9:30am to 4:00pm, Saturday, June 9, 2012

In the McFarlin Chapel at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, 2 Westford Street,Chelmsford

We are very pleased to offer this opportunity to those who would like additional time to explore their meditation practice. Previous experience with mindfulness and/or lovingkindness meditation is recommended.

Participants should bring their own lunch and meditation cushions or benches as desired; chairs will be available. The retreat will take place in the Chapel from 9:30am to 4pm, followed by tea and informal discussion.  There is no charge, however donations for the church are welcome.

In consideration of the other participants, please arrive promptly and RSVP before June 7. 

(The retreat schedule is posted below.)




 9:30                 Welcome (housekeeping and introduction)
 9:45                 Introduction to lovingkindness
 10:00               Sit
 10:30               Walk
 11:00               Introduction to mindfulness
 11:15               Sit
 11:45               Walk
 12:15               Check-in and Q&A followed by a “mindful lunch”
 1:15                 Mindfulness (continued)
 1:30                 Sit
 2:00                 Walk
 2:30                 Lovingkindness (continued)
 2:45                 Sit
 3:15                 Walk
 3:45                 Dedication and closing
 4:00                 Tea and informal discussion

We’re in the news!


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A somewhat belated 5th anniversary Dhamma musing, offered out of gratitude for my teachers and the Tuesday evening sangha:

It was a Saturday morning in February, and Sharon Salzberg had arrived at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center to offer a benefit workshop on the theme of her latest book, Real Happiness. I sat among the overflow audience in the basement, listening with my eyes closed while her jovial voice was broadcast from the main hall upstairs.

As Sharon spoke, my mind became enthralled by the words “real” and “happiness.” My attention digressed from the sound. A thought arose: “So, what is real happiness anyway?” A moment later, another thought: “Ah, unconditioned happiness; of course!” Next: “What does that mean?”

Buddhists refer to this sort of mental proliferation as papanca. Like a runaway train papanca can be a potent force, and this particular train of thought had considerable momentum. Although I soon returned from my sojourn, my curiosity was piqued.

Now revisiting the questions that came to mind that midwinter day, what does it mean to say that something is unconditioned or unconditional? We commonly speak of “unconditional love,” of course, but perhaps with only a vague notion of what we’re talking about. And if we may speak of unconditional love and unconditional happiness, what about unconditional freedom, the ultimate promise of the Buddha’s path?

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Cross-posted at MettaPanda’s Ramblings.

I am often asked or complimented on how I get through all that I’ve gone through – the progression of the CF, the transplant, the immediate recovery, and the still-ongoing long-term maintenance of these new lungs. My spirituality has been life-saving, particularly my Buddhist practice and learning. I’d like to share with you how that’s happened, how the Dharma (the teachings of the Buddha) have helped me to deal with dharma (the way life is). Continue Reading »

The following was originally posted on Gather.com in October 2006.

Last night in our vipassana meditation group one of my fellow students, Brenda, posed a question to our teacher regarding the Big E: Enlightenment. She asked: “What exactly does it mean to be enlightened?” For all we hear about “enlightenment” and “awakening” in Buddhist teachings, it doesn’t seem to be a common topic of discussion.

It turns out that Brenda’s questions had been stirred up by a question raised by one of her friends about why we practice meditation. Do we meditate for stress reduction? Well, not really…. Why, then, do we practice? Is the “goal” to be enlightened or awakened? Well, maybe…. If so, what does that mean?

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Meditate for Science

As some of you may know, a few months ago I signed up to be a “guinea pig” for a research study at Massachusetts General Hospital exploring the effects of metta/lovingkindness/compassion meditation on hormones in the blood. Aside from the initial needle stick for the blood draws (they use a peripheral IV line, so only one needle stick, thank goodness!), the procedure is relatively painless, taking place over one 2-hour session. Compensation is $100.

They’re still looking for study subjects, so if you’re interested and meet the following criteria, I strongly encourage your getting in touch with the research team.

Prospective participants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Not currently take psychiatric medications or hormones (e.g., estrogen)
  • Be in good general health
  • Currently practice metta/lovingkindness meditation almost daily (does not need to be metta exclusively)
  • Have an established/long-term metta practice (minimum of 2 years)
  • Have been on at least one 3+ day Insight/mindfulness meditation retreat

If interested, please contact Dr. Elizabeth Hoge at MGH: ehoge@partners.org or 617-724-0851

** UPDATE **

“Now that we are in the last semester of the project, we are interested in people with 5 or more years, but especially those with 10+ years of experience with daily practice.”

Check this out — it’s wonderful…


Now I know where Bhante Gunaratana  disappeared to when I was visiting his monastery in West Virginia.
( http://bhavanasociety.org )