending, RSVP at https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/events/257142620/

    For your reading pleasure this week, I offer you a smorgasbord of tangentially-related articles.

    First up is the latest in Tricycle contributor Peter Doobinin’s “Sutta Study” series, in which he explores the factors of concentration presented in the Samadhanga Sutta:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/sutta-study-concentration/

    Next is “The Buddha Was Here,” Lion’s Roar’s Andrea Miller’s account of her pilgrimage to the principal Buddhist holy sites of India:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/the-buddha-was-here/

    Finally, Karen Kissel Wegela offers the Empty Mirror as a short contemplation for practising “How To Walk In Someone Else’s Shoes”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/look-in-the-empty-mirror/

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  37. REMINDER — 12/11/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    Looking ahead to the next couple of weeks, since Christmas Day and New Year’s Day both fall on Tuesdays this year, I would like to know who would still be interested in keeping our regular meeting time on 12/25 and 1/1. If there is enough interest, we can keep to our schedule; if not, we’ll just take a brief hiatus. Either way, please e-mail me to let me know what you prefer.

    More immediately, this Saturday, December 15, the Boston Meditation Center will host “Love In The Midst of Dominance,” a half-day (9:00am to 12:30pm) workshop with Leslie Booker at the Boston Center for Contemplative Practice in Newton:

    “The poet and author audre lorde beautifully said, ‘The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.’

    “And yet here we are forty years later, still using the master’s tools of greed, hatred, and delusion as the dominating force in power and privilege structures. What would it be like to lay these down and pick up the tool of love . . . not the sentimental and anemic kind, but the kind of fierce love that calls you up, and allows us to have more intimacy with our discomfort, so that we can also move away from our pain?

    “This half-day workshop will include small-group discussions, heart work, and embodied practice to allow us to tap into our full experience.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/. Also, stay tuned for more half-day and weekend retreat offerings from BMC early in the new year.

    Meanwhile, Chas DiCapua will be at IMCN for the day-long (9:00am to 5:00pm) retreat “Cultivating Calm and Loving Kindness In A Chaotic And Angry World”:

    “We live in challenging times. Humanitarian and ecological crisis continue to grow and deepen. Extreme and radical forms of religious beliefs and nationalistic views seem to increase every day. It can be very easy for our reactions to such conditions to be one of anger. We have a sense of what is wrong and can make whoever holds different views from ourselves responsible for what is wrong. We can end up seeing “them” as bad or evil, slipping into a self and other mentality, and contributing to the divisiveness and hostility that is taking hold of our societies.

    “These are the times where we most need to bring our practice to bear on our lives and our world. Cultivating Calm in the body and mind is essential for creating the space from which we can respond, rather than react, to the conditions we are faced with. Developing Loving Kindness for all beings, especially those with views that are contrary to ours, is essential if we are to avoid fostering a us and them mentality. 

    “During this retreat we will practice developing Calm using the body and then engage in the Loving Kindness practice that will be supported by that calm.”

    There is also a morning-only option for this retreat. To learn more, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    CIMC will be closed for their winter holiday from December 15 through January 2.

    I would like to take a quick moment to report back on my visit to the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp in Watertown this past Saturday. I’d like to thank Ron Levine for putting the event together and offering a warm welcome to all of us who attended (nearly 20). There is another event tentatively in the works for Saturday, December 22, for anyone who might desire a bit of a break from the holiday bustle: https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/

    For anyone who may be contemplating a longer period of practice, IMS has just opened registration for its Fall 2019 3-month retreat beginning in September:

    https://www.dharma.org/retreats/529

    More immediately, the Sangha at the Temple Forest Monastery is still seeking volunteer support for their upcoming Winter Retreat:

    “During January, February, and March, it would be helpful to have several laypeople stay at the monastery in order to support the monastic community’s retreat. We currently have a crew of volunteers who have committed to helping out in this way, but it would be useful to have one or two more.

    “It’s important that these people are already known to the community and that they are familiar with the monastery from at least one previous, overnight visit of several days. Ideally they will be able to stay for the full three months (or at minimum for one of the months). They would join in most of the group practice periods and there will likely be much unstructured solitary time to use to further one’s practice. Therefore they should be experienced in staying in a silent retreat atmosphere, and comfortable with solitude. 

    “If you are interested in supporting the Sangha in this way, by helping with meal preparation, shoveling, cleaning, etc. from January 1–April 1, do send us an email at contact@jetagrove.us”

    In other news, it recently came to my attention that UMass Lowell has released a digital archive celebrating Lowell’s Southeast Asian communities:

    “Lowell is home to the second-largest population of Cambodian-Americans in the country; the city also has large Vietnamese, Laotian and Thai communities. More than 1 million Southeast Asian refugees have migrated to the United States since 1975.

    “The archive is designed to be used by the public, students, teachers, researchers and scholars. In it, users will find documents and oral histories from the Indochinese Refugee Foundation (IRF), a Lowell-based organization active from 1977 through 1985 that helped Southeast Asian immigrants settle in the region in the wake of the Vietnam War and to escape Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime…. The archive also includes works by photographer James Higgins, who documented the Southeast Asian-American experience and life in Lowell in a series of photo books from 1983 to 1997…. Other items in the archive include materials from Lowell’s Angkor Dance Troupe and Burmese community.”

    To learn more, please visit https://www.uml.edu/News/press-releases/2018/SEADArelease113018.aspx

    And, finally, Tricycle’s Matthew Abrahams offers a few “ideas for compassionate presents that spread joy and reduce harm” this holiday season and beyond:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/buddhist-gift-guide-2018/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  38. REMINDER — 12/4/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday from 9:30am to 12:30pm, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for the morning workshop “Loving Kindness for the Holidays”:

    “The Dalai Lama said that “love is a not a luxury, but a necessity,” yet in our hearts, we often do not feel love for ourselves or others and we bear the painful consequences.  In this 1/2 day retreat, we will explore time tested Buddhist practices which tap the power of intention through offering phrases of loving kindness (Metta) to ourselves and others. When cultivated, loving kindness practice helps us to heal our own hearts by loving ourselves more deeply.  It can also help us touch those in our lives and the world with a deeper sense of love and connection.  Touching love for ourselves and others can be especially helpful during the holiday season with all of its inherent stresses. All are welcome.”

    Workshop participants are invited to hang around afterwards for IMCN’s annual holiday potluck lunch:

    “Please don’t worry, if you don’t like to cook you can bring something from the store!  Around 2:00pm we will move into the Meditation Hall for a reflections on compassion from Matthew Daniell, and community sharing of this past year.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    For those who are interested in venturing further afield, Valley Insight will be hosting old friend Doreen Schweizer for “’Tis The Season: Joy… Its Place In The Ethical and Mediation Practices of the Early Buddhist Insight Tradition” a day-long retreat (9:00am to 4:00pm) at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover, NH:

    “The mental training of mindfulness meditation is firmly rooted in an ethical training, which is based on cultivating four positive qualities found in every human being. Practiced over time, loving kindness can release us from habits and tendencies towards ill will and hatred; compassion frees us from the desire to strike back and cause harm; intentionally cultivating a joyful, positive approach to our lives releases the grip of discontent; and a balanced, caring ability to accept things as they are, frees us from reactivity and allows the freedom to act in wise and strong ways. These four qualities are called the Brahma Viharas, a term that translates as “ the best home” for our minds and hearts to dwell.

    “In the morning of this full day of practice, we will focus on developing these beautiful qualities — with a special emphasis on cultivating a joyful heart. In the afternoon, we will engage in mindfulness meditation practice. An emphasis on joy and its role as an energizing Awakening Factor will enhance our ability to stabilize the attention in the present moment.

    “Please join us for an uplifting day of practice in this midst of this darkening and challenging season.”

    To register, please visit https://valleyinsight.org/retreats/

    (Doreen will be offering another day-long retreat with our friends at Souhegan Insight Meditation in mid-January. Stay tuned for details.)

    Meanwhile, I will be joining the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation MeetUp group for its first gathering at the Watertown Public Library this Saturday afternoon. It seems as though this MeetUp has already reached capacity, but definitely keep them on your radar for upcoming events:

    Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation

    Waltham, MA
    157 Members

    Meditation is beautiful, but it isn’t always pretty. It’s not about glowing sunsets and bowls of kale. Mindfulness is a living, breathing practice that can change anyone’s lif…

    Next Meetup

    Our first event: “Am I Doing This Right?”

    Saturday, Dec 8, 2018, 2:15 PM
    20 Attending

    Check out this Meetup Group →

    This week I want to share two longer pieces.

    The first is this past week’s rebroadcast of a 2015 conversation between OnBeing host Krista Tippett and her guest, journalist and author Pico Iyer, on “The Urgency of Slowing Down” (50 min.):

    https://onbeing.org/programs/pico-iyer-the-urgency-of-slowing-down-nov2018/

    In somewhat the same vein, the good folks at Lion’s Roar recently republished Ajahn Amaro’s 2012 article “The Sound of Silence” on the practice of nada yoga:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/the-sound-of-silence/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  39. REMINDER — 11/27/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both back in full swing following the Thanksgiving holiday.

    In Newburyport this Saturday, December 1, Ted Jones will offer a “Mindful Presence” morning (10:00am to 12:30pm) retreat “for beginning and newer students”:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile in Cambridge, Chris Germer’s CIMC benefit workshop on “The Power of Self-Compassion” is already at capacity.

    Looking ahead to the following weekend, on Saturday, December 8, old friend Doreen Schweizer will be at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover, NH, for “’Tis The Season: Joy… Its Place in the Ethical and Medication Practices of the Early Buddhist Insight Tradition.” This day-long (9:00am to 4:00pm) event is hosted by the Valley Insight Meditation Society:

    “The mental training of mindfulness meditation is firmly rooted in an ethical training, which is based on cultivating four positive qualities found in every human being. Practiced over time, loving kindness can release us from habits and tendencies towards ill will and hatred; compassion frees us from the desire to strike back and cause harm; intentionally cultivating a joyful, positive approach to our lives releases the grip of discontent; and a balanced, caring ability to accept things as they are, frees us from reactivity and allows the freedom to act in wise and strong ways. These four qualities are called the Brahma Viharas, a term that translates as “ the best home” for our minds and hearts to dwell.

    “In the morning of this full day of practice, we will focus on developing these beautiful qualities — with a special emphasis on cultivating a joyful heart. In the afternoon, we will engage in mindfulness meditation practice. An emphasis on joy and its role as an energizing Awakening Factor will enhance our ability to stabilize the attention in the present moment.”

    For more information, please visit https://valleyinsight.org/retreats/

    I also wanted to put in a plug for a new Boston-area Insight Meditation MeetUp group that is in the process of forming. Logistics are still being worked out, but it seems like events are likely to take place in the Waltham/Watertown area. For anyone interested, check out https://www.meetup.com/Boston-Mindfulness-and-Insight-Meditation/

    Earlier today I was delighted to come across a brief Trike Daily interview with Rupert Gethin, professor of Buddhist studies at the University of Bristol (UK), author of The Foundations of Buddhism, and president of the Pali Text Society. In the interview Professor Gethin discusses his latest project, Paliaudio.com, which has “produced dozens of professional recordings of the ancient teachings and put them online [in English] for free.” I had a chance to dip a toe into the waters this evening and listen to a bit of the Agganna-Sutta and can attest to the difference in hearing versus reading. (Narrator Roland Kitchen deserves full credit for his work in this effort.)

    You can read the interview with Rupert Gettin at https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/pali-canon-audio/ and check out the new website at https://www.paliaudio.com. This looks to be a fantastic new resource.

    In other news, the Sangha at the Temple Forest Monastery has announced that Ajahn Jayasaro’s new biography of Ajahn Chah — “Stillness Flowing” — is available as a free PDF download from their website (e-pub and Kindle versions are also available): https://static1.squarespace.com/static/50b7fcb4e4b012760ad90349/t/5a9ef5f241920292adca11cd/1520367352643/stillness-flowing+-+2018-02-22.pdf

    This is also a good opportunity to remind folks of the wealth of writing by Thanissaro Bhikkhu made freely available at https://www.dhammatalks.org/ebook_index.html. (For those who are interested following last week’s meditation, a PDF version of his study guide on the Ten Perfections is available here: https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/TenPerfections_131122.pdf)

    And last but not least, the voice of our very own Fred Clay was among those featured in this morning’s WBUR story “In New England, These Exonerated Prisoners Take A Leap Of Faith” (8 min.). Definitely give it a listen:

    http://www.wbur.org/news/2018/11/26/darrell-jones-sky-diving-exonerees

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  40. REMINDER — 11/20/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both closed for the Thanksgiving weekend, but will be back in action on Saturday, December 1st:

    In Newburyport, Ted Jones will offer a “Mindful Presence” morning (10:00am to 12:30pm) retreat “for beginning and newer students.”

    In Cambridge, Chris Germer will offer a special day-long (10:00am to 5:00pm) “Power of Self-Compassion” workshop as a fundraising benefit for CIMC. (Please note that this event will take place at the Lesley University campus in Porter Square, Cambridge.)

    I’ll post details on each event next week, but for those who are interested in learning more now, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org or http://www.cambridgeinsight.org respectively.

    Looking a bit further ahead, on Saturday, December 8, old friend Doreen Schweizer will be at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover, NH, for “’Tis The Season: Joy… Its Place in the Ethical and Medication Practices of the Early Buddhist Insight Tradition.” This day-long (9:00am to 4:00pm) event is hosted by the Valley Insight Meditation Society. I will post details in the coming weeks, or you can visit https://valleyinsight.org/retreats/ in the meantime.

    I happened across the TED Radio Hour last Wednesday. The week’s topic was “Quiet.” It was a good listen all the way around, however there were a couple of talks that particularly caught my attention and that I thought were worth sharing.

    The first two of these segments from the broadcast feature environmental activist and educator John Francis, who undertook a 17-year vow of silence.

    In part one (~3 min.) Francis talks about how he was changed by his years of silence; in part two (~10 min.) he address the question of why someone would choose silence for as long as he did:

    https://www.npr.org/2014/11/21/364150411/how-do-years-of-silence-change-someone

    https://www.npr.org/2014/11/21/364688000/why-would-someone-choose-silence-for-17-years

    The last segment features author and journalist Pico Iyer discussing his quest to find “more time to be still” (~11 min.): https://www.npr.org/2014/11/21/364690746/how-can-we-find-more-time-to-be-still

    And in closing, I leave you with two Lion’s Roar articles on the Brahmaviharas:

    First are the late Ayya Khema’s reflections on the “four highest emotions”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/the-four-highest-emotions/

    Next are Ajahn Brahm’s instructions on metta practice — “Start With What’s Easy to Love”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/start-with-whats-easy-to-love/

    That is all for this week. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening and wish you all a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.

    Metta,
    Tim


  41. REMINDER — 11/13/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a handful of events coming up this weekend:

    On Saturday morning, November 17, the Boston Meditation Center will host “Overcoming the Failings of the World,” a morning (9:00am to 1:00pm) retreat with Ven. Pannavati Bhikkhuni:

    “We are all subject to eight worldly conditions: praise and blame, loss and gain, pleasure and pain, fame and shame. The question is, what is the distinction between the “uninstructed run-of-the-mill person” caught in their web and the “well-taught disciple” who is without sorrow? During this half-day retreat, we will reflect on the life-changing insight offered by the Buddha on how to overcome the vicissitudes of life. This retreat is suitable for all levels and will include a short sutta reading and discussion followed by four Dharma contemplations interspersed with sitting meditation periods.”

    This event will take place at the Boston Center for Contemplative Practice in Newton Centre. For more information, please visit http://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/#retreat1

    Also taking place on Saturday, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for Part Two of his “Relaxed Mind” retreat exploring Kilung Rinpoche’s book “The Relaxed Mind”:

    “Could you use a little more relaxation in your meditation practice? In your life? Kilung Rinpoche in his book, ‘The Relaxed Mind,’ leads us through meditations that may have a unique contribution to what it means to be ‘relaxed.’ The approach is based in mindfulness, but also draws deep inspiration from Tibetan Buddhist wisdom, and is secular in its instructions. It emphasizes both ease, and relaxation, but also clarity. It is designed to help us to undercut habits of making ourselves and others ‘right and wrong,’ and unlock a deep abiding capacity in ourselves for compassionate presence and relaxed wakeful ease. In this retreat we will be guided through exploring for ourselves the fifth through seventh meditations, along with time for discussion. We will begin with a foundation of connected ease found in the first four meditations and then expand to emphasize deeper levels of relaxation, connectedness, compassion and effortless wisdom. This offering will complement the earlier retreat, emphasizing meditations one through four, but is an independent offering and has integrity based on the way it will be presented here all on its own. Our guiding teacher, Matthew, has been authorized to teach this approach. No previous experience with these meditations is necessary. If interested, the reading Kilung Rinpoche’s book would be a wonderful complement to the retreat, but is in no way required.”

    This is a day-long event (9:00am to 5:00pm) with a morning-only option (9:00am to 12:30pm). To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, CIMC will host its Experienced Practitioner’s Weekend Retreat. This non-residential retreat will run from 9:00am to 8:00pm on Saturday, and resume on Sunday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. There is also a single-day option for either Saturday or Sunday.

    “The Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat offers an intensive opportunity to practice in the company of other dedicated practitioners.

    “In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat will include open periods of individual practice in sitting, walking, standing and lying down. This format is intended to foster self-reliance, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. On Saturday evening, there will be a sharing circle; a meditative question will be asked and investigated.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I also want to pass along the following invitation from sangha member Sandra Fava:

    “I recently started a Buddhist Book Club that meets every other Wednesday from 2:00 to 4:00. We currently have four members in our group and would love to bring in more members. We are just finishing Sylvia Boorstein’s book ‘It’s Easier Than You Think’ and on Nov. 28, we will begin reading ‘The Dalai Lama’s Cat’. We’re attempting to keep the reading light yet, meaningful.

    “Our meetings include meditation, deep listening and discussion. If anyone would like to inquire about the club, feel free to give them my phone number: 978.399.8681. We generally meet in Westford at my home but have also met in Dracut at another member’s home. We even welcome members who want to participate via FaceTime or Skype!”

    If you are interested in joining Sandra and friends, please give her a call.

    In closing I want to share two recent shorter-format pieces from Lion’s Roar.

    The first article is a quick recap of the current state-of-the-science regarding meditation — “What We Know And What We Don’t” — compiled by Lion’s Roar staff:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/the-science-of-meditation-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont/

    The second article is Zen teacher Susan Moon’s brief response to a a student’s query on how to practice with “overwhelming emotions”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/how-can-i-work-with-strong-emotions-in-meditation/

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  42. REMINDER — 11/6/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator. Go vote, then come sit!

    Coming up this Saturday morning, November 10, from 9:30am to 1:00pm Jim Austin will be at IMCN for a “Mindfulness Yoga and Insight Meditation” workshop:

    “How can a yoga asana practice be used to support our mindfulness meditation practice? Can we bring the qualities of mindfulness and openness developed in sitting meditation practice onto the yoga mat thereby creating continuity between our practice on the mat and our practice on the cushion? We’ll explore these questions and others during this half-day workshop. The workshop will include short periods of sitting meditation, yoga, and discussion. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and beginners are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, DaRa Williams will be at CIMC for the day-long (9:30am to 4:00pm) workshop “10,000 Joys and 10,000 Sorrows: Compassion and Forgiveness in Challenging Times”:

    “In ‘challenging times’ has become an all-too-often-repeated reminder of the truth and clarity of the Four Noble Truths. The reality is, however, there have been challenging times since the beginning of time; we’re just here for these particular ones.
    “Come spend a day in community where we will deepen our personal understanding and relationship with the brahmaviharas, specifically compassion. Through inquiry into forgiveness – a main ingredient for the opening of the heart – we will cultivate the conditions for a depth of compassion to manifest.

    “Together we’ll create spaciousness and a felt sense of groundedness in the realization that the joys and difficulties, the blessings and challenges of this life exist together in each moment. Balance comes from seeing things as they are and cultivating an open heart, and it acts as a rudder as we move through this life and these times. The remembrance and establishment of joy in the midst of sorrow can serve as a buoy as we navigate the ever-changing conditions and circumstances of life.

    “This workshop is appropriate for beginners as well as experienced meditators. Through sitting, walking and guided meditations, talks and discussion, we will explore the possibility of living a more awakened life. This is an opportunity to cultivate the intention of bringing our practice into the day-to-day, moment-to-moment activity of living. Everyone is welcome!”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, Kristin Neff and Chris Germer are offering an 8-week online course on the “Power of Self-Compassion”. To learn more, please visit https://www.soundstrue.com/store/power-of-self-compassion

    As some of you may have heard already, influential Zen teacher Roshi Bernie Glassman died yesterday morning at age 79. Glassman has been called a “pioneer of American Zen” who was known for blending spiritual practice with social activism.

    Tricycle and Lion’s Roar each offered brief remembrances of Glassman, and a number of his colleagues have offered their own reflections online:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/bernie-glassman-dies/

    https://www.lionsroar.com/bernie-glassman-pioneer-of-american-zen-dies-at-79/

    https://www.lionsroar.com/buddhist-teachers-respond-to-american-zen-pioneer-bernie-glassmans-death/

    And in closing this week I would like to leave you with some reflections from Gil Fronsdal on the practice of dana, or generous giving, from his book “The Issue At Hand”:

    http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/the-issue-at-hand/en/9/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  43. REMINDER — 10/30/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this weekend:

    On Saturday, November 3, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN for “Waking Up To Your Life,” a morning (10:00am to 12:30pm) retreat for “beginning and newer students”:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register for this retreat, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile in Cambridge, Oren Jay Sofer will be at CIMC for a 2-day “Wise Speech” workshop, running from 10:00am to 5:00pm both Saturday and Sunday:

    “Training ourselves to speak in a wise and non-harmful way is one of the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path. In this workshop, we will explore how to bring more mindfulness and care to our communication: our listening, our speaking, and even our thinking. The tools shared will be a combination of the core guidelines for Wise Speech offered by the Buddhist tradition, as well as the contemporary discipline of Nonviolent Communication. These practices form a powerful foundation for cultivating insight, awareness, self-understanding, and empathy. Through strengthening our capacity to stay present and to be more skillful in difficult situations, the pain and misunderstandings that come out of unwise and habitual speech can begin to ease.

    “This weekend workshop is appropriate for beginners as well as experienced meditators, and is an extended opportunity to engage in this essential teaching and practice. Our days together will include talks, sitting, movement and interactive speech practices as well as time for discussion and questions.

    “Participants are strongly encouraged to attend both days, however, Saturday-only registration is also available. There is no Sunday-only registration option.”

    To register for the Wise Speech workshop, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org.

    You can also read a short Q&A with Oren on “Right Speech in a Post-Truth World” at the IMS website: https://www.dharma.org/right-speech-in-a-post-truth-world/

    Also on Sunday, November 4, from 10:00am to 3:00pm the sangha at the Temple Forest Monastery will conduct its first Kathina offering ceremony:

    “Organized by members of the lay community who wish to offer requisites and support to the monastery, this traditional ceremony serves also as an annual gathering for the lay and monastic communities and anyone who wishes to attend.

    “Everyone is welcome to join us for any part of the day: an alms-round and shared meal, the Kathina Offering, a Dhamma Talk offered by Luang Por Sucitto (it will also be his birthday), and a chance to meet the sangha.”

    For more information, please visit https://forestmonastery.org/news/2018/6/30/kathina-ceremony-sunday-november-4-2018

    I also want to recommend a link to Sounds True’s 3-video series on self-compassion, featuring Kristin Neff and Christoper Germer. The videos (17 min./17 min./50 min.) are available for free on the Sounds True website, although you have to provide your e-mail address for full access: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/power-of-self-compassion/why-self-compassion-is-important

    Finally, ahead of Election Day next Tuesday, I want to share an open letter from nearly 130 Buddhist teachers and leaders encouraging voter turnout on November 6:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/buddhist-leaders-help-get-out-the-vote-with-open-letter/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  44. REMINDER — 10/23/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm at First Parish. I am very pleased to announce that as of this week we will return to our regular space in the McFarlin Chapel. Please continue to use the office entrance at 2 Westford Street and follow the main corridor to the right; the Chapel is located at the end of the corridor through the set of double doors. In the past, the temperature in the Chapel has been quite variable — especially at this time of year — so please dress in layers for optimal comfort. I will facilitate the practice once again this week.

    There are a couple of multi-day retreats taking place later this week:

    Starting Thursday, October 25, and continuing through Sunday, October 28, Chris Crotty will be at the Angles’ Rest Retreat Center in Leyden, MA, for “Calm, Clarity & Wisdom: A Meditation and Study Retreat”:

    “Open to both new and experienced meditators, this residential retreat will consist of alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, daily instructional talks (Dharma talks), and teacher-guided periods of study and reflection. An excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to include or further integrate Buddhist suttas into their Dharma path.”

    To register, please visit http://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/residential-retreats/

    Then, at 9:00am on Saturday, October 27, Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC to offer the multi-day non-residential retreat “Your Life Is Your Practice”:

    “The path of insight meditation is one in which all experiences are included in the field of awareness. It is possible to practice and realize the dharma under all conditions and in all situations. What is necessary is to understand and cultivate wise view and wise intention in one’s meditation practice. With wise view and wise intention, it becomes possible to find a way to relate to all situations as material for liberation. Over the course of this retreat we will examine ways to apply the dharma to the actual experiences that we encounter in our lives.

    “The format of this five-day retreat invites each of us to intentionally combine formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend, emphasizing the familiar formal practices of sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three days, we will meet in the evenings only. Participants will be given a meditation exercise to practice with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life. Coming together again at the end of the day we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises.

    “Individual interviews may be offered.

    “This retreat is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include talks, discussion, sitting meditation as well as time for questions. Participants must attend both Saturday and Sunday, and are strongly encouraged to attend all five days. For those unable to attend any of the weekdays, we offer weekend-only registration.”

    For more information, including schedule details, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    In other exciting new, Bhikkhu Analayo’s latest book “Sattipathana Meditation: A Practice Guide” (Windhorse Publications) just hit bookshelves both real and virtual this past weekend:

    “Buddhist meditator and scholar Bhikkhu Anālayo presents this thorough-going guide to the early Buddhist teachings on Satipatthana, the foundations of mindfulness, following on from his two best-selling books, Satipatthana and Perspectives on Satipatthana. With mindfulness being so widely taught, there is a need for a clear-sighted and experience-based guide. Anālayo provides inspiration and guidance to all meditators, of any tradition and any level of experience. Each of the twenty-four chapters concludes with suggestions to support meditative practice.”

    More on the new book — including links to guided meditations — are available at https://www.windhorsepublications.com/satipatthana-meditation-audio/https://www.windhorsepublications.com/product/satipatthana-meditation-practice-guide-paperback/

    In closing this week I’ll leave you with “What Is Satipatthana?” a pithy 2002 Buddhadharma article by noted Thai Forest monk-scholar-author Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/dharma-dictionary-satipatthana/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  45. REMINDER — 10/16/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the 2nd floor parlor at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of day-long retreats coming up this Saturday, October 20:

    From 9:00am to 5:00pm, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for part one of “The Relaxed Mind Retreat”:

    “Could you use a little more relaxation in your meditation practice? In your life? Kilung Rinpoche in his book, ‘The Relaxed Mind,’ leads us through meditations that may have a unique contribution to what it means to be ‘relaxed.’ The approach is based in mindfulness, but also draws deep inspiration from Tibetan Buddhist wisdom, and is secular in its instructions. It emphasizes both ease, and relaxation, but also clarity. It is designed to help us to undercut habits of making ourselves and others ‘right and wrong,’ and unlock a deep abiding capacity in ourselves for compassionate presence and relaxed wakeful ease. In this retreat we will be guided through exploring for ourselves the first four of seven meditations, along with time for discussion. These first four meditations emphasize working qualities of grounded calm, and connected ease. This offering will complement a later retreat, emphasizing meditations four through seven (held on 11/17), but is an independent offering and has integrity practiced on its own. Our guiding teacher, Matthew, has been authorized to teach this approach. No previous experience with these meditations is necessary. If interested, the reading Kilung Rinpoche’s book would be a wonderful complement to the retreat, but is in no way required.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Doug Phillips will be at CIMC for the “Clearly Knowing” retreat, also 9:00am to 5:00pm:

    “We will spend our day together sitting and walking, experiencing the profound value of utter silence and simplicity in the company of other practitioners. There will be few interruptions to pull us away from the opportunity to settle into and deepen our practice. The retreat will conclude with the opportunity for questions and discussion of our experience.

    “This program is open to all, however, a minimum of one year of meditation practice is recommended.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    This week I want to share to shorter articles. The first is former monk Matthew Gindin’s exploration of the limits of the Third Precept and Right Speech in “What Did The Buddha Say About Lying?”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/buddhist-precept-lying/

    The second article — on transforming habits — is an excerpt from Oren Jay Sofer’s upcoming book “Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/better-habits/

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  46. REMINDER — 10/9/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the 2nd floor parlor at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    In some exciting news, we should be in our temporary quarters for only another couple of weeks. We are tentatively scheduled to return to the McFarlin Chapel on Tuesday, October 23.

    There are handful of events coming up this weekend:

    On Saturday, October 13, Rev. Steven Notis will join Ted Jones at IMCN for a day-long (9:30am to 4:30pm) workshop on “Insight Meditation and Christian Spiritual Practice”:

    “This workshop will explore some of the similarities and differences of the Buddhist practice of Insight Meditation and a variety of Christian practices of prayer and contemplation. The unifying theme will be the emphasis in both traditions on receptivity and interior silence, along with love and kindness. The goal will be to demonstrate how these two traditions can be approached as complementary, affording a deepening spiritual journey when practiced together. The workshop will include instruction and periods of silent meditation and contemplation in each tradition. There will be ample time reserved for questions and discussion.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, the Boston Meditation Center will host “Awakening Together: The Power of Spiritual Friendship” a half-day (1:00pm to 4:30pm) retreat with Janet Surrey:

    “This retreat will be an introduction to Insight Dialogue, a fully engaged relational meditation practice in the Theravadan tradition. Insight Dialogue brings together meditative awareness, the wisdom teachings of the Buddha, and the power of relationship to support insight into the nature, source, and release of human suffering.

    “In this retreat we will introduce the six meditative guidelines of Insight Dialogue: Pause, Relax, Open, Attune to Emergence, Listen Deeply, and Speak the Truth. We will explore the importance of spiritual friendship on the Path, and how Insight Dialogue practice supports our capacity for nourishing spiritual friendship in our lives.”

    This event will take place at the Arlington Center. For additional details please visit http://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/#retreat0

    Meanwhile at CIMC, on Saturday Narayan Liebenson will offer a day-long 10:00am to 4:00pm “Metta Workshop” followed by a day-long (9:00am to 5:00pm) “Metta Retreat” on Sunday, October 14. Each event requires separate registration, although participants are encourage to attend both days:

    “The word ‘metta’ is translated as lovingkindness or boundless friendliness. It is a sincere and heartfelt wish for the peace and happiness of ourselves and others. Metta is not a feeling; rather it is an intention that can be practiced and sustained. It is cultivated through a process of inclusivity, gradually expanding to include all sentient beings. Especially in times of uncertainty and pain, metta practice helps us to work with habitual patterns such as anxiety and doubt.

    “The Buddha taught metta as a specific antidote to fear and anger. The fruit of the systematic practice of metta is twofold: steadiness and tranquility which strengthen the mind, and sensitivity and openness which soften the heart. In cultivating metta, we directly experience a fundamental kindness as the very ground of our being. It is an invaluable practice in the midst of the unexpected changes in life.

    “This [workshop] is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include specific instructions, guided practice and time for questions and discussion.

    “[The] retreat offers a full day of metta practice and will include guided sittings. It is an opportunity for those who are already familiar with the theory and definition of metta to immerse themselves in a day of extended engagement with the practice itself.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    In closing this week I will leave you with “You Are A Control Freak” — a short excerpt from Ajahn Brahm’s 2016 book Kindfulness:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/ajahn-brahm-control-freak/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  47. REMINDER — 10/2/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm at First Parish; Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator. We are still a bit unclear as to the location of our sangha’s ultimate landing spot, but for this week plan on reconvening in the upstairs parlor where we met last week. For anyone who did not attend last week’s meditation, please e-mail me and I can send directions on how to find us.

    Coming up later this week, from October 4-7 Janice Marturano will join Sharon Salzberg for “Deepening the Journey,” a weekend mindfulness retreat at the Eastover Estate & Eco-Village in Lenox, MA:

    “The Institute for Mindful Leadership is pleased to invite you to join Sharon Salzberg and Janice Marturano for this 4 day retreat which will go beyond the introductory basics of meditation and mindful leadership training. Together we will look at leading with excellence, working with challenges such as burnout and moral uncertainty, and living and leading in the midst of an increasingly divided society. We will also look at ways to connect to a bigger picture, allow for joy, and more skillfully meet the isolation of leadership. In this intimate gathering we will engage in direct practices, and have periods of dialog as well as stretches of silence. This curriculum has been created for experienced mindfulness practitioners with documented training in meditation; participants will be requested to provide background on their personal practice and training.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://www.eastover.com/workshop/sharon-salzberg-janice-marturano.html

    On Saturday, October 6, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN for a morning (10:00am to 12:30pm) “beginning and newer students’” retreat:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    And looking ahead a bit further into the month, from October 25-28 Chris Crotty will be at the Angels’ Rest Retreat Center in Leyden, MA, for “Calm, Clarity, and Wisdom,” the Boston Meditation Center’s autumn residential meditation and study retreat:

    “Open to both new and experienced meditators, this residential retreat will consist of alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, daily instructional talks (Dharma talks), and teacher-guided periods of study and reflection. An excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to include or further integrate Buddhist suttas into their Dharma path.”

    To register, please visit http://bostonmeditationcenter.org/day-programs/residential-retreats/

    As for this week’s feature article, I would like to highlight “Less Is More” a 2014 piece from Thanissaro Bhikkhu that was republished on Tricycle.com last month: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/less-more/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  48. REMINDER — 9/25/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Sanctuary at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a number of events taking place this coming weekend.

    Starting at 6:00pm this Friday evening, September 28, through noon on Sunday, September 30, Chas DiCapua will be at IMCN to offer “Mindfulness of Body As A Support for Concentration and Wisdom,” a weekend residential retreat with commuter and Saturday-only options:

    “Learning to inhabit our bodies is something we all need to do as we walk the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. As we train our attention to be embodied, a whole world of bodily aliveness opens up to us. Connecting with this aliveness in a direct, somatic way helps the mind to relax and calm, as well as understand the truth of the way things are. We see what the Buddha meant when he said, “The entire universe can be known in this fathom long body.”

    “We’ll begin the retreat by establishing mindfulness on the body, establishing calm and concentration. We’ll then look more closely at those same bodily experiences to better understand the lawful nature in which they arise and pass away. Finally, we’ll notice our relationship to those bodily experiences and whether those relationships are leading to happiness or suffering.”

    For those who may plan to attend for just the day on Saturday, the retreat will run from 9:00am to 9:00pm. For additional details, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile at CIMC, Narayan Liebenson will offer “Calm and Insight” a 2-day non-residential retreat starting at 9:00am on Saturday, September 29, and ending at 5:00pm on Sunday, September 30. (Saturday-only and Sunday-only options are both available.):

    “The theme for this weekend retreat is samatha-vipassana, Pali words that translate as ‘calm and insight’. Samatha also translates as tranquility, inner balance, silence and an initial level of inner peacefulness. Vipassana also translates as insight, wisdom, inquiry, and illumination penetrating to the deepest level of peace possible. The fruit of such a practice is liberation here and now, for the benefit of all beings.

    “This weekend retreat is appropriate for beginners as well as experienced meditators, and is an extended opportunity to engage in the formal practices of sitting and walking. Our days together will include instructions, talks, interviews, and time for discussion and questions.”

    Of course at 7:00pm on Saturday evening CIMC will hold its special benefit presentation featuring Dr. Dan Siegel discussing his new book, Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence:

    “Just released, this book provides practical instruction for mastering the Wheel of Awareness, a life-changing tool for cultivating more focus, presence and peace in one’s day-to-day life.

    “An in-depth look at the science that underlies meditation’s effectiveness, Aware will teach viewers how to harness the power of the principle ‘Where attention goes, neural firing flows and neural connection grows.’ Dan Siegel reveals how developing a Wheel of Awareness practice to focus attention, open awareness and cultivate kind intention can literally help you grow a healthier brain and reduce fear, anxiety and stress in your life.

    “Whether you have no experience with a reflective practice, or you are an experienced meditation practitioner, Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence will help you to become more focused and present, as well as more energized and emotionally resilient in the face of stress and the everyday challenges life throws your way.”

    For more information on these and other events at CIMC, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    As it stands now, it looks like Brenda, Rebecca and I will be carpooling in from Chelmsford for the Siegel lecture. If anyone else would like to join us, please let me know as soon as possible. (We’ll also be meeting a couple of my interns at the event.)

    I also want to thank Rebecca for giving me the heads up on a recent podcast featuring a fascinating conversation between Siegel and host Francesca Maximé. It’s a bit long at nearly 54 minutes, but worth a listen at least once through: https://beherenownetwork.com/bhnn-guest-podcast-ep-27-dr-dan-siegel/

    As some of you know, this past weekend I took the time to trek up to West Newbury to sit Chris Crotty’s “Equanimity” half-day retreat at IMCN. It was a very pleasant way to spend the morning and finally get a chance to sit in on one of Chris’s teachings. (Highly recommended; in teaching style he reminds me a bit of Gil Frondsal.) I also found out about a couple of new ventures that Chris is working on in addition to his past work with iBeme and Against the Stream. In the aftermath of Against the Stream’s disbanding, Chris and colleagues have started a new initiative called the Boston Meditation Center. BMC is currently based out of the Karma Yoga Studio in Harvard Square, Cambridge, but hosts events throughout the region. For more information, please visit http://bostonmeditationcenter.org

    And speaking of Gil, now is as good a time as any to share his 2011 Inquiring Mind article “Why I Walk Two Paths” on his experience practicing in both the Theravada and Mahayana traditions: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/theravada-mahayana/

    Finally I want to share another podcast, this time featuring our very own Fred Clay. Fred first came to our meditation group about a year ago, and since then has been actively involved with the New England Innocence Project and other initiatives working to support men and women who have been convicted for crimes they did not commit. In the inaugural episode of the new podcast series Mass Exoneration, Fred shares his own story and has asked me, in turn, to share it with you (56 min.):

    https://www.massexoneration.com/fred.html

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  49. REMINDER — 9/18/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Sanctuary at First Parish. I will once again be this week’s facilitator.

    I just want to provide a quick update on the ongoing construction at First Parish. Hopefully this will be our last week meeting in our temporary digs. Details are still being sorted out as to whether will return to our old meeting spot in the Chapel, or if we will meet at a new space at the church going forward. I will keep everyone posted, of course.

    Coming up this Saturday morning (9am to 1pm), September 22, Chris Crotty will be at IMC Newburyport for “Peace of Mind and Happiness: An Equanimity Retreat”:

    “Buddhist meditation pursues happiness by using knowledge to achieve mental balance. Buddhist teachings describe a boundless well-being attainable by understanding that attachments and repulsions disturb the mind. Equanimity, or peace of mind, is one of twenty-five “beautiful mental factors” (sobhaana) taught by the Buddha and thus represents one of the highest goals of practice and one of the deepest forms of happiness we can experience.

    “In this retreat, silent periods of sitting and walking meditation will combine mindfulness (insight) meditation with instructions in equanimity aimed at developing an attitude of even-mindedness in the face of all experiences, both pleasurable and painful. Retreat will close with a dharma reflection and an opportunity for discussion with the teacher and other students.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    At CIMC, Saturday’s workshop “Lessons from Hospice” is full with a waiting list, and Sunday’s workshop with George Mumford has been cancelled. However, coming up on the evening of September 29, Dan Siegel will be at First Church in Cambridge to give a CIMC benefit presentation on his new book “Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence”:

    “This book provides practical instruction for mastering the Wheel of Awareness, a life-changing tool for cultivating more focus, presence and peace in one’s day-to-day life.

    “An in-depth look at the science that underlies meditation’s effectiveness, Awarewill teach viewers how to harness the power of the principle “Where attention goes, neural firing flows and neural connection grows.” Dan Siegel reveals how developing a Wheel of Awareness practice to focus attention, open awareness and cultivate kind intention can literally help you grow a healthier brain and reduce fear, anxiety and stress in your life.

    “Whether you have no experience with a reflective practice, or you are an experienced meditation practitioner, Aware: The Science and Practice of Presencewill help you to become more focused and present, as well as more energized and emotionally resilient in the face of stress and the everyday challenges life throws your way.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Brenda and I are both planning to attend; if others are also interested in going, please let me know and we can try to arrange a carpool from First Parish since parking in Harvard Square can be quite challenging.

    Also, a reminder that from October 4-7 Sharon Salzberg and Janice Marturano will be offering “Deepening the Journey: A Mindfulness Retreat” at the Insitute for Mindful Leadership:

    https://instituteformindfulleadership.org/deepening-the-journey/

    This week I would like to highlight the Tricycle article “What Mindfulness Is Not” — a conversation with Bodhi College teachers Christina Feldman, Stephen Batchelor, John Peacock, and Akincano Weber in which they discuss “the history and meaning of the term and how it can get distorted in the public imagination”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/mindfulness-buddhism/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  50. REMINDER — 9/11/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Sanctuary at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this weekend, on Saturday morning (9:30am to 12:30pm) September 15, Ted Jones will be at IMC Newburyport for “The Next Step: A Level II Retreat for Advanced Beginners”:

    “Come and experience a morning of guided and silent meditation designed for students who have completed an Introductory Class at IMCN or a similar offering at another center. This retreat will introduce participants to the experience of more extended periods of silent meditation with longer periods than in most beginner retreats but shorter than the usual format for experienced students. There will be three 30 minute periods of sitting meditation, two 20 minute periods of walking meditation, and ample time for questions and discussion.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday (10:00am to 4:30pm), Madeline Klyne will offer a “Beginners’ Insight Meditation Workshop” at CIMC:

    “This Beginners’ Workshop will include formal meditation instruction, guided sitting and walking practice, and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation (Vipassana). During our time together, participants will learn how to meditate along with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions.

    “This day-long program is appropriate for people who have little or no meditation experience, for those who are relatively new to Insight Meditation, and for anyone who would like to revisit the basics of meditation and deepen their practice. All are welcome.”

    Looking a bit further ahead, Dan Siegel will be in Cambridge on the evening of Saturday, September 29, to give a public talk about his new book “Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence”:

    To learn more about these and other upcoming CIMC events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Sharon Salzberg will be offering a short retreat with Janice Marturano early next month (October 4-7) at the Eastover Estate:

    Deepening the Journey “is aimed at those who already have an existing Mindfulness practice– and are looking to dive deeply into the application of mindfulness in the realm of leadership.

    “Together we will look at leading with excellence, working with challenges such as burnout and moral uncertainty, and living and leading in the midst of an increasingly divided society. We will also look at ways to connect to a bigger picture, allow for joy, and more skillfully meet the isolation of leadership. In this intimate gathering we will engage in direct practices, and have periods of dialog as well as stretches of silence.”

    For more information, please visit https://instituteformindfulleadership.org/deepening-the-journey/

    Finally, the monastic community at the Jetavana/Temple Forest Monastery in New Hampshire is looking for volunteers to support the community during its upcoming winter retreat (January 1 – March 31):

    “The [support] crew for the retreat will ideally consist of 6–9 people to run the kitchen, clean, fill the wood stove, shovel the walks, etc. on a shared rotating basis of daily chores interspersed with daily and weekly time off. Support team members should expect to work between 2-5 hours daily, with occasional longer work days as circumstances (snowstorms) require, keep a routine of morning and evening group meditation, and be mature enough in their Dhamma practice to be able to keep Noble Silence during, and use well, long periods of quiet and unstructured time.

    “Preference will be given to those who are able to serve for the entire three months of the retreat. The retreat runs from the beginning of January until the end of March. We are also looking for those already familiar to Temple Forest Monastery. If you’ve never stayed as a guest at Temple, then a stay of at least two weeks prior to the winter retreat would be essential.”

    Those who are interested in this opportunity should contact the Monastery Secretary at contact@jetagrove.us. To learn more about the Temple monastery itself, please visit http://www.forestmonastery.org

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  51. REMINDER — 9/4/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Sanctuary at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator. Please remember to vote in tomorrow’s primary election before coming to meditation!

    CIMC and IMCN are both back in full swing this week following their summer hiatuses.

    Matthew Daniell will be in Newburyport this Saturday morning (10:00am to 12:30pm), September 8, for “Awakening to the Present Moment” a half-day retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly.  As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, also on September 8, in Cambridge Chas DiCapua will offer “Body-Based Samadhi,” a day-long (9:00am to 5:00pm) retreat:

    “Samadhi—a mind that is collected, steady and at ease—arises from calm, and the body is an excellent vehicle for cultivating calm. We will use the breath and other body-based approaches of practice to cultivate and focus on calm, letting Samadhi naturally emerge during this retreat. We will then employ some energizing techniques, using the body, to balance the growing calm so that the energy doesn’t sink too low for mindfulness to be present and Samadhi to deepen.

    “This retreat is suitable for those newer to practice, but can also serve as a helpful refinement for those who have lots of meditation experience. Our day together will include talks, discussion, sitting and walking meditation.”

    Coming up in a couple of weeks — Saturday evening, September 29, to be precise — author Dan Siegel will give public talk at First Church in Cambridge to benefit CIMC:

    “Join Dr. Dan Siegel for his only Boston-area presentation of his latest book: Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence. Just released, this book provides practical instruction for mastering the Wheel of Awareness, a life-changing tool for cultivating more focus, presence and peace in one’s day-to-day life.

    “An in-depth look at the science that underlies meditation’s effectiveness, Awarewill teach viewers how to harness the power of the principle ‘Where attention goes, neural firing flows and neural connection grows.’ Dan Siegel reveals how developing a Wheel of Awareness practice to focus attention, open awareness and cultivate kind intention can literally help you grow a healthier brain and reduce fear, anxiety and stress in your life.

    “Whether you have no experience with a reflective practice, or you are an experienced meditation practitioner, Aware: The Science and Practice of Presencewill help you to become more focused and present, as well as more energized and emotionally resilient in the face of stress and the everyday challenges life throws your way.”

    For more information on these and other upcoming events at CIMC, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    For anyone contemplating more intensive practice, IMS has just announced open registration for its 2019 retreats (although several are already at “wait list” status):

    https://www.dharma.org/retreats/schedules/retreat-center/

    Registration also opens tomorrow, September 4, for 2019 esidential courses next door at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies:

    https://www.buddhistinquiry.org/2019-residential-courses-preview/

    In conclusion this week — and as we proceed headlong into political “crazy season” — I want to pass along Matthew Gindin’s June Trike Daily blog post “Staying Civil for Your Own Sake”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/staying-civil/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  52. REMINDER — 8/28/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Sanctuary at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator, once again.

    CIMC and IMCN remain closed through the Labor Day weekend. However, each has special events to look forward to after the holiday.

    Chas DiCapua will be at IMCN the weekend of September 28-30 for “Mindfulness of Body as a Support for Concentration and Wisdom,” a residential retreat with additional “commuter” and Saturday-only options:

    “Learning to inhabit our bodies is something we all need to do as we walk the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. As we train our attention to be embodied, a whole world of bodily aliveness opens up to us. Connecting with this aliveness in a direct, somatic way helps the mind to relax and calm, as well as understand the truth of the way things are. We see what the Buddha meant when he said, “The entire universe can be known in this fathom long body.”

    “We’ll begin the retreat by establishing mindfulness on the body, establishing calm and concentration. We’ll then look more closely at those same bodily experiences to better understand the lawful nature in which they arise and pass away. Finally, we’ll notice our relationship to those bodily experiences and whether those relationships are leading to happiness or suffering.”

    Please visit the IMC Newburyport website for additional details: http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also taking place on Saturday, September 29, Dr. Dan Siegel will be at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, for a special CIMC benefit presentation based on his new book “Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence”:

    “Join Dr. Dan Siegel for his only Boston-area presentation of his latest book: Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence. Just released, this book provides practical instruction for mastering the Wheel of Awareness, a life-changing tool for cultivating more focus, presence and peace in one’s day-to-day life.

    “An in-depth look at the science that underlies meditation’s effectiveness, Awarewill teach viewers how to harness the power of the principle “Where attention goes, neural firing flows and neural connection grows.” Dan Siegel reveals how developing a Wheel of Awareness practice to focus attention, open awareness and cultivate kind intention can literally help you grow a healthier brain and reduce fear, anxiety and stress in your life.

    “Whether you have no experience with a reflective practice, or you are an experienced meditation practitioner, Aware: The Science and Practice of Presencewill help you to become more focused and present, as well as more energized and emotionally resilient in the face of stress and the everyday challenges life throws your way.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Finally, for those who are interested I want to share the Access to Insight PDF link to “Selves and Not-Self,” the Thanissaro Bhikkhu dharma talk collection from which I read last week: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/selvesnotself.pdf

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  53. REMINDER — 8/21/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Sanctuary at First Parish. (If the room location changes for any reason, I will try to let folks know by e-mail by 6:00pm, and will post a notice at the Vestry entrance.) I will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN both remain closed until September 4.

    This week I’d like to begin by highlighting last Tuesday’s WBUR On Point episode “Meditation In The Mainstream: The Growing Mindfulness Movement,” with Jon Kabat-Zinn (49 min.):

    http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2018/08/14/meditation-mindfulness-jon-kabat-zinn

    I also would like to recommend the Lion’s Roar feature on Lao-American chef Seng Luangrath, who is “on a mission to popularize the cuisine of her native country”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/pioneering-buddhist-chef-seng-luangrath-wants-you-to-know-lao-food-is-good-food/

    Did anyone get to either the Folk Festival or the Water Festival to sample any of the Lao food on offer from the vendors? I know Ajahn David speaks very highly of Lao cuisine….

    And speaking of Ajahn David, I’ll close this week by turning to the Buddhist Channel website and its publication of a short 2001-2002 interview with the late K. Sri Dhammananda, who Ajahn has identified as having been a major role model in his monastic life:

    http://buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=9,13271,0,0,1,0#.W3tRjS2ZNTY

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  54. REMINDER — 8/14/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group is scheduled to meet as usual from 7:30pm to 9:30pm at First Parish. At the moment we expect to meet in the Sanctuary; if our location changes, I will do my best to notify everyone by 6:00pm, and will post a notice at the Vestry entrance. Judi is scheduled to facilitate the practice this week.

    Please also note that the Chelmsford Community Band is scheduled to hold its final performance of the season on the town common at 7:00pm. Due to the likelihood of limited parking at First Parish, please consider using the alternate lot behind 10 North Road.

    Both CIMC and IMCN are closed until September 4. However the 22nd annual Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival will take place from 8:00am to 8:00pm this Saturday, August 18, along Pawtucket Boulevard and the north bank of the Merrimack River. The event is dedicated to the preservation, protection and sharing of cultural heritages of the Southeast Asian Americans in the Greater Lowell (primarily Lao, Thai, and Khmer), and features food, dance, music, lots of great people-watching, and — of course — the famous ‘dragon boat’ races.

    Publicity for the event has become increasingly sparse of the past few years, but for more information, please visit http://www.likelowell.com/calendar/#event|lowell-southeast-asian-water-festival|391868

    I would like to leave you this week with “Are You Listening? Hear What Uninterrupted Silence Sounds Like,” a short (~8 min.) segment from this past Friday’s NPR “All Things Considered”:

    https://www.npr.org/2018/08/10/633201540/are-you-listening-hear-what-uninterrupted-silence-sounds-like

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  55. REMINDER — 8/7/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow form 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Sanctuary at First Parish. (Please note that the location may change from week to week during construction.) Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator. The Chelmsford Community Band has its penultimate summer concert scheduled for 7pm on the town common, so parking at First Parish is likely to be limited. Please use the alternate lot behind 10 North Road, if needed.

    CIMC will be closed from August 9 through September 3, but there are a couple of events coming up this weekend in Temple, NH, and West Newbury.

    On Saturday, August 11, Ted Jones will be at IMCN for “The Mindful Moment” a morning (10:00am to 12:30pm) retreat “for beginning and newer students”:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Then on Sunday, August 12, the sangha at the Jetavana Forest Monastery in Temple, NH, will host an ordination ceremony for two of its members:

    “Please join the community for a special day on August 12, when two men will take further steps in to the training. Samanera Santi will be taking full ordination (upasampada) as a monk (bhikkhu); and Anagarika Jeff will be taking the “Going Forth” (pabbajja) as a novice (samanera).

    “The event will begin at 1pm. Many people may wish to join in the meal offering at 11am and stay through to witness the event, and make offerings afterwards to the newly minted samanas. As always, you are welcome to arrive at any time during the morning or day.

