Sunday, January 10

At 3:30, Loretta and Dmitry are offering a beginner's orientation in the room adjacent to room 323. If there is anyone relatively new to the practice, or to the Plum Village tradition, and has questions such as how to sit, how to deal with distracting thoughts, etc, they will offer some answers. Or if anyone has a friend who is interested in meditation, this could be a good place to jump in.

Keith will facilitate our regular practice from 4-6pm and sends this message:
This Sunday I would like to explore the oneness of the historical dimension and the ultimate dimension, intimacy and ultimacy, the way concentration and liberation are two sides of one coin. I want to explore moving into the experience of the marriage of the infinite and the finite in a single breath and how we maintain this enlightenment as we move through our day, how we practice every minute of our lives, generating joy, happiness, enlightenment with every breath, every step, everything we do. There is no way to transformation. Transformation is the way. I will do my best to facilitate our transforming ourselves in the here and now, and since we are the world, we transform the world when we transform.


Sunday, January 3

This Sunday we will watch a fragment of a Dharma Talk, sing some practice songs and explore how we can come home to ourselves (and stay there) as we start the New Year. There will be an opportunity to share if you have a particular intention or commitment for yourself in the New Year.


Sunday, December 20

Dear friends,

This Sunday, December 20th, we gather to enjoy our annual Pot Luck from 2:00pm-4:00PM at Bard Hall, First United Unitarian Church before our usual Sangha gathering from 4:00-6:00PM. We hope you can make it, even if we haven’t seen much of you this year. It’s a wonderful opportunity to come together as a community and build our brotherhood and sisterhood.

The Pot Luck will be at Bard Hall, just downstairs from where we usually meet, from 4-6. Some notes from Marge follow:

We encourage you to bring vegan food, and you are also asked to bring your own table setting and water bottle or other personal non-alcoholic beverage. We will not have access to the kitchen, so it may make your clean up easier if you bring a plastic bag to put your dirty dishes in to take home and wash. We may make some music, listen to one another play, and/or sing some holiday songs. If you have musical instruments to play, bring them along, or if you have words to holiday songs, you may bring them, too. We’ll also have more time to socialize than we do at our regular gatherings. Please let Marge know if you are coming (margewur (at) cox.net), so we can have enough tables and chairs. Thanks!

Sangha: After enjoying edible nourishment we have another treat as Dharmacharya Richard Brady “True Dharma Bridge” is visiting San Diego and graciously offered to share with us.

Richard became a member of the Order of Interbeing in 1992 and received Lamp Transmission from Thay in 2001 with a special focus on cultivating mindfulness in young people. He is a founder of the Mindfulness in Education Network, co-founded the Washington Mindfulness Community (DC) in 1989 and the Mountains and Rivers Mindfulness Community (VT) in 2008. He is active in Wake Up schools, is a retreat leader, writer, conference coordinator, and educational consultant. Some of his writing is available on the Resources page of his Minding Your Life Website. Richard taught high school mathematics at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC for 34 years before retiring in 2007 in order to devote all his energy to supporting mindfulness in education.

When selected to become a Dharma Teacher and receive the Lamp Transmission one offers an Insight Gatha and receives one from him in return. Below is the poem Richard offered to Thay and the Sangha on the day of his Lamp Transmission:

This freedom—not freedom from,
from childhood habits,
from childhood fears;
not freedom to,
to open to the love enfolding me,
to know and live my truth.

This freedom—freedom with, with habits, with fears, with heart protected, truth hidden deep inside.
This freedom—freedom with this moment, just as it is.

We hope you can join us this Sunday. If not, enjoy the moments wherever you may be.



Sunday, December 13

Dear friends,

This Sunday I will share a little bit of Phap Hai's book, Nothing To It, and we will practice with a few questions, such as:

How do we keep our practice fresh, alive, growing?
How do we support our practice and our loved ones' practice in our daily lives?
In gratitude,
-h _()_​

“Our own life has to be our message.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh


Sunday, November 29

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I hope you holiday was full of love and gratitude.

