From December 3rd, 2020 to January 22nd, 2021, we completed a free, online 7 week course of 40-minutes daily practice of meditation and compassion to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and election drama. Whether you joined us once, or many times, we thank you for your participation, which has had an impact far beyond what you might imagine. We hope that learning and practicing the Calm-Abiding and Tonglen meditations have helped you to weather the stress and uncertainty of the past few weeks, and will continue to help and comfort you.
We invite you to continue with weekly online group practice on Tuesday 7pm and Friday 5pm PDT.
These are simple yet profound practices I've taught for years, condensed to 40 minute online sessions. Each evening has two 40-minute sessions, with a 15-minute break between. Come regularly to deepen your practice. Regularly attending group practice will also encourage, support and reinforce your daily home practice.
Meditation practice (Shamatha and Tonglen) Join us for regular calming, focusing and compassion meditation practice on Tuesdays at 7pm, and Fridays at 5pm. Friday’s 5pm practice is timed to accommodate those from the East Coast and Bermuda (8pm and 9pm respectively) who would like to join us.
Dharma study (Heart Sutra) Interested in Buddhism? Want to know more about life, the universe and everything? Join the Tuesday Dharma book club at 8:00pm. We are currently studying the Heart Sutra. The reading text is "The Wisdom Gone Beyond: Teachings on the Heart Sutra" by Lama Migmar Tseten, available from Amazon ($13-$40 depending on condition and availability). "https://www.amazon.com/Wisdom-Gone-Beyond-Teachings-Heart/dp/1497426391" Other suggested reading: The Heart of Understanding by Thich Nhat Hanh Parallax Press, Berkeley CA, 1988.
Mantra practice (Green Tara) Does singing mantra appeal to you?Join us for Green Tara practice on Fridays at 6pm. Tonglen sets the stage, mantra is the performance. Through chanting the mantra of Green Tara, we invoke the essence of swift compassion, accelerating the cultivation of our own wisdom and compassion.
Tuesday 7pm PDT (10 EDT/11pm Atlantic)
6:55-7:05 Joining Window
7:00-7:40 Meditation Practice
7:40-7:55 Tea Break
8:00-8:40 Dharma Book Club & Teaching
Friday 5pm PDT (8 EDT/9pm Atlantic)
4:55-5:05 Joining Window
5:00-5:40 Meditation Practice
5:40-5:55 Tea Break
6:00-6:40 Tara Mantra & Dharma Teaching
Please email request for ZOOM Meeting ID and Passcode. Joining window opens 5 minutes before start. Please join with your name and camera on. The meeting will be locked 5 minutes after start. If you wish to join the second session, you will need to sign in again after the break. We look forward to seeing you!
Donations: Although meditation instruction itself is always free, there is considerable time and effort invested to make it so. Your continued support and generosity in helping to keep authentic meditation and Dharma training available is gratefully appreciated.
Activities: This group's contributions have so far supported: the design and printing of practice texts; Columbus KTC fire rebuilding; Tibetan prayer flag installation at PUC; Laundry Love; Lama Migmar's teaching visit in 2019; Sakya Institute activities; the purchase of ten meditation cushion sets; the transition to online teaching and; the free Dec 3 2020 - Jan 22, 2021 Covid compassion public meditation initiative. We are working on making available on-demand teachings online.
Suggested donation for weekly practice is $10/$20, however no-one will be turned away for lack of contribution. Please contribute what you are willing and able. If you'd like to support the teacher and the teachings, donations made online through Venmo and Zelle to 424 350 8186, or by cheque will be gratefully received.
We do have a few guidelines to ensure this is the best experience for you, and for everyone. Please do your best to follow them.
1. Explain to your family/household that you are setting this time aside for quiet, personal time, and ask them to do their part by not disturbing you. As you continue, they will come to understand that this is your special time and will respect it.
2. Please mute sounds, alarms and incoming calls.
3. Sign on. By 6:55pm, bring up ZOOM.com on your browser, or open the app, click Join a Meeting and sign with the Meeting ID, Passcode, your full name, and camera on. You will be admitted. After 7:05pm the meeting will be locked to remain private.