    “Luang Por Viradhammo will be coming down from Tisarana, his monastery in Ontario, for the occassion in order to act as Preceptor (upajaya). He will likely also offer the Dhamma Talk on the preceding Saturday evening at 7pm.

    “All are welcome.”

    For more information on this special event, please visit https://forestmonastery.org/news/2018/8/2/upasampad-and-pabbajja-monk-and-novice-ordinations-sunday-august-12

    I want to share just a couple of articles this week. First is another account (via Tricycle) of the ordination of 11 of the 12 youth soccer players recently rescued from the flooded cave in Thailand:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/thai-soccer-players-ordain/

    Next is a revisiting of Diana Winston’s wonderful article on how to establish a regular meditation practice “even if you would rather be thrown into a shark-Infested ocean”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/sit-every-day/

    The third article is Brent R. Oliver’s May “Trike Daily” blog post “5 Things That Might Surprise You About Meditation Retreats”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/5-things-surprise-meditation-retreat/

    And, finally, I want to share Sarah Ransohoff’s wonderful visual depiction of the “Main Forms Of Entertainment On A Meditation Retreat” from the July 29 New Yorker:

    https://www.newyorker.com/humor/daily-shouts/main-forms-of-entertainment-on-a-meditation-retreat

    Pretty much spot-on by my experience!

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  56. REMINDER — 7/31/18 meditation group

    Greetings! After a 3-week hiatus the Tuesday evening meditation group will resume our regular meetings tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Vestry at First Parish. Judi will be this week’s facilitator.

    A couple of logistical notes:

    First, the Chelmsford Community Band will perform on the town common starting at 7pm tomorrow. Please note that parking at First Parish will likely be extremely limited, and meditators are encouraged to use alternate parking at 10 North Road (behind the law offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman). The band’s remaining performances are scheduled for August 7 and 14.

    Second, the sprinkler installation at First Parish did not commence as planned during our summer hiatus. The installation is now (tentatively) scheduled to begin later this week. We will continue to keep you posted on how this may impact next week’s meditation group.

    Coming up this Saturday morning (9:30am to 1:00pm), August 4, Jim Austin will be at IMC Newburyport for a “Mindfulness Yoga and Insight Meditation” workshop:

    “How can a yoga asana practice be used to support our mindfulness meditation practice? Can we bring the qualities of mindfulness and openness developed in sitting meditation practice onto the yoga mat thereby creating continuity between our practice on the mat and our practice on the cushion? We’ll explore these questions and others during this half-day workshop. The workshop will include short periods of sitting meditation, yoga, and discussion. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and beginners are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also taking place on Saturday, Narayan Liebenson will offer a day-long (10:00am to 4:00pm) “Metta Workshop” at CIMC:

    “The word ‘metta’ is translated as lovingkindness or boundless friendliness. It is a sincere and heartfelt wish for the peace and happiness of ourselves and others. Metta is not a feeling; rather it is an intention that can be practiced and sustained. It is cultivated through a process of inclusivity, gradually expanding to include all sentient beings. Especially in times of uncertainty and pain, metta practice helps us to work with habitual patterns such as anxiety and doubt.

    “The Buddha taught metta as a specific antidote to fear and anger. The fruit of the systematic practice of metta is twofold: steadiness and tranquility which strengthen the mind, and sensitivity and openness which soften the heart. In cultivating metta, we directly experience a fundamental kindness as the very ground of our being. It is an invaluable practice in the midst of the unexpected changes in life.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include specific instructions, guided practice and time for questions and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I’ll begin this week with a brief update on the ordination of the 12 youth soccer players rescued from the flooded cave in Thailand:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/223164-2/

    The second piece I would like to share is “Cultivate Tranquility, Harvest Insight,” a 2004 Buddhadharma article by the inimitable Ajahn Brahm:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/cultivate-tranquility-harvest-insight/

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  57. REMINDER — 7/24/18 meditation group on summer break until 7/31

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will remain on summer break until 7/31. There is a chance that First Parish will remain off-limits into the first week of August, pushing our return to that venue back until 8/7. We are currently exploring alternate options so that we can resume the meditation group as scheduled next week. Either way, I will keep everyone posted.

    In the meantime, tomorrow evening CIMC will host its regular Tuesday Evening Sitting from 6:00pm to 6:45pm in Cambridge. Up in West Newbury, Ted Jones will host an “Introduction to Insight Meditation Drop-In Class” from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. Souhegan Insight Meditation will also hold their Tuesday Night Sit from 6:00pm to 7:30pm in Milford, NH. Also, I believe Brenda’s invitation to host an informal meditation group at her house is still on offer this week.

    Looking ahead to the weekend, on Saturday, July 28, Chris Crotty will be at IMC Newburyport for a morning (9:30am to 1:00pm) “Concentration, Insight, Freedom” retreat:

    “The Buddha’s meditation instructions emphasize concentration as a foundation for the development of insight. First, we learn to focus our attention and stabilize the mind. As the mind becomes tranquil and calm we turn our attention toward investigating the mind’s true nature. Seeing more clearly we are able to renounce reactivity and open to the freedom of the present moment where we learn to appreciate our life just as it is.”

    For more information on upcoming IMCN events, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org.

    For more on events at CIMC and Souhegan Insight Meditation, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org and http://www.nhmeditation.org respectively.

    In other news, the opportunity to register for Sharon Salzberg’s online course “Real Love” has been extended to July 31: https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/real-love. (Use the code “SHARON25” to get $25 off of the course cost.)

    Shifting gears, allegations of sexual misconduct are nothing new to many Buddhist communities. Many well-regarded Buddhist teachers — across all traditions, it seems, including Insight Meditation — have foundered on these shoals over the years. This perennial issue has earned renewed focus in the wake of #MeToo, with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche — leader of the Shambhala community — becoming the latest spiritual figurehead to be accused of wrongdoing.

    The New York Times’s Andy Newman published his piece on the story earlier this month (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/11/nyregion/shambhala-sexual-misconduct.html), and NPR had a short ( ~5 min.) interview with Andrea Winn, who is leading the investigation into the allegations (https://www.npr.org/2018/07/15/629282010/a-look-at-the-metoo-movement-in-the-shambhala-buddhist-community).

    Buddhist publications Tricycle and Lion’s Roar (the latter of which is affiliated with the Shambhala community) have also both done their due diligence in reporting the story:

    https://tricycle.org/searchpage/?q=&cx=005201521681940513761%3Avzjqa03hgl8&ie=ISO-8859-1&cof=FORID%3A10&sa=

    https://www.lionsroar.com/?s=mipham

    As we go forward, I’d like to leave you with 3 short articles that may help us in digesting the headlines that challenge us as we continue to “bear witness” to life’s joys and sorrows:

    First are Holly Stocking’s suggestions for how to practice as we read/view/hear or otherwise “mind the news”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/minding-the-news/

    The second is Sister True Dedication’s “Food for Thought,” a short reflection on the “need to pay attention to what [we consume that] nourishes our mind,” much as we may pay attention to the nourishment of our body:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/food-for-thought/

    And, finally, “4 Tips On Going On A Media Diet,” also from Sister True Dedication: https://www.lionsroar.com/4-steps-to-a-healthy-media-diet/

    That is all for now. I wish everyone an “interesting” practice, wherever you may be.

    Metta,
    Tim


  58. REMINDER — 7/17/18 meditation group on summer break until 7/31

    Greetings! This marks the second week of our 3-week break/vacation/hiatus while fire sprinkler installation takes place at First Parish.

    Tomorrow evening (7:00pm to 8:30pm) IMC Newburyport will host an “Intermediate Drop-In Class” with Ted Jones:

    “This class is for those students who have completed the Beginner’s Practice Group Level II course at IMCN or who have sat a full day retreat at IMCN or another Center. The class will include a 45 minute sitting and 15 minutes of walking meditation. This will be followed by the opportunity for questions and a facilitated peer discussion. For early arrivals, the meditation hall will be open for additional practice beginning at 6:30 pm. There is no registration or fee for this drop-in class, although donations are gratefully accepted.” (http://www.imcnewburyport.org)

    Continuing from last week, CIMC offers its Tuesday evening sitting from 6:00pm to 6:45pm (http://www.cambridgeinsight.org). For folks who may wish to stay local, Brenda has also kindly offered to host an informal sitting group at her house. If anyone is interested in taking Brenda up on her offer, please let me know and I will pass along your contact information.

    Last week I did make the trek up to Milford, NH, to join the Souhegan sangha’s Tuesday Night Sit (6:00pm to 7:30pm). The timing was a bit tight getting there, but the community was very welcoming. Many aspects of that group’s practice were familiar, but last week’s facilitator added a short period of light (and unintentionally “hot”) yoga to the mix. I definitely recommend checking it out if anyone feels like going for a bit of a road trip. (http://nhmeditation.org.)

    There are a couple of events coming up this weekend:

    Coming up on Saturday morning, July 21, Ted Jones will be back at IMCN for “The Next Step: A Level II Retreat for Advanced Beginners” (9:30am to 12:30pm):

    “Come and experience a morning of guided and silent meditation designed for students who have completed an Introductory Class at IMCN or a similar offering at another center. This retreat will introduce participants to the experience of more extended periods of silent meditation with longer periods than in most beginner retreats but shorter than the usual format for experienced students. There will be three 30 minute periods of sitting meditation, two 20 minute periods of walking meditation, and ample time for questions and discussion.” (http://www.imcnewburyport.org)

    Also on Saturday, Narayan Liebenson will be in Cambridge to offer “Affectionate Curiosity: The Art of Meditative Questioning,” a day-long (10:00am to 4:00pm) workshop:

    “Meditation practice, as taught by the Buddha, includes both calming and investigative methods. During this retreat, we will include calming practices and, as steadiness is developed, will begin to learn how to ask meditative questions as a way of deepening our understanding through investigation.

    “What is investigation? What does it mean to enter into inquiry and reflection from a meditative point of view? We generally understand the word “investigation” to mean thinking. Learning to ask meditative questions — and learning what not to ask as well — is a way of using thought skillfully. Encouraging a silent, sustained attentiveness is a springboard leading to the capacity to ask questions in a way that encourages interest and inner freedom. The spirit of inquiry underlies all Buddhist teachings and practices. The Buddha discovered that deep inquiry frees the mind from suffering and the pitfalls of an unexamined life.

    “This workshop is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include talks, discussion, sitting meditation as well as time for questions.” (http://www.cambridgeinsight.org)

    In some sad news, some of you may have already heard that local filmmaker, activist, and therapist Jenny Phillips died in a drowning accident on July 9. Phillips first came to my attention a several years ago through her groundbreaking 2007 documentary “The Dhamma Brothers,” a story about the Vipassana meditation program at the Donaldson (Alabama) Correctional Facility. She was also well known for her film “Beyond the Wall” which followed a group of formerly incarcerated men trying to rebuild their lives outside of prison. She was working on a new film focusing on programs that have reduced recidivism rates in Louisiana. To learn more about “The Dhamma Brothers” and Phillips’s more recent work, please visit http://www.dhammabrothers.com

    And in happier news, you may also have heard news of the amazing rescue of the boys’ soccer team from the flooded cave in Thailand. As it turns out, the boys’ coach had previously spent a decade living as a Buddhist monk, and was able to teach the boys how to meditate as a way to manage the distressing situation and remain calm during their rescue. It seems a number of the boys are now interesting in taking ordination to become Buddhist monks:

    How Buddhist meditation kept the Thai boys calm in the cave

    A Stanford expert explains how meditation helped the Thai boys survive

    “Stateless” boy who emerged as leader in Thailand cave was key to rescue

    And finally this week I want to share last week’s Science Friday interview with Yale professor Laurie Santos as she talks about her course “Psychology and the Good Life” and considers the question “What makes your brain happy?” (16 min.):

    https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/what-makes-your-brain-happy/

    That’s all for this week. I wish everyone an “interesting” practice, wherever you may be.

    Metta,
    Tim


  59. REMINDER — 7/10/18 meditation group on summer break until 7/31

    Greetings! I want to apologize again for last week’s last minute cancellation; I appreciate everyone’s understanding of the unusual circumstances.

    This week marks the beginning of our 3-week break/vacation/hiatus while fire sprinkler installation takes place at First Parish. For those who may be interested, this week CIMC offers a Tuesday evening sitting from 6:00pm to 6:45pm. For folks who may wish to stay local, Brenda has also kindly offered to host an informal sitting group at her house. If anyone is interested in taking Brenda up on her offer, please let me know and I will pass along your contact information. Personally, I plan to take advantage of our hiatus to check out the Tuesday Night Sit at Souhegan Insight Meditation in Milford, NH. The Souhegan group runs from 6:00pm to 7:30pm, so I will head there directly from work in case anyone is interested in joining me. (For more information, please visit http://nhmeditation.org.)

    For anyone who may have planned to visit the Temple Forest Monastery later this week for Bhikkhu Bodhi’s visit, please know that his visit has been postponed due to a sudden death in the sangha affiliated with the monastery where he lives.

    There are a couple of events coming up this weekend:

    First, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN this Saturday, July 14, to offer a stand-alone day-long (10:00am to 4:30pm) workshop following up on his recent 6-week series on “The Relaxed Mind”:

    “Could you use a little more relaxation in your mediation practice? In your life? Kilung Rinpoche in his book, ‘The Relaxed Mind,’ leads us through seven meditations that may have a unique contribution to what it means to be ‘relaxed,’ The approach is based in mindfulness, but also draws deep inspiration from Tibetan buddhist wisdom, and is secular in its instructions. It emphasizes both ease, and relaxation, but also clarity. It is designed to help us to undercut habits of making ourselves and others ‘right and wrong,’ and unlock a deep abiding capacity in ourselves for compassionate presence and relaxed wakeful ease. In this day long workshop we will be guided through exploring for ourselves the seven meditations, along with time for discussion. Our guiding teacher, Matthew, has been authorized to teach these seven meditations and is looking forward to bringing them to you in this form. This offering complements the independent workshops that Matthew leads on the seven meditations, but is an independent offering. No previous experience with these meditations is necessary. If interested, the reading Kilung Rinpoche’s book would be a wonderful complement to the workshop, but is in no way required.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile at CIMC, Narayan Liebenson’s weekend non-residential retreat for experienced practitioners will get under way at 9:00am on Saturday, concluding Sunday at 5:00pm:

    “The Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat offers an intensive opportunity to practice in the company of other dedicated practitioners.

    “In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat will include open periods of individual practice in sitting, walking, standing and lying down. This format is intended to foster self-reliance, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. On Saturday evening, there will be a sharing circle; a meditative question will be asked and investigated.

    “Participants are strongly encouraged to attend both days, however, Saturday-only and Sunday-only registrations are also available. It is necessary to commit to being present for the entirety of the day, or days, you attend.”

    For more information, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    Then, Sharon Salzberg’s 6-week “Real Love” online course gets underway next Monday, July 16:

    “In this new online course, Sharon Salzberg shows us how we can deconstruct the myths that keep us from authentic love.

    “Key lessons you’ll explore in Real Love:

    – Recognizing that self-love is important. We start with ourselves because we are worthy of love and because self-sufficiency supports us in sustaining love for others.
    – Working with the inner critic. Perfectionism and self-criticism will not help us to grow or make us happy. Mindfulness can help.
    – Finding authenticity and balance. We’ll explore the balancing point between our needs and the needs of others, and learn about the benefits of joy for others’ good fortune and forgiveness of their mistakes.
    Communicating with others. Even when we are close to another person, there is always a space between us. We can respect these boundaries and at the same time be curious and willing to listen.
    – Extending love to all beings. We can move beyond the barriers of race, class, religion, gender identity, and sexuality while respecting difference.
    – Saying yes to life. The practice of lovingkindness makes us stronger, more sincere versions of ourselves. Big or small kindnesses we do for others improve our own lives.”

    To learn more and/or to sign up for this class, please visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/real-love

    I want to stick with Sharon for a moment by sharing “Becoming the Ally of All Beings,” a long-ish 2003 Shambhala Sun excerpt from a 1999 book which she edited, “Voices of Insight”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/becoming-the-ally-of-all-beings/

    And in closing, I’ll leave you with Jerome Socolovsky’s weekend NPR report on Buddhism becoming “a sanctuary from an over-connected world” (~4 min.): https://www.npr.org/2018/07/07/625332469/many-look-to-buddhism-for-sanctuary-from-an-over-connected-world

    That’s all for this week. I hope to perhaps see a few of you in Milford tomorrow evening, and wish everyone an interesting practice wherever you may be.

    Metta,
    Tim


  60. REMINDER — 7/3/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Sanctuary at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Looking ahead, I only received 4 responses to my e-mail regarding preferences for options for the next few weeks while the new sprinkler system is being installed at First Parish. Two registered interest in taking a break during this time; the other 2 were interested in continuing to meet at an alternate location. Given that turnout seems likely to be light over the next few weeks anyway, I am going to recommend that we take a 3-week summer hiatus, returning on Tuesday, July 31.

    In the meantime there are a couple of options:

    1) Souhegan Insight Meditation offers regular their regular “Tuesday Night Sit” at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Milford, NH. The meetings take place from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. While the timing is a bit tight for me to be sure of making it each of the next 3 weeks, I have the intention of getting up there at least once during our hiatus. (Google projects the travel time from Lowell to be about an hour.) For more information, please visit http://nhmeditation.org

    2) From 7:00pm to 8:30pm on 7/17 and 7/24, Ted Jones will host IMC Newburyport’s Tuesday evening drop-in classes. 7/17 is an Intermediate Drop-In Class for those students who have completed the Beginner’s Practice Group Level II course at IMCN or who have sat a full day retreat at IMCN or another Center; 7/24 is an Introduction to Insight Meditation for those with little or no experience. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    3) CIMC also offers a regular sitting from 6:00pm to 6:45pm on weeknights. For those who may be interested, from July 10 through August 7 the Tuesday evening sit will immediately precede a practice group (7:15pm to 9:00pm) on “Equanimity: Balancing the Heart within the Ups and Downs of Life” offered by Narayan Liebenson:

    “The Buddha has described the ways we are pushed around by the conditions in life as the teaching of the Eight Worldly Winds. These “winds” include praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and pain, and fame and disrepute. The cultivation of equanimity — a balanced heart in the midst of change — makes it possible to respond to these experiences with less reactivity and with greater wisdom and compassion.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Sessions will include sitting and walking meditation periods, talks, time for discussion and questions, and homework.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    4) Brenda has offered her home as an alternate meeting place during our hiatus. I will leave it for anyone who is interested to follow up directly with Brenda.

    There are a number of exciting events taking place at the Temple Forest Monastery this summer, beginning with this week’s visit by Ajahn Liem and Ajahn Jundee. Coming up this Sunday, July 8, there will be a Buddha Consecration and Offering Ceremony. And from July 10-13 Bhikkhu Bodhi will be a visitor at the monastery. Please visit https://forestmonastery.org/news/ for further details.

    Also coming up in the weeks ahead, Sharon Salzberg’s 6-week online course “Real Love” will also get underway on July 16:

    “We are told many stories about love. Our culture tells us that romantic love will make us happy. Advertisers imply that certain products will make us feel content. We’re conditioned to believe that we will finally be loveable once we’ve achieved certain goals or when our projects of self-improvement come to fruition. What if we could let go of these stories? What would it be like to love ourselves for who we are and to extend that love to those around us? And what if we were to extend unconditional love to all beings? 

    “In this new online course, Sharon Salzberg shows us how we can deconstruct the myths that keep us from authentic love.

    “Key lessons you’ll explore in Real Love

    – Recognizing that self-love is important. We start with ourselves because we are worthy of love and because self-sufficiency supports us in sustaining love for others.
    – Working with the inner critic. Perfectionism and self-criticism will not help us to grow or make us happy. Mindfulness can help.
    – Finding authenticity and balance. We’ll explore the balancing point between our needs and the needs of others, and learn about the benefits of joy for others’ good fortune and forgiveness of their mistakes.
    – Communicating with others. Even when we are close to another person, there is always a space between us. We can respect these boundaries and at the same time be curious and willing to listen.
    – Extending love to all beings. We can move beyond the barriers of race, class, religion, gender identity, and sexuality while respecting difference.
    – Saying yes to life. The practice of lovingkindness makes us stronger, more sincere versions of ourselves. Big or small kindnesses we do for others improve our own lives

    To register, visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/real-love

    In addition to sorting out logistics for the next few weeks, I would also like to share a couple of short articles on mindfulness apps.

    The first article, “How Do Mindfulness Apps Work?” by Mindful.org’s Kira Newman, explores the current research behind this growing sector of the digital economy: https://www.mindful.org/how-do-mindfulness-apps-work/

    The second article is Patrick Zeis’s review of “The 25 Best Mindfulness and Meditation Apps”: https://balancedachievement.com/grow-more/best-meditation-apps/

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  61. REMINDER — 6/26/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Sanctuary at First Parish. I will reprise my role as facilitator this week.

    There are a couple of day-long (9am to 5pm) events coming up this Saturday, June 30:

    Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for “Embodying Ease”:

    “The Buddha said that the ‘whole world, its arising, and dissolution can be found within this body.’ Within these enigmatic words there is an invitation to find freedom in embodied experience. In this retreat we will follow the Buddha’s instructions on practicing embodied, mindful present moment awareness in ‘ the four postures’ of sitting standing walking and lying down. As we build this foundation for our practice, we will be encouraged to bring curiosity, kindness, and balanced effort to our physical, mental, and emotional life in everything we do within the simplicity of our shared retreat experience. Learning to be grounded as we embrace the fullness of our life develops clarity and relaxation and provides a natural foundation to bringing embodied ease into our daily lives.”

    There is also a morning-only option for this retreat. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Doug Phillips will be at CIMC to offer “Stability and Insight”:

    “This retreat offers the opportunity to deepen one’s practice using the classic method of samatha/vipassana, or concentration and insight. We will explore the mutually supportive relationship between the development of a stable body/mind and the direct seeing of how life actually is. This direct seeing — and the transformation it can bring — is foundational to our own personal realization of the Buddha’s experience of freedom from reactivity and a fragmented life.

    “Our day will be spent in silent practice including sitting, walking and instruction. There will be an opportunity for individual interviews and an end-of-retreat discussion. Everyone is welcome, however, a minimum of one year of meditation practice is recommended.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, Sharon Salzberg’s online “Real Love” course is just a few weeks away: https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/real-love

    I want to begin this week by sharing Episode 12 of the Greater Good Science Center’s Science of Happiness Podcast, featuring Dacher Keltner in conversation with his guest, ABC News anchor and “happiness guinea pig” Dan Harris. The 20-minute episode focuses on lovingkindness meditation as an antidote for anger:

    https://www.mindful.org/feeling-angry-try-this/

    Next up is “Why Should I Meditate?” a long-ish excerpt from Matthieu Ricard’s 2010 book “Why Meditate?”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/why-meditate-september-2010/

    And finally, a short piece by Tricycle’s Gregg Krech on practicing gratitude “for all of the unfortunate events that didn’t happen.”

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/grateful-nothing/

    That is all for this week. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  62. REMINDER — 6/19/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Sanctuary at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday morning (10am to 12:30pm), Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport to offer “a retreat for beginning and newer students”:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Looking a bit further ahead to mid July, Sharon Salzberg will collaborate with the folks at Tricycle’s online learning for a 6-week course based on her most recent book, “Real Love”:

    “Far from being an idealistic, sentimental, or romantic emotion, genuine love is an ability and capacity within us—an inner resource we can grow. Drawing from timeless Buddhist wisdom and lovingkindness practice, we’ll train in cultivating unconditional love for ourselves, those close to us, and ultimately for all beings.”

    For more information, please visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/real-love

    This week I’d like to share a very short article from Lion’s Roar’s Andrea Miller called “Buddhism Began with A Good Meal” on the importance of nourishment. She also shares a quite tasty-sounding recipe for cashew pulao, which I shall have to try at some point:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/buddhism-began-with-a-good-meal/

    For those of you who have spent any time on retreat at IMS it is no secret that mealtime is one of the most highly anticipated rituals of the day. The staff at the retreat center have for some time now worked diligently on making the IMS cookbook available to the public. I believe this is still a work-in-progress, but you can visit their website to check out what recipes have already been divulged (including their famous “Hollyhock” dressing): https://www.dharma.org/resources/recipes/

    The folks over at Spirit Rock don’t seem to be quite as well organized as their dharma siblings at IMS, but you can check out some of their kitchen offerings at https://www.spiritrock.org/search?q=recipes

    All of this is leading me to think we should have a sangha potluck sometime soon….

    That’s all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  63. REMINDER — 6/12/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Sanctuary at First Parish. Judi will be this week’s facilitator. Please remember that due to ongoing construction we will need to use the Vestry entrance.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, June 16:

    On Saturday morning (9am to 1pm), Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for the final installment of his six-part workshop series on Kalung Rinpoche’s “The Relaxed Mind”:

    “In this series of workshops we will explore seven meditations that teach us to progressively relax our minds as a key to developing calmness, compassion, and insight. The meditations are based on the book, ‘The Relaxed Mind’ by Kilung Rinpoche, who has authorized Matthew to teach this material. It is a secular approach, which has its roots in the wisdom and compassion tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, and thus offers a slightly different perspective than many of our offerings at IMCN. Each month for six months, Matthew will lead meditations based on one or two of the seven meditations. There will be quiet sitting and walking periods (30 minutes and 20 minutes) as well as discussion periods. It would be helpful, but not necessary, to read the chapter of the book that we will be working with prior to or after the given workshop. This workshop is suitable for all levels, and you may attend any of the sessions or all six in a progressive manner depending on your schedule and interest level. Come and explore ‘The Relaxed Mind’ for yourself. You may find that it supports the quality of your moment by moment experience, and brings a welcomed element of compassion and wakeful relaxation to your formal and daily life practice!”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Chas DiCapua will be at CIMC for the day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat “No Part Left Out”:

    “The degree to which we understand that no experience is outside of our practice, and that all experiences are to be known clearly, without judgment, is the degree to which our practice will unfold organically and with as much ease as possible. Of course, the opposite is true. If we start to judge ourselves, and think our freedom comes from having certain experiences and not having others, our practice will be a struggle and will not be nearly as fruitful.

    “In this retreat, we will practice noticing what our felt experience is when we can simply allow life to unfold and be known. And, we will practice noticing what our felt experience is when we judge what is happening. Then, wisdom can make an informed decision about what is the best way to practice and live our lives!

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Our day together will include talks, discussion, sitting and walking meditation.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, don’t forget that next month Sharon Salzberg will join with Tricycle to offer a special six-week online course based on her book ‘Real Love’:

    https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/real-love?utm_source=savethedate&utm_source=Tricycle&utm_campaign=eef1ede3cb-Real_Love_CTA_1_2018_06_02&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1641abe55e-eef1ede3cb-307341161

    As some of you may recall, a couple of months ago Brenda, Christine, Mai and I attended a special presentation at Harvard Divinity School featuring a conversation on “Rebirth in Early Buddhism” with Bhikkhu Analayo and Harvard professor Charles Hallisey. Event sponsor Wisdom Publications has made the audio from that conversation available online, and I encourage you to give it a listen (50 min.):

    https://learn.wisdompubs.org/podcast/bhikkhu-analayo-hallisey/

    Finally, I want to share a short Tricycle article by Allen Weiss on investigation as a factor of awakening:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/investigation-mindfulness/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  64. REMINDER — 6/5/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm at First Parish. Note that due to renovations we will meet in the Sanctuary until further notice. Please use the Vestry entrance and take the stairs up one flight to the Sanctuary level. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are two events coming up this Saturday, June 9:

    Rebecca Bradshaw will be at IMC Newburyport from 9am to 5pm (with a morning half-day option) for “Exploring Four Flavors of Compassion: Kwan Yin, Tara, Mary and Tinkerbell”:

    “In this experiential retreat, we will explore the essence of compassion, allowing ourselves to integrate on physical, emotional, and energetic levels its depths and how it expresses itself. We will investigate common misunderstandings about compassion and enjoy the power and connection that true compassion embodies.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Matthew Hepburn will be at CIMC for a “Beginners’ Insight Meditation Workshop” from 10am to 4:30pm:

    “This Beginners’ Workshop will include formal meditation instruction, guided sitting and walking practice, and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation (Vipassana). During our time together, participants will learn how to meditate along with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions.

    “This day-long program is appropriate for people who have little or no meditation experience, for those who are relatively new to Insight Meditation, and for anyone who would like to revisit the basics of meditation and deepen their practice. All are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Looking ahead a bit further, next month Sharon Salzberg will offer a 6-week online course in conjunction with Tricycle.com. This course explores the deconstruction of “the myths that keep us keep us from authentic love.” To find out more visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/real-love?utm_source=savethedate&utm_source=Tricycle&utm_campaign=eef1ede3cb-Real_Love_CTA_1_2018_06_02&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1641abe55e-eef1ede3cb-307341161

    This week I would like to highlight a fascinating — if somewhat lengthy — conversation between Mindful.org’s Barry Boyce and neuroscientists Amishi Jha and Cliff Saron on “The Magnificent, Mysterious, Wild, Connected and Interconnected Brain.”:

    https://www.mindful.org/the-magnificent-mysterious-wild-connected-and-interconnected-brain/

    I would also like to recommend “(En)lighten Up! Uncovering the Buddha’s Wit,” Matthew Gindin’s much shorter conversation with Thanissaro Bhikkhu on the use of humor in the Pali canon:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/buddhas-wit/

    Finally, I leave you with a short story from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on the negative impact of sugary drinks on the health of Thai monks:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-28/thai-buddhist-monks-health-ruined-by-sugary-drinks/9711412

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone in our new, temporary location tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  65. REMINDER — 5/29/18 meditation group

    Greetings! I hope that everyone enjoyed a safe holiday weekend. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish; I will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this weekend.

    IMCN is collaborating with Against the Stream Boston to offer their 3rd annual 7-night metta meditation residential retreat starting this Wednesday, May 30, and concluding on Wednesday, June 6. There is also a Saturday-only (8:30am to 9:00pm) option for June 2:

    “For the third year in a row, Burmese meditation master Sayadaw U Inndaka is joining ATS Boston’s guiding teacher Chris Crotty to offer a residential retreat on the East Coast, just an hour north of Boston.

    “This seven-night silent retreat will offer instruction in metta or loving-kindness meditation, and will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, dharma talks, and one-on-one teacher interviews.

    “This retreat is suitable for both beginning and experienced meditators, and will be held at IMCN’s beautiful rural meditation center in West Newbury, Massachusetts.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, June 2, George Mumford will be at CIMC for the day-long (10:00am to 5:00pm) workshop “Connecting to Higher Power: Insight Meditation and the 11th Step”:

    “This workshop will focus on the 11th Step in the recovery process: improving conscious contact with Higher Power through prayer and meditation. I have used this process in my own recovery, and have been teaching it to others for over 30 years, and meditation continues to be very helpful in improving conscious contact with Higher Power/Higher Consciousness.

    “In this workshop, we will explore how we might incorporate the practices of Insight Meditation as part of a 12-step program. We will take a fresh look at recovery through the lens of mindfulness and wisdom:

    • Enhance your ability to live in the present moment with more confidence;
    • Feel more connected to self and others;
    • Develop a more compassionate, loving, and accepting attitude;
    • Learn to incorporate mindfulness into your life and lifelong recovery.

    “This program will support those seeking to practice the principles of the Twelve Steps and the Buddha’s teachings in everyday life. It will include instruction, discussion, sitting and walking meditation and time for Q&As.

    “Appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Everyone — and all recovery programs and paths — are welcome.”

    Then on Sunday, June 3, John Bell will offer the day-long (10:00am to 5:00pm) workshop “Exploring White Awareness: A Day of Mindfulness”:

    “Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that our main task is to wake up from the delusion of feeling separate. In our country, racism has played a huge role in separating us from one another. Racism has brought untold damage to people of color, and has compromised the humanity of white people. Recovering from the effects of racism is key to our individual and collective freedom. Such work takes us to the heart of Dharma practice.

    “This will be a ‘Day of Mindfulness’ with CIMC practitioners who experience being white as part of their identity. We will use deep reflection and deep listening to explore the habit energies and conditioning we hold as white people. We will consider both what we see in ourselves and what we may not be able to see.

    “This day is intended to be a journey of discovery and freedom grounded in discernment, curiosity and compassion. Our practice will weave together meditation, movement and dharma sharing, with prompts from current films and authors. Together we will build a respectful space to explore this challenging subject with our bodies, hearts, and minds.

    “There are no prerequisites for this program; however, this workshop is intended for CIMC practitioners who self-identify as white, and who are relatively new to this work.”

    For more information on upcoming CIMC events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    There are a handful of Lion’s Roar articles that I’d like to share this week. First up is Ruth King’s “How to Be Equanimous in a Radicalized World” in which she explores the strength of equanimity in moments of tension:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-be-equanimous-in-a-racialized-world/

    Next, Andrew Olendzki’s “Buddha, The Ultimate Radical,” takes a look at the various ways in which the Buddha “aligned himself with fundamental change” over the the status quo:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/buddha-the-ultimate-radical/

    Glen Wallis offers his thoughts on the difference between the historic Gotama and the mythical Buddha in his 2009 article “Gautama vs the Buddha”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/gautama-vs-the-buddha/

    And this short excerpt from Jack Kornfield’s 2010 book “The Buddha Is Still Teaching” reflects on the ways in which the wisdom of the Buddha is brought to life by today’s teachers:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/jack-kornfield-the-buddha-is-still-teaching-november-2010/

    Finally this week, I am very pleased to share news that the archives of Inquiring Mind are becoming available online. IM ceased publication a few years ago, but it was a wonderful resource for teachings primarily in the Theravada tradition:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/inquiring-mind-launches-online-archive/

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  66. REMINDER — 5/22/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, May 26:

    Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC for the day-long (10am to 4pm) workshop “Working With Difficult Emotions”:

    “In this workshop, we will engage the methods of samatha vipassana (calm and insight) to develop inner balance in the midst of difficult emotions. We will learn how to safely turn towards the very emotions that scare us, such as fear, anger, grief, loneliness and self-doubt. Fully feeling whatever arises exactly as it is, we practice releasing our identification with our emotional atmosphere.

    “Sitting with ourselves and not fleeing, we have the opportunity to discover our capacity to befriend and understand the true nature of emotions. We will practice turning problems into wisdom as we cultivate a more joyful and compassionate way to live.

    “This workshop is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include talks, discussion, sitting meditation as well as time for questions.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, Jessica Morey will be at IMC Newburyport for “Learning How To Love,” a day-long retreat (10am to 4:30pm):

    “How do we learn to love ourselves and the world in an embodied way? In this workshop we will explore relaxing into and connecting with our bodies as a ground for cultivating the skills and strength to love our lives and the world in an authentic and undefended way. We will explore the wisdom and resilience of our bodies; mourning the inevitable pain and loss of living to renew our natural embodied compassion, joy and deep desire for connection with ourselves, our communities and the world – loving despite the disappointments and imperfections.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org. Please note that due to road construction in the vicinity of the retreat center there are new driving directions available on the IMCN website.

    I want to start off this week with an excerpt from Bhante Gunaratana’s book “Four Foundations of Mindfulness In Plain English,” in which Bhante G. provides a brief overview of the foundations in practice:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/living-with-awareness-an-excerpt-from-the-four-foundations-of-mindfulness-in-plain-english/

    This week’s feature is Peter Doobinin’s latest contribution to Tricycle’s monthly “Sutta Studies” series. In his newest article, Peter explores the Yoga Sutta, in which the Buddha “explains how we burden ourselves with our own attachments”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/sutta-study-yokes/

    As we head into summer, Tricycle contributor Allan Badiner offers “the Buddhist alternative to killing bugs” and other pests. I will note that mosquitoes and black flies are notably absent from his list, however presumably the general principle of “prevent, repel, remove” still applies:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/kill-impulse-compassionate-solutions-your-favorite-pest/

    Finally, I just want to give folks a heads up about some logistical changes beginning in the next few weeks. As many of you know, First Parish will undergo some significant renovations this summer, starting in June. During the period of renovation, the meditation group will relocate to the Sanctuary. There will also be a 2-week period in July in which the Sanctuary is also off-limits due to sprinkler installation. Depending on the level of interest we can either explore an alternate venue or perhaps we simply take a brief “vacation” during this time. I will keep everyone informed as I learn more about the timing, in the meantime please let me know by e-mail which of the 2 options you would prefer.

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  67. REMINDER — 5/15/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    Beginning today, May 14, Josh Korda has new 6-week online course at Tricycle.com: “Feeling Secure In An Unstable World.” This course “will explore variety of insights and practices—drawn from early Buddhism as well as contemporary psychology—that can help us acknowledge and process emotional experiences that destabilize us, eventually enabling us to thrive in an uncertain world.” Josh will host live Q&A discussions on May 31 and June 19. To learn more, please visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/feeling-secure-in-an-unstable-world

    Coming up this Saturday morning (9:30am to 1pm), May 19, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for the fifth of six monthly workshops based on Kilung Rinpoche’s book “The Relaxed Mind”:  “It is a secular approach, which has its roots in the wisdom and compassion tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, and thus offers a slightly different perspective than many of our offerings at IMCN. Each month for six months, Matthew will lead meditations based on one or two of the seven meditations. There will be quiet sitting and walking periods (30 minutes and 20 minutes) as well as discussion periods. It would be helpful, but not necessary to read the chapter of the book that we will be working with prior or after the given workshop. This workshop is suitable for all levels, and you may attend any of the sessions or all six in a progressive manner depending on your schedule and interest level. Come and explore ‘The Relaxed Mind’ for yourself, you may find that it supports the quality of your moment by moment experience and brings a welcomed element of compassion and wakeful relaxation to your formal and daily life practice!”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Alexis Santos will be at CIMC for the day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat “Developing Wisdom”:

    “Mindfulness, or awareness, is getting a lot of well-deserved attention these days. Yet the liberating force of our practice comes about through the development of wisdom—insights into the habits of mind that can lead to either suffering or to ease. During this day-long retreat, we will explore the practice of awareness and discover how ordinary moments of mindfulness can become the foundation for the gradual development of insight or wisdom. Nothing special or extra is needed. Everything we need to develop wisdom is available to us in this moment.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Please feel invited to join us for a day of practice in community. There will be periods of sitting and walking, guided meditation as well as reflections to support your practice. There will also be plenty of time for questions and comments.”

    Then from 2pm to 5:15pm on Sunday, May 20, George Mumford and Narayan Liebenson will host “Cultivating Connectedness: A Half-Day Retreat for People of Color and Allies”:

    “All are welcome to join this afternoon of practice for People of Color and Allies. We are aware of the social realities that engender our separateness, and of our collective humanity that offers opportunities to cultivate connectedness. We will come together through sitting meditation, walking meditation, and reflections on the Dharma. This precious opportunity of practice provides our Sangha a heart opening exploration of our individual and collective suffering and how we cultivate our beloved and treasured community.”

    For more information on these and other upcoming events at CIMC, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    As some of you may recall, a few weeks ago Brenda, Christine, Mai, and I attended an interview and lecture with Analayo Bhikkhu at Harvard Divinity School. During the interview, Analayo discussed the themes of his most recent book “Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research.” IMS teacher Guy Armstrong offers his brief review of the book (“The Case for Rebirth”) in the Summer 2018 issue of Buddhadharma:  https://www.lionsroar.com/the-case-for-rebirth/

    Lion’s Roar’s Sam Littlefair offers his take on “the evidence for rebirth” in the May issue of LR (https://www.lionsroar.com/do-you-only-live-once/), and the Lion’s Roar staff have pulled together a quick take on the topic of rebirth from a number of renowned Buddhist teachers: https://www.lionsroar.com/just-more-of-the-same/

    Very interesting stuff.

    I’ll return to Josh Korda for the final word this week, leaving you with “Don’t Suffer Alone,” his short essay on the importance of community in Buddhism:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/suffer-alone/

    That’s all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  68. on May 8, 2018 at 1:38 am | Reply Tim Little

    REMINDER — 5/8/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday, May 12, at Cambridge Insight, Tuere Sala will offer a day-long (10am to 5pm) workshop on “The Three Characteristics of Existence”:

    “This workshop will be an exploration of the central Buddhist teaching of the ‘Three Characteristics of Existence’. These three universal characteristics — impermanence, dissatisfaction and not-self — can be thought of as the infrastructure of life. Through meditation practice we can acquaint ourselves with their truth, and strengthen our awareness of their presence in the whole of our experience.

    “The more we learn to move within the natural stream of the Three Characteristics, the more directly we will experience the freedom of Dharma. The understanding of impermanence is an antidote to attachment and ill will. The understanding of dissatisfaction is an antidote to craving and clinging. The understanding of not-self is an antidote to the suffering that arises from our misconception that we are a disconnected, independent self.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include meditation (with instructions), walking/reflective periods, and a Dhamma talk.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    This week I would like to highlight Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s 2013 short essay “What’s So Noble about the Four Noble Truths?,” which was recently featured at Tricycle.com:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/four-noble-truths-thanissaro-bhikkhu/

    Than Geoff (as Thanissaro is also known) is quite a prolific scholar, with essays frequently appearing in Tricycle, Lion’s Roar, and at Access To Insight. You can also find many of his books and talks at http://www.dhammatalks.org

    Finally, I want to leave you with “Love Is Not Weakness,” a short (2min. 30sec.) video clip from a recent public appearance by Sharon Salzberg:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/sharon-salzberg-love-is-not-weakness/

    Incidentally, Sharon will be back in the neck of woods on June 10 for a “weekend intensive of Kirtan (concert of devotional chanting) and spiritual teachings” with Krishna Das and special guest Lama Surya Das. For more details, please visit http://krishnadas.com/event/power-loving-heart-krishna-das-sharon-salzberg-lama-surya-das/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  69. on May 1, 2018 at 3:09 am | Reply Tim Little

    REMINDER — 5/1/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    Also happening tomorrow evening, Ajahn Jayanto will be the guest teacher at the Souhegan Insight Meditation’s Tuesday Night Sit. This event will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Milford, NH, from 6:00 to 7:30. For those who may be unfamiliar with him, Ajahn Jayanto is Abbot of the Temple Forest Monastery in Temple, NH. He is a native of New England whose interest in Buddhism was sparked by a class at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center. He ordained as a monk in 1991 and practiced in monasteries in Thailand and England before moving back to the US in 2014 to serve as abbot of Temple Forest Monastery. For more details on this event, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    Looking ahead to the weekend, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for the morning (10am to 12:30pm) retreat “Waking Up To Your Life: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students”:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also taking place this weekend is “Impermanence As A Dharma Door: A Multi-Day Retreat” at CIMC with Matthew Hepburn and Narayan Liebenson. This non-residential retreat will begin on Saturday, May 5, at 9am and conclude next Wednesday evening, May 9, at 9pm:

    “There are many ways to enter into the truth of things and to discover inner liberation of heart and mind. One classical way in the Buddha’s teachings is through the doorway of impermanence. To understand and live in alignment with the temporary nature of experiences is to find a true place to rest. During this retreat, we will explore this law of nature in a variety of ways, finding out where our stuck places are and moving through them into spaciousness and ease.
    “The format of this five-day retreat invites each of us to intentionally combine formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend, emphasizing the familiar formal practices of sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three days, we will meet in the evenings only. Participants will be given a meditation exercise to practice with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life. Coming together again at the end of the day we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises.

    “Individual interviews may be offered.

    “This retreat is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include talks, discussion, sitting meditation as well as time for questions. Participants must attend both Saturday and Sunday, and are strongly encouraged to attend all five days. For those unable to attend any of the weekdays, we offer weekend-only registration.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Lion’s Roar recently reported on Google’s collaboration with California-based nonprofit CyArk to digitally preserve ancient Buddhist sites in virtual reality. To check it out, visit https://www.lionsroar.com/google-digitally-preserves-ancient-buddhist-sites-in-virtual-reality/

    Lion’s Roar also re-published a 2004 interview with the late Sayadaw U Pandita, in which he enumerates the step-by-step process of Vipassana meditation. Nice and succinct: https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-practice-vipassana-insight-meditation/

    And finally, in yet another article from the Lion’s Roar archives, Tibetan teacher Pema Chodron takes a look at 4 different kinds of laziness: https://www.lionsroar.com/start-where-you-arelooking-into-laziness/

    That is all for this week.

    I will be away tomorrow evening, but look forward to rejoining you on the 8th.

    Metta,
    Tim


  70. REMINDER — 4/24/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    This weekend’s CIMC benefit event with psychiatrist Mark Epstein is unsurprisingly sold out, but there are still a few events coming up this Saturday, April 28:

    Meghan Dutton will be at IMC Newburyport from 9am to 1pm for a “Mindfulness and Yoga Retreat for Educators and Caregivers”:

    “This retreat is geared towards educators, administrators, caregivers, and all who are interested in practicing mindfulness to invigorate themselves for their work with young people. We will start out morning with gentle yoga, then practice mindfulness meditation through sitting, walking, and eating. Infused throughout will be discussions on the impact of these experiences, as well as a basic introduction to the science of mindfulness, and how we can tap this internal resource throughout our day to support our work with children and teens.”

    For more information, please visit http://imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, our friends at Souhegan Insight Meditation will host a day of “Writing and Mindfulness with Cheryl Wilfong.” This event will take place from 10am to 4pm at the Rise Up Center in Wilton, NH:

    “Vermont author and meditation teacher, Cheryl Wilfong, will lead us in a day of meditation and writing to explore the wisdom of our deepest voice. Throughout the day there will be periods of sitting and walking meditation, writing prompts and sharing. This retreat is suitable for all levels meditators and writers. Sharing of writing is optional. Directions are simple: Sit. Breathe. Write.”

    To register, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/2018-writing/

    There are also still tickets available for next Monday evening’s (April 30) special screening of “MANTRA: Sounds Into Silence” at the Methuen 20 theater, arranged by our friends at Great Pond Sangha.

    “A feature-length documentary, exploring the new music and social phenomenon of chanting, MANTRA – Sounds into Silence shares the stories of people who are finding healing and a sense of inner peace by singing mantras together with others just like them. It’s a film about spirituality not religion, it’s about people reconnecting with their true selves and with others.

    “As our characters’ stories about their connection to the music unfold, we meet the musicians who have inspired them and brought them together. Through these encounters we will discover how Snatam Kaur, Deva Premal & Miten, Krishna Das, Lama Gyurme, Jai Uttal and MC Yogi, amongst others, came to this music themselves and to the practice of Kirtan, and how, over the years, it transformed their lives too.”

    To purchase tickets for this event, please visit https://gathr.us/screening/22799

    Brenda, Christine and I took advantage of the opportunity to hear Analayo Bhikkhu speak at Harvard Divinity School this past Friday evening. The event was divided into two parts, beginning with a conversation between Ven. Analayo and Harvard professor Charles Hallisey — moderated by Wisdom Publications’ Daniel Aitken — on early Buddhist views of rebirth and contemporary research. Following a short break, Ven. Analayo gave an overview of his academic career and the recounted the development of his expertise in the study of early Buddhist teachings. Unfortunately there were some difficulties with the A/V system that made portions of the conversation difficult to hear, but it was an informative evening nonetheless. It was also nice to see some familiar faces in the audience.

    Ven. Analayo’s recent book on early Buddhist views of rebirth and modern research on the subject shares the fascinating account of a Sri Lankan boy named Dhammaruwan, who at the age of 2, spontaneously began to sit in meditation and chant in an “unknown” language. The boy’s father recorded the chanting, which was later identified to be suttas from the Pali canon. Analayo suggests that these recordings (made when Dhammaruwan was about 3 years old) challenge conventional assumptions about past lives, and go beyond anecdotal accounts and later-life recall of childhood events. Samples of the 40-year old recordings are available for listening via the Wisdom Publications’ website: https://www.wisdompubs.org/rebirth-early-buddhism

    Professor Hallisey, by the way, is an renowned expert on the Therigatha (“verses of the elder nuns”) — a collection of poems composed by early Buddhist nuns — and teaches the free, online class “Buddhism Through Its Scriptures” at https://online-learning.harvard.edu/course/buddhism-through-its-scriptures

    Finally this week I want to leave you with the latest episode of Krista Tippett’s On Being radio show. Zen priest angel Kyodo williams was Tippett’s guest this past week, speaking on “social evolution and the spiritual aspect of social healing” (50 min.): https://onbeing.org/programs/the-world-is-our-field-of-practice-apr2018/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  71. REMINDER — 4/17/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Friday evening (6:30pm to 8:30pm), April 20, Analayo Bhikkhu will be at Harvard Divinity School to give a talk on the subject of his latest book, Rebirth In Early Buddhism. The event is free, however advance registration is required:

    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rebirth-in-early-buddhism-an-evening-with-bhikkhu-analayo-tickets-44640935239

    Brenda and I are planning to go, if anyone else would like to join us.

    Then on Saturday, April 21, Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC for “From Fear to Calm and Wisdom,” a day-long workshop (10am to 4pm):

    “Fear is a primary obstacle on the path of awakening, as well as in our daily lives. Working with fear requires a gentle perseverance and commitment to being awake to what is. This contrasts with the effort to conquer fear. Rather, the practice is to face our fear and allow for its dissolving.

    “We will work with two meditative approaches during this workshop. These are the methods of calm and investigation, otherwise known as samatha vipassana. Learning to calm ourselves (samatha) in the midst of fear is an essential skill. We then use this calm to investigate (vipassana) its true nature. When the mind is calmer, we can look at fear directly and without as much reactivity. This kind of investigation fosters the perspective of learning instead of simply trying to get rid of fear. Gradually, and with sustained interest, we begin to see into the fact that fear is subject to the same laws as any other phenomena; it is transitory and impermanent.

    “By developing our capacity to meet fear with balance and an open heart we can unbind ourselves from its energy and cultivate wisdom and inner freedom.

    “This workshop is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include talks, discussion, sitting meditation as well as time for questions.”

    For more information, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org/product/from-fear-to-calm-and-wisdom-apr-2018/

    Looking a bit further ahead, on April 28 Souhegan Insight Meditation will sponsor a day of “Writing and Mindfulness with Cheryl Wilfong”:

    “Vermont author and meditation teacher, Cheryl Wilfong, will lead us in a day of meditation and writing to explore the wisdom of our deepest voice. Throughout the day there will be periods of sitting and walking meditation, writing prompts and sharing. This retreat is suitable for all levels meditators and writers. Sharing of writing is optional. Directions are simple: Sit. Breathe. Write.”

    To register, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/2018-writing/

    (On Tuesday, May 1, SIM will host Ajahn Jayanto for an evening meditation and dharma talk.)

    There are also still tickets available for the April 30 special screening of “Mantra: Sounds Into Silence” at the Methuen 20 theater. I will be attending with a few of my co-workers, and welcome anyone from the Tuesday evening sangha who would like to join us: https://gathr.us/screening/22799

    Finally, I highly recommend the latest Tricycle Talks podcast. In this episode (46 min.), Judson Brewer, who is the director of research at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, talks with Tricycle’s Amy Gross about Jud’s book, The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love—Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits. This is pretty close to essential listening, in my opinion, and a wonderful example of the synergy between ancient Buddhist practices and modern psychiatry:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/judson-brewer-craving-mind/

    That is all for this week. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  72. REMINDER — 4/10/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday morning (9:30am to 1pm), April 14, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for the fourth of six monthly workshops based on Kilung Rinpoche’s book “The Relaxed Mind”:

    “It is a secular approach, which has its roots in the wisdom and compassion tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, and thus offers a slightly different perspective than many of our offerings at IMCN. Each month for six months, Matthew will lead meditations based on one or two of the seven meditations. There will be quiet sitting and walking periods (30 minutes and 20 minutes) as well as discussion periods. It would be helpful, but not necessary to read the chapter of the book that we will be working with prior or after the given workshop. This workshop is suitable for all levels, and you may attend any of the sessions or all six in a progressive manner depending on your schedule and interest level. Come and explore ‘The Relaxed Mind’ for yourself, you may find that it supports the quality of your moment by moment experience and brings a welcomed element of compassion and wakeful relaxation to your formal and daily life practice!”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, on Saturday, April 28, Souhegan Insight Meditation will host a “Writing and Mindfulness” retreat with Cheryl Wilfong at the Rise Up Center in Wilton, NH: http://nhmeditation.org/events/2018-writing/

    Also on April 28, Mark Epstein will be at Lesley University for a special workshop to benefit CIMC: https://cambridgeinsight.org/product/benefit-workshop-with-mark-epstein/

    Then on Monday evening, April 30, Great Pond Sangha has arranged for a special screening of the new documentary film “MANTRA: Sound Into Silence” at the Methuen 20 theater: https://gathr.us/screening/22799

    Starting this month Tricycle has added a new monthly “Sutta Study” feature to their Trike Daily blog. Each month Insight meditation teacher Peter Doobinin will explore one of the Buddha’s suttas, focusing on the practical application of the teachings in our day-to-day lives. This month Peter takes a look at the Thana Sutta on “the cultivation of skillful action”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/sutta-study-thana/

    Finally, Lion’s Roar contributor Charlotte Rotterdam offers her thoughts on “The Suffering of Busyness”: https://www.lionsroar.com/the-suffering-of-busyness/

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  73. REMINDER — 4/3/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this week.