This Sunday, November 29th is an auspicious day for those of us in the USA practicing in the Plum Village Tradition. It marks the beginning of the Winter Rains Retreat. It’s a time to come back to ourselves, to look deeply and strengthen our spiritual roots. It is the only retreat of the year that is primarily oriented for monastics and the residential community and those participating do not leave the grounds and often do not go online. As lay practitioners we have many responsibilities in the world but can take advantage of visiting Deer Park on days of mindfulness or staying for a week or weekend if able.

We can also make this a deeper practice period for ourselves and are also invited to come back to ourselves, to look deeply, and to strengthen our spiritual roots by setting an intention for the period. This might be to practice sitting meditation every day, even if only 10 minutes, visit the monastery, listen to Dharma talks each week, etc. Last year Phap Ho offered long time practitioners this schedule as a suggestion and many OI’s will be following it again this year. Do not feel obliged to take on more than is comfortable but please do be encouraged to look deeply and set a real intention. Embracing the path of healing and transformation in this way helps us all heal. By observing the retreat period we genuinely honor Thay, all of our spiritual and blood ancestors, elevate the Sangha and create conditions for peace and harmony in the world.

In the spirit of this I will offer a reading from Phap Hai’s new book “Nothing To It” this Sunday. It is based on a series of 10 talks he gave at a prior Winter Retreat and covers the heart of Buddha’s teachings with his usual insight, encouragement and inspiration. It's a wonderful book and if members of the Sangha are interested we can buy 10 or more copies at a 50% Sangha discount at Parallax Press.

In other news, we now have an Earth Holder Sangha web site and are encouraged to get involved with the People’s Climate Prayer “Contemplation and Action” November 29 – December 11, 2015. I hope the Sangha can join the Climate Marchg again this year and consider other ways to participate. The Earth Holder Sangha offers some good suggestions: http://www.earthholder.org/what-you-can-do

Wishing you well,

True Ocean of Joy


Sunday, November 15: The Art of Resting

Dear friends,

Our teacher, Thay, says "Resting is a very important practice. We have to learn the art of resting...The problem is that not many of us know how to allow our body and mind to rest. We are always struggling; struggling has become a kind of habit. We cannot resist being active, struggling all the time. We struggle even during our sleep.At this time of year, as the days become shorter, the weather cooler, and as the holiday season approaches, it is a wonderful time for us to practice the art of resting and mindfulness of body. This Sunday, we will explore and practice this art together as a sangha.

May you enjoy some rest between now and then :-)

(who will be facilitating :)


Sunday, November 8

Marge will facilitate using the topic “Present Moment, Wonderful Moment,” and she will be joined by Stephanie and Tree who will guide parts of our practice. As our teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, said: "We can smile, breathe, walk, and eat in a way that allows us to be in touch with the abundance of happiness that is available. We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive. Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment."

We will take more time for Dharma sharing at this gathering, so sangha members may share with each other ways that they are able to stay in the present moment, enjoying each wonderful moment.


Sunday, November 1

Dear brothers and sisters:

Sunday, November 1 is Dia de Los Muertos, and what better day to contemplate impermanence? This is from the National Geographic website: "Dia de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up to become a contributing member of the community. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with their loved ones."

I will share some readings from Brother Phap Hai's book, "Nothing to It" and we will practice the Five Remembrances.





Sunday, October 18

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we will be reciting the Five Mindfulness Trainings. This is especially timely as the retreat next week at Deer Park offers an opportunity to receive a transmission of the Five Mindfulness Trainings, possibly even for those not attending the retreat. We will look deeply together to explore the question, “What is the deepest fundamental insight and gift of the Five Mindfulness Trainings.” I look forward to being with you.

Smiling with love and gratitude,

Universal Emptiness of the Heart
True Enlightenment Garden