4. After saying hello, please mute your mic as we gather. You may turn the camera off during meditation if you like, though we’d like to see you at the beginning and the end to say hello and goodbye!
5. If you need to answer a call (phone, child, or nature), simply turn off your camera until you return.
6. Send any questions by email after the session. They will be answered by email to the group, so that we can all learn. If it's particularly important, we'll bring it up during the next meeting. Don't be shy, there are probably several others wondering about the same thing. You asking helps them.
1. Find, or create, a place where you can be undisturbed. Take a moment to tidy up a little, so that you are not distracted by clutter. If you are at your desk, create a clear surface. Your space doesn’t need to be elaborate or particularly special, just make it an oasis of calm. Mute phones and alarms, and close the door.
2. Get a tealight candle (battery or real) to light before meditation. You can have it at your desk, or nearby. It is a simple ritual, confirming that you are preparing for meditation.
3. Change into loose, comfortable clothes. Get a blanket to place about your legs or shoulders for warmth.
4. Your posture has a great deal to do with the stability of your mind. The idea is to be relaxed yet alert. The most important thing about meditation posture is creating a stable base with your seat and legs so that you can sit upright, maintaining a straight spine with minimal effort. If you are sitting on the floor, fold up a yoga mat or blanket so that you can sit cross-legged with your hips higher than your knees. If you need to, sit with your back against the wall, bed, or headboard. It doesn’t matter if you can’t sit full or half-lotus, just find a way that you can sit comfortably erect for 30 minutes. If you are sitting in a chair, sit with your feet flat on the ground, or cross your ankles. Place a small pillow behind your lower back to help you sit up. If you can’t sit upright, arrange yourself as straight as possible while being comfortable.
5. Take your seat 5 minutes before logging on. Make yourself comfortable, light the candle, sit quietly and breathe.
6. After logging off, sit quietly for a minute to enjoy the peace and calm before going about your evening.
Q Can my children participate?
A This practice is designed primarily for parents and grownups to be able to cope better with the pressures of this time, including living in close quarters for an extended period of time. That said, if you think your child is of sufficient maturity and patience to benefit from practicing with you, they are very welcome. We'd be delighted to have them.
Q Do I need any meditation experience to participate?
Q Do I need to be a Buddhist or know something about Buddhism to do these practices?
A No, these practices are nonsectarian. All are welcome. In fact, the aim of "Buddhist" practices is to move beyond all labels and names, including "Buddhism."
Q I am interested in Buddhism. Will I learn something about it?
A Yes. You will learn some through the practices and explanations. Every time you come to practice you will hear, experience and gradually understand a little bit more. Each session adds another piece of understanding to the puzzle of life.
Q I don't think I can commit to a daily practice. What can I do?
A Think of this as a gift to yourself. It's just thirty minutes a day that you are not doom scrolling or losing yourself down some rabbit hole of outrage. It's also easiest to start and maintain a new habit when you are accountable to a group and a teacher. Think of it as establishing a good habit that will serve you for the rest of your life. It's well known that if you can manage to practice a new habit for 21 days, you have it. So, if you can come when you can, even once a week, and continue the practice at home at a regular time every day, you will definitely see a change.
Q I'd like to make a donation to support this effort. How do I do that?
A Meditation instruction is free. If you'd like to support the teacher's time and effort in making these teachings and practices available, donations will be gratefully received.
Q What comes next?
A We are working on making instructions and teachings available for text download, as a podcast and on YouTube, so that you may make use of them at your own convenience. Please check this website regularly for updates,
“Developing calm, clarity and compassion for the benefit of all beings is a nonsectarian, altruistic motivation. Taming our own ego and getting it out of the way is absolutely necessary to see a deeper connection with vastness, however so named.
We live in a distracted time, overwhelmed by information overload. Now, more than ever, we need tools and techniques to help us calm and focus our minds to cut through the confusion.”
- Dan Dempster, The Royal Gazette, January 2nd, 2021.
"Thank you so much for your introduction to meditation. It was profound and very interesting. I am happy that I was able to join. I am looking forward to another session."
"I’ve been learning meditation for 15 years, and this feels the most powerful. Thank you for teaching us and sharing your wisdom. This is what we really need in this difficult time."