    First, on Saturday, April 7, Chris Crotty will be at IMCN for “The Body of Wisdom: The Buddha’s First Teaching on Mindfulness,” a morning retreat from 9:30am to 1pm:

    “The Buddha’s teachings on mindfulness begin with the body. Often a place of discomfort, pain, or self-consciousness, our bodies can be a source of stress in our lives. For each of us, having a body means inevitable change and illness. As much as we might like, we cannot control our body. In the end, our bodies all share the same fate. This same body however, can be a source of understanding that leads to greater freedom from suffering. In this half-day retreat we will explore the Buddhas’ instructions on meditating with the body through periods of sitting and walking meditation, and personal reflection aimed at the deepest truths of the human body. Beginners and experienced practitioners welcome. Retreat will include guided meditation, silence, and discussion with an opportunity to ask questions.”

    Then on Sunday morning, April 8, Meghan Dutton and Erica Marcus will offer “Mindfulness for Teens Ages 13-18” from 10am to 11:30am:

    “This offering is especially geared for teens who would like to experience insight meditation (or mindfulness) and learn how to manage stress, build compassion for oneself and others, and improve a feeling of well-being and joy. The science behind mindfulness will be introduced, along with discussions, mindful movement, “loving kindness” and mindful sitting and walking practice sessions. All teens, ages 13-18, are welcome to come and experience this unique program.”

    For information on upcoming IMCN events, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also this weekend, Matthew Hepburn and Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC for “Impermanence as a Dharma Door” a multi-day non-residential retreat starting at 9am on Saturday, April 7, and ending at 9pm on Wednesday, April 11:

    “There are many ways to enter into the truth of things and to discover inner liberation of heart and mind. One classical way in the Buddha’s teachings is through the doorway of impermanence. To understand and live in alignment with the temporary nature of experiences is to find a true place to rest. During this retreat, we will explore this law of nature in a variety of ways, finding out where our stuck places are and moving through them into spaciousness and ease.

    “The format of this five-day retreat invites each of us to intentionally combine formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend, emphasizing the familiar formal practices of sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three days, we will meet in the evenings only. Participants will be given a meditation exercise to practice with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life. Coming together again at the end of the day we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises. Individual interviews may be offered.

    “This retreat is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include talks, discussion, sitting meditation as well as time for questions. Participants must attend both Saturday and Sunday, and are strongly encouraged to attend all five days. For those unable to attend any of the weekdays, we offer weekend-only registration.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    This past week Tricycle wrapped up its annual Meditation Month offerings with a couple of helpful articles.

    – Greg Krech offers some “tips from Japanese psychology on developing a consistent practice in an inconsistent life”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditating-japanese-psychology/

    – Ken McLeod offers his thoughts on the pitfalls of misunderstanding consistency in meditation:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-consistency/

    – And finally, in “Endless Practice” Zen teacher Jan Chozen Bays offers “mottos to help you stay committed” to your practice:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/endless-practice/

    That’s all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  74. REMINDER — 3/27/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. This week I will be filling in for Brenda, who is on retreat at IMS.

    Coming up this Tuesday evening (6pm to 7:30pm), March 29, Delia Kostner and Judy Seelye will being their 5-week “Introduction to Meditation” course at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Milford, NH:

    “This course will cover the basics of Insight Meditation practice. There will be instruction in sitting and walking meditation, as well as discussion of the benefits of a regular practice. This course is suitable for those who are new to meditation, or who wish to jump-start and establish a more regular practice.”

    For more information, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/2018-03-intro/

    Coming up this Saturday morning (9:30am to 1pm), March 31, Matthew Daniell will offer the third installment of his 6-part course based on Kilung Rinpoche’s book “The Relaxed Mind”:

    “In this series of workshops we will explore seven meditations that teach us to progressively relax our minds as a key to developing calmness, compassion, and insight. The meditations are based on the book, ‘The Relaxed Mind’ by Kilung Rinpoche, who has authorized Matthew to teach this material. It is a secular approach, which has its roots in the wisdom and compassion tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, and thus offers a slightly different perspective than many of our offerings at IMCN. Each month for six months, Matthew will lead meditations based on one or two of the seven meditations. There will be quiet sitting and walking periods (30 minutes and 20 minutes) as well as discussion periods. It would be helpful, but not necessary to read the chapter of the book that we will be working with prior or after the given workshop. This workshop is suitable for all levels, and you may attend any of the sessions or all six in a progressive manner depending on your schedule and interest level.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, the Souhegan Insight Meditation group also has a day-long “Writing and Mindfulness” retreat with Cheryl Wilfong coming up on April 28.

    On Monday evening, April 30, Laura Howell and our friends at Great Pond Sangha in North Andover have arranged for a special screening of “Mantra: Sounds into Silence” at the Methuen 20 theater:

    “A feature-length documentary, exploring the new music and social phenomenon of chanting, ‘MANTRA – Sounds into Silence’ shares the stories of people who are finding healing and a sense of inner peace by singing mantras together with others just like them. It’s a film about spirituality not religion, it’s about people reconnecting with their true selves and with others.

    “As our characters’ stories about their connection to the music unfold, we meet the musicians who have inspired them and brought them together. Through these encounters we will discover how Snatam Kaur, Deva Premal & Miten, Krishna Das, Lama Gyurme, Jai Uttal and MC Yogi, amongst others, came to this music themselves and to the practice of Kirtan, and how, over the years, it transformed their lives too.”

    To sign up for this event, please go to https://gathr.us/screening/22799

    This week I would like to highlight Sylvia Boorstein’s 2008 Lion’s Roar article “Living in the Divine Abodes,” an excerpt from her 2007 book “Happiness Is An Inside Job”: https://www.lionsroar.com/living-in-the-divine-abodes/

    Also worth sharing is “These Are Not ‘Your’ Thoughts,” a shorter excerpt from Joseph Goldstein’s 1987 book, “The Experience of Insight”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/joseph-goldstein-mindfulness-consciousness/

    Biju Sukumaran’s recent Tricycle article, “Hacking My Way to Consistent Meditation” — using “gamification” to develop a steady and successful practice — is also well worth a read: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/hacking-way-consistent-meditation/

    And I leave you with “The Mindful Living Board Game,” an offering from the folks at Mindful.org: https://www.mindful.org/boardgame/

    Enjoy!

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  75. REMINDER — 3/20/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will welcome the arrival of Spring — at least according to the calendar — with practice tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is scheduled to be the facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday, March 24, Ted Jones will be at IMCN for “Insight Meditation for Beginners” a morning (10am to 12:30pm) retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    Then on Sunday, March 25, Nancy Winkler will facilitate the Present Moment Poetry group from 2pm to 3:30pm:

    “One of the best tools in mindfulness practice today, as it has been for millennia, is poetry. Present moment-oriented poetry found in Buddhism and other traditions is a beautiful expression of, and support for, insight. Please join as we explore how bringing together these two forms has the power to bring us deeper into the mystery of being fully alive! We will start with a 30 minute silent meditation without instruction. Bring a poem, whether by you or a favorite poet, to read and discuss with the group. This community-member led group is intended for meditators who have attended at least two beginner drop-in classes at the center, or by permission of the Director.”

    For more information on upcoming IMCN events, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Matthew Hepburn and Zeenat Potia will lead “Practicing in Turbulent Times” a day-long CIMC (9am to 5pm) retreat for adults between ages 18 and 35:

    “This day of retreat will allow people ages 18 to 35 to gather and practice Insight Meditation (vipassana) in a supportive community setting. We will explore how meditation can be an anchor in times of external and internal turbulence. And, we will discuss how to navigate the pain we see in the world around us with wisdom and compassion.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Our day together will include instructions on Insight Meditation and metta practice and will unfold in silent sitting and walking meditation, guidance and Q&A sessions. There will be time after the retreat ends for participants to gather informally for refreshments and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, our friends at Souhegan Insight Meditation have a couple of events coming up.

    First, starting next Thursday evening, March 29, from 6pm to 7:30pm Delia and Judy will lead a 5-week “Introduction to Insight Meditation” course in Milford, NH:

    “This 5-session course will cover the basics of Insight Meditation practice. There will be instruction in sitting and walking meditation, as well as discussion of the benefits of a regular practice. This course is suitable for those who are new to meditation, or who wish to jump-start and establish a more regular practice.”

    Then on Saturday, April 28, Cheryl Wilfong will lead a day-long (10am to 4pm) “Writing and Mindfulness” retreat in Wilton, NH. This day of meditation and writing will allow participants to “to explore the wisdom of our deepest voice”:

    “Throughout the day there will be periods of sitting and walking meditation, writing prompts and sharing. This retreat is suitable for all levels meditators and writers. Sharing of writing is optional. Directions are simple: Sit. Breathe. Write.”

    For more information, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    This week’s feature article is “How Meditation Changes Your Brain — and Your Life,” an Lion’s Roar excerpt from “Altered Traits,” the recent book by Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson. This article also features a 10-minute video conversation between Dan Goleman and Lion’s Roar editor-in-chief Melvin McLeod:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/how-meditation-changes-your-brain-and-your-life/

    And, finally, I leave you with “Calming the Not Now Mind,” Kate Johnson’s “meditation tips for procrastinators and perfectionists”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/calming-not-now-mind/

    That’s all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow night.

    Metta,
    Tim


  76. CANCELLED — 3/13/18 meditation group

    Greetings! Due to the forecast for inclement weather tomorrow evening, this week’s meditation group will be cancelled. We will be back in action next Tuesday, March 20, at 7:30pm.

    There are a couple of events to look forward to this coming weekend. On Saturday, March 17, Chas DiCapua will be at IMCN for “Mindfulness of Mind,” a day-long meditation retreat (9am to 5pm, with a morning-only option):

    “This is the third foundation of mindfulness from the Buddha’s teaching on the Four Foundations or establishments of Mindfulness. Thoughts, emotions and mind states comprise the domain of the mind. This is exactly the terrain where we have desire, aversion and all the other ways we tend to suffer. Looking directly at the contents of mind allows us to see their true nature, which is, they don’t belong to us. They are not self. This understanding is established to the degree that we stop being tyrannized by their presence. Progressive instructions for how to use the contents of mind as meditation objects will unfold throughout the day as we sit, stand and walk. While this retreat is open to people who have not had prior retreat experience, it may be more suitable for those who have a bit more experience.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Then on Sunday, March 18, Rebecca Bradshaw will be at CIMC for a day-long (10am to 5pm) workshop “Developing Our Steady and Graceful Heart”:

    “Gracefulness can be described as the ability to move freely and flow with the change. Our vipassana practice is learning about gracefulness by studying the heart’s response to this changing world; the places in our heart/minds that are rigid, or demanding, begin to soften and bend with circumstances. The supremely graceful heart is able to connect fully with reality and is therefore able to be beautifully present in this world.

    “Through an emphasis on our embodied experience, infused with loving kindness, we will explore where there is rigidity and contraction and encourage the gracefulness of softening and connecting with reality just as it is.

    “This workshop is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include talks, discussion, sitting meditation as well as time for questions.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I want to start off this week’s e-mail with “Six Ways to Prepare for Meditation” — a short excerpt from “The Mind Illuminated” by John Yates and Matthew Immergut. Some good tips here:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/six-ways-to-prepare-for-meditation/

    This week’s feature article is from the current (Spring 2018) issue of Tricylce. In “Mindfulness” author Sarah Conover explores the ways in which the ego can “convert anything to its own use — even spiritual practice”:

    https://tricycle.org/magazine/minefulness-case-study/

    Many of you may be familiar with Access to Insight, the wonderful online resource for many things related to the Pali canon (http://www.accesstoinsight.org). ATI has now been joined by, SuttaCentral, a recently revamped website dedicated to “accurate and reliable” English-language translations of the early Buddhist texts. Lion’s Roar’s Haleigh Atwood has a short write-up, including an interview with SuttaCentral’s curator, Sujato Bhikkhu:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/suttacentral-relaunches-website-with-new-translation-of-the-four-pali-nikayas/

    (I have also added SuttaCentral to our own list of links: https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/resources/links/)

    Speaking of translations, Tricycle recently featured Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s version of the Satipatthana Sutta (Discourse on Establishing Mindfulness) among its Meditation Month resources:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/satipatthana-sutta-mindfulness/

    Also for Meditation Month, Tricycle’s Caitlin Van Dusen compiled a list of the “Top Five Meditation Timer Apps for iOS” (apologies to Android users):

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-timer-app/

    Notably absent from this list is the venerable — and multi-platform — Insight Timer (https://insighttimer.com), and Samsara (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/samsara-timer/id592333521?mt=8), my personal go-to meditation (iOS only).

    That’s all for now. I hope everyone finds an opportunity to do some study/practice at home tomorrow — say, between 7:30pm and 9:30pm. I look forward to seeing everyone again on the 20th.

    Metta,
    Tim


  77. REMINDER — 3/6/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this weekend, on Saturday, March 10, Meghan Dutton and Erica Marcus will be at IMCN for a morning (9am to 1pm) “Mindfulness and Yoga Retreat for Educators and Caregivers”:

    “This retreat is geared towards educators, administrators, caregivers, and all who are interested in practicing mindfulness to invigorate themselves for their work with young people. We will start out morning with gentle yoga, then practice mindfulness meditation through sitting, walking, and eating. Infused throughout will be discussions on the impact of these experiences, as well as a basic introduction to the science of mindfulness, and how we can tap this internal resource throughout our day to support our work with children and teens.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also this weekend, at CIMC, Narayan Liebenson will lead a 2-day non-residential retreat on “The Four Beautiful Qualities of the Heart”:

    “In this weekend retreat we will turn our attention to the ‘Four Beautiful Qualities of Heart’ known as the Brahmaviharas, or Divine Abodes. These essential qualities are: loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. Each of us has the inherent capacity to strengthen these qualities in our own hearts and minds. Through practice they may become our dwelling places where we feel “at home”, not merely places we visit on occasion.

    “There are specific instructions and practices for cultivating each of the four Brahmaviharas. Over the course of the weekend there will be instruction and practice with each one. We will investigate:

    Loving-Kindness on Saturday morning;
    Compassion on Saturday afternoon;
    Joy on Sunday morning; and
    Equanimity on Sunday afternoon.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Our time together will include guided meditation periods, talks and time for discussion and questions.

    “Participants are strongly encouraged to attend both days, however, Saturday-only and Sunday-only registrations are also available.”

    The retreat will run from 9am to 7pm on Saturday, March 10, and from 9am to 5pm on Sunday, March 11.

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I want to lead off this week by sharing a link to this past week’s episode of On Being with Krista Tippett. Her March 1 show featured Tippett’s 2016 interview with author Stephen Batchelor on “Wondrous Doubt” and Batchelor’s own particular flavor of “secular Buddhism”. The show runs just over 50 minutes:

    https://onbeing.org/programs/stephen-batchelor-wondrous-doubt-mar2018/

    I also want to share “How to Mindfully Work with Positive Emotions,” Allen Weiss’s brief article from the current issue of Lion’s Roar:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/the-real-source-of-happiness/

    And in closing, I’ll leave you with 2 contributions from Sylvia Boorstein. The first is “Stuck at the Airport?” a short 2014 article from Lion’s Roar: https://www.lionsroar.com/bad-day-airport/

    The second is a short (~2 min.) video of Sylvia offering her reflections on her teacher’s teacher, Dipa Ma, and the “mind of equanimity”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/what-dipa-ma-taught-sylvia-boorstein-about-the-mind-of-equanimity/

    That’s all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  78. REMINDER — 2/27/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will quietly celebrate its 12th anniversary tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will be this week’s practice facilitator.

    Coming up this weekend, CIMC will host a 2-day non-residential retreat with Thanissara and Kittisaro. “Reclamation of the Sacred: A Journey of Healing and Reconnection Through Insight Meditation” (9am to 5pm on Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5) “will focus on the embodiment of insight that reveals a blessed sacredness within all life.”

    “Through training our attention, wise discernment and investigation, the Amata Dharma – undying Dharma – is intuitively known as the core matrix of pure consciousness within all that emerges and dissolves. Such knowing begins to transform our world, personally and collectively, enabling and strengthening an inner sense of freedom and confidence.

    “Together we will explore these themes supported by guided meditations, Dharma talks, some chanting, and qigong. This program is appropriate for both beginners and experienced practitioners. Everyone is welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, IMCN will host a pair of morning events this weekend. On Saturday, Jim Austin will offer a “Mindfulness Yoga and Insight Meditation” workshop (9:30am to 1pm); on Sunday, Meghan Dutton and Erica Marcus will offer the retreat “Mindfulness for Teens Ages 13-18.” For information on either event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also starting this week is Tricycle’s annual March “Meditation Month” challenge. Mindy Newman will lead weekly guided meditation videos focusing on strategies for overcoming obstacles to practice. “Newman’s lessons build on one another, starting from the body and moving to the mind and then past the cushion, considering what ripple effects your practice will have on your life.” The video teachings will be supplemented by articles posted on the Trike Daily blog and a Facebook discussion group. To find out more, please visit https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-2018/

    In lieu of additional links this week, I just want to take a moment to reflect on the resilience of our small community. While the precise form of our little group has morphed with the passage of time, it impresses me that — with very few exceptions — some number of us have come together to practice for 2 hours every single Tuesday evening for the past 12 years. The seeds that Abhaya planted seem to have taken root. And while our sangha “tree” may yet be slow-growing and modest in size, its fruit nourishes not just each one of us, but indeed all of those with whom we interact: family, friends, co-workers, strangers, “difficult people.” This practice truly does make a difference. So may we continue to “strive on with diligence” for the benefit of all beings, including each and every one of us.

    I hope to see you all tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  79. REMINDER — 2/20/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    On Saturday morning (9:30am to 1pm), February 24, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for the second of six monthly workshops based on Kilung Rinpoche’s book “The Relaxed Mind”:

    “It is a secular approach, which has its roots in the wisdom and compassion tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, and thus offers a slightly different perspective than many of our offerings at IMCN. Each month for six months, Matthew will lead meditations based on one or two of the seven meditations. There will be quiet sitting and walking periods (30 minutes and 20 minutes) as well as discussion periods. It would be helpful, but not necessary to read the chapter of the book that we will be working with prior or after the given workshop. This workshop is suitable for all levels, and you may attend any of the sessions or all six in a progressive manner depending on your schedule and interest level. Come and explore ‘The Relaxed Mind’ for yourself, you may find that it supports the quality of your moment by moment experience and brings a welcomed element of compassion and wakeful relaxation to your formal and daily life practice!”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC for the day-long (10am to 4pm) workshop “Inner Strength for Difficult Times: The Approach of Vipassana Meditation”:

    “Most of us would agree that we are living in times that require the utmost inner strength, wisdom, and compassion. The ongoing sense of threat in a variety of dimensions has aroused fear, anger and the anguish of living in an uncertain world. We are not helpless. The Buddha’s teaching, featuring the practice of Vipassana meditation, is an invaluable resource that can help us remain calm and clear-minded no matter what circumstances – internal or external — we find ourselves in. We can learn to take good care of ourselves, and of others, using our practice to do so.

    “This workshop is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include talks, discussion, sitting meditation as well as time for questions.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    There is also space still available for a number of upcoming courses at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, including the following:

    3/9-14: “Distraction: Strategies for Overcoming Distracting Thoughts” with Shaila Catherine

    3/25-30: “Breathing with Mindfulness of Body, Feelings, Mind, and Realities” with Santikaro

    4/11-15: “Working with Afflictive Mind States: For Mental Health Professionals” with Bill and Susan Morgan

    Spirit Rock Meditation Center has a couple of self-paced online classes on offer:

    Mark Coleman is leading an 8-segment course based on his his latest book, “Make Peace with Your Mind”:
    https://spiritrock.org/calendarDetails?EventID=5843&mc_cid=1e92c21b9c&mc_eid=24b16e8492

    And Sylvia Boorstein offers an 11-segment course on “Everyday Life As Mindfulness Practice”:
    https://spiritrock.org/calendarDetails?EventID=5842&mc_cid=1e92c21b9c&mc_eid=24b16e8492

    Spirit Rock also has a substantial collection of free online resources (complied thanks to the Mindfulness Exercises website):

    GUIDED MEDITATIONS

    MINDFULNESS VIDEOS

    INTRODUCTION TO INSIGHT MEDITATION

    DAYLONG & RETREAT WISDOM TALKS

    WISDOM QUOTES & IMAGES

    DR. DAN SIEGEL – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

    MINDFULNESS TEACHERS ON FATHERHOOD

    QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER

    Finally, I leave you with “Three Tactics from the Buddha to Forgive without Defeat,” a new short essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu via Tricycle.com:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/three-tactics-forgive-without-defeat/

    That’s all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  80. REMINDER — 2/13/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday, February 17, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for “Awakening to the Present Moment,” a morning (10am to 12:30pm) retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly.  As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    The following Saturday, February 24, Matthew will offer the second in a six-part series of monthly morning workshops on “The Relaxed Mind,” based on eponymous book by Kilung Rinpoche.

    For more information on upcoming IMCN events, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Cambridge Insight is closed for the Presidents’ Day weekend, but will be back in action on the 24th with “Inner Strength in Difficult Times,” a day-long workshop guided by Narayan Liebenson. For more information on this and other CIMC offerings, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I want to lead off this week by revisiting “On Suffering and the End of Suffering,” an older (1997) Shambhala Sun article written by Sharon Salzberg:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/the-buddha-taught-one-thing-only/

    I also want to share “Reclaiming Love,” a newer Valentine’s Day-themed post by Oren Jay Sofer. This short essay is accompanied by a 15-minute audio guided meditation, which I highly recommend:

    http://www.orenjaysofer.com/blog/2018/reclaiming-love

    And, finally, I’ll leave you with Joanna Hardy’s brief instructions on “How to Practice Loving-Kindness” from the July 2017 issue of Lion’s Roar:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-practice-loving-kindness/

    That’s all for this week. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  81. REMINDER — 2/6/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this weekend, on Saturday, February 10, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN for the morning (9:30am to 1pm) workshop “Exploring Aging, Sickness, and Death as Gateways to Living A Fuller Life”:

    “The Buddha taught that old age, illness, and the inevitability of death can be powerful positive teachers in our lives. In this workshop we will combine discussion, reflection, and silent meditation periods to help us explore how these universal themes can actually help wake us up to a richer, more fulfilling life, now.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Narayan Liebenson will be in Cambridge for CIMC’s Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat:

    “The Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat offers an intensive opportunity to practice in the company of other dedicated practitioners.

    “In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat will include open periods of individual practice in sitting, walking, standing and lying down. This format is intended to foster self-reliance, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. On Saturday evening, there will be a sharing circle; a meditative question will be asked and investigated.

    “Participants are strongly encouraged to attend both days, however, Saturday-only and Sunday-only registrations are also available. It is necessary to commit to being present for the entirety of the day, or days, you attend.”

    The retreat runs from 9am to 8pm on Saturday, and from 9am to 5pm on Sunday. For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    For those who may be interested in longer periods of practice and/or study, IMS and BCBS each have openings available for many 2018 offerings:

    http://www.dharma.org
    http://www.bcbsdharma.org 

    Also, there have been some murmurings recently about holding our own practice day at First Parish. It has been far too long — nearly 2 years — since we last offered an event of this sort for our own community. I will have to check with Leila P. regarding availability of space at First Parish, but please let me know 1) if you would be interested in a Spring Retreat Day on a Saturday in April or May, and if so 2) what you might like that day to look like (themes, structure, etc.).

    I want to highlight two articles this week. The first is Sam Littlefair’s account of this past weekend’s meeting of more than 200 Buddhists — including Sharon Salzberg and Bhikkhu Bodhi — in New York City to “to envision solutions to social ills and to discuss the prospect of a joint Buddhist action movement.”

    https://www.lionsroar.com/200-buddhists-gather-in-new-york-to-address-urgent-social-crises/

    The second article – “The Moral Challenge of Our Time” — is a shortened version of a longer essay by Bhikkhu Bodhi (originally appearing in the Buddhist Global Relief blog back in September), in which he raises many of the issues discussed by the NYC gathering:

    https://www.buddhistglobalrelief.org/index.php/en/?option=com_content&view=article&id=154

    And in closing, I leave you with a shorter piece by Lion’s Roar’s Joanna Harper on “How To Practice Loving-Kindness”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-practice-loving-kindness/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening, and please do let me know your thoughts and feelings about a retreat day this spring.

    Metta,
    Tim


  82. REMINDER — 1/30/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    This Saturday, February 3, CIMC is offering a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) Beginners’ Workshop with Madeline Klyne:

    “This Beginners’ Workshop will include formal meditation instruction, guided sitting and walking practice, and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation (Vipassana). During our time together, participants will learn how to meditate along with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions.

    “This day-long program is appropriate for people who have little or no meditation experience, for those who are relatively new to Insight Meditation, and for anyone who would like to revisit the basics of meditation and deepen their practice. All are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, IMCN is offering a special Mindfulness for Teens half-day retreat. For more information on this event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Time is running out to register for Sharon Salzberg’s annual “Commit to Sit” Real Happiness Meditation Challenge, which begins this Thursday, February 1:

    “Now in its eighth year, this free 28-day challenge is powerful exploration of the tools of meditation led by expert teacher, Sharon Salzberg. Whether you are brand new to meditation, or a longtime practitioner, Sharon offers down-to-earth expertise based on 40+ years of practical experience studying and teaching. This month-long program follows Sharon’s New York Times bestselling book, Real Happiness and covering a wide variety of meditation techniques throughout the course of the month. Since 2011, tens of thousands have participated in this challenge from around the globe, fostering an inspiring community dedicated to finding deeper happiness and peace of mind.”

    To find out more, visit https://www.sharonsalzberg.com/meditation-challenge-2018-registration/

    I have just one article to share this week, an older blog post by Tricycle contributor (and former monk) Matthew Gindin on “What Did the Buddha Say About Lying?”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/buddhist-precept-about-lying/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  83. REMINDER — 1/23/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I am scheduled to be the facilitator this week.

    This Saturday, January 27, IMCN will kick off the first in series of 6 monthly morning workshops (9am to 1pm) based on the teachings of the Tibetan meditation master Kilung Rinpoche. Matthew Daniell will guide this exploration of “seven meditations that teach us to progressively relax our minds as a key to developing calmness, compassion, and insight,” from Rinpoche’s book “The Relaxed Mind”:

    The Relaxed Mind “is a secular approach, which has its roots in the wisdom and compassion tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, and thus offers a slightly different perspective than many of our offerings at IMCN. Each month for six months, Matthew will lead meditations based on one or two of the seven meditations. There will be quiet sitting and walking periods (30 minutes and 20 minutes) as well as discussion periods. It would be helpful, but not necessary to read the chapter of the book that we will be working with prior or after the given workshop. This workshop is suitable for all levels, and you may attend any of the sessions or all six in a progressive manner depending on your schedule and interest level. Come and explore ‘The Relaxed Mind’ for yourself, you may find that it supports the quality of your moment by moment experience and brings a welcomed element of compassion and wakeful relaxation to your formal and daily life practice!”

    For more information on this series and other offerings at IMCN, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday the 27th, George Mumford will be in Cambridge for the day-long (10am to 5pm) workshop “Connecting to Higher Power: Insight Meditation and the 11th Step”:

    “This workshop will focus on the 11th Step in the recovery process: improving conscious contact with Higher Power through prayer and meditation. [George has] used this process in [his] own recovery, and have been teaching it to others for over 30 years, and meditation continues to be very helpful in improving conscious contact with Higher Power/Higher Consciousness.

    “In this workshop, we will explore how we might incorporate the practices of Insight Meditation as part of a 12-step program. We will take a fresh look at recovery through the lens of mindfulness and wisdom:

    • Enhance your ability to live in the present moment with more confidence;
    • Feel more connected to self and others;
    • Develop a more compassionate, loving, and accepting attitude;
    • Learn to incorporate mindfulness into your life and lifelong recovery.

    “This program will support those seeking to practice the principles of the Twelve Steps and the Buddha’s teachings in everyday life. It will include instruction, discussion, sitting and walking meditation and time for Q&As.”

    Then on Sunday, January 28, Andrew Olendzki will visit CIMC for another day-long workshop (again 10am to 5pm) on “Sila: The Practice of Integrity”:

    “Sīla – ethical living and integrity – is the cornerstone upon which the entire Noble Eightfold Path is built. This day-long workshop focuses upon sīla as a practice. We look at how to live skillfully, experience profound well-being, and build a stable foundation of ethical behavior upon which progress in developing the mind and deepening wisdom can be supported and sustained.

    “The program includes a nuanced reading of the textual passages describing the five precepts, as well as teachings about generosity as a wider ethical practice, the cultivation of contentment, the skillful use of energy and intention, and learning to discern the difference between healthy and unhealthy behaviors and states of mind. It concludes with a close reading of the householder’s guide to happiness, the Mangala Sutta, a discourse on the many kinds of blessings one can experience when living with integrity.

    “Appropriate for both new and experienced meditators, this course is primarily lecture with some periods of discussion and meditation.”

    For more information on either CIMC event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Buddhist psychiatrist Mark Epstein is out with a new book, “Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself.” Epstein has previously penned such classics as “Going To Pieces Without Falling Apart,” “Psychotherapy Without the Self,” and “The Trauma of Everyday Life.” In his latest book, Epstein “reveals how Buddhism and Western psychotherapy, two traditions that developed in entirely different times and places and, until recently, had nothing to do with each other, both identify the ego as the limiting factor in our well-being, and both come to the same conclusion: When we give the ego free reign, we suffer; but when it learns to let go, we are free.”

    Epstein recently joined contributing editor Amy Gross for a lengthy (49 min.) Tricycle Talks conversation about “how the two realms of wisdom view the idea of self as both problematic and helpful, and the ways meditation… [allows] us to let go of the identities that constrict us.”

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/mark-epstein-advice-not-given/

    To learn more about Epstein’s new book, visit https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/538814/advice-not-given-by-mark-epstein-md/9780399564321/

    In closing this week I leave you with a reprise of Diana Winston’s “How to Meditate Every Day — Even if You Would Rather Be Thrown into a Shark-Infested Ocean”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/sit-every-day-advice-plus-ten-suggestions-for-having-a-regular-daily-practice-even-if-you-would-rather-be-thrown-into-a-shark-infested-ocean/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  84. REMINDER — 1/16/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday at IMC Newburyport, Ted Jones will be on hand to offer “The Mindful Moment” a morning (10am to 12:30pm) retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly.  As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Special weekend events at CIMC are still on hold until January 27-28, when George Mumford and Andrew Oldenzki will each present a day-long (10am to 5pm) workshop . On Saturday, George will offer  “Connecting to Higher Power: Insight Meditation and the 11th Step;” on Sunday, Andy will offer “Sila: The Practice of Integrity.” To learn more about either event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I want to begin this week by sharing “Restoring the Mind to Kindness,” a recently republished excerpt from Sylvia Boorstein’s 2007 classic “Happiness Is An Inside Job”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/restoring-the-mind-to-kindness

    Next is “Letting Go of What It All Means,” a newer short essay written for Lion’s Roar by Josh Korda:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/josh-korda-on-letting-go-of-what-it-all-means/

    Lion’s Roar’s Haleigh Atwood also checks in with news of the development a new psychological scale to measure lovingkindness and compassion:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/can-you-measure-lovingkindness/

    Finally, author Dan Harris is out with a new book — “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics” — and checks in at Tricycle with “5 Reasons You (And Everyone Else) Are Having A Hard Time Meditating”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/5-reasons-everyone-else-hard-time-meditating/

    That’s all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  85. REMINDER — 1/9/18 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC is still on break from its weekend activities until the end of the month, but IMCN is back in full swing this weekend with the weekend retreat “Finding Freedom and Ease” with Chris Crotty:

    “Through insight meditation we calm the mind and investigate the root cause of suffering.  Genuine freedom we learn, is not a complicated path, despite the confusion we may experience in our life.  The depth of the Buddha’s liberation teachings are in their simplicity: radical transformation is found in our capacity to be with experience as it is; we don’t need to change anything. This weekend retreat will explore the highest ideal of Buddhist teachings – freedom from suffering – through mindfulness meditation and an emphasis on ease and self-acceptance.

    “Open to those new to retreat and ongoing practitioners.  Retreat will include meditation instruction, sitting and walking meditation, dharma talks and individual interviews.”

    The retreat begins Friday evening, January 12, at 7pm and concludes on Sunday, January 14, at noon. While the residential option for the retreat is full with a waiting list, commuter and Saturday-only (9am to 9pm) options are still available. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also, starting next Monday, January 15, Michele McDonald will kick off the 6-week online course, “RAIN: The Nourishing Art of Mindful Inquiry.”

    “RAIN stands for Recognition, Acceptance, Interest, and Non-Identification, the qualities that make up a moment of mindfulness. Because of its simplicity and power, RAIN has become recommended by meditation teachers worldwide as a helpful approach to steering us through challenging emotions and situations.”

    For more information, please visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/rain?utm_source=CTANS

    The issue of bhikkhuni ordination in Thailand was the subject of a story by NPR’s Michael Sullivan this past weekend. Sullivan spoke with members of the growing “underground” movement of women monastics, as well as with noted Thai Buddhist scholar and political gadfly Sulak Sivaraksa. Great story. (4 min.):

    https://www.npr.org/2018/01/06/576197738/the-female-monks-of-thailand

    Also worth listening to is the recent interview with Guy Armstrong on the Tricycle Talks podcast. In his hour-long conversation with Trike contributing editor Amy Gross, he takes on the confounding concepts of emptiness and not-self:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/guy-armstrong-not-self/

    In addition to his recent book on the subject, “Emptiness: A Practical Guide for Meditators,” Armstrong also teaches an 8-week online course in conjunction with Wisdom Publications and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies:

    https://learn.wisdompubs.org/academy/courses/emptiness-meditators/

    Finally, I want to leave you with “Being Genuine in Meditation,” a recent offering from Lion’s Roar’s Carolyn Rose Gimian:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-meditate-being-genuine-by-carolyn-rose-gimian/

    That’s all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  86. REMINDER — 1/2/18 meditation group

    Greetings and happy 2018! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN weekend activities are still on hold for another few weeks. Michele McDonald’s online RAIN course at Tricycle.com will start on January 15. Information on upcoming events can be found at:

    http://www.cambridgeinsight.org
    http://www.imcnewburyport.org
    and https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/rain?utm_source=CTANS

    As we begin the new year I’d like to share the following essay by Taylor Plimpton, “Starting Over, Again.” I shared it with the group last week and think it’s a great way to start off the new year:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/winter-solstice-buddhism/

    While I am not personally a big one for making New Year’s resolutions, Anne Cushman’s two-year old article, “How to Establish A Daily Practice of Almost Anything in Six Steps,” may be useful for those of making changes that happen to coincide with the turn of the calendar:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-establish-a-daily-practice-of-almost-anything-in-six-steps/

    That is all for now; I wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe new year, and look forward to seeing you all tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  87. REMINDER — 12/26/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN both remain closed for their winter break, and will resume weekend activities in January.

    I want to begin this by highlighting this past week’s episode (possibly a rebroadcast) of On Being with Krista Tippett. Tippett’s guest is Br. David Steindl-Rast, whom Sue mentioned a few weeks ago. In “Anatomy of Gratitude,” Br. Steindl-Rast “speaks of the anatomy and practice of gratitude as full-blooded, reality-based, and redeeming. Now in his 90s, he has lived through a world war, the end of an empire, and the fascist takeover of his country. He was an early pioneer, together with Thomas Merton, of dialogue between Christian and Buddhist monastics. He’s also given a TED talk, viewed over six million times, on the subject of gratitude — a practice increasingly interrogated by scientists and physicians as a key to human well-being.”

    The full episode runs about 50 min.: https://onbeing.org/programs/david-steindl-rast-anatomy-of-gratitude-dec2017/

    The other piece I would like to feature this week is “The Science of the Mind and the Science of the Brain,” an excerpt, recently republished in Lion’s Roar, from the Dalai Lama’s 2005 book “The Universe In A Single Atom”: https://www.lionsroar.com/studying-mind-from-the-inside/

    Lion’s Roar also points out the the Dalai Lama now offers a free iPhone app to share news, videos, photos, and a schedule of His Holiness’s upcoming teachings: https://www.lionsroar.com/free-iphone-app-keeps-you-in-touch-with-the-dalai-lama/

    That is all for 2017; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening, and wish you and yours a happy, safe, and peaceful new year.

    Metta,
    Tim


  88. REMINDER — 12/19/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will be this week’s facilitator.

    IMCN and CIMC are both closed until after the new year, but each has some great events, including a weekend residential retreat with Chris Crotty in Newburyport on January 12-14, and the usual retreat and workshop offerings in Cambridge. Also coming up, Tricycle Online Courses will be running a 6-week course with Michele McDonald starting January 15. Stay tuned for additional details.

    In some exciting news, UMass Medical School has announced that it will soon launch the Division of Mindfulness under the direction of Dr. Judson Brewer. The division “will create the infrastructure and support for researchers dedicated to furthering our neuroscientific knowledge of how the mind works, and for what medical conditions mindfulness is efficacious.” To learn more visit the article at Tricycle.com: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/university-of-massachusetts-mindfulness/

    Meanwhile over at Mindful.org, Hugh Delehanty recounts a bit of the history of mindfulness research in “Meditators Under the Microscope”: https://www.mindful.org/meditators-under-the-microscope/

    As we near the end of 2017, Tricycle.com has published its list of the Best Buddhist Books of the year, including Robert Wright’s “Why Buddhism Is True,” Sharon Salzberg’s “Real Love,” and “The Monastery and the Microscope,” an series of conversations between the Dalai Lama and Western scientists. To check out the full list visit https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/top-buddhist-books-2017/

    Finally, Buddhist teacher Bodhipaksa “shares what the Buddha said about being misquoted, and speculates how he would’ve felt about fake Buddha quotes” in “Real Buddhist Quotes About Fake Buddha Quotes.” Enjoy: https://www.lionsroar.com/real-buddha-quotes-about-fake-buddha-quotes/

    That is all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  89. REMINDER — 12/12/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN founder Larry Rosenberg will turn 85 this week. The single-day retreat scheduled for Saturday at IMCN has been cancelled, and birthday celebrations at CIMC Friday evening and Saturday are already at capacity. One highlight of the weekend at CIMC is a screening of “Larry Rosenberg: Long Path Home” a new 40-minute documentary that “tells the story of Larry’s remarkable life journey and how his search for self-discovery gave rise to the creation of CIMC. The film is an intimate portrait of a beloved teacher and what he teaches.” You can learn more about the film and view a short (~3 min.) outtake at https://www.documentaries.org/larry-rosenberg-long-path-home-1/

    In other news, Doreen Schweizer, a long-time friend of our sangha and the Guiding Teacher at Valley Insight Meditation Society in Lebanon, NH, announced that she has stepped down from the latter position. Doreen will continue her teaching activity in the new year following a month-long personal retreat at the Forest Refuge. For more on news at Valley Insight, please visit http://valleyinsight.org

    Best wishes to both Larry and Doreen!

    This week’s highlight is Lion’s Roar’s recent publication of an excerpt from Ethan Nichtern’s new book, “The Dharma of the Princess Bride.” While not a dharma film per se The Princess Bride certainly holds a special place in my heart, and Nichtern offers a fresh and insightful perspective on this ‘80s cult classic: https://www.lionsroar.com/the-dharma-of-the-princess-bride/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  90. REMINDER — 12/5/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be the facilitator this week.

    CIMC and IMCN each has an event coming up this Saturday, December 9.

    On Saturday morning, from 9am to 1pm, Ron Denhardt will be in Cambridge for “Coming to Our Home of Peace and Connection,” a half-day retreat:

    “In this retreat, there will be an encouragement to open to the innate calm that is available to us when we step out of our doing, busy life. There is nothing that needs to be done or achieved. We have the opportunity to connect with our true home, a place of refuge where mind, body and heart are balanced and connected. From this place of balance and connection, we can investigate habitual patterns in a tender way. We can step out of our conditioned “fixing” and “doing” and bring a quality of spacious awareness that offers peace in the midst of agitation, and comfort in the midst of discomfort. We cultivate the intention to be at ease, to treat ourselves and others with kindness and compassion, and to fully open to the as-it-is-ness of the moment.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile in Newburyport, Chas DiCapua will offer “Body Based Samadhi,” a day-long retreat (9am to 5pm, with a morning-only option):

    “Samadhi – a collected, restful mind — arises from calm, and the body is an excellent vehicle for cultivating calm. We will use the breath and other body approaches of practice to cultivate and focus on calm, letting Samadhi naturally emerge during this retreat.  We will then employ some energizing techniques, using the body, to balance the growing calm so that the energy doesn’t sink too low for mindfulness to be present and Samadhi to deepen. This retreat is suitable for those newer to practice, but can also serve as a helpful refinement for those who have lots of experience.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, Tricycle Online Courses has an intriguing offering coming up in the new year. Starting on January 15, Michele McDonald will offer a 6-week course on “RAIN: The Nourishing Art of Mindful Inquiry.”

    “Emotions are so wrapped up with our everyday experience that the two often seem inseparable. RAIN, a widely used approach developed by Vipassana teacher Michele McDonald, offers practitioners of all skill levels a way to investigate our emotional lives, so we can better regulate the instinctive reactions that cause stress and confusion. 

    “Since creating RAIN, Michele has expanded the acronym to RAINDROP, which includes Distraction, Resistance, Obliviousness, and Personification. Rather than thinking of these factors as problems or enemies to combat, we can understand them as conditioned defenses that we can investigate. No matter how many hours we may devote to formal practice on the cushion, in reality, we spend most of our waking hours distracted, resistant, and somewhat oblivious to what’s actually happening around us. RAIN charts out a way for us to steer through the emotions that rattle us and to respond—rather than react—from a place of greater balance and grace.

    “RAINDROP makes the wisdom of the Buddha’s mindfulness available to us all. It is profoundly deep and yet easy to put into practice in the midst of living.”

    To find out more, please visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/rain?utm_source=CTANS

    In follow up to last week’s meditation I want to pass along the video link to the conversation between Br. David Steindl-Rast and Oprah Winfrey that Sue mentioned. For those who missed last week, “Br. David Steindl-Rast—91 year-old author, scholar and Benedictine Monk—is beloved the world over for his enduring message about gratefulness as the true source of lasting joy. His conversation with Oprah covered a wide range of subjects from Br. David’s background, how he became a monk, living with joy in challenging times, loving our enemies, and how to practice living gratefully.” (42 min.):

    https://gratefulness.org/brother-david/super-soul-sunday/?utm_source=A+Network+for+Grateful+Living&utm_campaign=30a0e3327a-Oprah+Follow+Up&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c606570b82-30a0e3327a-114112649

    And last but not least this week, I found Andrea Miller’s recent Lion’s Roar feature on Harvard psychiatrist Robert Waldinger’s research on relationships and human happiness. (Miller’s article also includes a link to Waldinger’s TED Talk “The Good Life.”):

    https://www.lionsroar.com/love-its-what-really-makes-us-happy/

    That’s all for this now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  91. REMINDER — 11/28/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Following the Thanksgiving recess, CIMC and IMCN are both back in action this Saturday, December 2:

    Alexis Santos will be in Cambridge for “Wisdom and Compassion: Living Our Practice” a day-long (10am to 5pm) workshop:

    “This workshop will offer an opportunity to develop our meditation practice beyond the familiar structures of sitting and walking. Though formal practice is helpful, only when our practice becomes more continuous will we be truly living our practice. What would it be like to bring mindfulness practice into our relationships of speaking? How do we dialogue mindfully? Is it possible to maintain awareness while using a smart-phone or other device? How does practice help in challenging times? We will explore these and other challenging (and fun) areas of practice during this day together.

    “This program is appropriate for both beginners and more experienced meditators. There will be periods of sitting and walking, guided meditation as well as reflections to support your practice. There will also be plenty of time for questions and comments.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, Jessica Morey will be in Newburyport for “Learning How to Love” — also a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) workshop:

    “How do we learn to love ourselves and the world in an embodied way? In this workshop we will explore relaxing into and connecting with our bodies as a ground for cultivating the skills and strength to love our lives and the world in an authentic and undefended way. We will explore the wisdom and resilience of our bodies; mourning the inevitable pain and loss of living to renew our natural embodied compassion, joy and deep desire for connection with ourselves, our communities and the world – loving despite the disappointments and imperfections.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    This week I just want to share a couple of short videos.

    The first is a short (6 min.) conversation between Ethan Nichtern and Lion’s Roar’s Lindsay Kyte in which they discuss Ethan’s recent book, “The Dharma of The Princess Bride,” and the dharma lessons that can be learned from the ’80’s film classic:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/watch-ethan-nichtern-on-the-dharma-of-the-princess-bride/

    The second video is a short (2 min.) excerpt from a public talk given by Sharon Salzberg and bell hooks in which Sharon speaks about the idea of love as an ability rather than a feeling:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/215267-2/

    You can also read a full transcript of the September 2017 conversation between Sharon, bell, and Lion’s Roar’s Melvin McLeod in “The Power of Real Love”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/the-power-of-real-love/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  92. REMINDER — 11/21/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    IMCN and CIMC are both closed for Thanksgiving weekend, but will be back in action with day-long workshops on Saturday, December 2: Alexis Santos will be in Cambridge for “Wisdom and Compassion: Living Our Practice,” and Jessica Morey will be in Newburyport for “Learning How To Love.” To find out more about either of these events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org and http://www.imcnewburyport.org.

    I want to start off this week’s e-mail with Josh Korda’s recent guest appearance on Wisdom Publications’ podcast. Josh and host Daniel Aitken for a long (75 minutes) conversation about trauma, addiction, and the intersection of Western and Buddhist psychologies:

    https://learn.wisdompubs.org/podcast/josh-korda/

    Josh’s new book, “Unsubscribe: Opt Out of Delusion, Tune In to Truth” will hit bookstore shelves tomorrow, November 21.

    Thanissaro Bhikkhu also recently published a new essay. In “First Things First,” Than Geoff discusses “the primacy of the four noble truths as a guide to the rest of the path, determining the role and function of all the Buddha’s other teachings—including emptiness and the three perceptions.”

    https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/CrossIndexed/Uncollected/MiscEssays/FirstThingsFirst.html

    And in closing I leave you with a shorter Lion’s Roar contribution from Judy Lief, “Is It All My Karma?”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/is-it-all-my-karma/

    That is all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  93. REMINDER — 11/14/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport this Saturday, November 18, for the day-long (10:00am to 4:30pm) workshop “Caring for Self/Caring for Others”:

    “In the ‘Bamboo Acrobat’ teaching, the Buddha is posed a question by two people who are engaged in accomplishing a task together: Is it better to prioritize taking care of oneself or the other? His exploration of this theme points us directly to the essential question we all face in practice: How is one to live, with oneself and the complex of interactive relationships that make up our life. The Buddha advises us to bring mindfulness in relation to our own experience, and kindness, patience, non-violence and compassion in relation to others. Come explore how in doing so we learn to take care of the fullness of our interdependent lives, and become more awake and alive in the utter simplicity of the present moment.”

    To register for this retreat, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, CIMC will host its Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat taking place from 9am to 8pm on Saturday and from 9am to 5pm on Sunday. (Single-day options for either day are also available.):

    “The Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat offers an intensive opportunity to practice in the company of other dedicated practitioners.

    “In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat will include open periods of individual practice in sitting, walking, standing and lying down. This format is intended to foster self-reliance, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. On Saturday evening there will be a sharing circle; a meditative question will be asked and investigated.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I want to start off this week with Krishnan Venkatesh’s Tricycle article on “Right View,” the most recent installment of a longer series on the Eightfold Path:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/right-view/

    Next I want to highlight “Be Free Now” — a transcript of Jack Kornfield’s recent interview with Lion’s Roar editor Melvin McLeod:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/be-free-now-an-interview-with-jack-kornfield/

    Thanissaro Bhikkhu also just offered “Wisdom Over Justice” — a longer essay — as his most recent contribution to the Lion’s Roar community:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/wisdom-over-justice/

    Finally, Lion’s Roar contributor Bodhipaksa takes on fake Buddha quotes in his Lion’s Roar blog post “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Buddha!”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/i-cant-believe-its-not-buddha/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  94. REMINDER — 11/7/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are several events lined up for this Saturday, November 11:

    Ted Jones will be at IMC Newburyport from 9:30am to 12:30pm for “The Next Step: A Level II Retreat for Advanced Beginners”:

    “Come and experience a morning of guided and silent meditation designed for students who have completed an Introductory Class at IMCN or a similar offering at another center. This retreat will introduce participants to the experience of more extended periods of silent meditation with longer periods than in most beginner retreats but shorter than the usual format for experienced students. There will be three 30 minute periods of sitting meditation, two 20 minute periods of walking meditation, and ample time for questions and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Rodney Smith will be at CIMC for a “double-header” of sorts. From 10am to 4pm, he will offer a workshop on “The Four Foundations of Mindfulness: A New Perspective”:

    “In the Satipatthana Sutta the Buddha unfolds the central practices of vipassana meditation. Often referred to as the Four Foundations of Mindfulness this Sutta has been interpreted as four ways to establish mindfulness. My sense of this teaching is that the Buddha was not only establishing practical ways to be mindful. He was also using the Sutta to encourage a complete shift of perspective which ultimately points toward the final destination of his teaching: formless awareness.

    “The question we will engage in our time together is whether this Sutta – in particular, the Fourth Foundation – is ultimately meant to move us from the solidified shapes, projected interpretations and isolating meanings we impart to the world toward the wondrous and formless expression of awareness. We will spend the day directly exploring this possibility with guided and unguided meditations, talks, discussions and Q&A.”

    This day-long workshop will be followed from 4:30pm to 6:30pm by a book talk featuring Rodney’s latest publication, “Touching the Infinite”:

    “In the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, mindfulness of dhammas, the Buddha is suggesting that it is not what we see, but how we look, that is the essential factor in discovering the formless. If we look at the content of our experience through desire or fear, we will see the mind’s projected interpretation of the world. But if we allow our perceptions to be transformed by the Buddha’s teachings – the Four Noble Truths, the Five Aggregates, etc. – then we may look through the eyes of wisdom and objects will return to their essential nature. If this is the case, then the Buddha is revealing a straightforward path toward his ultimate destination using the Four Foundations as a means to reveal a new perspective on life undistorted by mind.

    “Rodney Smith’s book, Touching the Infinite: A New Perspective on the Buddha’s Four Foundations of Mindfulness opens the Four Foundations beyond its traditional interpretations showing how each Foundation moves us sequentially through the displays of form, revealing the true nature of reality along the way, and ultimately opening us to the wondrous perception of the infinite. This book is a practice guide supplemented with many exercises to encourage the full realization of the subject.”

    For more information and/or to register for either Saturday CIMC event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I want to lead off this week by sharing the link to “The Bodhisattva Path of Joy,” the Jack Kornfield dharma talk recommended by Brenda last week, in which Jack discusses “how the depth of meditation leads to Bodhisattva service, love and joy”:

    http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/85/talk/47171/

    I also want to highlight an excerpt from Dan Goleman and Richie Davidson’s new book, “Altered Traits,” in which they explain the benefits of a consistent and stable meditation practice:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/consistent-stable-meditation-practice-leads-altered-traits/

    And, in closing, I want to leave you with two short Lion’s Roar pieces on intention from Sylvia Boorstein.

    “Intention: One Simple Practice That Changes Everything”
    https://www.lionsroar.com/one-simple-practice-that-changes-everything/

    “Practice: What Are My Intentions for Today?”
    https://www.lionsroar.com/practice-what-are-my-intentions-for-today/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  95. REMINDER — 10/31/17 meditation group

    Greetings! I hope everyone has emerged unscathed from this weekend’s storm. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm at First Parish. I expect that we will be back in the Chapel, but I will post a sign if we need to relocate. Sue is scheduled to be the facilitator this week.

    There are two events coming up this Saturday, November 4.

    Chris Crotty will be at IMC Newburyport for “Kindhearted Attention: Metta Meditation Retreat” from 9am to 5pm (with a morning-only option):

    “Loving-kindness meditation (metta) is the central heart practice that was taught by the Buddha. The metta mind-state can be cultivated systematically, and when fully developed, the mind is cool and calm, without hostility and naturally friendly to self and others. When the mind is infused with metta an attitude of benevolence pervades. In this way, metta is known as a protection, guarding the mind from unwholesome thoughts, replacing them with caring intentions. In this retreat, we will explore metta meditation as both a concentration practice and generative practice, emphasizing calm, tranquility, and kindness.

    “This day-long retreat consists of meditation instructions, alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, silence, and will conclude with a question and answer session providing individualized instruction to support you in continuing your metta practice after the program.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, George Mumford will be in Cambridge for “Cultivating Happiness,” a day-long (10am to 4pm) workshop:

    “We tend to look for happiness outside of ourselves, and in the process we spend much of our time and energy attempting to make the external world conform to our wishes. We seek happiness by surrounding ourselves with people and things that make us feel safe and comfortable. Then we hold on tight. We work hard to push away whatever makes us feel uncomfortable, to do away with whatever we believe makes us feel unhappy. Despite our endless efforts, we find no true, lasting happiness….for good reason!

    “The happiness we seek is not dependent on anything external; it is a state of mind cultivated through mental discipline. It’s what we do that grows happiness, not what we get, or have. The Buddha taught: “Do good, avoid evil and purify the mind.” This is how we go about transforming the mind into a wholesome mind, a mind capable of true happiness. We don’t realize Awakening to find happiness. Instead, we cultivate the mental state of happiness in order to realize enlightenment.

    “During our day together we will how learn to cultivate happiness in ourselves by applying the teachings of Insight Meditation. This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include formal meditation, discourse, discussion and time for questions.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Robert Wright continues to make the rounds, showing up most recently with Lion’s Roar editor Melvin McLeod for a short (~6 min.) video interview discussing main themes from his new book, Why Buddhism Is True: https://www.lionsroar.com/watch-robert-wright-on-why-buddhism-is-true/

    Treehugger.com contributor Katherine Martinko recently posted a short piece (and video) about Article22, an artists collaborative that is refashioning Vietnam War-era shrapnel into jewelry. (I believe Ajahn David was the one who first introduced me to the lethal legacy of “bomblets” — unexploded ordnance — remaining in Laos to this day.)

    https://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-fashion/bomb-bracelet-lao-artisans-turn-shrapnel-jewelry.html

    Dharmacrafts — the Lawrence, Mass.-based purveyor of meditation supplies — happens to be a retailer for Article22’s wares:

    http://www.dharmacrafts.com/01_gh/gifts-that-heal-our-world

    And in closing this week I leave you with a reprise of Peter Aronson’s wonderful, brief 2008 Buddhadharma piece “The Halloween Monk”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/the-halloween-monk-3/

    That’s all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  96. REMINDER — 10/24/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet from 7:30pm to 9:30pm at First Parish. Due to ongoing construction in the Chapel, we will meet upstairs in the Sanctuary. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the church, enter as usual at the office, take the stairs to the second floor, and follow the hallway all the way to the end. If anyone needs elevator access to the second floor, please let me know. Gabriela will lead the practice this week.

    Coming up on Saturday, October 28, Andrew Olendzki will join our friends at Souhegan Insight Meditation in Milford, NH, for the afternoon (12pm to 5pm) retreat, “Untangling Self: A Buddhist Investigation of Who We Really Are”:

    “During this communal gathering we will explore ways in which our self understanding may lessen common human suffering. There will be periods of silent sitting and walking meditation, plus a dharma talk and plenty of time for questions and discussion on how we understand and construct the self.”

    For registration and additional information, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    Also starting at Saturday is CIMC’s “Working with the Judging Mind” 5-day retreat with George Mumford and Narayan Liebenson. This event will begin at 9am on Saturday and conclude at 9pm on Wednesday, November 1. Participants must attend both Saturday and Sunday, and are strongly encourage to attend all five days. There is also a weekend-only option:

    “This retreat will be dedicated to an exploration of the many ways we judge ourselves and others, and the ways that mindfulness, wisdom, and loving-kindness can transform the energy of judging into discernment and compassion.

    “The format of this five-day retreat invites each of us to intentionally combine formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend, emphasizing the familiar formal practices of sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three days, we will meet in the evenings only. Participants will be given a meditation exercise to practice with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life. Coming together again at the end of the day we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises.”

    To learn more, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Tricycle.com recently offered some updates on the several Buddhist retreat centers — including Abhayagiri — recently impacted by recent the California wildfires. Fortunately most escaped serious damage:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/california-buddhists-look-ahead-in-wake-of-devastating-wildfires/

    Finally this week, I want to leave you with Tricycle contributor and former Thai Forest monk Matthew Gindin’s short post on “the ‘Buddhist Monk’ diet”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/tried-buddhist-monk-diet-worked/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone in the Sanctuary tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  97. REMINDER — 10/17/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    This weekend Chas DiCapua will be at IMC Newburyport for “Practicing with An Attitude of Kindness,” a residential retreat beginning at 7pm on Friday, October 20, and concluding at noon on Sunday, October 22. (There is also an option to attend for Saturday only.):

    “Due to various cultural and family conditionings, many people come to Dharma practice with a view that they are going to improve themselves and therefore, at some time in the future, feel better. This often leads to a practice that is filled with tension, striving, and condemning ourselves for not improving faster than we are.

    “Practicing with an attitude of kindness towards ourselves and everything we come into contact with in our experience helps to transform this unhealthy approach. It supports the development of loving kindness in and towards ourselves, which is not only a very supportive foundation with which to engage in the practice, but also is healing to the harsh, inner critic that so many people struggle with.

    “In this weekend retreat we will explore all the different arenas of formal and informal practice where these two divergent attitudes can arise.”

    To register for the full weekend retreat, or for just Saturday, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, October 21, Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC for a day-long “Metta Practice Retreat” (9am to 5pm):

    “The word ‘metta’ is translated as lovingkindness or boundless friendliness. It is a sincere and heartfelt wish for the peace and happiness of ourselves and others. Metta is not a feeling; rather it is an intention that can be practiced and sustained. It is cultivated through a process of inclusivity, gradually expanding to include all sentient beings. Especially in times of uncertainty and pain, metta practice helps us to work with habitual patterns such as anxiety and doubt.

    “The Buddha taught metta as a specific antidote to fear and anger. The fruit of the systematic practice of metta is twofold: steadiness and tranquility which strengthen the mind, and sensitivity and openness which soften the heart. In cultivating metta, we directly experience a fundamental kindness as the very ground of our being. It is an invaluable practice in the midst of the unexpected changes in life.

    “This retreat offers a full day of metta practice and will include guided sittings. It is an opportunity for those who are already familiar with the theory and definition of metta to immerse themselves in a day of extended engagement with the practice itself.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, Andrew Oldenzki will join our friends at Souhegan Insight Meditation for “Untangling Self: A Buddhist Investigation of Who We Really Are,” an afternoon retreat (12pm to 5pm) in Milford, NH:

    “Andrew Olendzki will help us unpack the early Buddhist teachings on the psychologically transformative understanding of who we really are. During this communal gathering we will explore ways in which our self understanding may lessen common human suffering. There will be periods of silent sitting and walking meditation, plus a dharma talk and plenty of time for questions and discussion on how we understand and construct the self.”

    For more information, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    Author Robert Wright continues to make the rounds in support of his new book, “Why Buddhism Is True.” This past week he joined Tricycle web editor Wendy Joan Biddlecombe for a 30 minute conversation focusing on key themes from the book: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/why-buddhism-is-true-science/

    Jack Kornfield also published a new book relatively recently, “No Time Like the Present.” A short excerpt from the book — “Finding Freedom Right Here, Right Now” — was recently posted on the Tricycle website: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/finding-freedom-right-right-now/

    Lion’s Roar recently reposted the transcript of “The Wondrous Path of Difficulties,” a 2005 conversation between Jack Kornfield and Pema Chodron — https://www.lionsroar.com/the-wondrous-path-of-difficulties/ — as well as “Three Means to Peace: Mindfulness, Compassion, and Wisdom,” a longer 2004 piece by Joseph Goldstein: https://www.lionsroar.com/three-means-to-peace/

    Last but not least, Tricycle’s Gabriel Lefferts checks in on recent research that calls into question the benefits of mindfulness meditation: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/benefits-mindfulness-hard-prove/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  98. REMINDER — 10/10/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will be the facilitator this week.

    Ted Jones will be at IMC Newburyport this Saturday morning, October 14, for “Insight Meditation for Beginners: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students” taking place from 10am to 12:30pm:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Then from 9am to 5pm on Sunday, October 15, Matthew Hepburn will host CIMC’s own “Retreat for New Retreat-ants”:

    “Retreats are an invitation to nurture a continuity of mindfulness. The ‘Retreat for New Retreatants’ is a supportive opportunity for those who have little or no retreat experience to practice for a full day in the company of others who are new to silent retreats. Our time together will include instructions on how to be on retreat, meditation instructions and guidance as well as a sequence of relatively short sitting and walking meditation sessions. The day will be spent mainly in silence, however, there will be adequate time for questions and discussion, including an exploration of how to sustain formal practice in daily life.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    On Monday, October 16, Chris Germer and Kristin Neff will be kicking off their 8-week online course on “The Power of Self-Compassion.” The course will take students through a step-by-step process to become

    * More motivated and productive
    * Less self-critical, anxious, and depressed
    * More self-confident
    * More resilient and persistent when they fail
    * Happier and more satisfied
    * More curious, creative, and innovative
    * More supportive of others

    Anyone who registers before Wednesday, October 11, will receive $100 off the cost of the course and will receive 3 bonus videos: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/power-of-self-compassion?hatid=1026815ac044bf3a31915c481752b4&partner=2808&sq=1

    Sounds True has put together a touching 4-minute trailer for the course: https://youtu.be/_aceje28Kao

    Also on Monday, October 16, Laura Howell and our friends at Great Pond Sangha in North Andover have arranged for a group to attend dinner and a screening of “Walk With Me,” the new documentary about Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. As of this writing only 18 tickets are still available: https://gathr.us/screening/210 90

    You can learn more about the film via Lion’s Roar and Tricycle:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/review-walk-with-me/

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/watch-exclusive-clip-walk-new-film-thich-nhat-hanh/

    Looking a bit further ahead, on October 28 our friends at Souhegan Insight Meditation will be hosting an afternoon (12pm to 5pm) “Untangling Self” retreat with Andrew Olendzki in Milford, NH. For more details, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    In closing this week I would like to leave you with “The Wisdom In Dark Emotions,” a wonderful 2003 Shambhala Sun article by meditator and psychotherapist Miriam Greenspan: https://www.lionsroar.com/the-wisdom-in-the-dark-emotions/

    That is all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  99. REMINDER — 10/3/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be the facilitator this week.

    Coming up this Sunday, October 8, Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC for the day-long (10am to 4pm) Metta workshop:

    “The word ‘metta’ is translated as lovingkindness or boundless friendliness. It is a sincere and heartfelt wish for the peace and happiness of ourselves and others. Metta is not a feeling; rather it is an intention that can be practiced and sustained. It is cultivated through a process of inclusivity, gradually expanding to include all sentient beings. Especially in times of uncertainty and pain, metta practice helps us to work with habitual patterns such as anxiety and doubt.

    “The Buddha taught metta as a specific antidote to fear and anger. The fruit of the systematic practice of metta is twofold: steadiness and tranquility which strengthen the mind, and sensitivity and openness which soften the heart. In cultivating metta, we directly experience a fundamental kindness as the very ground of our being. It is an invaluable practice in the midst of the unexpected changes in life.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include specific instructions, guided practice and time for questions and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Chris Germer and Kristin Neff will be offering an 8-week online course on “The Power of Self-Compassion” via Sounds True, starting on October 11. To learn more, visit https://www.soundstrue.com/store/power-of-self-compassion?hatid=1022a1841a56c953453374e2d083f4&partner=2808&sq=1

    Looking a bit further ahead to the end of the month, on October 28 our friends at Souhegan Insight Meditation will be offering “Untangling Self: A Buddhist Investigation of Who We Really Are,” an afternoon (12pm to 5pm) retreat with Andrew Olendzki:

    “Come join us for an afternoon of contemplation, meditation and study sponsored by the Souhegan Insight Meditation Group. Andrew Olendzki will help us unpack the early Buddhist teachings on the psychologically transformative understanding of who we really are.During this communal gathering we will explore ways in which our self understanding may lessen common human suffering.There will be periods of silent sitting and walking meditation, plus a dharma talk and plenty of time for questions and discussion on how we understand and construct the self.”

    For more information, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    Shambhala teacher Ethan Nichtern published his latest book, “The Dharma of the Princess Bride: What the Coolest Fairy Tale of Our Time Can Teach Us About Buddhism and Relationships” (https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780865477766).

    Dan Zigmond offers his take at Tricycle.com (https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/buddhist-lessons-princess-bride/), and Ethan was recently guest of both Dan Harris and Sharon Salzberg on their respective podcasts:

    http://www.ethannichtern.com/podcast-ethan-on-10-happier-with-dan-harris-to-discuss-the-dharma-of-the-princess-bride/

    http://www.ethannichtern.com/metta-hour-podcast-episode-62-real-love-series-ethan-nichtern/

    Finally, Tricycle’s Lauren Krauze has a great interview with Dan Goleman, Richard Davidson, and Jon Kabat-Zinn on “The Untold Story of America’s Mindfulness Movement”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/untold-story-america-mindfulness-movement/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  100. REMINDER — 9/26/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be the facilitator this week.

    There are couple of events coming up this weekend in Cambridge and in West Newbury:

    On Saturday, September 30, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN to guide the day-long retreat (9am to 5pm, with morning-only option) “Loving Kindness for Oneself and Insight Meditation”:

    “Love and wisdom are said to be the two wings of the bird of our spiritual life, we need both to fly. The Buddha has said that there is no one more worthy of our love than ourselves. In this retreat we will work with repeating phrases of loving kindness for ourselves, and also with breath based insight meditation practices. As the retreat progresses, we will have the opportunity of bringing these two practices together in a simplified form, exploring the power of unifying self-love and wisdom in one unified approach. This retreat is designed for those with prior meditation experience.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Then on Sunday, October 1, Chas DiCapua will be at CIMC for “When Sitting, Just Sit” a day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat:

    “‘When sitting, just sit.’ This is a common meditation instruction. What does it actually mean though? One of the most important aspects of formal practice is the attitude with which we practice. Are we sitting or walking simply to be in the present moment, or is there an agenda? Are we feeling the sensations of the in-breath because that’s what is happening? Or are we feeling the sensations so that something will happen?

    “During this day-long retreat we will explore how we can become aware of the various attitudes we bring to practice and how they manifest. We will practice cultivating the attitudes that serve awakening, and letting go of the ones that don’t.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Our day together will include talks, discussion, sitting and walking meditation.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Science writer Robert Wright has received a fair amount of “digital ink” from me in recent weeks as he continues to make the rounds publicizing his latest book, “Why Buddhism Is True.” Most recently he sat down with Lion’s Roar editor Melvin McLeod to talk about how his understanding of evolutionary psychology has helped him to connect with Buddhist teachings and practice:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/why-buddhism-is-true/

    Another Lion’s Roar article I want to highlight this week is Carolyn Rose Gimian’s wonderful piece “On Meditating and Being Genuine”:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-meditate-being-genuine-by-carolyn-rose-gimian/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  101. REMINDER — 9/19/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    I just received word today that registration will take place at 10am tomorrow, September 19, for Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s April 26-29, 2018, BCBS course on the Ten Perfections. My expectation is that this course will reach capacity very, very quickly:

    “This course–through readings in the Pali Canon and the writings of the Thai Forest masters– will explore ways in which these perfections can be pursued effectively in an imperfect world.”

    To register, please visit https://www.bcbsdharma.org/course/the-ten-perfections/

    Coming up this Saturday, September 23, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for “Awakening to the Present Moment: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students.” This event will take place from 10am to 12:30pm:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly.  As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also coming up this weekend, Narayan Liebenson will offer a non-residential weekend retreat at CIMC. This event will go from 9am to 7pm on Saturday, September 23, and from 9am to 5pm on Sunday, September 24. There is an option to attend for either Saturday or Sunday alone:

    “This weekend retreat is appropriate for beginners as well as experienced meditators, and is an extended opportunity to engage in the formal practices of sitting and walking. Our days together will include instructions, talks, interviews, and time for discussion and questions.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, Andrew Olendzki will be in Milford, NH, on October 28 for an afternoon (12pm to 5pm) retreat based on his latest book, “Untangling Self: A Buddhist Investigation of Who We Really Are.” This event will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Church and is hosted by our friends at Souhegan Insight Meditation: http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    New York Times writer Robert Wright has popped up a couple of times in recent weeks following the publication of his latest book, “Why Buddhism Is True.” An article on “why you can blame natural selection for your suffering” — adapted from the book — was recently published on the Tricycle website: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/why-buddhism-is-true/

    In closing this week I leave you with a short video (14 min.) from Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s online course on the Ten Perfections offered by Tricycle: https://tricycle.org/dharmatalks/ten-perfections/

    For those who are interested in learning more, longer audio teachings are available at AudioDharma.org (http://www.audiodharma.org/series/16/talk/8209/), and Than Geoff’s study guide is available at Access to Insight (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/perfections.html).

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  102. REMINDER — 9/12/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    IMCN is back in full swing this weekend, with Jim Austin leading “Breath Awareness for Your Whole Life,” a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) retreat this Saturday, September 16:

    “Breath awareness is a powerful mindfulness tool leading to calm, clear seeing, and insight.  One way of working with breath awareness, as instructed by the Buddha in the Anapanasati Sutta, teaches us to be sensitive to the breath in the whole body.  In this workshop we will practice expanding our sense of the breath in the body and we will explore how to use this practice as the foundation for the unfolding of Anapanasati, naturally leading to a more open, inclusive, awareness which embraces all of our life with more freshness, clarity and ease.  Suggested reading for this workshop: Breath by Breath and Three Steps to Awakening by Larry Rosenberg.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also from 10am to 4:30pm on the 16th, Madeline Klyne will be at CIMC to present the Beginners’ Insight Meditation Workshop:

    “This Beginners’ Workshop will include formal meditation instruction, guided sitting and walking practice, and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation (Vipassana). During our time together, participants will learn how to meditate along with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions.

    “This day-long program is appropriate for people who have little or no meditation experience of any kind, for those who are relatively new to Insight Meditation, and for anyone who would like to revisit the basics of meditation and deepen their practice. All are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meditation research pioneers Richard Davidson and Daniel Goleman have just published Altered Traits, a look at the latest research on the impact of meditation on the “mind, brain, and body.”:

    http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/533719/altered-traits-by-daniel-goleman-and-richard-j-davidson/9780399184383/

    An excerpt from the book — “What Science Says About How Meditation Changes You Over Time” — was recently published on the ThriveGlobal website: https://www.thriveglobal.com/stories/12893-what-science-says-about-how-meditation-changes-you-over-time

    I’ll wrap things up this week with Lion’s Roar contributor JoAnna Harper’s thoughts on “How to Practice Loving-Kindness”: https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-practice-loving-kindness/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  103. REMINDER — 9/5/17 meditation group

    Greetings! I hope everyone enjoyed a safe and restful holiday weekend. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judy is this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC is back from their summer holiday, and will be back in action this Saturday, September 9, with “Urban Practice: Awakening within Our Everyday Life Experiences” — a day-long (10am to 5pm) workshop with Tuere Sala:

    “Often we talk about our everyday difficulties as the problems and limitations to awakening. We wait until we are able to go on retreat to surrender and connect to a deeper stillness, only to lose that connection within days, or sometimes hours, of leaving the retreat center. In reality, we do not awaken outside of our difficulties, or in spite of them. We awaken within the difficulties and challenges of our everyday life experiences.

    “What if the difficulties you go through in life had a nobler purpose? What would your practice look like if you knew you could only find liberation of the mind within the naturally arising causes and conditions of an ordinary life? What if suffering truly was the key to freedom?

    “This is the gift of the Four Noble Truths. They are more than intellectual truths; they are the foundation of our practice. The more we work with them, the more we can see them as the keys, the map and the guideposts to happiness and joy. In this workshop we will explore the above questions and more, focusing on the fourth of the Four Noble Truths – the Eightfold Path. We will look at how this can help us live a simpler life rooted in wisdom and compassion. We will explore renunciation as the intersection between living the Path and living in samsara.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include meditation (with instructions), walking/reflective periods, and a Dhamma talk.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, a reminder that next Monday, September 11, Wisdom Publications and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies will start their 8-week online course “Emptiness: A Practical Course for Meditators” with Guy Armstrong:

    For more information, please visit http://learn.wisdompubs.org/academy/courses/emptiness-meditators/

    This week I would like to focus on the ongoing atrocities perpetrated by the Burmese Buddhist majority against the Muslim Rohingya minority living in Myanmar. NPR has featured a couple of reports in recent days, including this evening’s All Things Considered piece from Poppy McPherson (4 min.):

    http://www.npr.org/2017/09/04/548505839/tens-of-thousands-of-rohingyas-are-fleeing-violence-in-myanmar

    Tricycle contributor Matthew Gindin offers some additional context in his recent article:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/38000-rohingya-refugees-just-fled-buddhist-home/

    And in closing, I would like to leave you with Heidi Bourne’s short essay from Lion’s Roar, “No Big Deal: On Metta and Forgiveness”: https://www.lionsroar.com/no-big-deal-metta-forgiveness/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  104. REMINDER — 8/29/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN remain closed through the Labor Day weekend, yet each has a full schedule of events beginning in September. For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org and http://www.imcnewburyport.org.

    Our friends at Valley Insight Meditation will be offer a special day-long (9am to 4pm) retreat with Ajahn Jayanto on Saturday, September 9. For more information, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/retreats/.

    IMS in Barre has just published its 2018 retreat schedule and registration is now open. Highlights for the coming year include:

    – Joseph Goldstein, George Mumford and Jill Shepherd will lead The Path to Awakening, February 2–11. This is a lottery retreat, with registrations due October 17, 2017.
    – Bhikkhu Anālayo, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sally Armstrong and Bonnie Duran will teach Mindfully Facing Disease, Death, Stress, Pain and Illness: Insight Meditation Retreat for Experienced Students on the Confluence of Classical and Modern Approaches to Healing, Insight and Liberation, March 24 – April 1. This is also a lottery course, with registrations due October 24, 2017.
    – Our Monastic Retreat, The Middle Way: Finding Our Natural Resting Place, will be offered by Ayya Anandabodhi and Ayya Santacitta, April 3–12.
    – Sharon Salzberg, Mark Coleman and Oren J. Sofer will guide participants in the Metta: Lovingkindness Retreat, May 16–23. This is another lottery course, with registrations due October 31, 2017.
    – Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman will lead Loving Awareness: A Retreat for Experienced Meditators, June 14–17. This is also a lottery course, with registrations due November 7, 2017.

    To learn more, please visit http://www.dharma.org

    There are also a couple of online offerings getting underway shortly:

    Beginning on Monday, September 4, Tricycle online courses will be starting a 6-week course on the Four Noble Truths, with teachers Stephen Batchelor, Christina Feldman, John Peacock, and Akincano Weber. They invite students to look critically at the traditional understanding of Four Noble Truths, “which are not so much about gaining privileged access to an ultimate truth as they are a lifelong reflective exercise.” For more information, please visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/the-four-noble-truths?utm_source=CTA17NS

    Then on Monday, September 11, Wisdom Publications and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies will begin an 8-week course on “Emptiness” with Insight Meditation teacher Guy Armstrong. For more information, please visit http://learn.wisdompubs.org/academy/courses/emptiness-meditators/.

    Author and journalist Robert Wright has been getting a lot of air time recently following the publication of his latest book, “Why Buddhism Is True.” This week I want to feature his interview with Sean Illing of Vox.com: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/8/23/16179044/buddhism-meditation-mindfulness-robert-wright-interview

    The folks at Lion’s Roar recently reprised Ajahn Sucitto’s 2010 Buddhadharma piece “Feeling Stuck? Good!” which invites readers to see “stickiness” as an opportunity rather than an obstacle: https://www.lionsroar.com/feeling-stuck-good/

    Meanwhile, Tricycle.com published “Dissecting Anger in the Dharma Hall” — an excerpt from Sayadaw U Tejaniya’s 2016 book, “When Awareness Becomes Natural”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/dissecting-anger-dharma-hall/

    And, finally, back at Lion’s Roar, Daniel Goleman offers some brief thoughts on “How To Be A Force for Good”: https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-be-a-force-for-good/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  105. REMINDER — 8/22/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN both continue their summer holiday until September 4.

    I want to start off this week by sharing the trio of articles on prayer in Buddhism that Sue brought in last week: Mark Unno’s “If It Sounds Too Good to Be True,” Jan Chozen Bays’ “The Paradox of Prayer,” and Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel’s “An Invitation”: http://mailchi.mp/lionsroar/put-your-hands-together?e=dab01fe6c5

    In light of the recent public events in Charlottesville and Boston, I thought it would be helpful to share some Buddhist perspectives on race and social justice.

    First up, Jack Kornfield recently penned the essay “Truth and Reconciliation Begin with Us,” which in the past week has appeared online in both Lion’s Roar and Tricycle: https://www.lionsroar.com/truth-and-reconciliation-begin-with-us/

    Lion’s Roar also published “Love Everyone: A Guide for Spiritual Activists” featuring meditations, reflections, and conversation with Sharon Salzberg and Rev. angel Kyodo williams: https://www.lionsroar.com/love-everyone-a-guide-for-spiritual-activists/

    Next, Thanissaro Bhikkhu digs into the Sutta Nipata to offer reflections on his new translation, including what the Buddha taught about race and class: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/what-the-buddha-taught-us-about-race/

    Finally, the latest installment of Sharon Salzberg’s Metta Hour podcast features Sharon’s recent conversation with Tricycle editor James Shaheen (78 min.) — well worth a listen: https://www.sharonsalzberg.com/metta-hour-podcast-episode-61-real-love-series-tricycle-magazine/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  106. REMINDER — 8/15/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 8:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is this week’s facilitator. Tomorrow evening is the final performance of the Chelmsford Community Band’s summer concerts on the town common, so parking in the immediate vicinity of First Parish is likely to be limited once again.

    CIMC and IMCN are both summer break until September 4, but each venue has great programs coming up this fall. Our friends at Souhegan Insight Meditation and Valley Insight Meditation also have a some interesting events scheduled starting next month, including VIMC’s day-long retreat with Ajahn Jayanto on September 9, and SIM’s retreat with Andrew Olendzki on October 28. Stay tuned for additional details. There are also online course offerings starting in September from Wisdom Publications and Tricycle.

    Coming up this Saturday, September 19, is the 21st annual Southeast Asian Water Festival. This event, which takes place from 9am to 5pm at the Sampas Pavilion along Pawtucket Boulevard in Lowell, is a celebration of the cultures of Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, and features, music, food, dance, and “dragon boat” racing. A number of the local Buddhist temples have a presence at the festival, and a few of the vendors have dhamma books and Buddhist paraphernalia for sale. For more information, please visit http://lowellwaterfestival.org or https://www.facebook.com/LSEAWF/.

    Last week I mentioned Adam Gopnik’s New Yorker critique of Robert Wright’s new book “Why Buddhism Is True.” Wright himself was Terry Gross’s guest on NPR’s “Fresh Air” last week, discussing Buddhism, evolutionary biology, and the possibility of overcoming “the biological pull of dissatisfaction.” (37 min.): http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/08/07/541610511/can-buddhist-practices-help-us-overcome-the-biological-pull-of-dissatisfaction

    The other article that I would like to share this week is a shorter piece by Tricycle contributor Krishnan Venkatesh on “Why Right Livelihood Isn’t Just About Your Day Job”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/right-livelihood-isnt-just-day-job/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  107. REMINDER — 8/8/15 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator. Again, please bear in mind that the Chelmsford Community Band will perform on the town common starting at 7pm; parking in the immediate vicinity of First Parish will likely be limited.

    CIMC and IMCN are both about to take a break for the summer holidays, but each has an event coming up this Saturday, August 12.

    Alexis Santos will be in Cambridge from 10am to 5pm for the day-long retreat “Daily Life Practice: How to Really Live It”:

    “The ethical, mindful and contemplative practices the Buddha taught are transformative and liberating. They can help to bring about a life of clarity, meaning and ease. Yet our lives are often filled with the mundane: work, chores, stressors, anxieties and routines. These can seem at odds with a life of balance and well-being. Yet it is precisely here, in the midst of the busyness of daily life, that the Buddha offered a path of awakening. Our personal, social and civic responsibilities can lead us into a deepening in our own practice.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. You are invited to join us for this day-long exploration of ‘daily life practice.’ There will be periods of sitting and walking, guided meditation as well as reflections to support your practice. There will also be plenty of time for questions and comments.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, Ted Jones will be in Newburyport from 10am to 12:30pm for the morning retreat “Waking Up to Your Life: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students”:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I have a couple of articles to share this week….

    First, The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik recently penned a thoughtful reflection on two recent books — Robert Wright’s “Why Buddhism Is True” and Stephen Batchelor’s “After Buddhism” — that examine the “science and supernaturalism of Buddhism”: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/08/07/what-meditation-can-do-for-us-and-what-it-cant

    Lion’s Roar recently reprised Lindsey Kyte’s 2016 profile of Sharon Salzberg, which is well worth reading even if you didn’t miss it the first time: https://www.lionsroar.com/how-sharon-salzberg-found-real-happiness/

    Lion’s Roar also posted “6 Pointers for Making a Positive Life Change” — an excerpt from Josh Korda’s forthcoming book, “Unsubscribe: Opt Out of Delusion, Tune In to Truth”: https://www.lionsroar.com/6-pointers-for-making-a-positive-life-change/

    You can find out more about Josh’s new book, due out in November, at the Wisdom Publications website: http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/unsubscribe

    That’s all for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  108. REMINDER — 8/1/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 8:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator. Once again, please bear in mind that the Chelmsford Community Band is scheduled to perform on the town common at 7pm; this may result in limited parking in the immediate vicinity of the church.

    There are a couple of all-day events coming up this Saturday, August 5:

    Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport from 9am to 5pm for the one-day retreat “Caring for Oneself Wisely”:

    “Can we learn to care for our bodies, minds and hearts wisely through insight meditation? This retreat will engage a creative approach to formal practice through rotating different postures of mindfulness (sitting, standing, walking, and lying down). Participants will be encouraged to listen to their own intuitive wisdom in applying the instructions and how they work with the schedule to best nourish themselves, and deepen the flow of present moment experience. Attitudes of inner kindness, openness and relaxation will be emphasized as the power of silence and our shared group practice unfold naturally during the weekend. This retreat is designed for those with at least some prior experience in meditation.”

    Pre-registration is required for this event. For more details, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC for a day-long (10am to 4pm) “Metta Workshop”:

    “The word ‘metta’ is translated as lovingkindness or boundless friendliness. It is a sincere and heartfelt wish for the peace and happiness of ourselves and others. Metta is not a feeling; rather it is an intention that can be practiced and sustained. It is cultivated through a process of inclusivity, gradually expanding to include all sentient beings. Especially in times of uncertainty and pain, metta practice helps us to work with habitual patterns such as anxiety and doubt.

    “The Buddha taught metta as a specific antidote to fear and anger. The fruit of the systematic practice of metta is twofold: steadiness and tranquility which strengthen the mind, and sensitivity and openness which soften the heart. In cultivating metta, we directly experience a fundamental kindness as the very ground of our being. It is an invaluable practice in the midst of the unexpected changes in life.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include specific instructions, guided practice and time for questions and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    As some of you may have heard, the world of Engaged Buddhism experienced a loss this past week with the death of Cheri Maples. Maples is perhaps best known for her work bringing mindfulness to police work in her role as an officer in the Madison, Wisconsin, police department and the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office. Tricycle and Lion’s Roar each shared brief remembrances:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/former-police-captain-dharma-teacher-cheri-maples-died/

    https://www.lionsroar.com/buddhist-teacher-and-former-police-officer-cheri-maples-has-died/

    Maples also appeared a couple of times as a guest on Krista Tippett’s OnBeing radio broadcast; you can listen to their 2015 conversation on “The Human Challenges of Police Work” (90 min.) at https://soundcloud.com/onbeing/unedited-cheri-maples-with-krista-tippett-2015

    In other news, Tricycle recently reprised Ezra Bayda’s 2015 piece “More Than This Body” — an exploration on how to work with pain in meditation and everyday life: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/more-body/

    And, finally, I want to share “Being A Naturalist,” the very short essay by Gil Fronsdal that Brenda brought to the group last week. The essay can be found at http://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=337, and a full PDF copy of the book in which is was published, “The Issue At Hand,” is freely available via the Insight Meditation Center website: http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/documents/iah/IssueAtHand4thEd.pdf

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  109. REMINDER — 7/25/17

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is this week’s facilitator. Once again, please be mindful of limited parking in the immediate vicinity of the church due to the concert scheduled for 7pm on the town common.

    Coming up this Saturday, July 29, Chris Crotty will be in Newburyport for “The Awakened Heart: Integrating Wisdom and Compassion,” a morning (9:30am to 1pm) retreat:

    “Wisdom, represented by clarity and understanding, is half of the Buddhist Path. The other half is compassion, the ability to relate to our whole life with care. In this half-day retreat, we will explore how wisdom and compassion can be integrated and nurtured together, through periods of sitting and walking meditation, and silence. This retreat offers an opportunity to develop an understanding of how to bring our whole life into our meditation practice, and how we can bring our meditation out into the world.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Narayan Liebenson will offer “Wise Speech, Wise Action,” a day-long (10am to 4pm) workshop:

    “It is possible to mistake the teachings of the Buddha as a call to passivity; nothing could be further from the truth. On this path of practice, we are learning to distinguish between impulse and intention, instinct and insight, reactivity and spontaneity.

    “Wise Speech and Wise Action are two of the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path, the Buddha’s particular framework for liberation and the end of suffering. This is the practice of training ourselves so that our speech and actions are benign or beneficial. How do we engage in our practice on a daily basis, off the cushion? How do we move more skillfully through the world, in our relationships, at work, in our decision-making throughout the day?

    “During our day together we will explore what Wise Speech and Wise Action are and what it means to refine our lives in accordance with how we most desire to live.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Talks, discussions, and the formal practices of sitting and walking will be included.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    There are also a couple of online courses coming up in September that may be of interest.

    Tricycle online courses has a new 6-week offering starting on September 4: “The Four Noble Truths.” Teachers Stephen Batchelor, Christina Feldman, John Peacock, and Akincano Weber of Bodhi College invite students to look critically at the traditional understanding of the Four Noble Truths:

    Where does suffering come from? What is it that makes us happy? How can we live ethically in a way that supports personal and collective well-being? During the course, you’ll investigate these questions and discover how to: Recognize forms of craving that keep us bound in a cycle of dissatisfaction; Confront the fires of greed, hatred, and delusion that prevent us from living freely; let go of harmful mental and emotional states; and integrate the Buddha’s eightfold path as a moral and ethical framework into our day-to-day lives.

    For more information, please visit: https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/the-four-noble-truths

    Then on September 11, Wisdom Academy — in partnership with the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies — will launch an 8-week course with Guy Armstrong exploring Buddhist teachings on emptiness and their practical applications in our lives. For more information, please visit http://learn.wisdompubs.org/academy/courses/emptiness-meditators/

    There are a couple of recent Tricycle articles that I thought were worth passing along this week. First is “How to Get Rid of Pest and Bugs the Buddhist Way,” by Allan Badiner — particularly appropriate for the summer months: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/kill-impulse-compassionate-solutions-your-favorite-pest/

    The second article is a short contemplation by Jay Michaelson on the use of virtual reality to reach enlightenment: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/can-virtual-reality-help-reach-enlightenment/

    That’s all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  110. REMINDER — 7/18/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    The Chelmsford Community Band is scheduled to perform on the town common starting at 7pm. Parking in the immediate vicinity of First Parish is likely to be limited, so please consider alternate parking behind 10 North Road.

    This Saturday, July 22, Chas DiCapua will visit IMC Newburyport for “Being Nobody, Going Nowhere,” a day-long retreat (9am to 5pm, with morning-only option):

    “It is very common for a sense of becoming someone that is wiser, more compassionate, or simply becoming a better person to creep into our meditation practice. Beginning practice, we realize that we aren’t free, and imagine that freedom will come when we make ourselves into a particular kind of person. But, as the Buddha pointed out, freedom comes with non-clinging. He exhorted us to not cling to anything, including the image we have of ourselves when we are free. During this retreat, we will explore the ways that becoming arises in our practice, and the contentment and ease that arises when we free ourselves of this subtle defilement of the mind.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, IMCN will hold a weekend residential retreat on August 5-6, and our friends at Valley Insight will be offer a day-long retreat with Ajahn Jayanto on September 9. Stay tuned for further details.

    Valley Insight’s Karen Summer recently offered a brief account of Ajahn Sumedho’s June 25 visit to the Temple Forest Monastery: http://valleyinsight.org/special-events/

    There are two articles I want to share this week. The first, “Dharma of Distraction,” is an older Lion’s Roar piece by Judy Lief: https://www.lionsroar.com/the-dharma-of-distraction-may-2014/

    The second is an excerpt on the “11 Benefits of Loving-Friendliness Meditation” from Bhante Henepola Gunaratana’s latest book, “Loving-Kindness in Plain English: The Practice of Metta”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/11-benefits-loving-friendliness-meditation/

    (Incidentally, I still have an extra copy of Bhante G’s “Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English.” If anyone is interested in claiming it, please let me know.)

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  111. REMINDER — 7/11/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group is back in action this week, meeting from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be the facilitator.

    As I mentioned in last week’s e-mail, the Chelmsford Community Band is scheduled to perform on the town common at 7pm, weather permitting. Please note that parking is likely to be limited in the immediate vicinity of First Parish, and that alternate space is available behind 10 North Road.

    CIMC and IMCN both have events scheduled for this coming weekend. Ted Jones will be in Newburyport on Saturday, July 15, for “The Next Step: A Level II Retreat for Advanced Beginners.” This morning event will begin at 9:30am and end at 12:30pm:

    “Come and experience a morning of guided and silent meditation designed for students who have completed an Introductory Class at IMCN or a similar offering at another center. This retreat will introduce participants to the experience of more extended periods of silent mediation with longer periods than in most beginner retreats but shorter than the usual format for experienced students. There will be three 30 minute periods of sitting meditation, two 20 minute periods of walking meditation, and ample time for questions and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Narayan Liebenson will offer a non-residential “Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat” at Cambridge Insight, starting at 9am on Saturday and ending at 5pm on Sunday (with options to attend for just the day either Saturday or Sunday):

    “The Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat offers an intensive opportunity to practice in the company of other dedicated practitioners.

    “In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat will include open periods of individual practice in sitting, walking, standing and lying down. This format is intended to foster self-reliance, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. On Saturday evening there will be a sharing circle; a meditative question will be asked and investigated.

    “Saturday-only and Sunday-only registrations are available. It is necessary to commit to being present for the entirety of the day or days you attend.”

    For more information, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org/

    Over the past couple of weekends I’ve been making my way through the small handful of dharma books that I picked up at Ajahn Sumedho’s visit to Temple, NH. One book that I especially want to recommend is Ajahn Jayasaro’s “Without and Within.” This is a very accessible Q&A on all things pertaining to Buddhism, and especially the Thai Forest tradition. It is also available as a PDF via the Amaravati website: http://www.amaravati.org/dhamma-books/without-and-within/

    Noted Buddhist scholar-monk Bhikkhu Bodhi also has a new translation of the Suttanipata coming out in September. It is available for pre-order via the Wisdom Publications website: http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/suttanipata-pre-order

    While, sadly, I was not able to make it to Sharon Salzberg’s CIMC benefit workshop this past weekend, her latest podcast with guest Jack Kornfield is well worth a listen (45 min.): https://www.sharonsalzberg.com/metta-hour-podcast-episode-59-real-love-series-jack-kornfield/

    And, finally, I want to share a great piece new piece by Kelly McGonigal — via Greater Good Magazine — on “How to Overcome Stress By Seeing Other People’s Joy”: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_overcome_stress_by_seeing_other_peoples_joy

    That’s all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  112. REMINDER — 7/4/17 meditation group CANCELLED

    Greetings! Just a reminder that tomorrow evening’s meditation is cancelled due to the July 4th holiday. We will reconvene on the 11th with Gabriela as the facilitator.

    Please bear in mind that the Chelmsford Community Band is launching its 2017 summer concert series this evening, and will continue with performances on the common on Tuesday evenings through August 15. Parking availability in the immediate vicinity of First Parish will be limited for these next few weeks; I recommend alternate parking behind 10 North Road (Law offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman) or in the lot behind the former Eastern Bank location at 17 North Road.

    Coming up this Saturday, July 8, is Sharon Salzberg’s much anticipated “Real Love” benefit workshop for CIMC. This day-long event (10am to 4pm) will take place at Lesley University’s Washburn Hall:

    “We all live our lives searching for a sense of belonging, whether consciously or unconsciously. Yet we often find ourselves feeling cut off and alone. What holds us back from connecting with one another or with our core emotional needs?

    “In this benefit workshop Sharon Salzberg will explore the art of mindful connection; with ourselves, one another and all of life. Give your heart a much-needed opportunity to connect to the truest experience of love in your daily life. Together we’ll look at how we might:

    – Dispel cultural and emotional habits that are obstacles to connection.
    – Direct focused care and attention to reclaim the essence of what it is to love and be loved.
    – Experience authentic love based on direct experience rather than preconceptions.

    “This workshop is suitable for both new and experienced meditators. The format will include teachings, periods of guided mindfulness and lovingkindness meditations, discussion and opportunities for questions.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    This week I would like to begin by highlighting “Awakening in the Body” — an older Shambhala Sun piece by Phillip Moffitt:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/awakening-in-the-body/

    Tricycle blogger Brent R. Oliver recently uploaded a new piece, “5 Things That Might Surprise You about Meditation Retreats”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/5-things-might-surprise-you-about-meditation-retreats/

    And, finally, a follow-up blog post from Christopher Titmuss about “21 Current Limited Definitions” of mindfulness that differ from the Buddha’s:

    https://www.christophertitmussblog.org/what-is-mindfulness-what-mindfulness-does-not-mean-21-examples

    That is all for this week. I hope that everyone continues to enjoy a safe holiday weekend, and look forward to see you all next week.

    Metta,
    Tim


  113. REMINDER — 6/27/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be the facilitator this week.

    Andrew Olendzki’s latest online course, “Living in Harmony,” gets underway this evening, but is available “on demand” for anyone who is still interested: https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/living-in-harmony

    CIMC and IMCN are both quiet for the July 4 holiday weekend, but coming up from 10am to 4pm on Sunday, July 8, is CIMC’s “Real Love” benefit workshop featuring Sharon Salzberg:

    “We all live our lives searching for a sense of belonging, whether consciously or unconsciously. Yet we often find ourselves feeling cut off and alone. What holds us back from connecting with one another or with our core emotional needs?

    “In this benefit workshop Sharon Salzberg will explore the art of mindful connection; with ourselves, one another and all of life. Give your heart a much-needed opportunity to connect to the truest experience of love in your daily life. Together we’ll look at how we might:

    Dispel cultural and emotional habits that are obstacles to connection.
    Direct focused care and attention to reclaim the essence of what it is to love and be loved.
    Experience authentic love based on direct experience rather than preconceptions.
    “This workshop is suitable for both new and experienced meditators. The format will include teachings, periods of guided mindfulness and lovingkindness meditations, discussion and opportunities for questions.”

    For more information, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org/programs/real-love-the-art-of-mindful-connection/

    It was very nice to see a few familiar faces (Brenda, Delia, Lynne, Matt, Ritu, and Sue) at Ajahn Sumedho’s public talk this past weekend in Temple, NH. For me it was especially nice to finally find an excuse to visit the Jetavana Forest Monastery (after many years of merely talking about it) on a gorgeous summer afternoon, to observe the “Pa Bah” almsgiving ceremony, and to hear Ajahn Sumedho speak in person. His remarks were relatively brief, reflecting on the culture of generosity that has sustained the Sangha for over 2500 years.

    Luang Por (“Venerable Father”) Sumedho was not the only major Buddhist teacher to pass through New England this past weekend, as HH the Dalai Lama made a brief, impromptu appearance in Boston on Sunday. WBUR’s Simon Rios offers a brief (2 min) account of the event: http://www.wbur.org/news/2017/06/25/dalai-lama-boston

    Looking ahead to next weekend’s event with Sharon Salzberg, she recently joined Tricycle’s Carolyn Gregoire to talk about “Real Love” and “breaking down love to practice it in each moment” (35 min): https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/breaking-love-practice-moment/

    Bhikkhu Bodhi also addressed this theme recently in, “What Does it Mean to Love Everyone?” his essay for the Summer 2017 issue of Buddhist Global Relief’s Helping Hands newsletter: https://www.buddhistglobalrelief.org/index.php/en/?option=com_content&view=article&id=106

    And last, but not least, Buddhist teacher Christopher Titmuss recently posted “What Is Mindfulness? 26 Definitions” on his Dharma Blog: https://www.christophertitmussblog.org/what-is-mindfulness-26-definitions

    That is all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  114. REMINDER — 6/20/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    The big event of this coming weekend is, of course, Ajahn Sumedho’s dharma talk at the Jetavana Forest Monastery in Temple, NH, on Sunday, June 25. Sumedho is the senior Western representative of the “Thai forest” tradition of Theravada Buddhism. He has been a distinguished guest at the Temple monastery since mid-June. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Sumedho’s ordination, and Sunday’s event is “a rare opportunity to sit with and hear from this august senior monastic, teacher, and author.”

    Events at the Temple monastery get under way at 10:15am with brief opening remarks. Because parking is expected to be tight, anyone who is interested in attending is advised to arrive well in advance. The monks will receive their meal at 11am, and Ajahn Sumedho will give his dharma talk at 12:30pm. (Guests are welcome to come for just the afternoon talk.)

    A few people from our sangha — Brenda, Sue, Carrie, and I — have already expressed interest in attending the event. If you are interested in joining us, please let me know by Thursday evening so that I can plan the carpool. The Temple monastery is about an hour’s drive from First Parish, meaning that we would need to leave Lowell/Chelmsford no later than 9:15am in order to arrive in time for the opening remarks, or by 11:30am in order to arrive in time for the dharma talk. For anyone planning to travel alone, directions to the monastery can be found at http://forestmonastery.org

    Meanwhile, CIMC and IMCN both have events scheduled for this Saturday, June 24.

    Doug Phillips will be in Cambridge for “Stability and Insight,” day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat:

    “This retreat offers the opportunity to deepen one’s practice using the classic method of samatha/vipassana, or concentration and insight. We will explore the mutually supportive relationship between the development of a stable body/mind and the direct seeing of how life actually is. This direct seeing – and the transformation it can bring – is foundational to our own personal realization of the Buddha’s experience of freedom from reactivity and a fragmented life.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Our day will be spent in silent practice that includes sitting, walking and instruction. There will be an opportunity for individual interviews and an end-of-retreat discussion.”

    For morn information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Matthew Daniell will be in Newburyport for “Breath Awareness for Calm, Clarity and Insight,” a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) workshop:

    “Come and Explore for yourself the power of a progressive approach to breath awareness. We will begin by working with the breath in a limited area, then expand to include the breath in the body, breathing with the body, and breathing with open awareness. We will explore how breath awareness can be used to create ‘mindful pauses’ and how it can be a direct gateway into wisdom and living a fresher more connected way of being in formal practice and our daily lives. Guided and silent sitting, walking, standing and lying meditation forms will be incorporated, and there will be time for discussion as well. Newer as well as more experienced meditators alike are welcome to attend!”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Andrew Olendzki’s new online course “Living in Harmony” gets underway next Monday, June 26. Participants in this course will spend eight weeks looking at what the historical Buddha taught on dealing with conflict, fear, pain, and violence, and our innate capacity to live together peacefully. For more information, please visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/living-in-harmony

    Tricycle’s Wendy Joan Biddlecombe sat down with Andy for a brief chat about “the Buddha’s timeless lessons on dealing with inner fear, pain, and violence, and how looking inward can help us live in peace with others”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/looking-inward-live-harmony/

    Last but not least, NPR’s Lulu Garcia Navarro recently interviewed author Jennifer Howd about her new book, “Sit, Walk, and Don’t Talk: How I Survived A Meditation Retreat” (5 min.): http://www.npr.org/2017/06/18/533249559/sit-walk-dont-talk-an-author-finds-comfort-at-a-silent-meditation-retreat

    That’s all for this week. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening, and please be sure to let me know if you are interested in joining us for this weekend’s “pilgrimage” to the Jetavana Forest Monastery.

    Metta,
    Tim


  115. REMINDER — 6/13/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Noted Buddhist author Stephen Batchelor will visit CIMC this Saturday, June 17, for the special benefit workshop “The Elephant’s Footprint: A Buddhist Ethics of Care”:

    “Through seminars, discussions and periods of silent meditation, this workshop will explore what it means to care. Regarded by the Buddha as the virtue that includes all other virtues, care (appamada) extends from care of the soul to care of the sick to care of the environment. Care thus serves as the guiding ethical framework for the practice of the dharma itself.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    (Be sure to save the date for Sharon Salzberg’s visit to Cambridge on Saturday, July 8, for “Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection” — another CIMC benefit event.)

    Also this Saturday, Jim Austin will be at IMC Newburyport for a morning (9:30am to 1pm) “Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation” workshop:

    “How can a yoga asana practice be used to support our mindfulness meditation practice? Can we bring the qualities of mindfulness and openness developed in sitting meditation practice onto the yoga mat thereby creating continuity between our practice on the mat and our practice on the cushion? We’ll explore these questions and others during this half-day workshop. The workshop will include short periods of sitting meditation, yoga, and discussion. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and beginners are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Next Saturday, June 25, a special event will take place at the Temple Forest Monastery in honor of Ven. Ajahn Sumedho, who will be in residence at the temple for the latter part of this month. Celebrating 50 years since his bhikkhu ordination, Ajahn Sumedho is the senior Western representative of the “Thai forest” tradition of Theravada Buddhism. While his visit to New Hampshire will likely draw a significant crowd, our dear friend Delia K. describes this event as “a rare opportunity to sit with and hear from this august senior monastic, teacher, and author.”

    Events at the Temple monastery get under way at 10:15am with brief opening remarks. Because parking is expected to be tight, anyone who is interested in attending is advised to arrive well in advance. The monks will receive their meal at 11am, and Ajahn Sumedho will give his dharma talk at 12:30pm. (You are welcome to come only for the afternoon talk.) If enough folks are interested in going, I will be happy to coordinate a carpool.

    Ven. Viradhammo, another senior monastic in the Thai forest tradition, has recently published a new book, The Contemplative’s Craft: Internalizing the Teachings of the Buddha. A PDF version of this title has been made available for free download from a number of the monasteries in Ajahn Chah’s lineage, including Amaravati, Ajahn Sumedho’s home monastery in the UK: http://www.amaravati.org/dhamma-books/the-contemplatives-craft/

    In closing this week, I leave you with Lion Roar’s Sam Littlefair’s account of recent research from Hong Kong’s Center for Buddhist Studies on the connection between the heart and the mind: https://www.lionsroar.com/buddhist-researcher-heart-mind/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  116. REMINDER — 6/6/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    This Saturday, June 10, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for “Exploring Aging, Sickness and Death as Gateways to Living a Fuller Life,” a morning (9:30am to 1pm) workshop:

    “The Buddha taught that old age, illness, and the inevitability of death can be powerful positive teachers in our lives. In this workshop we will combine discussion, reflection, and silent meditation periods to help us explore how these universal themes can actually help wake us up to a richer, more fulfilling life, now. All are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, also on June 10, Matthew Hepburn will be at Cambridge Insight for a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) “Beginners’ Insight Meditation Workshop”:

    “This Beginners’ Workshop will include formal meditation instruction, guided sitting and walking practice, and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation (Vipassana). During our time together, participants will learn how to meditate along with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. There will be an ample opportunity to ask questions.

    “This day-long program is appropriate for people who have little or no meditation experience of any kind, for those who are relatively new to Insight Meditation, and for anyone who would like to revisit the basics of meditation and deepen their practice. All are welcome.”

    Looking ahead a bit further, CIMC has a couple of benefit workshops coming up in June and July.

    First, on Saturday, June 17, Stephen Batchelor will be in Cambridge from 10am to 4pm for “The Elephant’s Footprint: A Buddhist Ethics of Care”:

    “Through seminars, discussions and periods of silent meditation, this workshop will explore what it means to care. Regarded by the Buddha as the virtue that includes all other virtues, care (appamada) extends from care of the soul to care of the sick to care of the environment. Care thus serves as the guiding ethical framework for the practice of the dharma itself.”

    Then on Saturday, July 8, Sharon Salzberg will offer a benefit workshop (10am to 4pm) on the subject of her forthcoming book, “Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection”:

    “We all live our lives searching for a sense of belonging, whether consciously or unconsciously. Yet we often find ourselves feeling cut off and alone. What holds us back from connecting with one another or with our core emotional needs?

    “In this benefit workshop Sharon Salzberg will explore the art of mindful connection; with ourselves, one another and all of life. Give your heart a much-needed opportunity to connect to the truest experience of love in your daily life. Together we’ll look at how we might:

    Dispel cultural and emotional habits that are obstacles to connection.
    Direct focused care and attention to reclaim the essence of what it is to love and be loved.
    Experience authentic love based on direct experience rather than preconceptions.
    “This workshop is suitable for both new and experienced meditators. The format will include teachings, periods of guided mindfulness and lovingkindness meditations, discussion and opportunities for questions.

    For more information on any or all of CIMC’s upcoming events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    IMCN and CIMC founder Larry Rosenberg is the subject of a forthcoming documentary, “Larry Rosenberg: Long Path Home.” The project is still in production; you can see a short (2 min.) trailer at https://youtu.be/rta5daylXX0 and learn more about the project at http://documentaries.org/cid-films/larry-rosenberg-long-path-home/

    Sharon, by the way, recently appeared to discuss her new book as Dan Harris’s guest on the latest “10% Happier” podcast episode (50 min.): https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/81-sharon-salzberg-real-love/id1087147821?i=1000385980126&mt=2

    Finally, I want to give a shout out to Andrew Olendzki, who on June 26 will be starting “Living in Harmony,” a new online self-study course in conjunction with Tricycle magazine:

    “It is near impossible to avoid conflict in today’s world—and our tendency toward hostility and discord hasn’t changed much over the millennia. In ancient India, the Buddha came to realize that the underlying cause of conflict is, in fact, a thorn lodged deeply within our own heart and mind. In this 8-week course, Buddhist scholar and teacher Andrew Olendzki will guide us through the historical Buddha’s teachings on how to dislodge that thorn. We’ll explore his advice for dealing with conflict, fear, pain, and violence, and discover our innate capacity to live together peacefully.”

    For more details, please visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/living-in-harmony

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  117. REMINDER — 5/30/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is scheduled to lead the practice this week.

    CIMC and IMCN are both busy this week, with Andrew Olendzki offering the weekly dharma talk in Cambridge this Wednesday evening, May 31. His topic is “It Really Is All About You.” Then on Saturday, June 3, Larry Rosenberg will lead “Clearly Knowing” a half-day retreat from 9am to 1pm:

    “We will spend our morning together sitting and walking, experiencing the profound value of utter silence and simplicity in the company of other practitioners. There will be few interruptions to pull us away from the opportunity to settle into, and deepen, our practice. The retreat will conclude with the opportunity for questions and discussion of our experience.”

    For more information on these events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsght.org

    Meanwhile at IMCN, on Saturday Matthew Daniell will offer “Insight Meditation for Beginners” from 10am to 12:30pm:

    “In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly.  As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    For more information on this event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Matthew also had a new article, “The Best Season of Your Life,” published in the Newburyport Daily News this past Saturday, May 27. You can read an archived version at http://imcnewburyport.org/best-1

    Leading off this week’s reading, I want to thank Brenda for passing along a new and very interesting article from the Brown University website that highlights Willoughby Britton’s ongoing research on “challenging meditation experiences”: https://news.brown.edu/articles/2017/05/experiences

    I also want to skip back a bit to an old Shambhala Sun article that recently resurfaced on the Lion’s Roar website, in which Jack Kornfield, Judy Lief, and Bodhin Kjolhede discuss the impact of Western psychology on the current understanding and practice of Buddhism: https://www.lionsroar.com/forum-is-western-psychology-redefining-buddhism/

    And, last but not least, in other old news, I’ll wrap things up with this short 2015 article from Quartz on the emerging synergy between Buddhist and neuroscientific views of the “self”: https://qz.com/506229/neuroscience-backs-up-the-buddhist-belief-that-the-self-isnt-constant-but-ever-changing/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  118. REMINDER — 5/23/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both quiet this coming weekend, however both have morning events scheduled for Saturday, June 3. Larry Rosenberg will be in Cambridge for “Clearly Knowing” a half-day (9am to 1pm) insight meditation retreat. Meanwhile, Matthew Daniell will be in Newburyport to offer an insight meditation retreat for beginning and newer meditators from 10am to 12:30pm. To find out more about upcoming events in Cambridge and Newburyport, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org and http://www.imcnewburport.org.

    I’d like to start off this week’s e-mail with a great article from Tricycle on “Hacking My Way to Consistent Meditation” by Biju Sukumaran: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/hacking-way-consistent-meditation/

    Next up are a couple of shorter articles, first “How to Practice Right Speech Anywhere, Anytime, and With Anyone” by Krishnan Venkatesh — https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/practice-right-speech-anywhere-anytime-anyone/ — and then “Silencing the Inner Critic” a 2009 Lion’s Roar piece by Christina Feldman: https://www.lionsroar.com/silencing-the-inner-critic/

    Finally, Lion’s Roar’s Jennifer Keishin Armstrong reviews Under The Bodhi Tree, a new off-Broadway musical about the life of the Buddha: https://www.lionsroar.com/musical-about-the-life-of-the-buddha-off-broadway-in-nyc/

    That’s all for now. Carrie and I are away this week, but I look forward to catching up with everyone next Tuesday.

    Metta,
    Tim


  119. REMINDER — 5/9/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group meets tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is substituting for Carrie as this week’s facilitator.

    This Wednesday, May 10, marks the observance of Vesak throughout most of the Theravada Buddhist world. Vesak celebrates the birth, awakening, and death of the Buddha, which tradition holds to have occurred on the full moon day corresponding to the month of May in the Gregorian calendar. The 14th United Nations Day of Vesak will be celebrated this weekend, May 12-14, with special festivities taking place this year in Sri Lanka: http://www.unvesak2017.org

    A little closer to home, Rodney Smith will be at CIMC at 7:30pm on Wednesday, May 10, to offer “A New Perspective on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness” as the weekly dharma talk. Then from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday, May 12, Joseph Goldstein and Sebene Selassie will offer a special event workshop on “Race, Identity and the Dharma”:

    “Conversations about diversity (or lack thereof) within our sanghas are more and more prevalent. Some of us welcome these opportunities to finally address these issues but wonder if there is space for us in this community. Others of us may be questioning what this has to do with the teachings of the Buddha. Can we learn to practice with identity and difference?

    “What questions do we have?

    – Do we have to leave things behind on the path to awakening: our cultures, our identities, our communities?
    – Can we bring our full selves to our practice? What about anatta, non-self?
    – Isn’t this just self–ing?

    “This afternoon program with Joseph Goldstein and Sebene Selassie will offer an exploration of how the social issues of race and identity are connected to the Dharma. We will explore how we can wake up from the power of delusion in not seeing racism, internalized oppression and unconscious bias and how they relate to the five aggregates of experience, and the connections between personality, identity and selflessness. There will be a short guided meditation and time for questions and discussion.”

    For more information on upcoming events at CIMC, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, IMC Newburyport’s 5-night Spring Insight Meditation retreat will begin next Tuesday, March 16. This retreat will be led by Sayadaw U Inndaka, head monk of the Chanmyay Myaing Meditation Center in Burma, and Chris Crotty from Against the Stream Boston:

    “This five night silent retreat will offer instruction in vipassana or insight meditation, and will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, dharma talks, and one-on-one teacher interviews. This retreat is suitable for both beginning and experienced meditators.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    This week I would like to highlight a short teaching on “wise intention” from old friend Sylvia Boorstein that appeared in Lion’s Roar a few months ago: https://www.lionsroar.com/one-simple-practice-that-changes-everything/

    And, in closing, I would like to share a brief interview with Jack Kornfield in which he discusses key themes from his new book, “No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom and Joy Right Where You Are”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/finding-freedom-right-right-now/

    That’s all for this particular moment; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  120. on May 2, 2017 at 1:44 am | Reply Tim Little

    REMINDER — 5/2/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this week. First, at CIMC, Andrew Olendzki will be on hand to give the Wednesday evening dharma talk on May 3. The topic is “It Really Is All About You,” beginning at 7:30pm.

    Then on Saturday, May 6, Larry Rosenberg will offer “Clearly Knowing” a half-day (9am to 1pm) insight meditation retreat:

    “We will spend our morning together sitting and walking, experiencing the profound value of utter silence and simplicity in the company of other practitioners. There will be few interruptions to pull us away from the opportunity to settle into, and deepen, our practice. The retreat will conclude with the opportunity for questions and discussion of our experience.”

    For more information on either CIMC event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, May 6, Jessica Morey will be at IMC Newburyport for the day-long (10am to 4:30pm) workshop “Befriending the Body”:

    “In this workshop, we will practice relaxing into our bodies as a refuge, anchor and ally in the practice of mindfulness. We will also cultivate loving kindness (metta) as a felt, somatic experience, both towards and through the body. Practicing mindfulness and metta grounded in the body helps us cultivate a level of steadiness and integrate the calm clarity and ease found in formal practice. Beginner and experienced students are welcome to attend this workshop which will include periods of guided meditation, movement, presented material and discussion.”

    Also, a reminder that IMCN’s 5-night spring residential retreat is coming up May 16-21. The retreat will be led by Chris Crotty and Sayadaw U Inndaka:

    “This ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ five night silent retreat will offer instruction in vipassana or insight meditation, and will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, dharma talks, and one-on-one teacher interviews. This retreat is suitable for both beginning and experienced meditators.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Another event taking place this Saturday, May 6, is Lawrence, MA-based DharmaCrafts’ “Everything Must Go Spring Cleaning Sample Sale.” The warehouse doors will be open from 9am to 3pm for anyone who is in need of cushions, benches, bells, or other meditation supplies:

    http://www.dharmacrafts.com/01_ws/sample-sale?kc=GEAP17&_bta_tid=42757599521401955878427127219166685287969990994426029855966700771389364067163099390438131069794630393243445&_bta_c=9lomqe68eqxi8ar9s94u7ketnuy5i

    This week I would like to highlight two short videos.

    The first is our old friend David Vago, now relocated to Vanderbilt University, giving a great talk on “Self-Transformation Through Mindfulness” at TEDxNashville (20 min.):

    The other talk is by IMS board member Jay Michaelson on “Making the Shadow Your Teacher” (14 min.) via Tricycle.com:

    https://tricycle.org/dharmatalks/making-shadow-teacher/

    That’s all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  121. REMINDER — 4/25/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this weekend. First, Ted Jones will be at IMC Newburyport on Saturday, April 29, for “The Next Step: A Level II Retreat for Advanced Beginners” from 9:30am to 12:30pm:

    “Come and experience a morning of guided and silent meditation designed for students who have completed an Introductory Class at IMCN or a similar offering at another center. This retreat will introduce participants to the experience of more extended periods of silent mediation with longer periods than in most beginner retreats but shorter than the usual format for experienced students. There will be three 30 minute periods of sitting meditation, two 20 minute periods of walking meditation, and ample time for questions and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Then on Sunday, April 30, Winnie Nazarko will be at CIMC for the day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat “Establishing Presence”:

    “There are many ways in which modern life supports distraction. Barraged by media and tied to digital devices, we are often spaced out and stressed out. Sati, or the quality of mindfulness, can restore connection to our own direct, present tense experience. It is a tremendous relief to rest in the simplicity of presence. As we attend to the immediate sensations of the body, to hearing, to seeing, to smelling and tasting, we can re-ground. Letting go of complexification, we re-balance, and refresh the mind.

    “This day-long retreat invites participants to disconnect from smart phones and other distractions and tune into real-time sensory experience. Instruction will be offered on working with body awareness, both in sitting meditation and in walking practice. There will be time for questions related to the practices offered.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    For those of you who may have missed it, hour two of this morning’s WBUR “On Point” broadcast examined “The Meaning of the New Mindfulness” (47 min.). Joining host Tom Ashbrook for the discussion were meditation coach Lynne Goldberg, New York Times business reporter David Gelles, and Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar: http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2017/04/24/modern-meditation

    This week I would like to highlight “You Can’t Get Rid of Your Anger — And That’s OK,” a 2016 Lion’s Roar piece by Josh Korda: https://www.lionsroar.com/you-cant-get-rid-of-your-anger-and-thats-ok/

    (I can’t remember if I shared it when it was first published, but regardless I like it well enough to give it another shout-out.)

    I also want to recommend a 2010 piece by Matthieu Ricard responding to the question “Why Should I Meditate?”: https://www.lionsroar.com/why-meditate-september-2010/

    I think that’s about it for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  122. REMINDER — 4/18/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Chas DiCapua will visit IMC Newburyport this Saturday, April 22, for a day-long (9am to 5pm, with morning-only option) retreat on “Connecting to Life Non-Conceptually”:

    “We live in a world of concepts. Book, car, me, you, etc. Concepts are important in helping us to navigate the world of objects is a way where there isn’t chaos. Can you imagine if I asked you to pass the butter and you got up and brought back the snow shovel?! Concepts free us from the chaos of not having an agreed upon reference for existence, but, if not seen through, end up keeping our connection with life on a superficial level. Life is dynamic and changing. Concepts are static.

    “In this retreat, we will explore and practice connecting to our moment to moment experience on a non-conceptual level. This leads to a greater intimacy with life and the ability to experience it in a much more fundamental, and truthful way, which is the aim of our Vipassana practice; seeing things as they truly are.”

    To register for this retreat (and to find out more about the Spring residential retreat beginning May 16), please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also coming up on Saturday, CIMC will begin its five-day non-residential on “The Five Recollections” with Narayan Liebenson:

    “The Buddha encouraged people of all ages to undertake the frequent contemplation of ‘The Five Recollections’ – aging, sickness, death, loss and karma – as a key practice leading to joy and liberation. In this five-day retreat we will bring our attention to this seeming paradox. We will explore how cultivating an intimate understanding of these great matters of life and death can help us face, and master, our fears. Over time, with mindfulness and an open heart, we can come to see these conditions of impermanence from a perspective of gratitude. Turning towards the inevitability of change and loss – rather than denying them or turning away – helps us to more fully appreciate the beauty and preciousness of a life inspired and guided by Dharma practice.

    “The format of this five-day retreat invites each of us to intentionally combine formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend emphasizing the practices of sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three days we will meet in the evenings only. Participants will be given a meditation exercise to practice with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life. Coming together again at the end of the day we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises. Individual interviews may be offered.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators, and for people of all ages. Participants must attend both Saturday and Sunday, and are strongly encouraged to attend all five days. For those unable to attend any of the weekdays, we offer weekend-only registration.”

    Looking a bit further down the road, from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, July 8, Sharon Salzberg will be offering a benefit workshop on behalf of CIMC, discussing her forthcoming book “Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection.”

    For additional details and registration information for all CIMC events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    In other news, Lawrence-based DharmaCrafts will hold a one-day warehouse sale on Saturday, May 6. If you are in need of a meditation cushion or other practice paraphernalia, it might be worth dropping by to see what they have to offer: http://www.dharmacrafts.com/01_ws/sample-sale?kc=GEAP17&_bta_tid=42757599521401955878427127219166685287969990994426029855966700771389364067163099390438131069794630393243445&_bta_c=9lomqe68eqxi8ar9s94u7ketnuy5i

    In closing this week I leave you with a short teaching on “Somatic Meditation” from Tibetan teacher Reginald Ray: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/somatic-meditation/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  123. REMINDER — 4/11/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be the facilitator this week.

    Cambridge Insight and IMC Newburyport are both quiet this coming weekend, but each has some great events planned for the coming weeks.

    From Saturday, April 22, through Wednesday, April 26, CIMC will offer a special 5-day non-residential retreat with Narayan Liebenson on “The Five Recollections”:

    “The Buddha encouraged people of all ages to undertake the frequent contemplation of ‘The Five Recollections’ – aging, sickness, death, loss and karma – as a key practice leading to joy and liberation. In this five-day retreat we will bring our attention to this seeming paradox. We will explore how cultivating an intimate understanding of these great matters of life and death can help us face, and master, our fears. Over time, with mindfulness and an open heart, we can come to see these conditions of impermanence from a perspective of gratitude. Turning towards the inevitability of change and loss – rather than denying them or turning away – helps us to more fully appreciate the beauty and preciousness of a life inspired and guided by Dharma practice.

    “The format of this five-day retreat invites each of us to intentionally combine formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend emphasizing the practices of sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three days we will meet in the evenings only. Participants will be given a meditation exercise to practice with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life. Coming together again at the end of the day we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises.Individual interviews may be offered.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators, and for people of all ages. Participants must attend both Saturday and Sunday, and are strongly encouraged to attend all five days. For those unable to attend any of the weekdays, we offer weekend-only registration.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Chas DiCapua will be in Newburyport on April 22 for a day-long retreat on “Connecting to Life Non-Conceptually.” Then, on April 29, Ted Jones will offer a day-long retreat for “advanced beginners.” IMCN will also host their Spring Insight Meditation retreat from May 15-21 with Sayadaw U Inndaka, May Mint Oo, and Chris Crotty. For more details on these events, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I want to start off this week with a brief update from Grace Bullock at Mindful.org on “The Mouse Meditation Project” at the University of Oregon. (Yes, apparently it’s a thing.): http://www.mindful.org/can-mice-meditate/

    I also wanted to pass along a wonderful post by Dave Mochel that came my way via LinkedIn on mindfulness and “the connection between awareness and choice”: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-practice-mindfulness-connection-between-awareness-dave-mochel

    I also really appreciated Tricycle blogger Brent R. Oliver’s recent contribution, “Why Meditation Encourages Me to Keep Practicing”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-encourages-keep-practicing/

    And, in closing, I offer you some parting words of wisdom from Jack Kornfield, excerpted for Shambhala Sun from his book, “The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace”: https://www.lionsroar.com/a-mind-like-sky/

    That is all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  124. REMINDER — 4/4/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday morning, April 8.

    In Cambridge, Larry Rosenberg will offer “Clearly Knowing,” a half-day (9am to 1pm) retreat:

    “Since the time of the Buddha, intensive retreat practice has been considered crucial for the maturing of insight. The simplicity and support of the retreat environment encourage a continuity of awareness. Retreats can help develop qualities such as confidence, perseverance, mindfulness, concentration and the unfolding of wisdom and compassion.

    “We will spend our morning together sitting and walking, experiencing the profound value of utter silence and simplicity in the company of other practitioners. There will be few interruptions to pull us away from the opportunity to settle into, and deepen, our practice. The retreat will conclude with the opportunity for questions and discussion of our experience.”

    To register, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, Jim Austin will be in Newburyport for a half-day (9:30am to 1pm) “Mindfulness Yoga and Insight Meditation” workshop:

    “How can a yoga asana practice be used to support our mindfulness meditation practice? Can we bring the qualities of mindfulness and openness developed in sitting meditation practice onto the yoga mat thereby creating continuity between our practice on the mat and our practice on the cushion? We’ll explore these questions and others during this half-day workshop. The workshop will include short periods of sitting meditation, yoga, and discussion. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and beginners are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Wisdom Publications is about to release “Under the Bodhi Tree: Buddha’s Original Vision of Dependent Co-Arising,” a new collection of teachings by the late Thai meditation master and scholar, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu; the folks at Lion’s Roar recently printed an excerpt from the book — “The Choice Is Yours” — in their latest issue: https://www.lionsroar.com/the-choice-is-yours/

    (For more information on Ajahn Buddhadasa’s book, visit http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/under-bodhi-tree)

    Shifting gears slightly, I want to recommend Jessica Boddy’s recent contribution to the NPR “Shots” blog, in which she discusses recent research on mice that explains the physiology of how breathing calms the mind: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/03/30/522033368/a-tiny-spot-in-mouse-brains-may-explain-how-breathing-calms-the-mind

    And, in closing, I leave you with two shorter teachings.

    In the first, Zen teacher Karen Maezen Miller takes a look at the important role of sadness in our lives: https://www.lionsroar.com/karen-mazen-millers-the-laundry-line-be-sad/

    And in the second, Sharon Salzberg offers “Three Ways To Practice Forgiveness”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/three-ways-practice-forgiveness/

    That is all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  125. REMINDER — 3/28/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are several events coming up this week, starting with Ajahn Sucitto’s visit to Cambridge on Wednesday evening, March 29, for CIMC’s weekly dharma talk. The talk — “Mindfulness and the Relational Field” — begins at 7:30pm.

    Then on Saturday, April 1, Alexis Santos will offer a day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat on “Knowing the Mind: Cultivating A Compassionate Awareness”:

    “The Buddha described the mind as the forerunner of all things. When we speak or act with an agitated mind, suffering naturally follows. Conversely, with a well-cultivated mind, actions and speech become harmonious, bringing happiness to oneself and the world.

    “In this day-long retreat, we will explore how to know the quality of mind that is meditating as well as the meditating mind itself. For example, are you meditating with a desire to have only pleasant experiences? Is there aversion or resistance in the mind? We’ll explore how to cultivate a compassionate awareness that can be with anything that is arising, including the range of pleasant and unpleasant experiences that are an unavoidable part of life.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Please feel invited to join us for a day of practice in community. There will be periods of sitting and walking, guided meditation as well as reflections to support your practice. There will also be plenty of time for questions and comments.”

    For more information on either CIMC event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, April 1, Matthew Daniell will offer a “Zen-Inspired Insight Meditation Retreat” from 9am to 5pm:

    “This all day retreat will embrace a spirit of simplicity, freshness, and intimacy. We will use forms (sitting facing the wall or window, shorter sits and group walks, an emphasis on posture, and whole bodied, wholehearted attention) common in certain styles of Zen Buddhist practice, which Matthew trained formally in for years in Japan. This simplicity and directness of this approach supports daily life practice in a natural and seamless way. This retreat is not designed for complete beginners, all others are welcome to attend.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    There are also still a few spaces left for “Gladdening the Heart,” Doreen Schweizer’s day-long (9:30am to 5pm) retreat with our friends at Souhegan Insight Meditation in Peterborough, NH:

    “We know that light will again return to our corner of Northern New England, as well as to our hearts. Please join us for this daylong retreat. It will offer participants a quiet refuge, a time for softening the busy mind and for gently healing ‘the heart withered by pain.’

    “By practicing in sustained silence, and with the aid of gentle instruction, we develop the tools to glimpse the nature of our own minds. As our minds begin to calm and concentration improves, we lay the foundation for deep insight.

    “This day will include meditation instruction, alternating periods guided sitting and walking meditation, and time for question and group reflection. This retreat is appropriate for beginning and experienced meditators.”

    To register, please go to http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    The folks at Tricycle close out Meditation Month 2017 with a final video teaching (21 min.) from Ruth King — “Practicing Kindness (Without Exception)”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-2017-practicing-kindness-without-exceptions/

    This week I also want to feature a couple of pieces from a pair of lesser-known teachers.

    First up is “Boredom Is Fascinating!” — an adaptation of a talk given by Josh Korda at Dharmapunx NYC a while back: https://www.lionsroar.com/this-is-how-you-work-with-boredom/

    The next piece — “Working With the Eightfold Path — is the culmination of a series written by Stephanie Noble: https://stephanienoble.com/2017/03/04/working-with-the-eightfold-path/amp/

    And I leave you with a short piece from Arnie Kozak entitled “Find Your Fascination”: https://www.lionsroar.com/find-your-fascination/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  126. REMINDER — 3/21/17 meditation group

    Greetings and happy spring! The Tuesday evening meditation group will be back in action tomorrow evening, meeting in the Chapel at First Parish from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Dharma teacher Oren J. Sofer will be around CIMC for a couple of events this week, first offering the Wednesday evening dharma talk “Five Ways to Transform Your Meditation Practice” from 7:30pm to 8:45pm on March 22. Then on Saturday, March 25, he will offer a day-long (10am to 4pm) workshop on “Wise Speech”:

    “Training ourselves to speak in a wise and non-harmful way is one of the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path. In this workshop, we will explore how to bring more mindfulness and care to our communication: our listening, our speaking, and even our thinking. The tools shared will be a combination of the core guidelines for Wise Speech offered by the Buddhist tradition, as well as the contemporary discipline of Nonviolent Communication. These practices form a powerful foundation for cultivating insight, awareness, self-understanding, and empathy. Through strengthening our capacity to stay present and to be more skillful in difficult situations, the pain and misunderstandings that come out of unwise and habitual speech can begin to ease.”

    For more information on either of the CIMC events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, Jessica Morey will be at IMC Newburyport for the day-long (10am to 4:30pm) workshop “Befriending the Body”:

    “In this workshop, we will practice relaxing into our bodies as a refuge, anchor and ally in the practice of mindfulness. We will also cultivate loving kindness (metta) as a felt, somatic experience, both towards and through the body. Practicing mindfulness and metta grounded in the body helps us cultivate a level of steadiness and integrate the calm clarity and ease found in formal practice. Beginner and experienced students are welcome to attend this workshop which will include periods of guided meditation, movement, presented material and discussion.”

    To register for this workshop, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    For anyone interested in venturing a bit further afield this weekend, our friends at Valley Insight are offering “Developing Right Concentration: A Day of Meditation with Shaila Catherine” from 9am to 4:00pm on Sunday, March 26, in Lebanon, NH:

    “This day-long program will encourage the deepening of concentration through a relaxed and skilled development of mindfulness with breathing practices, cultivated through sitting and walking meditation, applicable to daily life. The teachings will explore the role of concentration on the liberating path, and introduce the deep and blissful absorption states called jhana. Shaila will guide meditations, and share insights and techniques gleaned from her extensive experience with jhana practice. This program will illuminate the powerful role that right concentration plays in the path of awakening. Both new and experienced meditators are welcome.”

    For more: http://valleyinsight.org/retreats/

    Also, there are still a few spots available for Souhegan Insight Meditation’s “Gladdening the Heart” event with Doreen Schweizer taking place from 9:30am to 5pm on Sunday, April 2, in Peterborough, NH:

    “We know that light will again return to our corner of Northern New England, as well as to our hearts. Please join us for this daylong retreat. It will offer participants a quiet refuge, a time for softening the busy mind and for gently healing ‘the heart withered by pain.’ By practicing in sustained silence, and with the aid of gentle instruction, we develop the tools to glimpse the nature of our own minds. As our minds begin to calm and concentration improves, we lay the foundation for deep insight. This day will include meditation instruction, alternating periods guided sitting and walking meditation, and time for question and group reflection. This retreat is appropriate for beginning and experienced meditators.”

    To register, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    I want to begin this week’s e-mail with the latest installment in Tricycle’s Meditation Month video series, featuring Ruth King. This week Ruth offers a teaching and guided meditation on the topic of “Nothing is Personal, Permanent, or Perfect” (21 min.): https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-2017-nothing-personal-permanent-perfect/

    With spring renewal fresh in the air, it seems an odd time to think about death, yet two articles on “The Supreme Meditation” managed to cross my path over the past week.

    The first is an adaptation from Larry Rosenberg’s 2000 book, “Living in the Light of Death: On the Art of Being Truly Alive”: https://www.lionsroar.com/the-supreme-meditation/

    The second is a short interview with Analayo Bhikkhu that was published in the latest issue of BCBS’s Insight Journal: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/death-contemplation/

    And to wind things up for this week, I leave you with “11 Benefits of Loving-Friendliness Meditation” — an excerpt from “Loving-Kindness in Plain English,” the brand-new book from Bhante Henepola Gunaratana: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/11-benefits-loving-friendliness-meditation/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  127. CANCELLED — 3/14/17 meditation group

    Greetings! Due to the forecast for inclement weather throughout the day tomorrow, the Tuesday evening meditation is cancelled this week. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of some “found” retreat time and/or to catch up on some of the links I’ve sent out over the past few weeks. We’ll reconvene as usual next Tuesday, March 21.

    IMC Newburyport has a special free event coming up this Friday evening, March 17. Mindy Zlotnick will be offering a slide presentation on “The History and Story of Buddhist Nuns” from 7pm to 9pm:

    “We will learn about the history of Bhikkhunis (fully ordained Buddhist nuns) from the time of the Buddha until present day. Women were an integral part of the Buddha’s vision of the four-fold sangha. Because of political and cultural decisions, a strong female monastic presence disappeared for almost 1000 years. The revival of the bhikkhuni sangha began about 30 years ago and has now spread throughout the world. The evening will start with a 30 minute silent meditation, followed by the presentation with time for questions and answers, along with sharing a cup of tea with some sweet snacks. All dana that is collected will be donated to support the Worldwide Organization of the Alliance for Bhikkhunis.”

    To RSVP, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, be sure to register now if you are interested in attending “Gladdening the Heart,” Souhegan Insight Meditation’s day-long retreat with Doreen Schweizer on Sunday, April 2:

    “We know that light will again return to our corner of Northern New England, as well as to our hearts. Please join us for this daylong retreat. It will offer participants a quiet refuge, a time for softening the busy mind and for gently healing ‘the heart withered by pain.’ By practicing in sustained silence, and with the aid of gentle instruction, we develop the tools to glimpse the nature of our own minds. As our minds begin to calm and concentration improves, we lay the foundation for deep insight. This day will include meditation instruction, alternating periods guided sitting and walking meditation, and time for question and group reflection. This retreat is appropriate for beginning and experienced meditators.”

    For more information, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    Tricycle’s meditation month continues with “Intimacy with Impulses,” the latest video teaching from Ruth King (15 min.): https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-2017-intimacy-impulses/

    One article I would like to highlight this week is “How Your Mind Works,” Gaylon Ferguson’s excellent feature article from the March 2017 issue of Lion’s Roar: https://www.lionsroar.com/how-your-mind-works/

    A shorter — if equally thought-provoking — piece is “The Fifth Precept in the Age of Facebook and Trump,” Jay Michaelson’s recent contribution to the Tricycle Blog: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/fifth-precept-age-facebook-trump/

    Shifting gears slightly, some of you may have already heard last month’s NPR interview with Haenim Sunim, a Korean Buddhist monk who seems to have developed a bit of a following on Twitter with his 140-character missives on faith and mindfulness (7 min.): http://www.npr.org/2017/02/12/514731706/things-you-see-when-you-slow-down

    Keeping with the technology theme for a moment, Lion’s Roar’s Sam Littlefair reviews 11 Buddhist iPhone apps, including Insight Timer, 10% Happier, and Buddhify: https://www.lionsroar.com/buddhist-iphone-apps/

    Notably absent from Littlefair’s roundup are Andy Puddicombe’s Headspace (https://www.headspace.com), my personal go-to app, Samsara (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/samsara-timer/id592333521?mt=8), and Timeless Meditation, a brand-new entrant to the field (https://www.timeless-meditation.us).

    And to bring things to a close this week, I leave you with Charles Suhor’s “Connectedness Meditation” which he describes as “a meditation for extending lovingkindness”: https://www.lionsroar.com/a-meditation-for-extending-loving-kindness/

    That is all for this week; I hope that everyone is able to stay warm and safe through tomorrow’s snowstorm, and I look forward to seeing you on the 21st.

    Metta,
    Tim


  128. REMINDER — 3/7/15 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a few events coming up this week at CIMC and IMCN.

    First, on Wednesday evening, March 8, Thanissaro Bhikkhu will be in Cambridge to give CIMC’s weekly dharma talk. Than Geoff’s theme will be the “Ten Perfections.” The dharma talk will take place from 7:30pm to 8:45pm, and is preceded by sitting meditation from 6:30pm to 7:15pm. For those who are interested, Than Geoff has penned a short study guide on the Ten Perfections that is freely available on his website: (http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/TenPerfections_131122.pdf)

    Then, on Saturday and Sunday, March 11-12, Narayan Liebenson will offer a non-residential weekend retreat on “The Four Beautiful Qualities of the Heart”:

    “In this weekend retreat we will turn our attention to the “Four Beautiful Qualities of Heart” known as the Brahmaviharas, or Divine Abodes. These essential qualities are: loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. Each of us has the inherent capacity to strengthen these qualities in our own hearts and minds. Through practice they may become our dwelling places where we feel “at home”, not merely places we visit on occasion.

    “There are specific instructions and practices for cultivating each of the four Brahmaviharas. Over the course of the weekend there will be instruction and practice with each one. We will investigate:

    Loving-Kindness on Saturday morning;
    Compassion on Saturday afternoon;
    Joy on Sunday morning;
    and Equanimity on Sunday afternoon.
    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Our time together will include guided meditation periods, talks and time for discussion and questions. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend both days, however, Saturday-only and Sunday-only registrations are also available.”

    For information on all CIMC events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also taking place this Saturday, Ted Jones will be at IMC Newburyport to offer “Awakening to the Present Moment” a morning (10am to 12:30pm) retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Tricycle concluded it’s February “Teachings for Uncertain Times” video series with Kaira Jewel Lingo offering a teaching on “Facing Our Ancestors”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/teachings-uncertain-times-facing-ancestors/

    Tricycle subsequently kicked off March as “Meditation Month” with Ruth King offering guided meditation and teaching on “Cultivating Calm”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-2017-cultivating-calm/

    Meanwhile, the folks at Lion’s Roar sat down to talk with Lama Rod Owens before the third annual Buddhism and Race Conference that took place at Harvard University this past weekend: https://www.lionsroar.com/lama-rod-owens-on-the-third-buddhism-and-race-conference-at-harvard/

    And, as some of you may have seen already, “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver recently interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama (18 min.): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLY45o6rHm0

    In closing this week, I offer “Kitten Meditation,” a very short teaching from Ajahn Brahm excerpted from his 2016 book “Kindfulness”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/kitten-meditation/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  129. REMINDER — 2/28/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC has a members-only event scheduled for this Saturday, March 4, and IMCN is on break until next week. Looking ahead, Thanissaro Bhikkhu (aka “Than Geoff) will be at CIMC for their Wednesday evening dharma talk on March 8, and Narayan Liebenson will be offering a non-residential weekend retreat on “The Four Beautiful Qualities of the Heart” on March 11 and 12. Also on March 11, Ted Jones will be at IMCN for a morning retreat for beginning and newer students. For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org and http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Tricycle continues it’s month-long “Teachings for Uncertain Times” video series, and this week’s offerings are from the Theavada nun Ven. Pannavati Bhikkhuni, Tibetan teacher Lama Rod Owens, and Won priest Rev. Dosung Yoo.

    In “Being a Knower of the World,” Ven. Pannavati explains that “to find out what the world means to us, we need to look within.”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/teachings-uncertain-times-pannavati/

    In “Recognizing Our Intersectionality,” Lama Rod speaks “about the power that comes from honoring our different identities.”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/teachings-for-uncertain-times-rod/

    And in “Ignorance Is The Cause of Suffering,” Rev. Yoo looks at the mistaken self as the cause of suffering: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/teachings-uncertain-times-dosung/

    The final installment of this series, featuring Zen teacher Kaira Jewel Lingo, will be out later this week and I will post a link in next Monday’s e-mail.

    March is “Meditation Month” for the folks at Tricycle, who will feature a free series of weekly dharma talks from Insight Meditation teacher Ruth King. For more information, please visit https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-2017-ungripping-heart-mind/

    Shifting gears slightly, I want to thank Brenda for bringing my attention to a very interesting half-hour video from the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in which the noted scholar-monk Ven. Analayo Bhikkhu speaks about “Respecting the Different Buddhist Traditions”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-blp_r2rKOk

    And, finally, Ven. Analayo was also featured in the February BCBS Insight Journal discussing NIbanna as he has come to understand it from his years of scriptural study and personal practice: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/the-nibbana-interview/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow night.

    Metta,
    Tim


  130. REMINDER — 2/21/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both in action this Saturday, February 25:

    Matthew Daniell will be in Newburyport for “Wakeful Rest” a day-long retreat (9am to 5pm, with morning-only option):

    “Often we associate wakefulness with a vigilant tight kind of attention, and rest with a kind of dreamy relaxation. In this retreat we will work with a special body-breath-open awareness approach to practice that supports a quality of present moment awareness that is simultaneously spacious and grounded, wakeful, and restful. When we learn to touch and abide in this balanced way of being, whether it be in formal practice, or in daily life, we live from a place of freshness, openness and ease.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile in Cambridge, Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC to offer a day-long (10am to 4pm) workshop on “The Wisdom of Anger”:

    “The experience of anger can be a signal, awakening one to the fact that something is wrong. As such, it can include a temporary feeling of power and strength. If prolonged longer than needed, however, it is one of the most destructive forces in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Anger is a habit of mind that can be transmuted into discernment and clarity. Understanding the energy of anger — and its roots of pain, fear and hurt — requires great compassion.

    “During this workshop, we will explore how to work with both calming and wisdom practices to free the heart from anger. In learning about and encouraging a wise attitude, patience, acceptance, and investigation, we become able to respond with care and interest instead of reacting only out of conditioning. We develop our capacity to observe anger without either pushing it away or entangling ourselves within it.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, don’t forget about Souhegan Insight’s upcoming retreat with Doreen Schweizer has been re-scheduled for Sunday, April 2: http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    I would like to lead off this week by sharing the two latest installments from Tricycle’s video series “Teachings for Uncertain Times.”

    First up is a short (10 min.) talk by Viveka Chen, a teacher in the Triratana tradition, on “Waking Up to Activism”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/viveka/

    Next is a longer talk (20 min.) from Insight Meditation teacher Ruth King on “Racism Is A Heart Disease”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/ruth-king-uncertain-times/

    (I highly recommend listening Ruth King’s talk in particular.)

    Some of the same themes explored by King also pop up in this recent Lion’s Roar blog post from Jeremy Mohler, “How Meditation Helps Us to Be One With – and Effect – Change”: https://www.lionsroar.com/how-meditation-helps-us-to-be-one-with-and-affect-change/

    And in closing I’ll leave you with a short conversation between LR’s Rod Meade Sperry and Vinny Ferraro, along with a brief meditation offering from Vinny: https://www.lionsroar.com/right-now-its-like-this/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  131. REMINDER — 2/14/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group is scheduled to meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    On Saturday, February 18, IMCN is offering a special morning program (10am to 11:30am) for children ages 3 to 9; please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org for further details.

    Also on Saturday, from 9am to 1pm, Larry Rosenberg will be at CIMC for “Clearly Knowing,” a half-day retreat:

    “We will spend our morning together sitting and walking, experiencing the profound value of utter silence and simplicity in the company of other practitioners. There will be few interruptions to pull us away from the opportunity to settle into and deepen our practice. The retreat will conclude with the opportunity for questions and discussion of our experience.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, Souhegan Insight’s retreat with Doreen Schweizer, originally scheduled for this past weekend, has been postponed until Sunday, April 2. Space is available if you are interested in attending: http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    I’ll lead off this week with the three latest installments from Tricycle’s “Teachings for Uncertain Times” video series.

    First, Myokei Caine-Barrett, bishop of the Nichiren Shu Buddhist order, explains how a complex practice can be a foundation for healing: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/myokei/

    Next, Zen teacher Mushim Patricia Ikeda-Nash reminds us that now is the time to “dig in” to our practice in “What Have We Been Practicing For?”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/mushim/

    And finally, Dawa Tarchin Phillips, a teacher in the Tibetan tradition, offers eight teachings to appreciate our inherent value: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/dawa/

    Continuing with the theme, Insight teacher Pamela Ayo Yetunde shared her thoughts on “Buddhism in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter” in Lion’s Roar last May: https://www.lionsroar.com/buddhism-age-blacklivesmatter/

    More recently, BCBS visiting teacher Lynette Monteiro was interviewed about “Diversity Assumptions, Implicit Values, and Seeking Refuge” for the January issue of Insight Journal: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/diversity-assumptions-implicit-values-and-seeking-refuge/

    And in closing this week, in recognition of Valentine’s Day, I leave you with with a few words on the “Greatest Love of All” from Shambhala teacher Lodro Rinzler: https://www.lionsroar.com/greatest-love-of-all/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  132. REMINDER — 2/7/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Souhegan Insight Meditation’s day-long retreat with Doreen Schweizer scheduled for this Sunday, February 12, is already full, but our friends at IMCN and CIMC both have events coming up this weekend.

    Doug Phillips will be in Newburyport this Saturday, February 11, for “Breath Awareness for Your Whole Life,” a morning workshop from 9:30am to 1:00pm:

    “Breath awareness is a powerful mindfulness tool leading to calm, clear seeing, and insight. One way of working with breath awareness, as instructed by the Buddha in the Anapanasati Sutta, teaches us to be sensitive to the breath in the whole body. In this workshop we will practice expanding our sense of the breath in the body and we will explore how to use this practice as the foundation for the unfolding of Anapanasati, naturally leading to a more open, inclusive, awareness which embraces all of our life with more freshness, clarity and ease. Suggested reading for this workshop: Breath by Breath and Three Steps to Awakening by Larry Rosenberg.”

    To register or for more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC both Saturday and Sunday for a an Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat, beginning at 9:00am on the 11th and ending at 5:00pm on the 12th. There is also the option to attend for either Saturday or Sunday alone (Saturday, 9:00am to 8:00pm; Sunday, 9:00am to 5:00pm):

    “In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat will include open periods of individual practice in sitting, walking, standing, and lying down. This format is intended to foster self-reliance, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. On Saturday evening there will be a sharing circle; a meditative question will be asked and investigated.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    As we are fully into the month of February, I want to pass along links to the three most recent installments of Tricycle’s “Teachings for Uncertain Times” video series.

    First up is “The Power and Importance of Community,” a teaching by Tuere Sala, co-guiding teacher at the Seattle Insight Meditation Society:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/teachings-uncertain-times-power-importance-community/

    Next, Larry Ward, a teacher in Thich Nhat Hanh’s lineage, brings us “America’s Racial Karma”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/larry-ward/

    And last but not least, Mona Chopra offers “A Black Lives Matter Lovingkindness Meditation”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/mona/

    Stay tuned for more great videos through the rest of the month….

    I want to wrap things up this week with a flashback to Tania Ketenjian’s two-part interview with author Pico Iyer, which first appeared on the radio program “Sight Unseen” back in 2009:

    Part one (30 min.): http://www.radiotania.org/mp3/SightUnseen040909.mp3

    Part two (30 min.): http://www.radiotania.org/mp3/SightUnseen041609.mp3

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  133. REMINDER — 1/31/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group is scheduled to meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator. The forecast is for inclement weather (i.e., snow) Tuesday evening into Wednesday; I will monitor conditions throughout the day and will send out a cancellation notice by 5pm if things look bad.

    With February fast upon us, so is Sharon Salzberg’s 7th annual 28-day online meditation challenge. For more details, please visit https://www.sharonsalzberg.com/meditation-challenge-2017-registration

    Coming up this weekend, CIMC will host a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) Beginners’ Insight Meditation workshop with Madeline Klyne:

    “This Beginners’ Workshop will include formal meditation instruction, guided sitting and walking practice, and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation (Vipassana). During our time together, participants will learn how to meditate along with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions.

    “This day-long program is appropriate for people who have little or no meditation experience of any kind, for those who are relatively new to Insight Meditation, and for anyone who would like to revisit the basics of meditation and deepen their practice. All are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    IMCN has no scheduled activities this weekend, but next Saturday, February 11, Jim Austin will be in Newburyport for the half-day (9:30am to 1pm) workshop, “Breath Awareness for Your Whole Life.” To find out more, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also, just a reminder that Souhegan Insight Meditation is offering a day-long (9:30am to 5pm) retreat with Doreen Schweizer on Sunday, February 12. Please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/ for more details.

    Tricycle magazine is marking Black History Month with “Teachings for Uncertain Times” — a series of video dharma talks presented by Buddhist teachers of color. The series gets started this week with a short (15 min.) talk by Vimalasara (Valerie) Mason-John — a teacher in the Triratna tradition — on the barriers that people of color face when entering the Buddhist path:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/vimalasara/

    Finally this week, I want to share a short article from Lion’s Roar on using the Alexander Technique to help improve posture — and comfort! — during sitting meditation:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/use-alexander-technique-to-meditate-more-comfortably/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening, weather permitting.

    Metta,
    Tim


  134. REMINDER — 1/24/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN each has an event coming up this Saturday, January 28.

    Matthew Daniell will be in Newburyport for a day-long (9am to 5pm, with a morning-only option) retreat on “Loving Kindness and Insight Meditation: An Openhearted Approach to Wise Living”:

    “This silent retreat will be divided into two parts, in the morning we cultivate a heart of kindness and care by practicing wishing well for ourselves and others in formal Loving Kindness (or metta) practice. From this open hearted generative place we will move to practicing Insight meditation using breath awareness and the body as a basis for cultivating clear present moment awareness in the afternoon. Together these practices combine to a warm-hearted and connected approach to living more deeply, kindly, and wisely in the present moment, whether it be in the silence and community support of retreat, or in the midst of our busy daily lives.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Doug Phillips will be in Cambridge for “Keep It Simple (and Stick to the Present Moment!),” also a day-long retreat from 9am to 5pm:

    “There are many useful pointers that can re-orient us to our practice and our life, cutting through seeming complexity and confusion:

    “Who am I?”
    “What is this?”
    “Drop deluded thinking!”
    “What is there if there is no thinking?”

    “The title of this retreat was coined by the Thai meditation master Ajahn Chah. It invites just such a simple, direct and practical way for each of us to stop, look and listen to our life. We will spend the day together cultivating the gift of a simplified way of living and being, and we will explore how to actualize this gift in the midst of the realities of our often hectic and complicated daily lives.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Our day will be spent in silence and will include the opportunity for individual interviews and an end-of-retreat discussion.”

    To register and/or to find out more, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    Looking ahead to next month, Delia reports that registration is filling quickly for “Gladdening the Heart,” the February 12 day-long retreat with Doreen Schweizer. To find out more, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    Also coming up in February is Sharon Salzberg’s 7th annual “Commit to Sit” 28-day meditation challenge:

    “Now in its seventh year, this free 28-day challenge is powerful exploration of the tools of meditation led by expert teacher, Sharon Salzberg. Whether you are brand new to meditation, or a longtime practitioner, Sharon offers down-to-earth expertise based on 40 years of practical experience studying and teaching. This month-long program follows Sharon’s New York Times bestselling book, ‘Real Happiness’ and covering a wide variety of meditation techniques throughout the course of the month. Since 2011, tens of thousands have participated in this challenge from around the globe, fostering an inspiring community dedicated to finding deeper happiness and peace of mind.

    To find out more visit http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/meditation-challenge-2017-registration

    Finally this week, I want to leave you with “A Meditator’s 7-Point Practice Plan for 2017,” a short reflection from Ethan Nichtern: http://www.lionsroar.com/a-meditators-7-point-practice-plan-for-2017/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to sitting with everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  135. REMINDER — 1/17/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this weekend:

    First, from 5pm to 7pm on Friday, January 20 — inauguration night — the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Center for Mindfulness and Compassion will offer “Fostering Communities of Light,” a benefit event “to gather in practice, discussion and community to reflect on fostering light within ourselves and our communities.”

    The evening will include:

    – Opportunities to share, connect and dialogue among like-minded individuals passionate about strengthening communities through mindfulness and compassion.

    – Keynote speakers, Chris Germer PhD and Metta McGarvey EdD, will lead reflection and guided mindfulness practice.

    – Learn about efforts to bring mindfulness to children, families, and schools from Christopher Willard, PsyD and the work of our CMC Community Fellows
    For more information, please visit https://cmcannual.my-trs.com

    Next, from 10am to 12:30pm on Saturday, January 21, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for “The Mindful Moment: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students”:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    Please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org to register or for more information.

    Then on Sunday, January 22, Andrew Olendzki will be at Cambridge Insight for a day-long (10am to 4pm) workshop on “Self and Non-Self”:

    “There are few ideas in the Buddhist tradition as simultaneously challenging and rewarding as the teaching on self and non-self. It is challenging because it is so counter-intuitive — everyone knows we are, of course, a self, and it seems odd to question such an obvious fact. It is rewarding because when properly understood, the uniquely Buddhist insight into the non-self approach to lived experience is profoundly liberating.

    “This day-long workshop offers an in-depth investigation of the matter, including: the psychological model of the six sense bases and five aggregates; the interdependent origination and cessation of the self; the bases for constructing a sense of self; the classical Buddhist critique of the major forms of self; metaphors and similes for understanding self and non-self; practices and guided meditations for cultivating the insight of non-self.

    “Appropriate for both new and experienced meditators, this course will be primarily lecture with some periods of discussion and meditation.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, Andy’s 8-week online course, Going Forth, kicks off this evening (January 16), and registration is still open:

    https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/going-forth/?utm_source=CTA1612NS

    Looking ahead to next Monday, January 23, author and newsman Dan Harris will be speaking at Newton South High School from 7pm to 9pm:

    “Up Your Meditation Game: Take on the Secret Fears that Stop You From Meditating or Mess Up Your Practice”

    “Join ABC news anchor Dan Harris and Jeff Warren (the MacGyver of meditation teachers) for an evening of discussion and practice. Bring your meditation questions…what’s holding you back? They’ll help you up your game!

    “Dan Harris is perhaps the most unlikely meditation evangelist, ever. After a panic attack on Good Morning America, he wrote the New York Times bestselling memoir 10% Happier about what led him to embrace a practice he’d long considered ridiculous. He then started the 10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics app with a handful of bona fide meditation teachers, including Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg.

    “Now here’s what’s troubling Dan: The perception of meditation is shifting from weird and ‘culty’ to trendy and beneficial. But despite this evolution, most people aren’t actually meditating. So Dan recruited Jeff Warren, founder of the Consciousness Explorers Club in Toronto, to head cross-country (in a 10% Happier rock star bus) to figure out what’s standing in the way of a regular practice for all sorts of Americans–and help them knock down these challenges. This road trip will serve as the catalyst for a new 10% Happier book (January 2018) and a series of courses on the 10% Happier app.

    “Can’t find the time to meditate? Worried you are doing it wrong? Concerned that meditation will make you lose your edge? Whether you are aiming to getting started, having trouble staying consistent, or just want to up your game, let Dan and Jeff take a shot at ‘MacGyvering’ your mind.”

    To register, please visit https://registration.xenegrade.com/nce/coursedisplay.cfm?schID=9495&CFID=6158085&CFTOKEN=c07cb9fff24b4b98-5BCE858C-155D-1D81-0DC6123ACFFED2A3&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=Meet%20Dan%20in%20Newton%2C%20MA_1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=register%20now

    Looking a bit further ahead, don’t forget that Souhegan Insight Meditation will be hosting “Gladdening the Heart: A Day of Meditation” with Doreen Schweizer on Sunday, February 12: http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    In recognition of today’s Martin Luther King Jr., holiday and the upcoming Presidential inauguration later this week, I want to close this week’s e-mail with two articles:

    The first is “The King We Need: Martin Luther King Jr., Moral Philosopher” a reprise of Charles Johnon’s 2005 article for Shambhala Sun: http://www.lionsroar.com/the-king-we-need-charles-r-johnson-on-the-legacy-of-dr-martin-luther-king-jr/

    “Let’s Stand Up Together” is a brand-new essay from Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, due to be published the forthcoming (Spring 2017) issue of Buddhadharma: http://www.lionsroar.com/lets-stand-up-together/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  136. REMINDER — 1/10/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. We had a last-minute switch, and Gabriela has very kindly offered to facilitate the practice this week.

    CIMC and IMCN are finally back in full swing after the winter hiatus. CIMC’s weekend offering (“Lessons from Hospice” workshop with Nancy Barcelo and Kourkoulakos) is already full, but Chris Crotty will be up at IMCN on the morning (9:30am to 1pm) of Saturday, January 14, for “The Noble Truth of Freedom: Insight That Alleviates Suffering”:

    “Through insight meditation we calm the mind and investigate the root cause of suffering. Genuine freedom we learn, is not a complicated path, despite the confusion we may experience in our life. The depth of the Buddha’s liberation teachings are in their simplicity: radical transformation is found in our capacity to be with experience as it is; we don’t need to change anything. This half-day retreat will explore the highest ideal of Buddhist teachings – freedom from suffering – through mindfulness meditation and an emphasis on ease and self-acceptance.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Stay tuned for more great events at both centers later this month, including “Self and Non-Self” a day-long workshop at CIMC with Andrew Olendzki on Sunday, January 22 (http://www.cambridgeinsight.org).

    Also, looking just a bit further ahead, on February 12 our old friend Doreen Schweizer will be collaborating with Delia K. and the folks at Souhegan Insight Meditation for “Gladdening the Heart” a day-long retreat in Peterborough, NH. For more information on this event, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    The major news in the religious studies world of late is the death of Huston Smith, the esteemed author and scholar of world religions. Barry Boyce visited Smith back in 2009 for a profile in Shambhala Sun (http://www.lionsroar.com/huston-smith-fifty-years-on-the-razors-edge/), and last week Dana Sawyer penned an obituary for Smith at Tricycle.org (https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/religious-scholar-huston-smith-died-97/).

    And last but not least, I wanted to mention “Buddhist Wisdom of the Thai Forest Tradition: The Roots of Western Insight Meditation” — a new website that has complied a vast and growing array of information about this particular “flavor” of Buddhism. It’s definitely worth setting aside some time to explore: http://thaiforestwisdom.org.

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  137. REMINDER — 1/3/17 meditation group

    Greetings and happy 2017! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both on hiatus for another week or so, but the new year is a great time to consider treating yourself to a longer retreat. Space is still available for a number of offerings at IMS and BCBS:

    http://www.dharma.org/meditation-retreats/retreat-center/retreat-center-schedule

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/courses/

    If you do go on retreat this year, Oren Sofer and friends have just launched Next Step Dharma, a new 6-week online program to offer ongoing support for anyone seeking to integrate the fruits of retreat into daily life:

    http://www.nextstepdharma.org/#home

    Wisdom Publications is also continuing their own endeavors in online education with “Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions,” a 10-week course (January 9 – March 13) led by Ven. Thubten Chodron. The course will “strengthen your knowledge and practice of Buddhism by understanding its varied traditions—how they came to be, what makes them different from each other, and what they have in common.” To enroll, please visit http://learn.wisdompubs.org/academy/courses/buddhism-one-teacher/

    As noted a few weeks ago, Andy Olendzki’s new book, “Untangling Self,” was published by Wisdom this past month (http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/untangling-self). Arnie Kozak just wrote a comprehensive review of “Untangling Self” over at Beliefnet.com (http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/mindfulnessmatters/2017/01/10-billon-moments-mindfulness.html), and our dear friend Delia Kostner recently offered her own thoughts about the book in the latest issue of Cushion and Couch:

    http://conta.cc/2irNnPc

    While you’re checking out Cushion and Couch, be sure to also catch Brett Dixon’s exclusive interview with Andy as well as the round-table retrospective for the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy’s 20th anniversary, featuring Paul Fulton, Chris Germer, Trudy Goodman, Stephanie Morgan, Ron Siegel, and Charles Styron.

    That’s all for this week. I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe new year and I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  138. REMINDER — 12/27/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will facilitate our final practice of the year.

    CIMC and IMCN are both on hiatus until after January 1; in the meantime “Journey to the West” is into its final week of production at the Central Square Theater: https://www.centralsquaretheater.org/shows/journey-to-the-west/

    Stay tuned for all sorts of great events to kick off the new year.

    As we wind down 2016, and look ahead to 2017, I want to highlight “Resolved: No More Resolutions,” an op-ed piece by columnist Renee Loth that appeared in today’s Boston Globe: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/12/26/resolved-more-resolutions/uDHQkMk0cOxno1R1dA7PJO/story.html?s_campaign=bdc:globewell:opinion

    The folks at Tricycle chose to end 2016 with a selection of their favorite pieces from the last 12 months (https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/tricycles-top-16-2016/); Christina Feldman’s “Doing, Being, and the Great In-Between” struck me as an especially good reflection to hold in mind as we head into the coming year: https://tricycle.org/magazine/meaning-between-doing-and-being/

    That is all for this week and this year. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening, and wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe 2017.

    Metta,
    Tim


  139. REMINDER — 12/20/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue will facilitate the practice this week (sitting in for Brenda, who covered for Sue last week).

    Both CIMC and IMCN are now closed for weekend events until after the new year. For those who may find themselves with some extra time over the next few weeks, performances of Journey to the West continue in Cambridge through the end of the month: https://www.centralsquaretheater.org/shows/journey-to-the-west/

    For those who may be interested in learning while hunkered down at home, there are a few online options to mention:

    Andy Olendzki will be launching a new 17-week online course next week via the Integrated Dharma Institute:

    “Developing the Mind, focuses on samādhi, or the practices of meditation. When the mind can get free of its habitual restlessness and settle down upon a chosen object of attention, with some stability and clarity, one can one begin to see what the Buddha is pointing to in his teachings. Beginning with some basic ways of looking at mental training and clarifying the difference between directed and undirected meditation, the course takes a very close look at the classical instructions for meditation found in the Establishment of Mindfulness Discourse, including its important refrain, and at all four foundations of mindfulness individually. The higher concentration practices of absorption or jhāna are examined carefully, and each of the four ‘sublime abidings’ or brahma-vihāras are also investigated thoroughly. It goes on to address the issues of skillful effort and working with mental states, and concludes with a close look at the Mettā Sutta, the well-loved discourse on how to cultivate loving kindness and the many benefits of doing so.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.integrateddharmainstitute.org/course/developing-the-mind/

    Next month, Andy will launch “Going Forth” an 8-week online program offered in collaboration with Tricycle Online Courses:

    “In ancient India, it was customary for a person to disengage from years spent as a householder and “wander forth” into a life of homelessness to focus on inner development. The Buddha adapted this model, encouraging his disciples to “go forth” and dedicate themselves to the noble project of enlightenment.

    “In Going Forth, we interpret this commitment to wandering forth symbolically rather than literally. For people entering or inhabiting their mature years, wandering forth offers a new vision of retirement. In this view, advancing age is not a time of decline and diminishing fulfillment, but has the potential to be the most meaningful time of one’s life, offering an opportunity to focus on inner development. This course is also valuable for those facing other important transitions and for young people who—like the Buddha himself—are inspired to look beyond the conventional and investigate deeper existential waters.

    “This eight-week program focuses on a selection of passages from early Buddhist texts that define and clarify a different, noble way of being in the world. These passages are newly translated in gender-universal language and presented weekly in an accessible format with the English and Pali side by side. The passages are explained, investigated, and made relevant for contemporary seekers; no prior knowledge of Pali is required.”

    For more information on Going Forth, please visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/going-forth

    Andy also just published his new book, Untangling Self, via Wisdom Publications (http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/untangling-self); stay tuned next week for Delia Kostner’s review of the book, plus Brett Dixon’s exclusive interview with Andy for Cushion and Couch.

    Harvard University has also just launched the free 4-week online course “Buddhism Through Its Scriptures” as part of the World Religions Through Their Scriptures XSeries Program:

    “Whether you are new to the study of Buddhism or have been studying it or practicing it for years, this course will provide you with the opportunity to become acquainted with a variety of Buddhist teachings while guiding you to think about them, and yourself, in new ways.

    “Through a combination of carefully selected readings, both scriptural and informational, as well as exposure to various forms of Buddhist practice such as art, devotional acts, and literary works, you will learn how to interpret, reflect upon, and apply the teachings of the Buddha to your own life and deepen your understanding of Buddhism.

    “No previous knowledge of Buddhism or religious study required.”

    For more information, please visit https://www.edx.org/course/buddhism-through-its-scriptures-harvardx-hds3221-3x#!

    Paul Ratner offers a bit more insight on the Harvard course over at Big Think: http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/want-to-learn-more-about-buddhism-take-this-free-online-course-from-harvard-university

    In closing this week, I leave you with a reprise of Sylvia Boorstein’s 2012 Shambhala Sun piece on suffering, insight, and Buddhist practice: http://www.lionsroar.com/i-want-to-be-insightful-july-2012/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  140. REMINDER — 12/13/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN both have events coming up this Saturday, December 17.

    Chas DiCapua will be in Cambridge for the day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat “A Gradual Awakening: Small Moments, Many Times”:

    “In our practice, it can be so easy to have much of our attention focused on the hindrances and the purification aspects of the path. What is equally important is to be mindful of times when the mind is relatively free of wanting, of not wanting, and of the self-making that both gives rise to, and is strengthened by, that. As we get tastes of the experience of a relatively free heart and mind, we see two important things about it: That it is available here and now, and that it does not consist of anything. Rather, it is what remains when the defilements are not present.

    “In this day-long retreat, we will practice noticing the very ordinary moments of freedom, while paying attention to when we move into striving and begin trying to make these moments of freedom happen.

    “This retreat may be more beneficial for those that have had some meditation practice and retreat experience.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, Matthew Daniell will be in West Newbury for the morning (9:30am to 12:30pm) workshop “Loving Kindness for the Holidays”:

    “The Dalai Lama said that ‘love is a not a luxury, but a necessity,’ yet in our hearts we often do not feel love for ourselves or others and we bear the painful consequences. In this workshop, we will explore time tested Buddhist practices which tap the power of intention through offering phrases of loving kindness (metta) to ourselves and others. When cultivated, loving kindness practice helps us to heal our own hearts by loving ourselves more deeply. It can also help us touch those in our lives and the world with a deeper sense of love and connection. Touching love for ourselves and others can be especially helpful during the holiday season with all of its inherent stresses. All are welcome.”

    The workshop will be followed by a holiday potluck lunch. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also, a reminder that “Journey to the West” is being performed at the Central Square Theater in Cambridge through the end of the month: https://www.centralsquaretheater.org/shows/journey-to-the-west/

    This week I would like to share two articles from Lion’s Roar. The first is an article on vipassana meditation excerpted from Bhante Henepola Gunaratana’s classic book, Mindfulness in Plain English: http://www.lionsroar.com/why-meditate/

    The second article is an older article by Karen Kissel Wegela on how to include “difficult people” in our meditation practice and in our lives: http://www.lionsroar.com/trading-places/

    And in closing, I leave you with some recent words from Jack Kornfield on “Practicing the Dharma in Uncertain Times”: http://www.lionsroar.com/now-is-the-time-to-stand-up-practicing-the-dharma-in-uncertain-times-part-2/

    That is all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  141. REMINDER — 12/6/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Things are quiet at CIMC this week, but IMCN will host “Cultivating A Kind Attention” — a weekend residential retreat with Chas DiCapua that begins at 5pm on Friday, December 9, and ends at 11:30am on Sunday, December 11. Again, this is a great opportunity for anyone who is considering their first overnight retreat:

    “One of the most common struggles for people in formal practice is trying too hard. This is based on the mistaken view that we are trying to get somewhere and/or have certain experiences. Instead of bringing a goal oriented approach to our practice, we can learn to cultivate an attention that is kind and receptive. We can learn to meet life on its own terms and allow ourselves to be touched by an increasing variety and depth of life. In this retreat we will practice sitting and walking meditation in a way that includes kindness and receptivity. With this approach, we take the struggle out of practice and cultivate an ability to be with things just as they are.”

    There are also options to attend as a “commuter” or to only attend for the day on Saturday.

    For more information on all of IMCN’s offerings, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    For those who may be interested in something more dramatic, “Journey to the West” is a new production opening Thursday, December 8, at the Central Square Theater in Cambridge:

    “In the beloved comic Chinese novel a monk travels from China to India in search of spiritual enlightenment and Buddhist scriptures. Mary Zimmerman’s (Candide, Metamorphosis) adaptation delivers whimsy, delight, and a combination of comedy, adventure, and satire mixed with a mystical dreamscape filled with lyrical beauty…. Journey to the West promises to be a comic adventure for all ages celebrating the vitality of human perseverance.”

    For more information on performances (December 8 through December 31), please visit https://www.centralsquaretheater.org/shows/journey-to-the-west/

    For more information on the 16th century Chinese novel on which the play is based, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_to_the_West

    This week I want to pass along (somewhat belatedly) a link to a site called Meditation Oasis. This is a site that Sue recommends for guided meditations (with music), and there looks to be a wide variety to suit a range of preferences: http://www.meditationoasis.com/podcast/

    And I’ll follow a slightly Zennish tangent to wrap things up this week, sharing Norman Fisher’s Lion’s Roar piece from earlier this year, “Making Friends on the Buddhist Path”: http://www.lionsroar.com/friends-buddhist-path/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  142. REMINDER — 11/29/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both back in action following the Thanksgiving holiday, with events taking place at each location on Saturday, December 3.

    Larry Rosenberg will be in Cambridge for a half-day (9am to 1pm) retreat, “Clearly Knowing”:

    “Since the time of the Buddha, intensive retreat practice has been considered crucial for the maturing of insight. The simplicity and support of the retreat environment encourage a continuity of awareness. Retreats can help develop qualities such as confidence, perseverance, mindfulness, concentration and the unfolding of wisdom and compassion.

    “We will spend our morning together sitting and walking, experiencing the profound value of utter silence and simplicity in the company of other practitioners. There will be few interruptions to pull us away from the opportunity to settle into and deepen our practice. The retreat will conclude with the opportunity for questions and discussion of our experience.”

    For additional details and registration information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, up in West Newbury, Matthew Daniell will offer “Awakening to the Present Moment: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students” from 10:00am to 12:30pm:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    Also, looking ahead to the following weekend, December 9-11, Chas DiCapua will be at IMCN for “Cultivating A Kind Attention,” a weekend residential retreat beginning at 5pm Friday and ending at 11:30am on Sunday. This is a great opportunity for anyone who is considering their first overnight retreat:

    “One of the most common struggles for people in formal practice is trying too hard. This is based on the mistaken view that we are trying to get somewhere and/or have certain experiences. Instead of bringing a goal oriented approach to our practice, we can learn to cultivate an attention that is kind and receptive. We can learn to meet life on its own terms and allow ourselves to be touched by an increasing variety and depth of life. In this retreat we will practice sitting and walking meditation in a way that includes kindness and receptivity. With this approach, we take the struggle out of practice and cultivate an ability to be with things just as they are.”

    There are also options to attend as a “commuter” or to only attend for the day on Saturday.

    For more information on IMCN’s offerings, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I’ll wrap up this week’s e-mail with “Making the Buddha’s Pefections Our Own,” a short excerpt from Jean Smith’s book, Life Is Spiritual Practice: Achieving Happiness with the 10 Perfections:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/making-the-buddhas-perfections-our-own/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  143. REMINDER — 11/22/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both closed for the Thanksgiving holiday this week, but will be back in action with weekend events scheduled at each center on December 3.

    As we look ahead to a time of year in which gatherings with friends and family are more frequent, I want to lead this week with “How to Have a Mindful Conversation,” a new Mindful.org piece by Mitch Abblett (who also happens to be the Executive Director for the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy):

    http://www.mindful.org/how-to-have-a-mindful-conversation/

    Another offering to share is “Why Are We So Hard On Ourselves?” a newish Tricycle.org piece by IMS/Spirit Rock teacher Mark Coleman:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/why-are-we-so-hard-on-ourselves/

    Meanwhile, Lion’s Roar’s Sam Littlefair recently profiled an interesting new organization called Buddhist Insights, that “brings meditation to the streets and subways of NYC”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/buddhist-insights-meditating-streets-new-york/

    And last but not least, I’d be remiss if I did not acknowledge the death of singer-songwriter/Zen-Buddhist-monk, Leonard Cohen. Lion’s Roar’s Rod Meade Sperry offers a brief remembrance:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/leonard-cohen-dead-at-82/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening and wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

    With metta and gratitude,
    Tim


  144. REMINDER — 11/15/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a handful of events coming up in the community this weekend.

    On Saturday, November 19, the PINE Psychoanalytic Center will hold its November meeting at the Cambridge Hospital. The morning session (9am to 12 noon) will feature a talk by Dr. Axel Hoffer on “Bringing Meditation into Psychoanalysis: Free Association, Meditation and Bion,” with discussant Dr. Lawrence Brown and moderator Dr. Delia Kostner. The afternoon (1:30pm to 4:30pm) will feature Dr. Kostner presenting “The Contemplative on the Couch: When the Patient has a Meditation Practice,” with Dr. Hoffer serving as moderator and Dr. Paul Brown joining as discussant. For more information, please visit http://www.pineanalysis.org/content/events

    Also on Saturday, Andrew Olendzki will be teaming up with our friends at VIMS for a daylong (9am to 4pm) retreat on “Self and Not Self” at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Hanover, NH:

    “Andy will speaking from the material in his new book, which addresses the topic of Self and Not Self and the relevance of the Buddhist understanding of the question of Self to our daily lives. In addition, he will be sharing his current work on meditation practices in Early Buddhist teachings through directed meditations throughout the day.”

    To register, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/retreats/

    Meanwhile, Jim Austin will be at IMCN for a morning (10am to 1pm) “Mindfulness Yoga and Insight Meditation” workshop:

    “How can a yoga asana practice be used to support our mindfulness meditation practice? Can we bring the qualities of mindfulness and openness developed in sitting meditation practice onto the yoga mat thereby creating continuity between our practice on the mat and our practice on the cushion? We’ll explore these questions and others during this half-day workshop. The workshop will include short periods of sitting meditation, yoga, and discussion. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and beginners are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    And finally, Narayan Liebenson will lead a 2-day “Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat” on Saturday and Sunday at CIMC:

    “The Experienced Practitioners’’ Weekend Retreat offers an intensive opportunity to practice in the company of other dedicated practitioners. In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat will include open periods of individual practice in sitting, walking, standing, and lying down. This format is intended to foster self-reliance, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. On Saturday evening, there will be a sharing circle; a meditative question will be asked and investigated.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    The election last week has brought the political tensions of the past 12 months (if not far longer) to a head. The reaction has been strong and swift, and leaders within the US Buddhist community have been among those to weigh in.

    Of the many responses that have crossed my path in the past week, I thought this pair of short reflections was particularly poignant:

    Susan Piver offers us “Don’t Bite the Hook: Five things to remember post election”:
    http://www.lionsroar.com/susan-piver-election-response/

    While EBMC’s Larry Yang shares his commentary “This Nation Needs Our Awakening Together”:
    http://www.lionsroar.com/commentary-this-nation-needs-our-awakening-together/

    And, finally, Sharon Salzberg offers “the post-election meditation we all need” (15 min.):

    That is all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  145. REMINDER — 11/8/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator as we sit together in anticipation of the election results.

    Looking beyond Election Day 2016, there is still space available for this weekend’s 2-day Mindful Self-Compassion Core Skills Training workshop, offered to benefit the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. The workshop will be led by Christopher Germer and Susan Pollak, and takes place at Lesley University in Cambridge on Friday, November 11, and Saturday, November 12, from 9am to 5pm each day. For more information, please visit the IMP website: http://www.meditationandpsychotherapy.org/events/mindful-self-compassion-core-skills-training-imp-benefit

    Also on Saturday, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for “An Openhearted Approach to Wise Living,” a loving-kindness and insight meditation retreat from 9am to 5pm with a morning-only option:

    “This silent retreat will be divided into two parts, in the morning we cultivate a heart of kindness and care by practicing wishing well for ourselves and others in formal Loving Kindness (or metta) practice. From this open hearted generative place we will move to practicing Insight meditation using breath awareness and the body as a basis for cultivating clear present moment awareness in the afternoon. Together these practices combine to a warm-hearted and connected approach to living more deeply, kindly, and wisely in the present moment, whether it be in the silence and community support of retreat, or in the midst of our busy daily lives.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I think it’s perhaps best to keep this week’s e-mail “short and sweet,” so I’ll close simply with “How Not To Freak Out,” Judy Lief’s wonderful piece from this month’s issue of Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/how-not-to-freak-out/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see you all tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  146. REMINDER — 11/1/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will take place from 7:30pm to 9:30pm tomorrow evening in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Wednesday evening, November 2, Lama Rod Owens will be joined with co-authors Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams and Dr. Jasmine Syedullah, at the Harvard University Science Center for a conversation about their new book, Radical Dharma:

    “Offering their own histories and experiences as illustrations of the types of challenges facing dharma practitioners and teachers who are different from those of the past five decades, they ask how teachings that transcend color, class, and caste are hindered by discrimination and the dynamics of power, shame, and ignorance. Their illuminating argument goes beyond a demand for the equality and inclusion of diverse populations to advancing a new dharma that deconstructs rather than amplifies systems of suffering and prepares us to weigh the shortcomings not only of our own minds but also of our communities. They forge a path toward reconciliation and self-liberation that rests on radical honesty, a common ground where we can drop our need for perfection and propriety and speak as souls. In a society where profit rules, people’s value is determined by the color of their skin, and many voices—including queer voices—are silenced, Radical Dharma recasts the concepts of engaged spirituality, social transformation, inclusiveness, and healing.”

    For more information, please visit http://boston.carpediem.cd/events/1254513-radical-dharma-boston-book-release-and-dialogue-at-harvard-university-science-center/

    On Saturday, November 5, Ted Jones will be at IMCN for “The Next Step,” a morning (9:30am to 12:30pm) retreat for “advanced beginners”:

    “Come and experience a morning of guided and silent meditation designed for students who have completed an Introductory Class at IMCN or a similar offering at another center. This retreat will introduce participants to the experience of more extended periods of silent mediation with longer periods than in most beginner retreats but shorter than the usual format for experienced students. There will be three 30 minute periods of sitting meditation, two 20 minute periods of walking meditation, and ample time for questions and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday morning, George Mumford and Narayan Liebenson will kick off a 5-day non-residential retreat at CIMC, “Working with the Judging Mind”:

    “This retreat will be dedicated to an exploration of the many ways we judge ourselves and others, and the ways that mindfulness, wisdom, and loving-kindness can transform the energy of judging into discernment and compassion.

    “The format of this five-day retreat invites each of us to intentionally combine formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend, emphasizing the familiar formal practices of sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three weekdays, we will meet in the evenings only. Participants will be given a meditation exercise to practice with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life and our endeavor to work with our judging minds. Coming together again at the end of the day we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises. Individual interviews may be offered.

    “Yogis are asked to attend all five days. Partial registration will not be offered for this retreat.”

    For more information, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org/

    Looking a bit further ahead, on November 11-12, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy will hold a special benefit event, “Mindful Self-Compassion Core Skills Training” with Christopher Germer and Susan Pollak:

    “MSC combines the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion to enhance our capacity for emotional wellbeing. Mindfulness is the first step—turning with loving awareness toward difficult experience (emotions, sensations, thoughts). Self-compassion comes next—bringing loving awareness to ourselves. Together, mindfulness and self-compassion comprise a state of warm, connected presence during difficult moments in our lives.”

    For more information, please visit http://meditationandpsychotherapy.org/events/mindful-self-compassion-core-skills-training-imp-benefit

    I’ll close things out this with two short essays.

    With only a week to go until the 2016 Presidential campaign finally comes to an end, Jay Michaelson offers three recollections to help “thrive (not just survive) as Election Day approaches.”:

    http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/thrive-not-just-survive-election-day-approaches/

    And I’ll give the last word to Jack Kornfield, who offers “More Love,” an excerpt from his book, Seeking the Heart of Wisdom:

    https://spiritrock.org/the-teachings/article-archive/article-right-understanding

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  147. REMINDER — 10/25/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of great events coming up this Saturday, October 25:

    Chris Crotty will be at IMC Newburyport for a day-long (9am to 5pm, with morning-only option) insight meditation retreat, “Cultivating Freedom”:

    “The teachings of the Buddha encourage us to practice meditation to achieve the highest goal, freedom. The practical and simple path laid out in the discourse on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness invite us to continuously turn toward our own mind and body with kind attention and curiosity. By opening fully to the present moment we discover greater calm, clarity and wakefulness. In this retreat we will explore the Four Foundations of Mindfulness through alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, with an opportunity for discussion at the end of the day.”

    For registration information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, from 10am to 4pm, Narayan Liebenson and Stephanie Morgan will be at CIMC for the benefit workshop “Enlivened Practice: Ethics, Meditation and Wisdom”:

    “The practice of liberation extends far beyond formal sitting practice, as invaluable as our formal sitting practice is. The Buddha’s teachings encompass all arenas and aspects of our lives and, as practitioners, we attend to the three “pillars” that are essential to awakening: sila (training in ethics), samadhi (training in effort, steadiness, and mindfulness) and panna (training in wisdom). When one of these pillars is weak, the entire structure is unstable.

    “During this day-long workshop we will focus on how working with the precepts and allowing the precepts to “work on us” both grows and is the embodied expression of mindfulness. We will explore how ethical training supports formal meditation and how formal meditation adds refinement and subtlety to practicing the precepts in the trenches of our day to day lives. Attention to the three pillars of practice is both challenging and enlivening as we work with our growing edges.

    “Narayan and Stephanie will bring the richness of 35 years of friendship and their ongoing co-exploration of the Dharma to this day of conversation and practice. The workshop will include talks, formal sitting, discussion, and guided exercises.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I want to thank our new friend, Tracey S., for her recommendation of the following dharma talk by Jonathan Foust, husband of Tara Brach and an established teacher in his own right. Tying in to Carrie’s discussion of dana last week, Jonathan offers a deep exploration of “Generosity as a Path to Liberation” (38 min.):

    http://jonathanfoust.libsyn.com/generosity-as-a-path-to-liberation-0

    You can learn more about Jonathan and find additional podcasts at his website:

    http://jonathanfoust.com

    Shifting gears slightly, as some of you may be aware, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand died earlier this month. In Thailand there is a very close relationship between the monarchy and institutional Buddhism. American-born Thai monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu recently posted a short remembrance of King Bhumibol on Lion’s Roar website:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/on-king-bhumibol-and-the-power-of-goodness/

    And, finally, Anne Cushman offers brief instruction on “How to Establish A Daily Practice of Almost Anything, in Six Steps”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-establish-a-daily-practice-of-almost-anything-in-six-steps/

    That’s all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  148. REMINDER — 10/18/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday, October 22, Narayan Liebenson will host a day-long (9am to 5pm) Metta Practice Retreat at CIMC:

    “The word ‘metta’ is translated as lovingkindness or boundless friendliness. It is a sincere and heartfelt wish for the peace and happiness of ourselves and others. Metta is not a feeling; rather it is an intention that can be practiced and sustained. It is cultivated through a process of inclusivity, gradually expanding to include all sentient beings. Especially in times of uncertainty and pain, metta practice helps us to work with habitual patterns such as anxiety and doubt.

    “The Buddha taught metta as a specific antidote to fear and anger. The fruit of the systematic practice of metta is twofold: steadiness and tranquility which strengthen the mind, and sensitivity and openness which soften the heart. In cultivating metta, we directly experience a fundamental kindness as the very ground of our being. It is an invaluable practice in the midst of the unexpected changes in life.

    “This retreat offers a full day of metta practice and will include guided sittings. It is an opportunity for those who are already familiar with the theory and definition of metta to immerse themselves in a day of extended engagement with the practice itself.”

    For more information, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org/program/metta-practice-retreat/

    For those of you who are more virtually inclined, the folks at 10% Happier have teamed up with Sharon Salzberg for a new course, “Less Distracted II.” Billed as “a must for anyone dealing with distraction, this course covers a whole bunch of alternatives to using the breath as an object of meditation.” This offering is available to subscribers through the 10% Happier app: http://www.10percenthappier.com

    10% Happier has also made freely available a couple of short, guided “Meditations for Election Stress,” featuring Sharon, along with Jeff Warren and JoAnna Harper. If you find yourself seeking refuge in the waning days of the 2016 Presidential campaign, be sure to check these out: http://www.10percenthappier.com/elections

    Also, don’t forget that Sharon also has partnered with the folks at Tricycle for the 8-week online course “The Boundless Heart,” starting on October 24:

    “In this carefully structured program, Sharon will offer practical methods for bringing these heart-opening qualities, so fundamental to the Buddhist path, into your everyday life—whether you’re idling in traffic, in the checkout line, or appreciating the simple beauty of children at play.

    “The practices taught in this course will help you cultivate these positive mental states and enable you to turn them into lasting habits. Video dharma talks and guided audio meditations will lead you through each teaching. You will also have the opportunity to become part of a wider community of learners and discuss the nuances of these practices with Sharon and fellow practitioners.”

    To register, please visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/boundless-heart

    I have a couple of articles to share this week.

    First is “The Work of Diversity: Getting Messy, Getting Uncomfortable,” Lama Rod Owens’ feature interview from the brand-new BCBS Insight Journal:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/the-work-of-diversity-getting-messy-getting-uncomfortable/

    This seems to tie in nicely with the themes addressed by Pannavati Bhikkhuni in the second half of her June interview with the Insight Journal, “Coming Clean on Diversity and Staying In Love with Practice”:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/coming-clean-on-diversity-and-staying-in-love-with-practice/

    And, finally, Thanissaro Bhikkhu offers his thoughts on “What the Buddha Taught Us About Race” (among other things) from his new translation of the Sutta Nipata:

    http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/what-the-buddha-taught-us-about-race/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  149. REMINDER — 10/11/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group meets tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a few events coming up this weekend.

    On Saturday, October 15, at IMC Newburyport, Jim Austin will lead a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) retreat “Breath Awareness for Your Whole Life”:

    “Breath awareness is a powerful mindfulness tool leading to calm, clear seeing, and insight. One way of working with breath awareness, as instructed by the Buddha in the Anapanasati Sutta, teaches us to be sensitive to the breath in the whole body. In this workshop we will practice expanding our sense of the breath in the body and we will explore how to use this practice as the foundation for the unfolding of Anapanasati, naturally leading to a more open, inclusive, awareness which embraces all of our life with more freshness, clarity and ease. Suggested reading for this workshop: Breath by Breath and Three Steps to Awakening by Larry Rosenberg.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, CIMC will host “Clearly Knowing” a half-day (9am to 1pm) retreat with Larry Rosenberg:

    “Since the time of the Buddha, intensive retreat practice has been considered crucial for the maturing of insight. The simplicity and support of the retreat environment encourage a continuity of awareness. Retreats can help develop qualities such as confidence, perseverance, mindfulness, concentration and the unfolding of wisdom and compassion.

    “We will spend our morning together sitting and walking, experiencing the profound value of utter silence and simplicity in the company of other practitioners. There will be few interruptions to pull us away from the opportunity to settle into and deepen our practice. The retreat will conclude with the opportunity for questions and discussion of our experience.

    “Retreatants are encouraged to bring a vegetarian lunch and to join others for a meal and conversation in the dining room after the retreat is over at 1:00 pm.”

    Then, from 2pm to 5:15pm on Sunday the 16th, George Mumford and Narayan Liebenson will offer “Cultivating Connectedness: A Half-Day Retreat for People of Color and Allies”:

    “All are welcome and invited to this afternoon of practice for People of Color and Allies. We are aware of the social realities that engender our separateness, and of our collective humanity that offers opportunities to cultivate connectedness. We will come together through sitting meditation, walking meditation, and reflections on the Dharma. This precious opportunity of practice provides our Sangha a heart opening exploration of our individual and collective suffering and how we cultivate our beloved and treasured community.”

    For more information on either CIMC event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I want to lead this week by sharing the Salon.com article that Gabriela brought last week, “Mindfulness’ ‘truthiness’ problem” — Ronald Purser and Andrew Cooper’s 2014 rebuttal to the Sam Harris essay “Killing the Buddha.” Each article is thought-provoking and led to an interesting discussion:

    http://www.salon.com/2014/12/06/mindfulness_truthiness_problem_sam_harris_science_and_the_truth_about_buddhist_tradition/

    For a slightly different take I offer another flashback to 2014, Jason Siff’s “Reflections on Secular Buddhism” from the Secular Buddhist podcast (28 min.):

    http://secularbuddhism.org/2014/07/04/episode-203-jason-siff-reflections-on-secular-buddhism/

    That is all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  150. REMINDER — 10/4/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, October 8:

    Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC for a day-long (10am to 4pm) metta workshop:

    “The word ‘metta’ is translated as lovingkindness or boundless friendliness. It is a sincere and heartfelt wish for the peace and happiness of ourselves and others. Metta is not a feeling; rather it is an intention that can be practiced and sustained. It is cultivated through a process of inclusivity, gradually expanding to include all sentient beings. Especially in times of uncertainty and pain, metta practice helps us to work with habitual patterns such as anxiety and doubt.

    “The Buddha taught metta as a specific antidote to fear and anger. The fruit of the systematic practice of metta is twofold: steadiness and tranquility which strengthen the mind, and sensitivity and openness which soften the heart. In cultivating metta, we directly experience a fundamental kindness as the very ground of our being. It is an invaluable practice in the midst of the unexpected changes in life.

    “This workshop is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include specific instructions, guided practice and time for questions.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for a morning (10am to 12:30pm) “Mindful Moment” retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    Please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org to register

    Coming up later this month, on October 24, Sharon Salzberg will be launching a new online course in conjunction with the folks at Tricycle: “The Boundless Heart”

    “World-renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg invites you to join her for The Boundless Heart, an eight-week online course exploring the Four Immeasurables—the four qualities of heart that have the power to strengthen, sustain, and support your practice: lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. By helping you to develop these qualities, this carefully structured program will equip you with the skill and courage to open your heart fully to yourself and others.”

    Visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/boundless-heart for additional details.

    This week’s highlight is the Secular Buddhist podcast’s recent interview with Andrew Olendzki, formerly of the IMS and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and currently founder of the Integrated Dharma Institute. Host Ted Meisner sat down for a fascinating talk with Andy about this new project and his forthcoming book, Untangling Self:

    http://secularbuddhism.org/2016/09/11/episode-257-andrew-olendzki-integrated-dharma-institute/

    Stay tuned for IMP’s own interview with Andy and a review of Untangling Self in the December issue of Cushion & Couch.

    I also recommend Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s essay “Creating a Good Ground for Meditation” on the ways in we can create a conducive environment for meditation practice by our conduct in daily life:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/creating-a-good-ground-for-meditation/

    As we draw ever closer to Election Day 2016, I thought this short essay — “Politics and Practice” — by Ezra Bayda was a helpful reflection:

    http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/politics-and-practice/

    And, last but not least, I thought that Lauren Krauze’s recent essay for Tricycle, “On the Cushion With Abby,” was a good way to finish off this week’s e-mail. I hope you enjoy:

    http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/abby/

    That is all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  151. REMINDER — 9/27/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC has a special drop-in event coming up from 6:30pm to 9:00pm this Friday evening, September 30: “Mindful of Race” a community conversation facilitated by Betty Burkes, Eleanor Hancock, and Narayan Liebenson:

    “Does ignorance of racism affect the presence and participation of some members of our sangha? What work needs to be done to understand and alleviate racism within our community? How do we co-create a sangha that is truly inclusive? Is looking at ‘whiteness’ a vital, necessary part of this work? Our commitment to non-harm leads us to investigation.”

    Then on Saturday, October 1, Eleanor Hancock will offer a day-long (10am to 5pm) workshop on “Waking Up to Race”:

    “In this workshop, we will look at our deep conditioning around race and explore how the Dharma supports us as we turn towards the continuing reality of racial suffering. Our practice enables a mindful approach to racial awareness: nonjudgmental investigation; awareness of one’s own thoughts, body, and emotions while doing this work; acceptance of truth, regardless of the complexity or difficulty it contains; and compassion towards ourselves and others for our limitations and our mistakes. In understanding and letting go of the conditioning and ignorance that maintain an unjust society, we begin to experience a greater connection to all people and all of life. Development of racial awareness can be a part of our spiritual practice.

    “The day will include meditative inquiry, instruction, group and individual work and time for questions and discussion. We will investigate our personal experiences, our social conditioning, the history we share with people of color and the modern-day challenges of cultural and institutional racism.”

    For more information on either CIMC event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on October 1, Rebecca Bradshaw will be at IMC Newburyport to offer a one-day (9am to 5pm, with morning-only option) retreat on “The Buddha’s Teachings on Judging and Comparing: Better Than, Equal To and Less Than”:

    “In this one day retreat we will have the opportunity to hear the Buddha’s teaching on mana: comparing ourselves with others, a deeply ingrained pattern based in survival conditioning that we all share. We will explore the antidote to mana in a deep and abiding trust and confidence in our own experience.”

    For registration or additional information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Coming back to the theme of race and identity, I wanted to share “Do You Know Your True Face?” — an intriguing piece written for Lion’s Roar by Lama Rod Owens, who recently gave the keynote address at the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy’s “Mindfulness for All” conference:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/do-you-know-your-true-face/

    And finally, switching gears slightly, I wanted to leave you with a very short Tricycle interview with Stephen Batchelor on his new project, “Mara: A Chamber Opera of Good and Evil”:

    http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/mara-the-opera/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  152. REMINDER — 9/20/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this weekend, on Saturday, September 24, Jessica Morey will be at IMC Newburyport for a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) workshop on “Befriending the Body”:

    “In this workshop, we will practice relaxing into our bodies as a refuge, anchor and ally in the practice of mindfulness. We will also cultivate loving kindness (metta) as a felt, somatic experience, both towards and through the body. Practicing mindfulness and metta grounded in the body helps us cultivate a level of steadiness and integrate the calm clarity and ease found in formal practice. Beginner and experienced students are welcome to attend this workshop which will include periods of guided meditation, movement, presented material and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also this weekend, Narayan Helen Liebenson will offer a two-day non-residential retreat at CIMC. (It is also possible to attend for one day only on either Saturday or Sunday.):

    “Since the time of the Buddha, intensive retreat practice has been considered crucial for the maturing of insight. The simplicity and support of the retreat environment encourage a continuity of awareness. Retreats can help develop qualities such as confidence, perseverance, mindfulness, concentration, and the unfolding of wisdom and compassion. This weekend retreat is an opportunity to engage in the formal practices of sitting and walking. Instructions, talks, interviews, and discussion are included.”

    For registration and additional information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    This week I want to highlight the second installment of Ven. Analayo’s two-part Insight Journal interview on vedana/feeling, “Addressing Views and Clinging at the Source”:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/vedana-part-2-addressing-views-and-clinging-at-the-source/

    I also want to recommend “Answering the Call to Awaken,” Spring Washam’s piece from the July issue of Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/answering-the-call-to-awaken/

    That is all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  153. REMINDER — 9/13/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are all sorts of events coming up this weekend, beginning with a residential Insight Meditation and Mindful Yoga retreat starting Friday evening, September 16, and ending Sunday, September 18. (There is also the option of attending for just the day on Saturday.)

    “Take refuge in the silence! A weekend retreat is a wonderful opportunity to learn meditation, to energize and deepen our practice and share in the support of others. We will be using Vipassana (Insight) Meditation and optional yoga as a means to opening to the innate wisdom, joy, and peace which lies in each of us. The practice of mindfulness, simple yet powerful, is the heart of meditation and the supreme antidote to distraction. Being mindful allows us to be more alert, calm and spacious. It truly is the gateway to liberation because we experience our bodies, emotions and thoughts with greater clarity and balance. In addition to the usual Vipassana retreat format which includes alternating periods of sitting and walking practices this retreat will emphasize awareness in all postures, including optional periods of mindful yoga on Saturday.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    On Saturday the 17th, Madeline Klyne will offer a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) Beginners’ Insight Meditation Workshop at CIMC:

    “This Beginners’ Workshop will include formal meditation instruction, guided sitting and walking practice, and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation (Vipassana). During our time together, participants will learn how to meditate along with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. There will be an ample opportunity to ask questions.

    “This day-long program is appropriate for people who have little or no meditation experience of any kind, for those who are relatively new to Insight Meditation, and for anyone who would like to revisit the basics of meditation and deepen their practice. All are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy will host the “Mindfulness for All” day-long symposium. The day will focus on the “growing movement to make mindfulness practice available to everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual identity/preference, income, or social class.” To register, please visit http://www.mindfulnessforall2016.com

    Finally, for this weekend, the Jetavana Forest Monastery in Temple, NH, will itself host a pair of events this weekend. On Saturday there will be a “Going Forth” ceremony for a novice and two postulants. On Sunday, will be the annual “Pa Bah” almsgiving ceremony.

    To learn more about each event, please visit http://forestmonastery.org/news/

    I’ll wrap things up this week with a couple of short articles:

    First, Jack Kornfield offers a brief teaching on “RAIN” — a useful variation on standard mindfulness practice:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/how-rain-can-nourish-you/

    And, finally, Barry Boyce offers some brief words on “Your Wild, Wonderful Brain”:

    http://www.mindful.org/your-wild-wonderful-brain/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow night.

    Metta,
    Tim


  154. REMINDER — 9/6/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will be this week’s facilitator and will give an overview of lovingkindness and compassion practice.

    CIMC remains on break for another week, but IMCN is back up and running after the summer holiday. On Saturday, September 10, Ted Jones will be in Newburyport to offer a day-long (10:00am to 4:30pm) retreat on “Listening with the Body: A Journey Toward the Heart of Helping”:

    “Helping arises for all of us in many ways. It may take the form of listening to a friend who is upset, comforting a child who is afraid, supporting an elderly parent experiencing an inevitable decline, or in any situation that evokes the impulse to reach out to another being. Despite our best intentions, our compassion is sometimes distorted by any number of emotional reactions: sadness, fear, confusion, frustration, even anger. Often these reactions are partially or fully hidden from our awareness, compromising our ability to truly help. In this workshop, we will use meditation to steady the mind and investigate how emotions manifest in the body. This will allow us to gain greater clarity and a more open heart whenever we find ourselves in a helping role.”

    For registration or additional information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, September 10 — for those who are interested in venturing a little further afield — our friends up at Valley Insight are offering “Reflections on the Buddha’s Teachings,” a day-long retreat with Ajahn Jayanto, co-abbot of the Jetavana Forest Monastery. The event will take place from 9:00am to 4:00pm at the St. Barnabas Church Parish Hall in Norwich, VT.

    For more information, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    Looking a bit further ahead, Jetavana Forest Monastery in Temple, NH, will itself host a pair of events on the weekend of September 17-18. On Saturday there will be a “Going Forth” ceremony for a novice and two postulants. On Sunday, will be the annual “Pa Bah” almsgiving ceremony.

    To learn more about each event, please visit http://forestmonastery.org/news/

    For anyone who is considering a longer retreat, IMS has just opened registration for its 2017 offerings. To view the schedule and register, please visit http://www.dharma.org/meditation-retreats/retreat-center/retreat-center-schedule

    Looking ahead to tomorrow evening’s meditation, I think it’s worth reprising an old article on metta by Thanissaro Bhikkhu: “When Goodwill Is Better Than Love.”: http://www.lionsroar.com/when-goodwill-is-better-than-love-the-meaning-of-metta/

    Than Geoff also more recently offered “7 Things the Buddha Never Said” — a quick look a some of the sayings commonly misattributed to the Buddha: http://www.lionsroar.com/what-the-buddha-never-said/

    And finally this week, the Lion’s Roar staff have put together another short primer on the “5 Recollections” (which, as far as we know, the Buddha really did say): http://www.lionsroar.com/buddhism-by-the-numbers-the-five-recollections/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  155. REMINDER — 8/30/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN remain on summer holiday for another week or so, but the month of September is already looking to be pretty busy there and also at the Temple Forest Monastery, Valley Insight Meditation, and elsewhere. I’ll be keeping everyone posted of coming events as best I can.

    I just want to share just a couple of links this week:

    First, ABC News anchorman (and meditation evangelist/author) Dan Harris recently found himself on the other side of the microphone in this podcast (~30 min.) with Wisdom Publications’ Daniel Aitken:

    http://learn.wisdompubs.org/podcast/dan-harris/

    Joseph Goldstein — Dan Harris’s friend, teacher, and collaborator on the 10% Happier app project — was also recently featured at Lion’s Roar in a fascinating conversation with Danny Fisher on “Uncovering the Meaning of Mindfulness”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/uncovering-the-meaning-of-mindfulness-joseph-goldstein-in-conversation-with-danny-fisher/

    I plan to do some walking meditation practice tomorrow evening, and thought that this very short primer (also from the folks at Lion’s Roar) might be a useful reference:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/mindful-walking-how-to-do-walking-meditation/

    That’s it for this week — short and sweet. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  156. REMINDER — 8/23/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 8:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    I want to begin by apologizing for the broken web links in the past few weeks’ e-mails. I hope that is now rectified and that all will be fully functioning going forward. Many thanks to Ronna for the heads up!

    Both CIMC and IMCN continue their summer holiday. However, registration for 2016-2017 residential courses at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies begins tomorrow, August 23. I strongly encourage you to take a look at the BCBS website to see what might be of interest:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/courses/

    Speaking of BCBS, I want to highlight the feature article from the August issue of Insight Journal, published just last week. In the first part of a series on the foundations of mindfulness, Analayo Bhikkhu offers his expertise on practicing with vedana — mindfulness of feeling (e.g., pleasant, unpleasant, or neither pleasant nor unpleasant sensation). I have always found this to be an especially interesting and useful frame for practice, and it corresponds precisely to what Brenda was talking about last Tuesday evening:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/vedana-part-1-addressing-views-and-clinging-at-the-source/

    Shifting gears slightly, I also want to share a recent piece from Mindful.org on “The Trouble With Mindfulness Apps”:

    http://www.mindful.org/trouble-mindfulness-apps/

    And, finally, I’ll finish up with a very brief overview of the three kinds of dukkha (suffering) as understood in Buddhism, courtesy of the fine folks at Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/buddhism-by-the-numbers-the-three-kinds-of-suffering/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  157. REMINDER — 8/16/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    IMCN and CIMC are both on summer vacation. Each center has a wide range of activities slated to begin in September, so be sure to check out http://www.imcnewburyport.org and http://www.cambridgeinsight.org for further details.

    Also looking ahead to next month, on Saturday, September 10, Valley Insight Meditation Center will offer a day-long retreat with Ajahn Jayanto at St. Barnabas Church in Norwich, Vermont. Space is limited, but if you are interested, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    Andrew Olendzki is now offering several of his year-long online courses through the Integrated Dharma Institute. The first program — “Living With Integrity” — will get underway on September 1. Please visit http://www.integrateddharmainstitute.org/integrated-dharma-program/ for additional details.

    If you haven’t done so recently, I recommend checking out Jack Kornfield’s website. He has a great collection of videos and podcasts, and you also have a chance to sign up for his free weekly teaching: https://jackkornfield.com

    I’ll wide up this week with a couple of short articles:

    First is “More Truth, Less Suffering,” a reflection by IMS teacher Anushka Fernandopulle on the broader context of mindfulness practice: http://www.lionsroar.com/more-truth-less-suffering/

    And, finally, “You Are A Control Freak,” an excerpt from Ajahn Brahm’s latest book, Kindfulness: http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/you-are-a-control-freak/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  158. REMINDER — 8/9/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator. The Chelmsford Community Band will hold its final summer performance on the town common at 7pm, so parking will be limited. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road.

    CIMC is on summer hiatus until September 5. IMCN has one final event scheduled for this Saturday, August 13, before they too are on vacation until September 9.

    This Saturday Chas DiCapua will be in Newburyport to offer a day-long (9am to 5pm, with a 9am to 12:30pm morning-only option) retreat “Understanding and Practicing Samadhi”:

    “Samadhi is a Sanskrit term that usually is translated as concentration, although a more helpful and more literal translation would be, to stand next to. In this retreat we will explore, not intellectually, but with our own mindfulness practice, how to skillfully cultivate Samadhi. That is, how to train the heart and mind to be at rest with a sustained attention on a particular meditation object. The keys to developing Samadhi are a non-striving attitude and the development of calm. Both of which we will practice with throughout our day together.”

    To register or to request more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    There are also a number of new online program and course offerings that recently caught my attention.

    Sounds True has teamed up with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach to offer Mindfulness Daily, a 40-day “guided training to establish a mindfulness meditation practice in less than 15 minutes a day.”

    Each day, participants will receive a 10–15 minute lesson that includes a short talk and a guided practice session. “Every lesson builds upon the previous one, so by the end of your journey, you’ll have all the skills you need for a mindfulness practice that will sustain you for years to come.”

    To find out more, please visit http://www.soundstrue.com/store/mindfulness-daily/

    IMS teachers Kamala Masters and Steve Armstrong have collaborated with Wisdom Publications on an introductory course on Mahasi Sayadaw’s Manual of Insight. The course comprises video lectures and conferences, readings, and weekly guided meditations.

    For more information, please visit http://learn.wisdompubs.org/academy/courses/intro-manual-insight/

    And, last but not least, Sharon Salzberg has joined forces with Reboot to offer the free 10-day online course “Reboot Your Work,” based on Sharon’s book Real Happiness at Work. “Participants will learn mindfulness practices to transform their workplace experience for increased happiness, effectiveness, efficiency and creativity.”

    To sign up, please visit https://www.reboot.io/reboot-your-work/

    Speaking of Sharon, be sure to check out Lindsay Kyte’s wonderful profile from the March 2016 issue of Lion’s Roar: http://www.lionsroar.com/how-sharon-salzberg-found-real-happiness/

    And to wrap things up this week, I’ll leave you with “Breathing Lessons” — an article from the July 2003 issue of Shambhala Sun in which Richard Rosen, Larry Rosenberg, Edward Espe Brown, and Gaylon Ferguson compare breath practices in yoga and three schools of Buddhism —Theravada, Zen, and Tibetan Buddhism: http://www.lionsroar.com/breathing-lessons/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  159. REMINDER — 8/2/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue will be this week’s facilitator.

    Please remember that the Chelmsford Community Band will hold their penultimate performance of 2016 on the town common starting at 7pm. Parking in the immediate vicinity of the church will be limited, however alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road.

    I’d like to lead off this week with “The Ultimate Happiness,” Melvin McLeod’s exclusive interview with HH the 14th Dalai Lama for Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/the-ultimate-happiness-dalai-lama/

    His Holiness was also the inaugural guest on Dan Harris’s new 10% Happier podcast back in March. In this second installment of the 10% podcast, neuroscientist Richard Davidson sits down with Harris to talk about his work and the “wake-up call” he received from the Dalai Lama (65 min.):

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/neuroscientist-richie-davidson-dalai-lama-gave-total-wake/story?id=40859233

    I also want to pass along information regarding Spirit Rock’s new program, Compassionate Companions, which will begin in April 2017. (Applications are due by October 14.)

    The program has three areas of focus:

    An emphasis on creating communities of support. Participants will learn how to create and sustain “Caring Circles” or other responses to serve individuals facing the challenges of aging, illness (injury) or dying.
    Individual dharma study of aging, illness and death as vehicles for awakening wisdom and compassion, with teachings and practices in classical Buddhist teachings and related contemporary approaches to support being a compassionate companion to those in need.
    Provision of a basic curriculum that includes elements of dharma study, issues related to contemplative care, and mindful and compassionate service for local groups to deliver to their communities.
    Anyone who is interested can visit the Spirit Rock website for further details: http://www.spiritrock.org/compassionate-companions

    And in closing this week, I’ll leave you with another short piece from Lion’s Roar — “How to Establish a Daily Practice Of Almost Anything, in Six Steps,” by Anne Cushman:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-establish-a-daily-practice-of-almost-anything-in-six-steps/

    That’s all for now. Carrie and I will be back next week, and wish you all good practice in the meantime.

    Metta,
    Tim


  160. REMINDER — 7/26/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will stand in for me as this week’s facilitator. Again, please be aware that parking in the immediate vicinity of First Parish will be limited due to the Chelmsford Community Band concert. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road.

    There are two events coming up this Saturday, July 30:

    Narayan Helen Liebenson will be at CIMC for a day-long (10am to 4pm) “Wise Speech” workshop:

    “Wise speech is one of the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path. As a path factor, it means the practice of training ourselves to speak to one another in wise and connected ways, avoiding harm through the ways we use words. The Buddha encouraged looking at four arenas of unwise speech: untruthful, divisive, harsh and unnecessary.

    “Wise speech is also a practice of speaking in ways that are trustworthy, harmonious, kind and worth saying. In taking up the practice of learning to speak in wiser ways, our words become gifts instead of weapons. To be aware while speaking is a way of embodying insight, self-understanding, and compassion.

    “Words can connect and heal and they can also alienate and harm. They can produce powerful effects on both the speaker and the listener. Through strengthening our capacity to be present and skillful in difficult situations, the pain and misunderstandings that result from unwise and habitual speech can begin to ease.

    “Appropriate for both beginning and experienced meditators, our day together will include talks, discussion, and sitting meditation.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, Ted Jones will be at IMCN from 10am to 12:30pm for “Awakening to the Present Moment: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students”:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also be sure to check out “The Nourishment of Mindfulness,” an article by IMCN guiding teacher Matthew Daniell that recently appeared in the Newburyport Daily News: http://www.imcnewburyport.org/uploads/files/The%20Nourishment%20of%20Mindfulness.pdf

    I have two articles and a video that I’d like to share with you this week.

    First, by popular request, I’d like to share “Compassion, Love, and Healing in Times of War,” a 25-minute video by Lama Rod Owens, a teacher in the Tibetan Kagyu tradition. Carrie kindly brought this video to share with the group last week and it’s certainly worthy of a wider audience:

    http://tricycle.org/dharmatalks/compassion-love-and-healing-in-times-of-war/

    Next is “Sit Down and Shut Up: Pulling Mindfulness Up by Its (Buddhist) Roots,” a recent Max Zahn piece for Religion Dispatches: http://religiondispatches.org/sit-down-and-shut-up-pulling-mindfulness-up-by-its-buddhist-roots/

    And, last but not least, “You Can’t Get Rid of Your Anger — And That’s Okay,” another wonderful Josh Korda piece from the July 2016 issue of Lion’s Roar: http://www.lionsroar.com/you-cant-get-rid-of-your-anger-and-thats-ok/

    Carrie and I are traveling for the next two weeks, but we wish everyone a good practice and look forward to seeing you again on August 9.

    Metta,
    Tim


  161. REMINDER — 7/19/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is this week’s practice facilitator. Please remember that the Chelmsford Community Band will perform on the town common tomorrow evening starting at 7pm, so parking in the immediate vicinity will be limited. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road.

    This Sunday, July 24, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN to offer a day-long (9am to 5pm, with a morning-only option from 9am to 12:30pm) retreat on “Lovingkindness for Oneself and Insight Meditation, A Unified Approach”:

    “Love and wisdom are said to be the two wings of the bird of our spiritual life, we need both to fly. The Buddha has said that there is no one more worthy of our love than ourselves. In this retreat we will work with repeating phrases of loving kindness for ourselves, and also with breath based insight meditation practices. As the retreat progresses, we will have the opportunity of bringing these two practices together in a simplified form, exploring the power of unifying self-love and wisdom in one unified approach. This retreat is designed for those with prior meditation experience.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, all is quiet at CIMC this weekend. They are, however, seeking a part-time (34 hours/week) Volunteer and Program Coordinator. If you know of someone who might be interested, please check out the full job description: https://cambridgeinsight.org/wp-content/uploads/CIMC-Volunteer-and-Program-Coordinator-Job-Listing-2016.pdf

    I want to highlight a couple of longer pieces this week:

    First is “The Practice of Recollection,” 1994 Shambhala Sun piece by a Theravada monk named Bhikkhu Mangalo: http://www.lionsroar.com/the-practice-of-recollection/

    Next is a fascinating interview with Brian Lesage on “The Convergence of Vedanā, Our Mammalian Physiology, and Awakening” from the May 2016 BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/the-convergence-of-vedana-our-mammalian-physiology-and-awakening/

    Last but not least is a shorter piece from Tara Brach, “A Guided Reflection on Bringing RAIN to Difficulty”: http://www.lionsroar.com/bringing-rain-to-difficulty-a-guided-reflection-from-tara-brachs-new-book-true-refuge/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  162. REMINDER — 7/12/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    An important reminder: For the next 6 Tuesdays (July 12 – August 16), the Chelmsford Community Band will hold performances on the town common from 7pm to 8pm. Parking at the First Parish lot and along Westford Street will be severely limited. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road (law offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman) and at 17 North Road (former Eastern Bank).

    Coming up this weekend, Jim Austin will be at IMCN on Saturday, July 16, for the day-long workshop (10am to 4:30pm, with a morning-only option from 10am to 12:30pm) “Breath Awareness for Your Whole Life”:

    “Breath awareness is a powerful mindfulness tool leading to calm, clear seeing, and insight. One way of working with breath awareness, as instructed by the Buddha in the Anapanasati Sutta, teaches us to be sensitive to the breath in the whole body. In this workshop we will practice expanding our sense of the breath in the body and we will explore how to use this practice as the foundation for the unfolding of Anapanasati, naturally leading to a more open, inclusive, awareness which embraces all of our life with more freshness, clarity and ease. Suggested reading for this workshop: Breath by Breath and Three Steps to Awakening by Larry Rosenberg.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also this weekend, Narayan Helen Liebenson will lead a two-day non-residential Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat at CIMC:

    “The Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat offers an intensive opportunity to practice in the company of other dedicated practitioners. In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat will include open periods of individual practice in sitting, walking, standing, and lying down. This format is intended to foster self-reliance, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. On Saturday evening, there will be a sharing circle; a meditative question will be asked and investigated.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    10% Happier’s Dan Harris is back at it; he recently sat down for a brief (26 min.) interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dr. Richard Davidson which you can view here:

    http://centerhealthyminds.org/join-the-movement/10-happier-with-dan-harris-with-richard-davidson-and-the-dalai-lama

    Harris has also introduced a new course via his 10% Happier smartphone app: “10% Less Distracted” featuring old friend Sharon Salzberg. You can find out more about the app and the 10% courses at http://www.10percenthappier.com

    I want to turn back the clock a couple of months to feature another great podcast from the folks at Wisdom Publications. Back in May, Insight Meditation teacher Christina Feldman joined host Daniel Aitken for a long and deep discussion on “Meditation as Cultivation” (51 min.); definitely worth as listen:

    http://learn.wisdompubs.org/podcast/christina-feldman/

    I want to close this week by sharing two recent works from Lion’s Roar.

    The first is “Letting Go of What It All Means,” a brand new essay from Josh Korda: http://www.lionsroar.com/josh-korda-on-letting-go-of-what-it-all-means/

    The second is a reprise of Noah Levine’s 2009 “It Takes a Sangha”:
    http://www.lionsroar.com/it-takes-a-sangha/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  163. REMINDER — 7/5/16 meditation group

    Good afternoon and happy In(terde)penance Day! I hope everyone is enjoying a safe and relaxing holiday weekend. The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    I’d like to start off this week by sharing the wonderful news that Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman were married this past weekend in Maui, Hawai’i. Lion’s Roar shares the story: http://www.lionsroar.com/dharma-teachers-trudy-goodman-jack-kornfield-tie-knot/

    Mazel tov, Trudy and Jack!

    Meanwhile, closer to home, CIMC and IMCN are both back in action this week after a holiday hiatus.

    Coming up on Sunday in Cambridge, Narayan Helen Liebenson will be joined by Rodney Smith for a benefit workshop (9am to 3pm) “True North: Aligning Spiritual Practice and Intentions”:

    “Are our spiritual practices aligned with our intentions? Often we engage in spiritual techniques that sidetrack us away from those intentions and end up reinforcing our conditioning. It is helpful to know some of the common points where we may stumble, and a spiritual continuum may help with this process. The Buddha initiated the spiritual continuum when he stated that he taught only suffering and the end of suffering. We start out in conflict and then journey out of that struggle into a more joyful and spacious existence.

    “We will spend the day looking at different continua such as form to the formless, alienation to belonging, denial to openness, etc. as a way to understand the journey we are on and to help realign our practice with our spiritual intentions.

    “Narayan and Rodney have been teaching together for over 20 years. They will bring the richness and joy of their long friendship — and the fruits of their shared engagement with the Dharma — to this workshop. One generally has to travel to retreat centers to find the two of them teaching together, so we hope you’ll take advantage of this rare opportunity…and offer your much appreciated support to CIMC.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Sunday, from 10am to 1pm, Matthew Daniell will be in Newburyport to offer “Caring for Self/Caring for Others”:

    “In the “Bamboo Acrobat” teaching, the Buddha is posed a question by two people who are engaged in accomplishing a task together: Is it better to prioritize taking care of oneself or the other? His exploration of this theme points us directly to the essential question we all face in practice: How is one to live, with oneself and the complex of interactive relationships that make up our life. The Buddha advises us to bring mindfulness in relation to our own experience, and kindness, patience, non-violence and compassion in relation to others. Come explore how in doing so we learn to take care of the fullness of our interdependent lives, and become more awake and alive in the utter simplicity of the present moment.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I spent some time catching up on podcasts this weekend, and want to share a couple that struck me as being especially good:

    First, Stephen Batchelor recently joined Buddhist Geeks’ Vincent Horn for an interesting conversation on “Secularizing Buddhist Ethics” (48 min.): http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2016/06/secularizing-buddhist-ethics/?mc_cid=e5019dcb0c&mc_eid=ea05d523ee

    Meanwhile, Sharon Salzberg was Daniel Aitken’s guest last month on Wisdom Publications’ podcast, talking a bit about her dharma journey and looking about the role of faith and doubt in Buddhist practice (44 min.): http://learn.wisdompubs.org/podcast/sharon-salzberg/

    Josh Korda has been writing some interesting stuff recently for the folks at Lion’s Roar; I especially recommend “Meditation Malice: On Working with Distractions and Resentment” and “Boredom is Fascinating!”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/meditation-malice-josh-korda-on-working-with-distractions-and-resentment/

    http://www.lionsroar.com/this-is-how-you-work-with-boredom/

    And to wrap things up for this week, I’ll leave you with a short but thought-provoking post from the folks at Treehugger.com:

    “Do Insects Have Consciousness?” http://www.treehugger.com/animals/do-insects-have-consciousness.html

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  164. REMINDER — 6/28/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both closed for the July 4th holiday weekend, but they will be back in action next week.

    This evening I’d like share Sandy Boucher’s Lion’s Roar reflection on the process of writing a biography of the late, great Ruth Denison: http://www.lionsroar.com/writing-ruth-denison-story/

    I will also leave you with a link to the trailer for Rebecca Dreyfus’s intriguing new documentary film, On Meditation: http://www.lionsroar.com/rebecca-dreyfus-documents-the-inner-journey-in-on-meditation/

    I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening and wish you all a safe and restful holiday.

    Metta,
    Tim


  165. REMINDER — 6/21/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is this week’s facilitator.

    There are a few events coming up this weekend:

    On Saturday, June 25, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN for “‘Loving Kindness and Insight Meditation: An Open Hearted Approach to Wise Living,” a day-long retreat (9am to 5pm) with half-day option:

    “This silent retreat will be divided into two parts, in the morning we cultivate a heart of kindness and care by practicing wishing well for ourselves and others in formal Loving Kindness (or metta) practice. From this open hearted generative place we will move to practicing Insight meditation using breath awareness and the body as a basis for cultivating clear present moment awareness in the afternoon. Together these practices combine to a warm-hearted and connected approach to living more deeply, kindly, and wisely in the present moment, whether it be in the silence and community support of retreat, or in the midst of our busy daily lives.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Chas DiCapua will be at CIMC for a day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat for new retreatants. Then on the afternoon of Sunday, June 26, George Mumford will offer “Good Friends and Suitable Conversation: Half-Day Retreat for People of Color”:

    For more information on either of CIMC offerings, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I want to interject a quick plug for my new project, Cushion and Couch: The quarterly e-journal of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. The Summer issue was just published today and includes my short review of Bill Morgan’s new book, The Meditator’s Dilemma. If you’re interested, please take a moment to check it out: http://conta.cc/28LTCYe

    Lion’s Roar recently reprised Steve Silberman’s 2010 profile of IMS and Spirit Rock cofounder Jack Kornfield. It’s a longer-than-usual piece, but well worth the time to read:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/jack-kornfield-wise-heart-november-2010/

    And in closing this week I want to share “Equanimity and Action in Response to Orlando,” Max Zhan’s recent piece, also from Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/equanimity-and-action-in-response-to-orlando/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  166. REMINDER — 6/14/16 meditation group

    Good evening…. Carrie and I are still on the road in Cleveland and can’t guarantee that we’ll be back in the area in time for meditation tomorrow evening. Never fear! The group will still meet from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish; Judi has kindly offered to step in as this week’s facilitator.

    I’ll keep it short and sweet this week:

    Larry Rosenberg’s one-day intensive retreat has sadly been cancelled for this month (originally scheduled for this Saturday). However, for anyone who is able to make in in to Cambridge this Wednesday evening, June 15, Lila Kate Wheeler will give a talk on “Equanimity and Joy” as part of CIMC’s Wednesday Evening Program, starting at 6:30pm. To find out more, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org

    Then on Sunday morning, June 19, from 10am to 12:30pm, Matthew Daniell will offer a “Waking Up to Your Life” retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    For more, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.com

    Also on Sunday, June 19, the Temple Forest Monastery in Temple, NH, will hold a monastic ordination:

    “Ven. Ajahn Pasanno, the abbot of Abhayagiri Monastery in California…. will be kind enough to facilitate a monk (bhikkhu) ordination ceremony, called an upasampadā, at Temple by acting as preceptor (upajjhāya) for our novice, Samanera Sunyo. This will mark an important stepping stone not only for our new bhikkhu candidate Sunyo, but also for the monastery itself, as it will be the first bhikkhu ordination to take place here – for us, a somewhat historic event. Samanera Sunyo is from Westford, MA, and has completed his novice training over the past two years here since arriving at Temple with Ajahn Jayanto in July 2014. Throughout the ceremony Luang Por Pasanno will offer explanatory reflections, as well as a short Dhamma Talk afterwards.”

    Everyone is very welcome to attend. Plan to arrive between 10-10:30 if you wish to be present for the monks’ meal, or just before 1pm for the ordination and dhamma talk. Ajahn Jayanto recommends arriving 30 minutes early in order to park and walk over to the site.

    To find out more, please visit http://forestmonastery.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, if anyone is interested in representing our meditation group at InterSangha next April, please let me know. This is “a wonderful, joyous opportunity for leaders and teachers of Insight Meditation communities to come together, share wisdom and discuss issues relevant to the development of Buddhism in the West.” The 2017 gathering will take place at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA. Program details will follow, but Brenda attended InterSangha this past year and can tell you a bit about it.

    In wrapping things up this week I just want to share another Sylvia Boorstein classic, “A GPS of the Mind” from March 2014:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/gps-of-the-mind-march-2014/

    That is all for now. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  167. REMINDER — 6/7/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, June 11:

    Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for a morning (9:00am to 12:30pm) retreat, “Learning How To Live: A Quiet Passion”:

    “Matthew Daniell will guide us in exploring how simple present moment awareness practices can help us to live with greater intelligence, compassion, and ease. Come and explore for yourself how becoming aware of the mind body process with an interest in learning can become a quietly joyful and fulfilling passion. All levels are welcome to join.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Greg Scharf will be at CIMC for the full-day (9:00am to 5:30pm) retreat, “An Independent Abiding”:

    “In the Satipatthana Sutta the Buddha divides the entirety of our experience into four spheres of attention or establishments of mindfulness. He then uses this framework to give detailed instructions for meditation, with the clearly stated goal of liberation of mind and heart. At the end of each section of instructions there is a refrain, or summary of how to practice, which concludes with the words: One abides independently, not clinging to anything in the world.

    “This day-long retreat will look at practical ways to incline the mind to an independent abiding through the direct moment-to-moment practice of non-clinging. The day will be held primarily in silence and consist of periods of sitting and walking meditation with instructions, reflections, an optional period of mindful movement, and time for questions and discussion.

    “This retreat is open to anyone but may be more beneficial for those who have had some meditation practice and retreat experience.”

    For more information, please visit http://cambrigeinsight.org

    On Sunday, June 12, the Temple Forest Monastery will host Ven. Ajahn Dtun, a respected disciple of Ven. Ajahn Chah. Ajahn Dtun will be accompanied by Ajahn Tejapanyo, an English monk who will translate from Thai into English as Ajahn Dtun gives his talk. The talk will begin at 1 p.m., and will replace the regular meditation workshop on that day. Meeting Ajahn Dtun is a special opportunity, and everyone is very welcome to attend.

    The following Sunday, June 19, Ven. Ajahn Pasanno, the abbot of Abhayagiri Monastery in California, will be at the Temple Forest Monastery to facilitate a monk (bhikkhu) ordination ceremony and give a dhamma talk. Stay tuned next week for more details.

    For more information on events at the Temple Forest Monastery, please visit http://forestmonastery.org

    There are a couple of odds and ends to pass along this week….

    I’d like to begin by sharing “The Mindfulness of the Buddha,” a recent Tricycle.com post by Phillip Moffitt in which he wonders how secular mindfulness practices stack up to the the Buddha’s teachings:

    http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/the-mindfulness-of-the-buddha/

    However, just how Buddhists themselves have interpreted “mindfulness” is open to discussion, as Ven. Analayo recently explored in BCBS’s Full Moon Insight Journal: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/mindfulness-in-different-buddhist-traditions/

    I’ve also been meaning — for quite some time — to highlight a not-so-new book, Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s “The Buddha’s Teachings: An Introduction,” available for free along with Than Geoff’s other works at http://www.dhammatalks.org/ebook_index.html

    Before I sign off for the evening, I wanted to offer a bit of a look ahead. As I mentioned last week, Bill Morgan’s new book “The Meditator’s Dilemma” was published last Tuesday. I had an opportunity to interview Bill last Friday for the upcoming (June 20) issue of Cushion and Couch, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy’s quarterly e-journal. (It looks like I may be writing a review of the book as well.) I had a great conversation with Bill, and much of his approach and the ground he covers in his book seems to resonate with my own experience and inclination in meditation. For more on the book — as well as some guided meditations — check out Bill and Susan Morgan’s website http://billandsusan.net/home-sweet-home/the-meditators-dilemma/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  168. REMINDER — 5/31/16 meditation group

    Good afternoon; I hope everyone is enjoying a safe and relaxing holiday weekend. The meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday, June 4, at Cambridge Insight, Doug Phillips will lead a day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat entitled “Meditative Inquiry: Learning to Hold the Edge”:

    “Meditative inquiry has a long and honored history in the Buddha Dharma as an essential component in the discovery of wisdom and deep understanding. This sustained exploration is not about an intellectual learning but about an experiential encounter that goes beyond the thinking mind and directly into who we are most fundamentally. Often this begins with a fundamental question such as, ‘What is this?’ or ‘Who am I?’ which points the awareness back to itself and creates opportunities to discover what is most true, directly and immediately.

    “This retreat will follow a typical schedule of sitting and walking with suggestions on how to begin and sustain this edge of deep looking as well as opportunities for Q&A and discussion.

    “This retreat is open to anyone with at least one year of sitting practice.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, Ven. Achan Da will be at the Center for Mindfulness and Insight Meditation in Wenham. Achan Da practices a particular form of Insight meditation known as “Mahasati” meditation, which involves the mindful repetition of specific body movements. You can check out a short (5 min.) video demonstrating the Mahasati technique here:

    For more information on the retreat, please visit the Center for Mindfulness and Insight Meditation webpage — http://cfmim.nsmindfulness.net/event/ —  or e-mail Michael@MahasatiMeditation.org. (Thanks to Brenda for the tip on this!)

    Looking a bit further ahead, there are all sorts of interesting things coming up soon at CIMC, IMCN, and the Temple Forest Monastery!

    As some of you may already know, I’ve recently taken on a new project as editor of Cushion and Couch, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy’s quarterly e-journal. One of my tasks this coming week is to sit down with IMP faculty member Bill Morgan to talk about his new book, The Meditator’s Dilemma, which will be on bookstore shelves starting tomorrow, May 31. The book confronts the difficulty of maintaining a regular meditation practice, and provides specific, accessible techniques and exercises that greatly enhance everyday meditation practice. To learn more about The Meditator’s Dilemma, please visit http://www.shambhala.com/books/homepage-new-and-forthcoming/the-meditator-s-dilemma.html

    I also want to highlight the latest episode of the Buddhist Geeks podcast featuring Dr. Emma Seppala of Stanford University speaking with host Vincent Horn about “The Science of Compassion” (35 min.):

    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2016/05/the-science-of-compassion/?mc_cid=9125cf7646&mc_eid=ea05d523ee

    And to wrap things up for the week, I want to share a classic 2002 Shambhala Sun article on the Four Noble Truths written by the inimitable Sylvia Boorstein:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/pay-attention-for-goodness-sake/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  169. REMINDER — 5/24/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    There is a very special event coming up at IMC Newburyport from 7:00pm to 9:00pm this Wednesday evening, May 25: Burmese meditation master Sayadaw U Indaka, abbot at the Chanmyay Myaing Meditation Center in Yangon, is making his first visit to the United States and will be at IMCN for an evening of meditation, dharma talk, and discussion.

    Sayadaw U Indaka is the author of “Metta: The Practice of Loving-Kindness As the Foundation for Insight Meditation Practice,” which has been translated into English by Ariya B. Baumann (formerly Ven. Ariya Nani) and is available for download at http://compik.fd.cvut.cz/~mrazek/books/metta_indaka_english.pdf

    (Incidentally, you can listen to Ariya’s wonderful (4 min.) Pali version of the metta chant via Dharmaseed: http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/188/talk/4746/)

    IMCN is closed for the Memorial Day weekend, but you can learn more about Sayadaw and the Wednesday evening event at http://www.imcnewburyport.org. (Stay tuned for details on IMCN’s 2-day residential retreat coming up on June 24-26!)

    CIMC is also closed this coming weekend.

    I recently finished reading Gregory Kramer’s 2007 book “Insight Dialogue: The Interpersonal Path to Freedom,” which had been buried in my queue for far too long. For those who are not familiar with Insight Dialogue, it is a particular technique of interactive co-meditation developed by Kramer based on his experience as a monk and meditation teacher. While simply reading about the practice hardly does it justice, I’m sure, Kramer’s book is well worth reading simply for his straightforward presentation of Buddhist meditation basics, which he then extends to a more relational mode of being. (I especially like his distinction between “ordinary” and “extraordinary” practice.) Insight Dialogue retreats are now offered with some regularity — even online — and you can find a list of offerings and additional resources at http://www.metta.org

    Keeping to the theme somewhat, I also recommend Josh Korda’s recent Lion’s Roar post “Awakening Together”: http://www.lionsroar.com/josh-korda-on-awakening-together/

    And last but not least, I leave you with the Dharma Gem of the Week: Wisdom Publication’s latest podcast featuring an interview with Joseph Goldstein. The running time is a whopping 72 minutes, but it’s well worth devoting the time to listen to “Bringing the Dharma from the Masters to the West”: http://learn.wisdompubs.org/podcast/joseph-goldstein/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  170. REMINDER — 5/17/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I am very pleased that Abhaya Kopka — our group’s founding teacher — is able to join us this week.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, May 21:

    At IMC Newburyport, Jim Austin will lead a morning (9am to 1pm) “Mindfulness Yoga and Insight Meditation” workshop:

    “How can a yoga asana practice be used to support our mindfulness meditation practice? Can we bring the qualities of mindfulness and openness developed in sitting meditation practice onto the yoga mat thereby creating continuity between our practice on the mat and our practice on the cushion? We’ll explore these questions and others during this half-day workshop. The workshop will include short periods of sitting meditation, yoga, and discussion. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and beginners are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile at CIMC, Larry Rosenberg will lead his monthly intensive day-long (9am to 5pm) insight meditation retreat. For additional information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    In other news:

    Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, CA — the first American monastery in the Thai Forest lineage of Ajahn Chah — will celebrate its 20th anniversary early next month. Local newspaper The Ukiah Daily Journal recently published a very nice feature on the monastery and its history:

    http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/general-news/20160510/buddhist-monastery-in-redwood-valley-marks-20th-anniversary

    I recently had occasion to visit Harvard University’s Pluralism Project website and was presently surprised to find that it had been substantially updated since my previous visit. It’s definitely worth exploring, especially the very nice section on Buddhism in America:

    http://pluralism.org/religions/buddhism/

    The New York Times recently ran a short story on a new virtual collaboration between psychologist Paul Ekman and His Holiness the Dalai Lama: The Atlas of Emotions. The atlas is a very cool resource and worth checking out, as is the Times piece:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/07/world/dalai-lama-website-atlas-of-emotions.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&referer=http:/m.facebook.com&_r=1

    And finally this week, I’ll leave you with Toni Bernhard’s latest from Psychology Today in which she recommends the practice of mindfully reviewing of your day:

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201605/change-your-painful-habits-mindful-review-your-day

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  171. REMINDER — 5/10/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish; Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator. Abhaya’s visit has been rescheduled until next Tuesday, May 17; I apologize for any inconvenience.

    A reminder that the New Hampshire Psychological Association mindfulness symposium will take place this Friday and Saturday, May 13 and 14, at the Derryfield Country Club and Restaurant in Manchester. Delia Kostner, Sara Lazar, and Ron Siegel will be the featured speakers. For additional information, please visit the NHPA’s webpage:

    http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ec9lyal3c1ef9584&llr=p4eghscab

    Coming up this Saturday, May 14, Chas DiCapua will be at IMC Newburyport for a day-long (9am to 5pm, with a morning-only option) retreat on “Meeting Life On Its Own Terms”:

    “So often we make demands on life to be a certain way. How others behave, what the weather is like, even the contents of our own minds become something for us to make demands on. It is precisely this habit of heart and mind that gets in the way of our deep happiness and freedom. What would it be like to simply be with what is without needing it to be different in order to be happy? To do this fully is actually quite rare. Yet, we can cultivate the conditions that are favorable for it to happen. This will be the focus for this retreat. How do we simply be with what is, and what is it that supports that?”

    For registration and additional information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    As many of you know, I had the good fortune to attend Sharon Salzberg’s workshop at CIMC a couple of weekends ago. It was wonderful, of course, but one take-home for me was something Sharon suggested to help support daily practice at home: dharma buddy groups. Apparently this is something that Sharon herself uses: she belongs to a couple of such groups, she said, that check in with each each day by e-mail after they’ve done their daily practice. This seems like a very simple way to support practice and cultivate sangha even at a distance. If you are interested in trying something similar yourself, please let me know, and I will see what I can set up.

    Speaking of Sharon, Lion’s Roar just reprised her 2005 article “Generosity’s Perfection;” you can check it out here:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/generositys-perfection/

    I’ve also just started “10% Nicer” — her app-based course in conjunction with Dan Harris. So far, so good! You can see a short (~7 min.) trailer featuring Dan and Sharon here:

    To wrap things up this week, I want to share a link to a collection of 4 short (1-2 min. each) videos that Ajahn Brahm put together for Buddhadharma magazine a little while ago:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/ajahn-brahm-videos/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  172. on May 3, 2016 at 1:00 am | Reply Tim Little

    REMINDER — 5/3/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    Just a reminder that next week, May 10, we look forward to a return visit from our founding teacher, Abhaya Kopka. As always, Abhaya’s occasional visits are a great opportunity for her old students to reconnect and for newer members of the group to meet her for the first time.

    This Friday and Saturday, Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance will host the 10th anniversary conference on meditation and psychotherapy. There is an illustrious panel of speakers, including Jon Kabat-Zinn, Chris Germer, Jan Surrey, Dick Schwartz, Ron Siegel, Susan Pollack, Daniel Goleman, and many others.

    For more information, please visit http://chstaging.challiance-cms.org

    There are a couple of other events coming up this Saturday, May 7:

    On Saturday morning (10am to 12:30pm) in Newburyport, Matthew Daniell will lead “The Mindful Moment” — a retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile in Cambridge, Narayan Liebenson will lead a day-long (10am to 4pm) workshop on “From Fear to Calm and Wisdom”:

    “Fear is a primary obstacle on the path of awakening, as well as in our daily lives. Working with fear requires a gentle perseverance and commitment to being awake to what is. This is in contrast to the effort to conquer fear. Rather, the practice is to face our fear and allow for its dissolving.

    “We will work with two meditative approaches during this workshop. These are the methods of calm and investigation, otherwise known as shamata vipassana. Learning to calm ourselves (shamata) in the midst of fear is an essential skill to know. We then use this calm to investigate (vipassana) its true nature. When the mind is calmer, we can look at fear directly and without as much reactivity. This kind of investigation fosters the perspective of learning instead of simply trying to get rid of fear. Gradually, and with sustained interest, we begin to see into the fact that fear is subject to the same laws as any other phenomena; it is transitory and impermanent.

    “By developing our capacity to meet fear with balance and an open heart, we can unbind ourselves from this energy, cultivating wisdom and inner freedom.

    “This workshop is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include talks, discussion, sitting meditation as well as time for questions.”

    For additional information, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, a reminder that coming up on May 13 and 14, the New Hampshire Psychological Association spring conference will take place in Manchester, NH. Featured presenters include Delia Kostner, Sara Lazar, and Ron Siegel.

    For more, please visit http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ec9lyal3c1ef9584&llr=p4eghscab015.pdf

    As I may have mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve recently had a chance to sample the latest offerings from 10% Happier, the folks who collaborated with Dan Harris and Joseph Goldstein to bring us the iOS and Android app of the same name. 10% has launched a slew of new courses featuring Dan along with Joseph, Sharon Salzberg, in addition to some relatively new faces.

    I just completed a course on “Effective Communication” with Oren J. Sofer, one of the new “young guns” in the insight meditation community. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the course and quite taken with Oren as a teacher. I had to do a bit of digging, of course, to find some of Oren’s other work and came up with a few links to pass along to you:

    First up is the trailer (~3 min.) for the “Effective Communication” course:

    Next is a great 30 min. interview with Oren from a KPFB Berkeley radio show called “Talk-It-Out Radio”:

    [audio src="http://www.orenjaysofer.com/sites/default/files/talk-it-out-radio-120615-2pm-29min.mp3" /]

    Finally, there’s a 30 min. dharma talk on “Wise Speech” that Oren gave at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, CA, back in 2014:

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4588.html

    You can check out more of Oren’s dharma talks at http://www.orenjaysofer.com/dharma-talks, http://www.audiodharma.org/teacher/243/, or http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/248/

    For anyone who is interested in checking out the 10% Happier app, please visit http://www.10percenthappier.com

    Lion’s Roar offers an occasional “Meet A Teacher” feature, and the most recent subject is Spirit Rock teacher Larry Yang; definitely worth a quick read:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/meet-a-teacher-larry-yang/

    And in closing this week, I want to leave you with a short (6 min.) conversation between NPR’s Michele Martin and “On Being” host Krista Tippett about Krista’s new book, “Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living”:

    http://www.npr.org/2016/05/01/476380463/-becoming-wise-is-a-meditation-on-meaning

    That is all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  173. REMINDER — 4/26/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    This Saturday, April 30, at CIMC Narayan Liebenson will offer a day-long (10am-4pm) “Liberating Insights” workshop:

    “The Buddha taught that all conditioned phenomena share three characteristics: change, fragility, and not-self. To recognize, accept, and explore these three common elements allows us to see into the nature of attachment and letting go. Far from being frightening, they are our three dharma doors into a new way of being.

    “Developing insight into the true nature of conditions is an essential aspect of wisdom. This is a process of realization, not an abstract accumulation of knowledge. When understood experientially, and in all arenas of our lives, we live in alignment with nature. Living in alignment with nature liberates the heart and leads to the end of suffering.

    “During this workshop, we will explore these three liberating insights within all the relationships, situations and activities of our daily lives.Appropriate for both beginning and experienced meditators, our day together will include talks, discussion, and sitting meditation.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Looking ahead to next month, May 6 and 7 will mark the 10th anniversary of Harvard Medical School’s annual meditation and psychotherapy conference. This year’s theme is “The Mind, The Heart, The Person.” Presenters include Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ronald Siegel, Daniel Goleman, and Chris Germer, among others. For more information, please visit http://chstaging.challiance-cms.org/Uploads/Public/Documents/PsychCME/Meditation%202015.pdf

    Also beginning May 7 is a new course in Tricycle’s online Integrated Dharma Program. The latest offering — “Deepening Wisdom” — is presented by Andrew Olendzki. Registration will remain open through May 31. Please refer to http://learn.tricycle.com/product/integrated-dharma-program-deepening-wisdom/?utm_source=Tricycle&utm_campaign=c1223d51a8-IDP_Apr_2016_04_06_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1641abe55e-c1223d51a8-307341161&ct=t for additional details.

    Finally, on May 13 and 14, the New Hampshire Psychological Association will sponsor a symposium on mindfulness. Delia Kostner will presen “Beyond Mindfulness: A Clinician’s Guide to a Multifaceted Concept” on Friday morning, on Friday afternoon Harvard neuropsychologist Dr. Sara Lazar will present on the neuroscience behind meditation, and on Saturday Dr Ron Siegel will present a full day workshop, “Harnessing Mindfulness: Fitting the Practice to the Person.” This is appropriate for clinicians and those interested in the interface of meditation and psychotherapy. For more information, please visit http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ec9lyal3c1ef9584&llr=p4eghscab

    Not to be overlooked, on Tuesday, May 10, we are very fortunate to welcome back our group’s founding teacher, Abhaya Kopka, for that evening’s meditation. This will be an excellent opportunity for her older students to reconnect and for newer members of the group to meet her for the first time.

    I also want to take this opportunity to pass along an invitation for research subjects on behalf of a graduate student in New Zealand. Buaphrao Raphiphathana is a Psychology PhD candidate at Victoria University of Wellington. She is interested in how meditation relates to psychological dispositions and well-being, and is currently doing a cross-cultural survey-study comparing meditators from Thailand and the United States. If you are interested — and any level of meditation experience is ok — additional details and a link to the survey can be found here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/research-study-subjects-wanted-psychological-everyday-timothy-little

    In closing this week, I want to leave you with “Kindness Changes Everything,” Noah Levine’s short 2010 essay for Shambhala Sun:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/kindness-changes-everything-september-2010/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  174. REMINDER — 4/19/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will be this week’s facilitator.

    We enjoyed a wonderful day-long comparison retreat on Saturday; many thanks to Brenda, Judi, and Carrie for helping to lead the way and to Andrea, Sue, Mari, Mickey, and Ronna for joining us throughout the day. We’ll look into offering another day-long retreat in the fall (October/November) if enough folks are interested.

    There are a whole bunch of events coming up this weekend.

    First off, Harvard Divinity School is hosting its second Buddhism and Race Conference beginning on Friday evening, April 22, and continuing Saturday, April 23.

    “This year activists, sangha leaders, community members, and students will join together to learn from one another and share justice-oriented teachings and training. We welcome all who wish to connect with other leaders and communities committed to addressing racism from a buddhist perspective.

    “During this conference, activists, sangha leaders, community members, and students will join together to learn from one another and share justice-oriented teachings and training. The speakers will be sharing from their experience working in a variety of Buddhist practice settings and service contexts. The speakers will share the ways practitioners of various backgrounds and training can support community transformation through diverse expressions of contemplative practice, leading to a rich cultural and healing exchange.”

    For more information, please visit https://harvardbuddhistcommunity.wordpress.com

    Conference speaker Jessica Morey will also be at IMCN on Saturday for a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) workshop on “Befriending the Body”:

    “In this workshop, we will practice relaxing into our bodies as a refuge, anchor and ally in the practice of mindfulness. We will also cultivate loving kindness (metta) as a felt, somatic experience, both towards and through the body. Practicing mindfulness and metta grounded in the body helps us cultivate a level of steadiness and integrate the calm clarity and ease found in formal practice. Beginner and experienced students are welcome to attend this workshop which will include periods of guided meditation, movement, presented material and discussions. ”

    For additional information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on the north shore this Saturday, Thai meditation master Achan Da will be at the Center for Mindfulness and Insight Meditation in Wenham for a day-long (9:30am to 3pm) “Mahasati” meditation retreat:

    “Achan Da has been teaching insight meditation for over 30 years. He served as Abbott of the Thatkong monastery near the Laos border in Thailand, and is now Abbott of the Redding Center for Meditation/Wat Sati-Ma in Redding, CT.

    “During the retreat, Achan Da will be joined by Thai Buddhist scholar, Dr. Tavivat Puntarigvivat. Dr. Puntarigvivat holds a Ph.D. in Religion and Society from Temple University, and is Director of the Institute of Research and Development at the World Buddhist University in Bangkok. He is responsible for introducing Mahasati insight meditation to the United States in 1990, and has authored a book and published articles on the practice.

    “People who are unfamiliar with Mahasati insight meditation are asked to attend an introductory workshop that will be offered by Achan Da on Friday evening, April 22, before attending the retreat. The introduction and retreat are suitable for both new and experienced meditators. Both chairs and meditation cushions are available at the Center for people’s comfort. While the meditation practice itself is done in silence, there will be talks by Achan Da, and Dr. Puntarigvivat, and short discussion periods throughout the program. There is no charge to attend, but space is limited and advance registration is required. For more information, visit: http://www.CFMIM.org, or email Michael@MahasatiMeditation.org.”

    Brenda attended a Mahasati meditation retreat a few years ago and I believe found it to be an intriguing alternative to our typical sitting and walking meditation. There is a short (~ 5 min.) YouTube video demonstrating the practice here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow4ffdfw0BI

    Meanwhile at CIMC, Larry Rosenberg will offer his monthly one-day intensive retreat on Saturday from 9am to 5pm. And on Sunday, Sharon Salzberg will be at Lesley University to offer a day-long metta workshop to benefit CIMC. For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    (I will be attending the Sunday workshop with Sharon in case anyone else is going and is interested in carpooling.)

    Sharon will then be at Newton South High School next Monday evening, April 25, for a talk on “Real Love”:

    “To love one another, we must know one another. But our assumptions, distractions, fears, expectations, and personal sense of unworthiness obscure these kernels of truth. We yearn for connection with others, but our minds get in the way, constantly spinning judgments about how we are fundamentally alienated from one another. We can train ourselves to change–to listen less to our limiting (and often self-condemning) thoughts – and to hear more of what is out there, thus becoming more present and connected.

    “Using core Mindfulness, lovingkindness, and other meditation techniques, Sharon Salzberg will guide participants through the process of shedding layers of habit, whether rooted in fear, self-condemnation or other mental conditioning, to find a truer meaning of love for themselves, their loved ones, and those they don’t know, but with whom they share this planet. This talk is suitable for both new and experienced meditators, and will include guided meditations, and a question and answer session.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/event/newton-community-education-real-love-talk/

    In major news this past week, the influential Burmese meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita died on Saturday at age 94. U Pandita was successor to the legendary Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw and was in turn teacher to Sharon Salzberg and her IMS co-founders, Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. A few brief remembrances can be found at the following links:

    http://buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=9,12762,0,0,1,0#.VxWdHUtcdj5

    http://www.lionsroar.com/sayadaw-u-pandita-burmese-meditation-master-dead-94/

    http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/sayadaw-u-pandita-has-died/

    In closing I’d like to leave you with a Wisdom Publications’ October 2015 podcast with Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi. It’s a little on the long side (45 min.) but an interesting conversation with one of the most prolific translators of early Buddhist texts. (Brenda spoke about translations last week, and this follows very nicely!)

    http://learn.wisdompubs.org/podcast/bhikkhu-bodhi/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  175. REMINDER — 4/12/16 meditation group

    Good evening! Tomorrow evening’s meditation group will meet from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator; I am hoping that she will share a bit from her weekend workshop at BCBS with Leigh Brasington.

    Both CIMC and IMCN are on hiatus this weekend, but this Saturday, April 16, we will be offering our very own one-day retreat on “Cultivating Compassion in Challenging Times.” Carrie and I will begin the day with an introduction to the practice of compassion meditation; Brenda and Judi will then lead us through an afternoon of self-compassion. Attendance for the full day or just morning or afternoon session is possible. If you have not already RSVP’d and would still like to attend, please send me an e-mail and let me know — there is still plenty of space. For more details, please visit https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/build-your-own-retreat-coming-in-april-2016/

    Also, just a reminder of upcoming local events with Sharon Salzberg on April 24 and 25: http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/events/

    I want to be sure to pass along a request I received this week from a PhD student in New Zealand who seeking participants for a cross-cultural survey-study comparing meditators (of all experience levels) from Thailand and the United States. If you are interested in helping out by taking ~30 minutes to complete an anonymous online survey, please see my linked in page for more details:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/research-study-subjects-wanted-psychological-everyday-timothy-little

    Looking ahead to this weekend’s retreat I thought Sylvia Boorstein’s 2003 article “No Blame” was worth another look:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/no-blame/

    And to wrap things up this week, I wanted to share “That Driver Could Be Your Mother” (or neighbor or boss or…), a short piece from Lion’s Roar contributor Arunlikhati:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/that-driver-could-be-your-mother/

    That’s all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening and hope that as many of you as possible will also be able to join us on Saturday.

    Metta,
    Tim


  176. REMINDER — 4/5/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Chelmsford meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Our very own day-long retreat “Cultivating Compassion in Challenging Times” is coming up on Saturday, April 16. If you are interested in attending — either for the full day or for just the morning or afternoon session — please RSVP by this Saturday, April 9. Additional details can be found at https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/build-your-own-retreat-coming-in-april-2016/

    Also coming up this Saturday, Doug Phillips will be at CIMC for a one-day (9am-5pm) retreat “Effort-full or Effort-less?”:

    “What is the balance of effort required for your practice? Often considerable and dedicated intentional energy (effort) is required to begin, sustain and deepen our contemplative life on and off the cushion. Some approaches suggest that this effort must be sustained for a lifetime while others point to our naturally awakened state and say that any effort takes us away from spontaneously resting in that non-dual, awakened awareness that is our true nature. On one hand, we need intentional effort to study the ways of the mind and to learn how to live skillfully in our daily life. On the other hand, practice can become an end in itself and a way of maintaining a separate self as a meditator with a practice. This is not the freedom towards which the Buddha points. This retreat will follow a schedule of sitting and walking practice and include directed suggestions to help each person explore what correct effort is for their own individual practice. There will also be opportunities for group Q&A and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile at IMCN, Chris Croty will offer “Love and Wisdom: A Loving Kindness and Insight Meditation Retreat” also from 9am to 5pm:

    “Loving-kindness meditation develops calm, serenity and quiet.  It is said that the mind of loving-kindness is like the cool, pleasant shade of a large tree; mind and body become a peaceful dwelling place. Insight meditation emphasizes the alleviation of pain and suffering through wisdom: moment-to-moment awareness of body and mind develops clear seeing and non-attachment.  In this retreat we will explore loving-kindness as a support for insight, beginning each sitting period with a short loving-kindness practice followed by instructions in insight meditation.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    And, of course, Sharon Salzberg will be in town later this month. On Sunday, April 24, she will be at Lesley University from 10am to 4pm to offer a metta workshop to benefit CIMC. (I will be going to this in case anyone is interested in carpooling.):

    “Join Sharon Salzberg for an afternoon benefit for Cambridge Insight Meditation Center! Metta is the word for friendship or lovingkindness in Pali, the language of the original Buddhist teachings. It is taught as a meditation that cultivates our natural capacity for an open and loving heart, and is traditionally offered along with other meditations that enrich compassion, joy in the happiness of others and equanimity.

    “Especially in times of uncertainty, these practices help us go beyond our constricting habitual patterns, such as fear and denial, and lead to the development of concentration, fearlessness, peace and a greater ability to love. The format for the workshop — suitable for both new and experienced meditators — will include direct instruction and guided meditations, talks about the teachings, and opportunities for questions.”

    To register, please visit http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/event/cambridge-insight-lovingkindness-workshop/

    Then on Monday, April 25, Sharon will be at Newton South High School to give an evening talk (7pm to 9pm) on “Real Love”:

    “To love one another, we must know one another. But our assumptions, distractions, fears, expectations, and personal sense of unworthiness obscure these kernels of truth. We yearn for connection with others, but our minds get in the way, constantly spinning judgments about how we are fundamentally alienated from one another. We can train ourselves to change–to listen less to our limiting (and often self-condemning) thoughts – and to hear more of what is out there, thus becoming more present and connected.

    “Using core Mindfulness, lovingkindness, and other meditation techniques, Sharon Salzberg will guide participants through the process of shedding layers of habit, whether rooted in fear, self-condemnation or other mental conditioning, to find a truer meaning of love for themselves, their loved ones, and those they don’t know, but with whom they share this planet. This talk is suitable for both new and experienced meditators, and will include guided meditations, and a question and answer session.”

    To register, please visit http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/event/newton-community-education-real-love-talk/

    Sharon will also participate in the annual Mindful Life conference in Washington, DC, from April 28 through May 1:

    http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/event/mindful-life-conference/

    This week I’d like to highlight the latest podcast from Somerville’s own Wisdom Publications, featuring Bhikkhu Bodhi speaking about his forthcoming book, the Buddha’s teachings on social and communal harmony. The podcast is about an hour long, but well worth a listen:

    http://learn.wisdompubs.org/podcast/bhikkhu-bodhi-2/

    And I’ll wrap things up this week by sharing Judy Lief’s short article on “DIY Dharma”: 

    http://www.lionsroar.com/diy-dharma-everything-need/

    That’s all for this now. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening, and don’t forget to RSVP by this Saturday if you plan to attend our day long retreat on April 16.

    Metta,
    Tim


  177. REMINDER — 3/29/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    I hope everyone received the e-mail I sent out on Friday announcing details for our day-long retreat on Saturday, April 16. If you happened to miss the announcement, I also posted the information on our website:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/build-your-own-retreat-coming-in-april-2016/

    If you would like to join us for all or part of the day, please RSVP before April 9.

    Coming up this Saturday, April 2, Ted Jones will be at IMCN to offer a morning (10am to 12:30pm) retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    This might be a good warm-up for anyone who is thinking about doing their first day-long retreat with us on the 16th.

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org.

    For anyone who is feeling more ambitious, also on Saturday CIMC will kick off a 5-day non-residential retreat with Narayan Liebenson:

    “The Buddha encouraged the frequent contemplation of aging, sickness, death, loss, and karma – the Five Recollections – as a practice leading to joy and liberation. In this five-day retreat, we will bring our attention to this seeming paradox. We will explore how cultivating an intimate understanding of the great matters of life and death can help us face and master our fears. Over time, with mindfulness and an open heart, we can come to see these conditions of impermanence from a perspective of gratitude. Turning towards the inevitability of loss-rather than denying or turning away-helps us to more fully appreciate the preciousness of a life inspired and guided by Dharma practice.

    “The format of this five-day retreat invites each of us to intentionally combine formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend, emphasizing the familiar formal practices of sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three days, we will meet in the evenings only. Participants will be given a meditation exercise to practice with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life. Coming together again at the end of the day we will sit, walk, and share our experiences of working with the exercises. Individual interviews will be possible.

    “Yogis are asked to attend all five days. Partial registration will not be offered for this retreat.”

    And of course coming up on April 24 is CIMC’s special benefit workshop featuring Shazon Salzberg.

    For more information on either CIMC event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    This week I’d like to highlight the interview with Analayo Bhikkhu that is featured in the latest BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal. Ven. Analayo — who will move to BCBS as scholar-in-residence sometime during 2017 — discusses vipassana, the three characteristics (impermanence, not-self, and stress), and the first satipatthana (mindfulness of the body). It does get a bit into the weeds, so to speak, but is well worth taking the time to read over a couple of times:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/vipassana-the-three-characteristics-and-the-first-satipatthana/

    And to wrap things up this week I’ll leave you with a short (17 min.) lesson on “Working and Playing with the Breath” from Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/working-and-playing-breath

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening. And do RSVP if you are interested in attending our retreat on the 16th.

    Metta,
    Tim


  178. REMINDER — 3/22/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be the facilitator this week.

    We are less than a month away from our very own day-long retreat (9am to 5pm) on Saturday, April 16. The theme for the day will be “Cultivating Compassion in Challenging Times.” The morning will be spent exploring compassion for others; the afternoon will be spent practicing self-compassion. More details will follow; RSVP by e-mail if you would like to attend.

    Coming up later in April, Sharon Salzberg will be at Lesley University on Sunday the 24th for a CIMC benefit workshop on “The Power of A Loving Heart.” For registration or additional information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Then from April 28 through May 1, Sharon will participate in the 2016 Mindful Life conference in Washington, DC. Joining Sharon this year are Tara Brach, Dan Siegel, Congressman Tim Ryan, Dan Harris, Mirabai Bush, and many other notable speakers. For more information, visit http://allthingsmindful.org/#home

    Tricycle’s meditation month is into its fourth week. You can check out Spring Washam’s short (11 min.) guided meditation for “working with difficult emotions” here: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-guided-meditation-week-4

    If you’ve been following along (or just thinking about following along) with the folks at Tricycle, you may find some comfort in this short post from contributing blogger Brent R. Oliver:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-day-1-0

    I’ll close things out this week by returning to Sharon, and sharing “Stuck in Traffic” (~2 min.) — the latest installment in her “Street Lovingkindness” video series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWnKxKHf9Zo

    That’s all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  179. REMINDER — 3/15/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is this week’s facilitator.
    Today marks the beginning of week three of Tricycle.com’s meditation month challenge. Spring Washam’s 10-minute guided meditation on “embodiment and working with the breath” is worth checking out whether or not you’ve already been following along:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-guided-meditation-week-3

    IMC Newburyport will host its first on-site weekend retreat beginning on Friday, March 18, and ending on Sunday, March 20. There is also the option of only attending on Saturday:

    “A weekend retreat is a wonderful opportunity to put aside for a time the business of daily life with its accompanying stress. In the simplicity of silence, and the safety of our shared practice, we will be encouraged to bring a relaxed care and attention into each moment of our lives while on retreat.

    “This is IMCN’s first on-site weekend retreat and we are very excited to be able to offer this opportunity to beginners and experienced meditators alike. All meditation activities and meals will take place at IMCN and the residences are located a few minutes’ drive from the Center.”

    The IMCN website is currently down, but I recommend checking back at http://www.imcnewburyport.org to see if space is still available.

    Meanwhile over at CIMC, on Saturday, March 19, Alexis Santos will offer a one-day retreat on “The Art of Our Meditation Practice”:

    “Meditation is more than a mechanical process, doing the same thing over and over. How can we listen and be responsive to the varied experiences we encounter? Can practice be simple yet intuitive? How do we skillfully meet moments of difficulty and of well-being with interest and free of clinging? In learning how to approach any moment of our experience in formal practice we are cultivating the skills of heart and mind to meet the varied experiences of our life with greater compassion and wisdom.

    “This day-long retreat will have periods of sitting and walking, guided meditation as well as reflections to support your practice. There will also be plenty of time for questions and comments.”

    Then on Sunday, March 20, Reya Stevens will begin a three-part afternoon (3:30pm to 5:30pm) workshop on “Bringing Love and Wisdom to Life-Altering Pain and Illness.” (The workshop continues on April 10 and May 1.)

    “A sick person was one of the “heavenly messengers” that prompted the Buddha’s search for freedom. Yet today, many of us with significant pain or illness find it difficult to apply the Buddha’s teachings to our own experiences, both in daily life and on the cushion (or chair or bed). In this series of three afternoon workshops we will explore dharma inroads for relating to pain and illness with greater wisdom and compassion. Each afternoon will include short meditations, brief dharma talks, small group discussions, and plenty of time for your questions and concerns. Together we will investigate possibilities for peace even in the midst of the suffering inherently associated with serious health problems.

    “This workshop series is open to anyone with chronic pain, chronic or life-threatening illness or disability, and to caregivers and supporters (although care-giving issues will not be the primary focus). Please make a special effort to use unscented products only (including shampoo, lotion, etc.) so that our chemically sensitive friends can attend.”

    Carrie and I had a chance to attend one of Reya’s CIMC workshops a few years ago and we highly recommend her.

    Looking a bit further ahead, Sharon Salzberg will be in town on Sunday, April 24, to offer a CIMC benefit workshop (10am to 4pm) on “The Power of a Loving Heart”:

    “Metta is the word for friendship or lovingkindness in Pali, the language of the original Buddhist teachings. It is taught as a meditation that cultivates our natural capacity for an open and loving heart, and is traditionally offered along with other meditations that enrich compassion, joy in the happiness of others and equanimity.

    “Especially in times of uncertainty, these practices help us go beyond our constricting habitual patterns, such as fear and denial, and lead to the development of concentration, fearlessness, peace and a greater ability to love. The format for the workshop — suitable for both new and experienced meditators — will include direct instruction and guided meditations, talks about the teachings, and opportunities for questions.”

    For more information on any of the CIMC events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also coming up in April, of course, is our very own day-long retreat here at First Parish on Saturday the 16th. The theme for the day will be “Cultivating Compassion in Challenging Times.” Stay tuned for further details!

    In other news, the UK’s Guardian newspaper just published a short piece on some new research connecting meditation with a slowing of the aging process (via a reduction in the rate at which telomeres typically deteriorate). Interesting stuff, as always:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=7,12723,0,0,1,0#.Vuc0t0tcdj7

    There’s also a great new TED talk out on “psychological flexibility” by Dr. Steven Hayes, one of the psychologists who developed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Without giving too much away, this one is definitely worth 20 minutes of your time:

    And to wrap things up this week I’ll leave you with “A Trick of Light” a short piece by Phoebe Myers on learning to confront fear at a forest monastery in Thailand:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/trick-light

    That’s all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  180. REMINDER — 3/8/16 meditation group

    Good evening! I apologize for the later-than-usual e-mail this week; I just returned from the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy’s monthly Buddhist psychology lecture, with Dr. Megan Searl presenting on mindfulness and executive function. A very interesting evening indeed.

    The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, March 12:

    Jim Austin will be at IMC Newburyport for a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) “Breath Awareness for Your Whole Life” workshop:

    “Breath awareness is a powerful mindfulness tool leading to calm, clear seeing, and insight. One way of working with breath awareness, as instructed by the Buddha in the Anapanasati Sutta, teaches us to be sensitive to the breath in the whole body. In this workshop we will practice expanding our sense of the breath in the body and we will explore how to use this practice as the foundation for the unfolding of Anapanasati, naturally leading to a more open, inclusive, awareness which embraces all of our life with more freshness, clarity and ease. Suggested reading for this workshop: Breath by Breath and Three Steps to Awakening by Larry Rosenberg.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile at CIMC, Larry Rosenberg himself will offer his monthly intensive one-day retreat (9am to 5pm). For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Tricycle.com is into Week 2 of Meditation Month 2016. You can check out Spring Washam’s guided meditation for the week here (10 min.):

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-guided-meditation-week-2

    Also on Tricycle.com, Zen teacher Brad Warner offers some Zennish tips on proper posture and establishing a regular sitting practice:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/how-get-cushion-every-day

    I also want to highlight the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies’ online courses getting underway in the next few months:

    “Entering the Path: An Online Foundations Course in Early Buddhist Study and Practice” will begin in June, but the deadline for applications is March 11.

    “Identity, Not-Self, and Awakening” will begin at the end of July, and “Accessing the Manual of Insight” is due to start in September.

    For more information on all of BCBS’s online programming, please visit https://www.bcbsdharma.org/online-learning/

    And finally this week, please do e-mail to let us know if you are planning to attend our very own day-long retreat on Saturday, April 16. Details on this event should be coming in the next couple of weeks.

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  181. REMINDER — 3/1/16 meditation group

    Good evening; happy Leap Day! The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is this week’s facilitator. Massachusetts residents please don’t forget to vote in tomorrow’s presidential primary, too!

    It’s not too late to sign up for Tricycle.com’s free March Meditation Month online retreat.

    You can check out Week 1’s guided meditation from Spring Washam here: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-guided-meditation-week-1

    … And here, Lauren Krauze’s short piece on finding her meditation seat: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/choosing-meditation-seat

    Meanwhile, back in the non-virtual world, there are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, March 5:

    Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN for a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat on “Embracing Difficulties”:

    “In practice we are taught to calm and steady the mind, open the heart, see clearly and act wisely. Normally, difficulties are seen to be aspects of our lives that get in the way of this process. But do they have to be? In this retreat we will be exploring how to use the tools of practice (both mindfulness and kindness) so that difficulties can be worked with skillfully. With wise attitude we will explore the possibility that we can move beyond coping, putting up with, and tolerating difficulties to embracing them and invite them fully onto our path of wakeful, open hearted living.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC for a day-long (10am-4pm) workshop on “Trust and Doubt”:

    “The foundation of the spiritual practice is faith, a deep confidence and trust in nature, as well as in our own capacity to realize liberation within our own hearts. We aren’t asked to believe what we haven’t experienced for ourselves, we are only asked to observe and to trust in our own experiences. Beginning with an initial leap of faith, this trust deepens as it is nourished and verified.Self-doubt and a lack of confidence can easily haunt one’s steps on the path and in this life unless it is investigated carefully and understood. If not understood, it has a great power to undermine our lives, cloud our judgement, limit or even paralyze our ability to act, and cause emotional turbulence. We need to learn how to explore doubt with wisdom.What is the place of trust, in our lives and in the practice? What is the place of doubt in our lives and in the practice? During this workshop, these questions will be explored through talks, discussion, and the practices of sitting and walking.”

    More information can be found at http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, we’d very much appreciate your input on choosing a theme for our very own day long retreat coming up on Saturday, April 16. Please e-mail us to let us know if there are particular topics you’d like us to cover.

    In closing this week I’d like to share Leigh Brasington’s handy chart showing 18 (!) different translations (including the original Pali) of the Metta Sutta, the Buddha’s discourse on lovingkindness. I think it’s both fun and interesting to see the variety of translations of the same source material, and how each one captures a slightly different nuance:

    http://www.leighb.com/mettasuttas.htm

    Is there one that resonates most strongly for you?

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow night — and don’t forget to vote!

    Metta,
    Tim


  182. REMINDER — 2/23/16 meditation group

    Good evening, and happy full moon day! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will facilitate the practice this week.

    This fourth Tuesday of February is very special for Carrie and me, as it marks the 10th anniversary of when we first started to meet with Abhaya for her “Mindfulness Meditation for Caregivers” class in downtown Lowell. It amazes me that the group has persisted — through various permutations — for a full decade now. I’m sure that when Abhaya returns for her visit in early May she will be happy to see that seed she planted has taken root and continues to grow.

    Coming up more immediately, there is still space available for Wednesday evening’s discussion of “The Buddha’s Wife,” by Janet Surrey and Samuel Shem:

    “One of the key questions of the book, ‘The Buddha’s Wife,’ is, What would have happened if the Buddha had stayed and practiced within community, rather than leaving and becoming an ascetic? Come enjoy tea, community, and a discussion focused around the spiritual path of connection and compassion. This discussion is open to people of all genders and spiritual paths.”

    Carrie (c_a_little2003@yahoo.com) will lead the discussion from 7pm to 9pm at Spirit Renewal Center in Chelmsford. If interested, please contact her for additional details.

    This Saturday, February 27, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport to offer “The Mindful Moment” a morning (10am-12:30pm) retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    Please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org for more details. Be sure to look into IMCN’s weekend residential retreat coming up March 18-20.

    Also on Saturday, Oren Sofer will be at Cambridge Insight to offer a day-long (10am to 5pm) workshop on “Freedom in the Body”:

    “Along with the gifts of a human body come inevitable experiences of physical discomfort: from daily aches to illness, aging, and chronic pain. In this day-long workshop, we will explore how to find freedom in our human body when there is discomfort, and how practicing wisely with pain strengthens the heart and can be a doorway to release.

    “The workshop is designed for practitioners interested in this topic, for those living with pain – whether occasional or chronic – and for care-givers working with people in pain.

    “Our day will include silent meditation in all four postures – sitting, standing, walking and lying down – as well as guided movement, reflection, dialogue and practical tools for working with pain.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    As the month of February winds down, so does Sharon Salzberg’s annual Commit to Sit 28-day meditation challenge. For those who may have missed out — or simply wish to keep on going — Tricycle.com is happy to bring you Meditation Month 2016:

    “It’s almost March. Maybe your New Year’s resolutions are long gone and you can’t wait to spring ahead. Can you think of a better time to commit to sit for 30 days? And if you join us you won’t be alone. Whether you’re new to meditation or want to get back on track with a daily practice, Tricycle has you covered…. Spring Washam, a meditation teacher at the East Bay Meditation Center, will take you through five guided meditations every Monday in March (and one extra to kick things off on Feb. 29).”

    To sign up, please go to http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-2016

    I am also happy to share that BCBS has several online courses getting under way in the next few months:

    “Entering the Path: An Online Foundations Course in Early Buddhist Study and Practice” will begin this summer, as will “Identity, Not-Self and Awakening.” “Accessing the Manual of Insight” will begin in September. For more information, please visit https://www.bcbsdharma.org/online-learning/

    I’ll wrap things up this week by sharing two short articles. The first is Shamash Alidina’s “It’s Not Mindfulness without Kindness” from Mindful.org:

    http://www.mindful.org/its-not-mindfulness-without-kindness/

    The second is a three-step self-compassion meditation offered by Kristin Neff via Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/meditation-be-kind-to-yourself/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening to welcome in another year of the Tuesday night sangha.

    With metta,
    Tim

    PS — Don’t forget about our very own day-long retreat coming up on Saturday, April 16. Please be sure to e-mail me if there are any themes/topics you’d like to have us cover on that day.


  183. REMINDER — 2/16/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be facilitating the practice again this week.

    Coming up on Saturday, November 20, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport to offer a day-long (10am-4:30pm, with morning option) retreat on “The Brahmaviharas: Love, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity”:

    “The Buddha taught four powerful practices to cultivate the Heart: Loving Kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity. Using the repetition of phrases to oneself we will practice Loving Kindness. The other three (Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, Equanimity) heart practices (Brahma Viharas or Divine Abodes) will be introduced along with their relationship to Loving Kindness. As the workshop progresses through periods of silent and guided meditation, presented material, and discussion, the emphasis will be for each person to experiment with different approaches and find a way to practice that works best for them. Beginners and experienced meditators alike are welcome to attend.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also coming up this weekend, Narayan Liebenson will lead an Experienced Pracitioners’ Weekend Retreat at CIMC (9am-8pm on Saturday; 9am-5pm on Sunday):

    “The Experienced Practitioners’’ Weekend Retreat offers an intensive opportunity to practice in the company of other dedicated practitioners. In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat will include open periods of individual practice in sitting, walking, standing and lying down. This format is intended to foster self-reliance, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. On Saturday evening, there will be a sharing circle; a meditative question will be asked and investigated.”

    Please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org for more details.

    Looking a bit further ahead, please contact Carrie (c_a_little2003@yahoo.com) if you’re interested in attending the “Buddha’s Wife” book discussion next Wednesday evening, February 24, at the Spirit Renewal Center in Chelmsford.

    And don’t forget to weigh in by e-mail on what you’d like as the theme for our very own day-long retreat coming up at First Parish on Saturday, April 16.

    The Insight Meditation Society celebrated its 40th anniversary yesterday; you can check out a short (3 min.) video on YouTube:

    Lion’s Roar recently reprised IMS co-founder Sharon Salzberg’s 2010 remembrance of her teacher, Dipa Ma, in “Awakening Confidence in Our Capacity for Loving Kindness: The Blessing of Dipa Ma”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/awakening-confidence-in-our-capacity-for-loving-kindness-the-blessing-of-dipa-ma/

    Also be sure to check out “Who Knows?” Tricycle’s recent interview with Sharon’s longtime friend, colleague, and IMS co-founder Joseph Goldstein:

    http://www.tricycle.com/interview/who-knows

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  184. REMINDER — 2/9/16 meditation group

    Good evening! I hope everyone has successfully weathered today’s storm. I’ll continue to keep an eye on the weather forecast for tomorrow, but as of now it looks like we should still be on track for meditation at our usual time — 7:30pm to 9:30pm — in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be this week’s facilitator. (If it looks like we do need to cancel, I will send out a separate e-mail after noon tomorrow.)

    In some exciting news, I am very happy to announce that we will be offering a (long-overdue) day-long meditation retreat on Saturday, April 16. (There will also be the option of attending only for the morning.) Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we will be able to spend some time outside. We have not yet chosen theme for the upcoming retreat, however, so please let us know if there is a particular topic you would like to focus on (e.g., metta/lovingkindness; mindful self-compassion; foundations of mindfulness; the Four Noble Truths; etc.); we will do our best to accommodate the interests of the group. Ideally we’ll have a theme selected in the next week or two.

    Coming up this Saturday, February 13, Larry Rosenberg will be at CIMC to offer his monthly intensive one-day retreat:

    “Since the time of the Buddha, intensive retreat practice has been considered crucial for the maturing of insight. The simplicity and support of the retreat environment encourage a continuity of awareness. Retreats can help develop qualities such as confidence, perseverance, mindfulness, concentration and the unfolding of wisdom and compassion.

    “This is a full day of meditation with few interruptions. We will spend the day sitting and walking together, experiencing the profound value of a day of utter silence and simplicity. There will be no Dharma talks or interviews to pull us away from the opportunity to settle into, and deepen, our practice. The retreat will conclude with an opportunity to discuss the experiences of the day with Q&A.”

    The retreat will run from 9am to 5pm; please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I also want to remind folks about the book discussion for “The Buddha’s Wife” coming up on Wednesday, February 24, from 7pm to 9pm at Spirit Renewal Center in Chelmsford:

    “One of the key questions of the book, The Buddha’s Wife, is, ‘What would have happened if the Buddha had stayed and practiced within community, rather than leaving and becoming an ascetic?’ Come enjoy tea, community, and a discussion focused around the spiritual path of connection and compassion. This discussion is open to people of all genders and spiritual paths. Reading the book in advance is suggested but not required; one copy of the book is available for loan from Spirit Renewal Center. Discussion facilitated by Carrie Little. Suggested contribution $5.”

    For more information, please e-mail Carrie (c_a_little2003@yahoo.com).

    I want to thank Gabriela again for sharing with us her discovery of author, psychotherapist, and former Buddhist monk Donald Altman — and in particular his book “The Mindfulness Code: Keys for Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, Fear, and Unhappiness.” He seems to do an excellent job of integrating traditional Buddhist teachings with a modern psychology.

    You can check out “The Mindfulness Code” at Amazon (of course) — http://www.amazon.com/dp/1577318935/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=25LCLHVUDSQDS&coliid=I2QPGV3WEYC1NR — and also check out Altman’s own website at http://www.mindfulpractices.com, where he has a number of other resources available.

    And last but not least this week, I want to be sure to highlight Lindsay Kyte’s recent profile of Sharon Salzberg from the March 2016 issue of Lion’s Roar. For those who aren’t familiar with Sharon’s journey, it’s really quite amazing:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/how-sharon-salzberg-found-real-happiness/

    That’s all for now; stay warm and be careful on the roads this evening and tomorrow. And please do e-mail to let us know what theme you’d like for the April retreat. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  185. REMINDER — 2/2/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is this week’s facilitator.

    Starting off, today is Day One of Sharon Salzberg’s annual 28-day “Commit 2 Sit” meditation challenge. There’s still plenty of time to join: http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/28-day-meditation-challenge-2016/

    Then Wednesday evening, February 3, Noah Levine will give a public talk at Harvard Divinity School. This will take place from 7pm to 8:30pm in the Braun Room of Andover Hall, at 45 Francis Street in Cambridge. I am not sure if this is connected with the 25th anniversary celebration of Harvard’s Pluralism Project taking place earlier that afternoon: http://hds.harvard.edu/news/public-events-calendar#/?i=1

    There are also a couple of events coming up on Saturday, February 6:

    Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN for a day-long (9am to 5pm) “simple silence” retreat:

    “This retreat is modeled after the ‘no toys’ retreats led by one of our founders Larry Rosenberg. There will be no talking, save for minimal introductory instructions and reminders if necessary. We will practice with the silent support of each other throughout the day. Towards the end of our time together there will be the opportunity for discussion: What can we learn as we exploring the power of a simple day spent in meditative silence together?”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Madeline Klyne will be at CIMC to offer a day-long (10am to 4pm) beginner’s workshop:

    “This workshop is designed for people who have little or no meditation experience, or who are relatively new to Insight Meditation (Vipassana).Our extended time together provides the opportunity to meditate and learn with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. The day will include formal meditation instruction, sitting and walking practice and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions. All are welcome.”

    For more information, please refer to http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a number of resources for free dharma books, and this week I want to specifically highlight one that Ajahn David recommended at his last visit to the group: Ajahn Amaro’s “Finding the Missing Peace: A Primer of Buddhist Meditation.”

    My spring semester has just started, so I’ve only be able to get part way into the book so far. In any event Ajahn Amaro’s seems to be a straightforward and accessible resource on the theory and practice of Buddhist meditation as practiced in the Thai tradition — as the book’s title would suggest. Fortunately it is available for free download in multiple formats at the Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery website (https://www.abhayagiri.org/books/finding-the-missing-peace) and the Amaravati monastery website also has an audio version available (http://www.amaravati.org/dhamma-books/finding-the-missing-peace-a-primer-of-buddhist-meditation/); consider this strong encouragement to check it out.

    I want to follow up with a link to another fantastic episode of Krista Tippett’s On Being. Tippett followed her conversation with Stephen Batchelor with an equally fascinating discussion with Benedictine monk Br. David Steindl-Rast. Br. David may be familiar to some of you from a TED talk on gratitude that he gave a few years ago. His On Being conversation is a bit difficult to adequately summarize, so I simply suggest you give it a listen:

    http://www.onbeing.org/program/david-steindl-rast-anatomy-of-gratitude/8361

    I want to close by sharing a couple of short articles.

    The first is “Take Your Mind for a Walk” — a wonderful piece written by Steve Hickman for Mindful.org:

    http://www.mindful.org/take-your-mind-for-a-walk/

    The second piece — “A Guided Meditation for the Anxious Mind” — recently appeared in The New Yorker and is (hopefully!) good for a knowing chuckle or two:

    http://www.newyorker.com/humor/daily-shouts/a-guided-meditation-for-the-anxious-mind

    I think that will be it for this week. Enjoy the spring-like weather while it lasts and hopefully I’ll see you all tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  186. REMINDER — 1/26/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday meditation group will meet from 7:30pm to 9:30pm tomorrow in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN both have events taking place this Saturday, January 30.

    Matthew Daniell will be in Newburyport to offer “Waking Up to Your Life” — a morning retreat (10am-12:30pm) for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile in Cambridge, Andrew Olendzki will offer a daylong (10am-4pm) workshop on “Rhythms of Consciousness: Inbreath, Outbreath, and the Workings of the Mind”:

    “This day-long program outlines the classical Buddhist understanding of how the mind operates moment by moment to construct the virtual reality we know as our selves and our world. It introduces a new model for understanding the dynamics of experience, and poses a challenging paradox: How do we open to what is happening without interfering, while also engaging with what unfolds to bring about greater health and wellbeing? Suitable for both new and experienced students, much of the day will be a lecture format, with some periods of silent meditation, Q&A and time for discussion.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    You can also check out Andy’s latest essay “Blueprint to Solve Suffering” — “a four-part process for addressing social, economic, political, and environmental change” — over at Tricycle.com:

    http://www.tricycle.com/living-canon/blueprint-solve-suffering

    Looking ahead a little bit, Sharon Salzberg’s annual 28-day “Commit 2 Sit” meditation challenge kicks off on February 1. If you’re feeling up to it, check out http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/28-day-meditation-challenge-2016/ to sign up.

    Carrie also asked me to give a heads up on an event taking place in Chelmsford a bit later in February:

    From 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday, February 24, Carrie will facilitate a discussion on Janet Surrey and Samuel Shem’s new book, “The Buddha’s Wife”:

    “One of the key questions of the book, The Buddha’s Wife, is, ‘What would have happened if the Buddha had stayed and practiced within community, rather than leaving and becoming an ascetic?’ Come enjoy tea, community, and a discussion focused around the spiritual path of connection and compassion. This discussion is open to people of all genders and spiritual paths. Reading the book in advance is suggested but not required; one copy of the book is available for loan from Spirit Renewal Center.

    The book discussion will take place at Spirit Renewal Center, 9 Acton Rd, Suite 23 in Chelmsford. Registration is $5. Please contact Carrie directly for more details at c_a_little2003@yahoo.com

    I also want to thank Sandra F. for reminding me about the online courses being offered by Spirit Rock. Sandra wrote to me last week to say how much she was enjoying an 8-week class on the Ten Perfections being led by Mark Coleman. If anyone is interested in taking another of Spirit Rock’s offerings, Sandra would love a dharma study buddy with whom to share the journey.

    You can peruse upcoming Spirit Rock offerings here: http://www.spiritrock.org/online-events

    This is also a good moment to send out a reminder about Tricycle’s online “Integrated Dharma” courses — http://learn.tricycle.com — as well as the first of hopefully several online offerings from the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/online-learning/

    Winding up this week’s e-mail, I wanted to highlight Stephen Batchelor’s appearance as Krista Tippett’s guest on On Being. Batchelor — author of “Buddhism Without Beliefs” among other notable works — spoke with Krista about “the limits of belief” and his journey as a “secular Buddhist”:

    http://www.onbeing.org/program/stephen-batchelor-the-limits-of-belief-the-massiveness-of-the-questions/8347

    You can also read a short review of Batchelor’s latest book, “After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/review-stephen-batchelors-after-buddhism/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  187. REMINDER — 1/19/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator. We’ll have some extra blankets on hand, but do remember to dress warmly!

    I want to thank Ruth C. for giving me the heads up on a meditation workshop series kicking off this Thursday evening, January 21, at Wisdom’s Heart in Gloucester. The teacher is Douglas Veenhof, who comes from a Tibetan practice background, but I think the series should be useful to anyone. You can find out more at http://www.wisdomsheart.org/newevents/2016/1/21/meditation-3-part-learning-sessions and
    http://douglasveenhof.com

    Leigh Brasington will be at CIMC this Saturday, January 23, to offer a day-long workshop (9:30am-5pm) on “Gradual Training on the Buddhist Path”:

    “The “”gradual training”” is the path of practice taught by the Buddha that leads from first setting out on one’’s spiritual journey all the way to final liberation.This day-long course will take an in-depth and comprehensive look at the various texts in Pali Canon that speak to such gradual training; and how this training might resonate with our own journey on the path to liberation. Special attention will be given to the Sāmaññaphala Sutta: The Fruits of the Spiritual Life which discusses in detail the factors enumerating this training.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    (I also recommend checking out Leigh’s interview with BCBS’s Full Moon Insight Journal from last month: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/jhanas-lucid-dreaming-and-letting-there-be-just-seeing-in-the-seeing/)

    On Sunday, of course, is Valley Insight’s special day-long (9:30am-4:30pm) retreat with Shaila Catherine at the AVA Gallery in Lebanon, NH:

    “This program will explore liberation by teaching attitudes and approaches that support the experience of release, peace, and awakening. The program will include instructions and teachings that nurture mindfulness and loving kindness, and is appropriate for new and experienced meditators.”

    For more information, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    In my downtime before spring classes begin I was finally able to read Richard Shankman’s new book “The Art and Skill of Buddhist Meditation.”

    https://www.newharbinger.com/art-and-skill-buddhist-meditation

    Shankman’s latest work is suitable for both experienced and novice practitioners, and focuses on the integration of insight and concentration practice. I have added this book to the “Highly Recommended” section of the Recommended Reading page on our website:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/resources/recommended-reading/

    As I was reminded by Ajahn David a couple of weeks ago, there is also a wealth of free dhamma books available online — with many publications available for download as PDF or in electronic format as well as in hard copy:

    http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewBookCollection.php

    https://www.abhayagiri.org/books/

    http://www.amaravati.org/dhamma-books/

    http://www.dhammatalks.org/ebook_index.html

    Of course we do live in a digital age, which is the subject of David Levy’s new book “Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives.” Tricycle’s Wendy Joan Biddlecombe recently caught up with Levy for a short give-and-take:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/mindful-tech

    And as I sign off this week, I’ll leave you with “On Hope and Hype,” a poignant New Year’s essay by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/hope-and-hype

    That is all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  188. REMINDER — 1/12/16 meditation group

    Good evening! I apologize for the lateness of this week’s e-mail, but we will indeed meet for meditation tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both back in full swing, which each center hosting a day-long retreat this Saturday, January 16.

    Matthew Daniell will be up in Newburyport to offer a day-long (9am to 5pm with a morning-only option) retreat on “The Relaxed Mind”:

    “It is said that without relaxation there is no awakening. To become free we must ‘release the tight fist of grasping’ we carry around with us on many levels. In Insight Meditation relaxation is not only essential it is a special art. It is not just to learn how to relax but to learn to relax with wakefulness so that wisdom can blossom. But how can we do this? Over efforting is not the answer, neither is inattention. In this retreat we will explore approaches that specifically support the conditions where relaxation naturally occurs. When our mindfulness is restful yet alert constricted patterns of body, heart and mind begin to unwind, and we find ourselves relaxing our way into freedom.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnreburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Chas DiCapua will be in Cambridge for a day spent exploring “The Enlightenment Factors: Cultivating and Balancing Energy and Tranquility”:

    “The ability to sit down and allow all things to take their natural course deepens as we learn to let go of doing. While this is true, we still need to have enough energy — and the right kind of energy — to maintain and deepen our practice. When and how do we just let go and allow the moment to be, resting in awareness? When and how do we bring a curious, interested attention close to the object of our meditation? This day-long retreat will explore the answers to these questions with sitting and walking meditation, a Dharma talk, Q&A and time for Dharma discussion.”

    Please see http://www.cambridgeinsight.org for further details.

    I also want to remind folks of Valley Insight’s special day-long retreat on “Liberating Attitudes” with Shaila Catherine coming up on Sunday, January 24:

    http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    And looking ahead to February, be sure to check out Sharon Salzberg’s annual 28-day meditation challenge:

    http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/28-day-meditation-challenge-2016/

    Speaking of Sharon, I just found that she will be one of a several new teachers joining Dan Harris and Joseph Goldstein in the as the 10% Happier app adds some new courses in coming months, as I mentioned a few weeks ago:

    http://us10.campaign-archive2.com/?u=230a994e4f1d62491eaf10843&id=c2fcf8ec31&e=da6055966b

    And speaking of new offerings, Ajahn Brahm has a brand new book out called “Kindfulness”:

    http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/kindfulness

    You can check out an excerpt — “Restlessness, Contentment and, ‘Kindfulness'” — over at Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/restlessness-contentment-and-kindfulness/

    And last but not least, The Irish Examiner recently ran a short article on Ian Lawton’s forthcoming documentary on Laurence Carroll (aka U Dhammaloka), the first Western Buddhist monk. A fascinating story, indeed:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=12,12610,0,0,1,0#.VpRxfUtcdj5

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  189. REMINDER — 1/5/16 meditation group

    Good evening everyone; happy 2016! The Tuesday evening meditation group will kick off the new year tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. We hope that Ajahn David will be able to join us this week; Sue is on standby as facilitator in the event that Ajahn cannot make it. Given the forecast for “seasonal” temperatures, please be sure to wear some extra layers and perhaps bring a shawl or blanket.

    For those of you who may be closer to Boston, I recently found out that George Mumford will give a talk at 7pm tomorrow evening at the Newton Free Library. As part of the library’s new Mindfulness lecture series, George will speak about “Being Mindful: The Secret to Pure Performance in Work, Love and Play.” To find out more, please refer to http://posters.newtonfreelibrary.net/160105_Program_Mindfulness_G_Mumford_EK.jpg

    CIMC and IMCN are both back from winter break and have a full slate of offerings lined up for January, including some one-day retreats a little later this month. Stay tuned — or visit http://cambridgeinsight.org or http://www.imcnewburyport.org for more details.

    Our friends up at Valley Insight will also be hosting a day-long retreat with Shaila Catherine in Lebanon, NH, at the end of the month. For more information, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    The new year presents an opportunity to establish and re-establish helpful habits in our lives, and I thought Anne Cushman’s short article “How to Establish a Daily Practice Of Almost Anything, in Six Steps” would be a good way to start things off: http://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-establish-a-daily-practice-of-almost-anything-in-six-steps/

    On a related note, I found Zen teacher Joan Sutherland’s “Gaining Perspective on Habitual Patterns” a helpful take on how to relate to our habits — especially those that we find to be less than helpful: http://www.lionsroar.com/gaining-perspective/

    And finally this week, I recently came across an Allston-based, Harvard Innovation Lab startup called Getaway that offers “tiny” cabin rentals in the woods within 2 hours of Boston. It seems like this could be an excellent resource for anyone contemplating a solo retreat sometime during the coming year. To find out more, visit http://getaway.house

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  190. Reminder — 12/29/15 meditation group

    Good evening! This week’s Tuesday meditation group will bid an early adieu to 2015 with a sit and discussion from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN remain on winter break for another week, but both will be back in action after the New Year.

    In the spirit of hoping for the best for the new year, I’ll ring out the old with Matthieu Ricard’s October interview with Tricycle’s Joan Duncan Oliver — “The Power of Altruism to Change the World” (30 min.):

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/power-altruism-change-world

    This seems to dovetail nicely with Bhikkhu Bodhi’s words on “conscientious compassion”:

    http://www.buddhistglobalrelief.org/newsletterArticles/2015Winter/ConscientiousCompassion.html

    And in closing, I’ll leave you with this weekend’s NPR piece on the meditation seed that has been planted on Capitol Hill (4 min.):

    http://www.npr.org/2015/12/26/461112611/capitol-hill-political-staffers-find-their-zen

    That is all for 2015; I wish everyone a new year filled with safety, health, and peace of mind.

    With metta,
    Tim


  191. REMINDER — 12/22/15 meditation group

    Good evening everyone; happy winter! The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN both continue on their winter break, but stay tuned for a full slate of events coming up in the New Year… along with a very special offering from our friends up at Valley Insight.

    The arrival of the shortest day today and the arrival of the new year in just over a week are just a few reminders that this is indeed a season of transition. This time of year can elicit a range of emotions, both bitter and sweet. There have been a few writings I’ve come across recently that speak to this.

    Gina Sharpe offers “The Heart of Generosity” — a short Lion’s Roar post from last week:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/the-heart-of-generosity-gina-sharpe-on-joyful-giving/

    The Tricycle blog recently reprised Noah Levine’s timeless essay “Kindness Changes Everything,” originally published back in 2010:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/kindness-changes-everything-september-2010/

    And the inimitable Sylvia Boorstein shares her thoughts on these darker days in “Winter Blues”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/winter-blues/

    As we look ahead to longer, brighter days there is news the Dan Harris and Joseph Goldstein will be collaborating on a sequel to the popular “10% Happier” app. Change Collective just posted a teaser trailer which you can check out here:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/w0xentf14ch828m/001_Wandering%20Mind.mp4?dl=0

    And for anyone who is looking for a new job for the new year, IMS has a couple of openings (with application deadlines in early January):

    http://dharma.org/working-here/openings

    That is all for this week. In this season of many traditions, I will close by sharing one that is close to my heart, Susan Cooper’s poem “The Shortest Day”:

    http://www.solsticesingers.org/winter11/shortest.pdf

    I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  192. REMINDER — 12/15/15 meditation group

    Good evening! I apologize for the late e-mail, but the meditation group will indeed meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    Things are quiet at CIMC and IMCN this coming weekend as the folks at both programs enter into a short holiday hiatus.

    In the meantime, there are some interesting film projects that are in the works.

    First up is “The Dharma Bum” — a feature length, part animated, documentary film telling the tantalising true story of Irishman Laurence Carroll, who emigrated to Burma around the turn of the 20th century and became likely the first western Buddhist monk. It looks like a fascinating story, and the film is currently in crowd funding stage. To learn more, check out the short project trailer at https://vimeo.com/109041082

    Another interesting looking film with Burmese connections is “My Buddha is Punk” — a new documentary about a 25-year-old punk rocker in Burma, named Kyaw Kyaw, who uses his music to raise awareness of social issues. You can find out more and watch the trailer at Lion’s Roar: http://www.lionsroar.com/watch-the-trailer-for-my-buddha-is-punk/

    Finally this week, in “Buddify Your Android” Tricycle’s John Tresh offers his take on the proliferation of mindfulness smartphone apps: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/buddhify-your-android

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  193. REMINDER — 12/8/15 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is this week’s facilitator.

    In weekend events, Matthew Daniell will visit CIMC on Saturday, December 12, to offer a day-long workshop (10am-4pm) on “The Four Noble Truths: Taking A Fresh Look”:

    “The Four Noble Truths are the bedrock of the early Buddhist wisdom path. They are simply that there is suffering (or unsatisfactoriness) in life, that it has a cause (unwise clinging), a cure (freedom of the heart), and there is a way to effect the cure (the path of practice). They are considered ‘Truths’ for each one of us insofar as an examination of how they function in our life matches our personal experience. They are considered ‘Noble’ insofar as working with them helps us to change the quality of our inner life and how we relate to the world.

    “In this workshop the silence of meditation, as well as presented material and discussion, will support us in taking a fresh look, again and again, at how this simple schema can be used to bring us more fully into the present moment. As our capacity and interest in being with the fullness of our life from the place of present moment awareness grows, we can learn to work with suffering that arises, not only on retreat, but in our daily lives, with more clarity, compassion, and ease. This workshop is suitable for experienced meditators as well as new students.”

    To register, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    On Sunday, Matthew returns to IMCN for a morning retreat (9am to 12:30pm) on “Compassion and Wisdom for the Holidays”:

    “A famous Indian Sage once said ‘love tells me I am everything, wisdom I am nothing, and between the two my life flows’. Compassion opens and connects us to the fullness of life with all of its inherent pain and suffering. Wisdom provides the cool balm of clear seeing and letting go, non-attachment. We need both. In this workshop we will combine guided compassion meditation for ourselves and others with the clarity of mindfulness meditation, as we explore the all important ability to take care of ourselves and open our hearts to others during the holidays!”

    The retreat will be followed by a community potluck lunch, Dharma Reflection, and Community Sharing to which all are welcome. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I’ll lead off this week with a provocative new article from David Loy in which he challenges Buddhists to “awaken to the ecological crisis”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/can-we-awaken-to-the-ecological-crisis/

    There seems to be some synergy between Loy’s piece and this new one from Josh Korda on Right Livelihood “The Lost Factor in the Buddha’s Path to Happiness”:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-korda/the-lost-factor-in-the-bu_b_8605052.html

    And I’ll close this week with this wonderful essay from Christina Feldman on the cultivation of compassion in “She Who Hears the Cries of the World”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/she-who-hears-the-cries-of-the-world/

    That’s all for this week. I have one final paper to go for the semester, due a week from today, so I look forward to seeing everyone on the 15th.

    Metta,
    Tim


  194. REMINDER — 12/1/15 meditation group

    Good evening! This week’s Chelmsford meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. We look forward to welcoming back Ajahn David as guest teacher.

    On Saturday, December 5, Ted Jones will be at IMCN to offer a morning (10am to 12:30pm) “Mindful Presence” retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. During this retreat we will explore how to calm and steady the mind and see with more clarity into our lives. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn to touch and live in the moment. Although this retreat is designed for beginners, all are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    For those who are interested in venturing further afield on Saturday, Doreen Schweizer will lead a day-long (8:30am to 4pm) retreat on “Practicing Tranquility in A Busy Season” at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover, NH:

    “The days are darkening, and our anticipation of the busy holiday season can become complicated by stirred-up emotions, expectations, and scheduled events. Join us as we stop for a moment. A full day of shared meditation practice will give us a chance to settle down and get in touch with the quiet just below the surface of our lives. It will give us direct access to the promised peace, joy, and good will of the season. Stillness is accessible to us in simple and intentional ways. It nourishes us.”

    To register, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    If that wasn’t enough, Larry Rosenberg will offer his monthly day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat at CIMC on Saturday; then on Sunday afternoon from 3pm to 6pm, Larry will be joined by Narayan Liebenson in hosting CIMC’s 30th anniversary “Community Conversation and Celebration.” To learn more about either event, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    For this week’s readings, I’d like to highlight Shaila Catherine’s interview in the November issue of the BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal. Well known for her teaching on jhana practice, this time Shaila turns her attention to “Metta: What It Is and What It Isn’t”:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/metta-what-it-is-what-it-isnt/

    And I’ll close by sharing the link to “What Is True Safety?” a new essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/what-true-safety

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  195. REMINDER — 11/24/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday meditation group at First Parish will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel. Sue is this week’s facilitator.

    Both CIMC and IMCN are on hiatus this holiday weekend, but stay tuned for events coming up in December at each center.

    With Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday, I thought today’s NPR piece on the health benefits of gratitude was particularly timely and interesting:

    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/23/456656055/gratitude-is-good-for-the-soul-and-it-helps-the-heart-too

    I, for one, am grateful to the many teachers who make the timeless teachings of the dharma accessible to a contemporary Western audience. Among those I hold in especially warm regard is Gil Fronsdal, who makes freely available hundreds of hours of dharma talks on the Audiodharma website. This week I think it would be appropriate to Gil’s 2012 talk on “Choosing Gratitude” (29 min.):

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/3803.html

    I am also grateful to be retuning to the meditation group this week after far too many weeks away. I’m still not fully out of the woods with schoolwork, but it will be nice to take a moment to catch my breath with the group this week.

    I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening and I wish you all a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.

    Metta,
    Tim


  196. REMINDER — 11/17/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator; I look forward to hearing her insights from 6 weeks spent on retreat at IMS.

    Coming up this weekend, CIMC will host a non-residential weekend retreat for experienced practitioners (>3 years of vipassana practice), under the guidance of Narayan Liebenson. The retreat begins Saturday, November 21, at 9am and concludes Sunday at 5pm. For more information, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile at IMCN, on Saturday Chas DiCapua will offer a day-long retreat (9am to 5pm, with a morning-only option) on “Judgement and Discernment”:

    “In Vipassana meditation practice, we pay attention to understand our experience, not to judge it. The Dharma, or the truth of the way things are, is constantly being broadcast with each and every experience. When we judge our experience, it is not possible to see this truth. In this day long retreat, we will explore, in real time, the difference between simply knowing our experience, and having judgment about it. We will also practice cultivating the conditions that support a simple knowing and letting go of conditions that support judging our experience.”

    Then on Sunday, Chris Crotty will offer a morning (9:30am-1pm) “Mindfulness Yoga and Insight Meditation” workshop:

    “How can a yoga asana practice be used to support our mindfulness meditation practice? Can we bring the qualities of mindfulness and openness developed in sitting meditation practice onto the yoga mat thereby creating continuity between our practice on the mat and our practice on the cushion? We’ll explore these questions and others during this half-day workshop. The workshop will include short periods of sitting meditation, yoga, and discussion. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and beginners are welcome.”

    For more information on either IMCN offering, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    And finally, also on Saturday, Spirit Rock will offer Jack Kornfield’s “Introduction to Insight Meditation” day-long retreat in a live webcast format (12pm-8pm EST):

    “The day will include systematic instructions, silent sitting and walking meditation, and a dharma talk. It is suitable for both beginning and experienced meditators. When you register for the live webcast, you will be able to download video recordings of the webcast for 90 days afterward to view again.”

    To register, please visit https://www.spiritrock.org/intro-to-insight-lr

    I don’t have too much else to share this week except for the following blurb on a new Kickstarter campaign to fund David Wooster’s book of photographs of animals-in-residence at temples and monasteries in Thailand and Nepal. Interesting project with some nice photos:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/photographer-snaps-cats-and-dogs-of-thai-buddhist-temples/

    That’s about all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  197. REMINDER — 11/10/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday evening meditation group will be back in action tomorrow form 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    At IMCN this Saturday morning (10am-12:30pm), November 14, Matthew Daniell will offer “The Mindful Moment: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students.”:

    “Insight meditation is a time tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. During this retreat we will explore how to calm and steady the mind and see with more clarity into our lives. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move fromsuffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn to touch and live in the moment. Although this retreat is designed for beginners, all are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Unfortunately, Sunday’s CIMC benefit workshop “Enlivened Practice: Ethics, Meditation and Wisdom” featuring Narayan Liebenson and Stephanie Morgan is already at capacity.

    In other exciting news, RIchard Shankman’s new book — “The Art and Skill of Buddhist Meditation” — is now available; I have a copy on order and can wait for a quiet moment to dive into it. Shankman’s method and teaching style have been tremendous influential on my own practice.

    “This book will be of interest to both beginning and experienced meditation practitioners. For new meditators, this is a hands-on book you can easily put into practice. Experienced practitioners will find a complete and useful guide for deepening insight and cultivating the deeper stages of concentration known as jhana.

    “This book discusses the most common experiences that can arise at each stage of the process as meditation unfolds, offering the kind of direction you might normally get only with teachers in individual practice interviews. Specific guidance and a variety of ways to proceed are offered at each step, depending on the meditator’s actual experience.”

    It is, of course, available via Amazon.com:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Skill-Buddhist-Meditation-Concentration/dp/1626252939

    There are a couple of interesting articles to share this week:

    First up is Josh Korda’s recent piece from the Huffington Post on “Early Buddhist Paths that Lead to Liberation”:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=6,12522,0,0,1,0#.VkFUOEsSRbh

    Then Tricycle.com blogger Brent R. Oliver checks in with “5 Realities of Becoming a Hardcore Meditator”:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/5-realities-becoming-hardcore-meditator

    Finally, Sharon Salzberg has a new <2min. video — "Standing in Line" — as a part of her Street Lovingkindness series; be sure to check it out:

    That's all for now; I hope to be able to join you all tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  198. REMINDER — 10/27/15 meditation group

    Good evening everyone…. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish; Carrie will be this week’s facilitator.

    IMCN is taking a quick break this coming weekend, however CIMC is hosting a couple of events:

    On Saturday, October 31, Larry Rosenberg will offer his monthly one-day (9am-5pm) intensive retreat; then on Sunday, George Mumford will offer a 1/2-day (2pm-5:15pm) retreat for people of color focusing on the “Four Virtues.” For more information on either event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Local public radio station WBUR featured two intriguing guests on last week’s Radio Boston program. On Wednesday, Robin Young sat down with Andy Puddicombe to talk about Headspace, his mindfulness app, and the juncture of meditation and technology:

    http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/21/headspace-app-puddicombe (11 min.)

    Then on Thursday, Robin was joined by Jon Kabat-Zinn to talk about the science of mindfulness and mediation:

    http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/22/mindfulness-meditation-jon-kabat-zinn (10 min.)

    I also want to thank Sandra for the heads up on a web-based program called eMindful, which features old friend Matthew Daniell among its teachers:

    https://www.emindful.com/promo/

    Sandra writes: “This website offers live guided practice sessions throughout the day. Matthew leads a 30 minute practice every morning at 8:30 that is wonderful! Check it out if you can.”

    And, of course, I’ll put in another plug for Dan Harris an Joseph Goldstein’s “10% Happier” app: http://www.changecollective.com/10-percent-happier/

    I guess there is no shortage of technological aids these days. What would the Buddha do?

    I am once again in the throes of schoolwork this week, but hope to reappear for the first Tuesday of November. Until then, have a good practice.

    Metta,
    Tim


  199. REMINDER — 10/20/15 meditation group

    Good evening…. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of interesting retreat offerings coming up shortly.

    First, CIMC will offer a 5-day non-residential retreat starting this Saturday, October 24. The retreat, led by Narayan Liebenson, runs all day (9am-7pm) Saturday and Sunday, continuing Monday through Wednesday from 6pm to 9pm each day:

    “This five-day long retreat combines formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend composed of the familiar formal practices emphasizing sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three weekdays, yogis will be given a meditation exercise to work with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life. Coming together again in the evenings we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises. Individual interviews will be possible. Yogis are asked to attend all five days. Partial registration will not be offered for this retreat.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, just a heads up that Narayan will be joined by Stephanie Morgan on Sunday, November 15 for a CIMC benefit workshop on “Enlivened Practice: Ethics, Meditation and Wisdom.” Stay tuned for more details.

    In the meantime, IMCN will hold its inaugural residential weekend retreat this weekend, October 23 through October 25. There are still a few spaces left:

    “This weekend is advertised as ‘Insight Meditation for Beginners and Ongoing Students’ which leaves it open for all levels of practitioners so that anyone can come and be a part of this very special weekend. We will get the chance to practice together in silence in a beautiful location located only twenty minutes away in Kensington, New Hampshire. There are acres of beautiful foliage with trails that are great for walking.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Many of you who recall Abhaya’s teaching will remember her fondness for the poetry of Mary Oliver. Oliver was also Krista Tippett’s guest on OnBeing earlier this year, and that radio conversation was reprised last week:

    http://www.onbeing.org/program/mary-oliver-listening-to-the-world/7267

    In closing this week I leave you with a wonderful illustration of Kristin Neff’s “Three Steps for Self-Compassion”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/three-steps-for-self-compassion-illustrated/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  200. REMINDER — 10/13/15 meditation group

    Good evening everyone! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. We hope to have Ajahn David return as guest teacher for this week.

    This week’s highlight event is, of course, Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Friday evening talk on behalf of CIMC, “The Mainstreaming of Mindfulness in America: The Promise and the Perils”:

    “In this talk, Jon Kabat-Zinn will outline the widespread, growing interest in mindfulness in society and its actual cultivation through practice. Jon will investigate the potential perils of mindfulness divorced from its ethical moorings and deep practice. Has mindfulness been reduced to a mere (and misunderstood) concept, rather than understood as a life-long invitation to recognize and embody what is deepest and best in humanity?”

    This event will take place at 7pm on Friday, October 16, at the Arlington Street Church in Boston. To register, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org/program/an-evening-talk-with-jon-kabat-zinn-othe-mainstreaming-of-mindfulness-in-america-the-promise-and-the-perilso/

    At IMCN on Sunday, October 18, Matthew Daniell will offer a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat on “Embracing Difficulties”:

    “In practice we are taught to calm and steady the mind, open the heart, see clearly and act wisely. Normally difficulties are seen to be aspects of our lives that get in the way of this process. But do they have to be? In this retreat we will be exploring how to use the tools of practice (both mindfulness and kindness) so that difficulties can be worked with skillfully. With wise attitude we will explore the possibility that we can move beyond coping, putting up with, and tolerating difficulties to embracing them and invite them fully onto our path of wakeful, openhearted living.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  201. REMINDER — 10/6/15 meditation group

    Good evening everyone! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up at CIMC on Saturday, October 10, Narayan Liebenson will offer a day-long Metta retreat for experienced practitioners:

    “The Buddha taught metta as an antidote to fear and anger. The systematic practice of metta develops concentration and tranquility, strengthening the mind and softening the heart toward oneself and others. Cultivating metta we directly experience our fundamental kindness.This retreat offers the opportunity for a full day of metta practice and will include guided sittings. It is an opportunity for those who are familiar with the theory and definition of metta to engage in a day of extended engagement with the practice itself.This retreat is appropriate for anyone who has any prior experience with metta practice.”

    To register, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org/program/metta-retreat-for-experienced-practitioners/

    Also on Saturday, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN to offer a morning workshop (10am-1pm) on the Four Noble Truths:

    “The Four Noble Truths are the bedrock of the early Buddhist wisdom path. They are simply that there is unsatisfactoriness (or suffering) in life, that it has a cause (unwise clinging), a cure (freedom of the heart), and there is a way to affect the cure (the path of practice). Through periods of silence, presented material, and discussion on this workshop, we will take a fresh look at how this simple schema can be used to bring us more fully into the present moment, and provide thefoundation for working with difficult material that arises in our daily lives with more clarity, compassion, and ease.”

    Then on Sunday, October 11, Ted Jones will have a morning “Waking Up to Your Life” retreat for newer students (10am-12:30pm):

    “Insight meditation is a time tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. During this retreat we will explore how to calm and steady the mind and see with more clarity into our lives. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn to touch and live in the moment. Although this retreat is designed for beginners, all are welcome.”

    For more information on the IMCN offerings, please go to http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Looking just a bit further ahead, of course, are CIMC’s benefit events featuring Jon Kabat-Zinn. While his “Day of Mindfulness Practice and Dialog” on Saturday, October 17, is already sold out, this is still availability for his evening lecture on Friday, October 16:

    “In this talk, Jon Kabat-Zinn will outline the widespread and growing movement of interest in mindfulness in society and its actual cultivation through practice, and how these profound cultural changes came about. He will focus particularly on the so-called mindfulness movement’s dharma roots in various traditions and practices, its emergence and gradual flowering within medicine, health care, and psychology over the past four decades (and now into education, the corporate world, criminal justice, professional sports, even the military) and its broad potential impact as a public health initiative in the service of cultivating greater health and well-being, clarity and wisdom, and altruism and kindness both individually, in society, and ultimately, globally. He will also emphasize the ethical roots of mindfulness within both the dharma and medicine, and discuss the potential perils of mindfulness becoming divorced from deep practice and from its ethical moorings, and perhaps reduced to a mere (and misunderstood) concept, rather than understood as a life-long invitation to recognize and embody what is deepest and best in humanity collectively and within ourselves as individuals.This event will take place at the Arlington Street Church, 351 Boylston Street, Boston, MA. All proceeds benefit the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center.”

    Again, for more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Mindful Self-Compassion seems to be in the early fall air with Shambhala Sun and the Psychotherapy Networker each devoting significant coverage to the practice in their current issues.

    In “Be Your Own Best Friend,” Shambhala Sun editor Melvin McLeod writes that “Making friends with ourselves is the essence of the Buddhist path.”

    http://www.lionsroar.com/be-your-own-best-friend/

    Meanwhile Chris Germer and Kristin Neff each contributed an article to the current issue of Psychotherapy Networker:

    “Inside the Heart of Healing: When Moment-to-Moment Awareness Isn’t Enough” (Germer): http://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/magazine/currentissue/item/2715-inside-the-heart-of-healing

    “The 5 Myths of Self-Compassion: What Keeps Us From Being Kinder to Ourselves?” (Neff):
    http://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/magazine/currentissue/item/2716-the-5-myths-of-self-compassion

    Kristy Arbon will be the featured speaker at the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy’s Buddhist Psychology Lecture Series “Exploring Mindful Self-Compassion” Monday, October 12; then she and IMP’s Susan Pollak will offer a 5-day intensive MSC training from October 15-19. Both events will take place at the Arlington Center in Arlington. More information can be found at:

    http://meditationandpsychotherapy.org/buddhist-psychology-lecture-series

    and

    https://heartworks.training/event/5-day-mindful-self-compassion-training-arlington-massachusetts/

    And in closing this week I leave you with “Where Does Compassion Come From?” — another short (< 3min.) video featuring narration by Sharon Salzberg:

    http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/where-does-compassion-come-from/

    That's all for now — schoolwork permitting, I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  202. REMINDER — 9/29/15 meditation group

    Good evening, everyone. The Chelmsford meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish; Carrie will repeat as practice facilitator this week.

    IMCN celebrates its 10th anniversary this Saturday, October 3. The day will start off with a half day retreat led by Larry Rosenberg. The celebration will begin after the retreat. There will be a potluck lunch followed by reflections from our co-founders and community sharing. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile in Cambridge, also on October 3, Narayan Liebenson will offer a day-long (10am-4pm) metta workshop.

    Then on Sunday, October 4, CIMC’s 30th anniversary celebration continues with an afternoon (2pm-5:30pm) benefit event featuring Kamala Masters’ teaching on the “Two Wings of Dhamma”:

    “Compassion and wisdom are the two wings of the Dhamma, and they are mutually supporting of one another. If not for compassion, we would not be able to open to and experience the wisdom of the Four Noble Truths in a profound way. Experiencing this wisdom opens us to more compassion, which in turn continues to deepen our understanding of the Dhamma. The integration and balancing of compassion and wisdom helps us navigate life in a way that can bring more peace to our lives.”

    To register for either CIMC event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org — and don’t forget Jon Kabat-Zinn’s evening talk on Friday, October 16.

    Also coming up during the month of October is a free “Mindfulness Summit” offered by Sounds True. The Mindfulness Summit 2015 is “a 31-day online summit where you can learn mindfulness from the comfort of your own home from the world’s most respected teachers. The Mindfulness Summit—a not-for-profit project hosted by Melli O’Brien (of Mrs. Mindfulness)—will take place online between October 1–31, giving you access to a series of high-quality mindfulness trainings, online interviews, practice sessions, and mindfulness tips and lessons. Join Tami Simon, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Joseph Goldstein, Arianna Huffington, and more as they share their tips, stories, and some of the best ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life.”

    For more information, please visit http://themindfulnesssummit.com/?ref=ST&utm_medium=email&utm_source=affiliate&utm_campaign=ST&utm_content=maindb

    One of the Mindfulness Summit’s featured teachers, Jack Kornfield, was Vincent Horn’s guest on this past week’s Buddhist Geeks podcast (~50 min.). Jack offers the great breadth and depth of his experience and spiritual wisdom in discussing “The Progress of Insight”: http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2015/09/bg-371-the-progress-of-insight/?mc_cid=d599e8bc9a&mc_eid=ea05d523ee

    In closing this week I want to recommend this month’s BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal which features an interview with Bhikkhu Analayo on “Cultivating the Brahmaviharas”:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/cultivating-the-brahmaviharas/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  203. REMINDER — 9/22/15 meditation group

    Good evening, everyone. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow (also the first night of Yom Kippur in the Jewish tradition) from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish; Carrie will be this week’s facilitator.

    This Saturday, September 26, the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, Lesley University, and the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute will co-sponsor “The Heart of the Practice: A Day of Personal Exploration at the Confluence of Mindfulness and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.” The event will take place on the Lesley University campus in Cambridge, and its faculty include Delia Kostner, Chris Germer, Susan Pollak and Ron Siegel. CEUs are available for professionals. More information can be found at http://continuingeducationprogram.org/courses/the-heart-of-the-practice-a-day-of-personal-exploration-at-the-confluence-of-mindfulness-and-psychodynamic-psychotherapy/

    For those of a less psychoanalytic inclination, Narayan Liebenson will lead a 2-day intensive non-residential retreat at CIMC starting at 9am on Saturday and ending at 6pm on Sunday. (Saturday-only option is also available.)To register, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org/program/intensive-weekend-retreat/

    Also, don’t forget to save the date for CIMC’s next 30th anniversary celebration event October 4: “The Two Wings of the Dhamma” an afternoon with Kamala Masters. More information can be found at https://cambridgeinsight.org/program/the-two-wings-of-the-dhamma/

    Jon Kabat-Zinn will conclude CIMC’s anniversary festivities on the weekend of October 16-17; stay tuned for more details.

    IMCN is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and also has a celebration planned for October….

    I have been negligent in not sooner forwarding a link recommended by our friend Sunder. “The Science of Happiness” is a a 10-week edX course featuring UC Berkeley’s Dacher Keltner; it looks very interesting indeed!

    https://www.edx.org/course/science-happiness-uc-berkeleyx-gg101x-1#!

    All in all a lot going on!

    Before I sign off for this week, I want to leave you with a short (2 min.) new “bubble meditation” from Sharon Salzberg; enjoy!

    I hope to see most everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  204. REMINDER — 9/15/15

    Good evening everyone! I apologize for the lateness of this e-mail. We will indeed meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish; Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    This Saturday, September 19, at CIMC, Madeline Klyne will offer a beginners’ workshop from 10am to 4:30pm:

    “This workshop is designed for people who have little or no meditation experience, or who are relatively new to Insight Meditation (Vipassana). Our extended time together provides the opportunity to meditate and learn with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. The day will include formal meditation instruction, sitting and walking practice and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions. All are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, Chas DiCapua will be at IMCN for a daylong (9am-5pm) retreat on “The Second Foundation of Mindfulness: Feeling Tone”:

    “Being aware of how experience is being felt in terms of it being pleasant, unpleasant or neutral is so important that the Buddha singled it out and gave it prominence in the teachings of what we should be mindful of. What’s great about working with feeling tone is that any ordinary experience can be easily known in terms of pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. We’ll use the forms of sitting and walking to support our mindfulness of feeling tone and