Sunday, Oct 4

"Love is a living, breathing thing. There is no need to force it to grow in a particular direction. If we start by being easy and gentle with ourselves, we will find it is just there inside of us, solid and healing."
-Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love

Dear friends,

This week at Open Heart Sangha we will have the chance to get in touch with the love that is inside of us. Together we will explore some of Thay's teachings and practices around love (from his recent book How to Love). I (Stephanie) will be facilitating.

Bowing and smiling,

Stephanie :)


Sunday, September 27

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

Join us this Sunday for the Recitation of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, which will include some of the ceremonial chanting (Incense Offering, Opening Verse, The Three Refuges, Closing Verse) in the Plum Village tradition.

It is also the day of the full moon Mid-Autumn festival, so if you have a lantern or something autumnal to add to our center alter, feel free to bring it (and maybe I'll make moon cakes).


Sunday, September 13th: Right Diligence

Loretta will facilitate the eighth right practice of the Noble Eightfold Path, Right Diligence.


Sunday, September 6: Right Livelihood

Dear brothers and sisters:

As we continue to explore the Noble Eightfold Path, this coming Sunday brings us to Right Livelihood (and on Labor Day weekend, too!).

If you would like some "homework" before sangha, please consider the following exercise. Take a few quiet moments to stop and look deeply at your work/livelihood. What emotions come up? Write them down--there will probably be more than one. For example: enthusiasm, fulfillment, frustration, excitement, boredom, anger, disengagement (just working to pay the bills)? How do you feel when you leave for work? How do you feel when you leave work for home? For those no longer working for a paycheck, how do you spend your time, and what are the rewards?

Enjoy your breath!



Sunday, August 30: 5 Mindfulness Trainings

Dear friends,

Please join us this Sunday for the Recitation of the Five Mindfulness Trainings, which will include some of the ceremonial chanting (Incense Offering, Opening Verse, The Three Refuges, Closing Verse) in the Plum Village tradition.


Sunday, August 23: Right Action

Dear Friends,

It is my pleasure to facilitate this Sunday as we continue to explore the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path. Buddha is said to have stated, "wherever the Noble Eightfold path is practiced, joy, peace and insight are there". I am honored to be sharing on the topic of RIGHT ACTION.

About Right Action, Thay says: There are many things we can do to practice Right Action.

1. We can protect life
2. Practice generosity
3. Behave responsibly
4. Consume Mindfully

The basis of Right Action is Right Mindfulness. In mindfulness we recognize our thoughts that lead to our actions and make decisions that produce healing and recognition.

In the next week I invite you to explore one of the above practices with mindfulness and see what happens when you bring awareness to your actions.

Peace and Joy


Sunday, August 2: Right View

Hey everyone,
Good news, this Sunday we will all see everything exactly as they are, be able to see with the eyes of non-self, inter-being, impermanence and realize Nirvana! Hahaha, just playing, I mean, maybe. that could happen, it is possible, but that will not be my intent (despite what the brain wants). The reality of insight isn't something conveniently packaged into a concept that the brain can comprehend intellectually (concepts by definition can only point us in a direction). However, the good news is that understanding certain things on an intellectual level can help pave the path to a deeper realization; and that insight comes effortlessly as a natural byproduct of practicing Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration (along with many other aspects of the Noble 8-fold path) :)
So this Sunday, we will dive into Right View, talk about our experience with practicing with it, and help us to relax into being in tune with these deep understandings of reality. Maybe for just a moment, we can remove the human filter and see with our real eyes. For homework, until then, I invite you to spend at least 5 minutes imagining that you suddenly have amnesia (forget how to speak, read, write, label things, etc.) and all that you know is that you are not from this planet; that you are from another planet in another dimension where you didn't previously have eyes. I highly encourage you to spend at least 5 minutes of silent sitting meditation with your eyes closed to prepare for this experiment. Closing your eyes for the sit will symbolize the instant you experience the amnesia and the 5 minutes of sitting will symbolize what life is somewhat like on your home planet (wearing ear-plugs can help too but not necessary) :) Enjoy!

_/|\_ Nick


Sunday, July 19: Right Concentration

Dear Friends,

I hope this finds you well and enjoying your breathing! :)

This week at sangha, we will continue our exploration of the Noble Eightfold Path with the theme of Right Concentration. I (Stephanie) will be facilitating.

About concentration, Thay says:

"Joy and happiness are born of concentration. When you are having a cup of tea, the value of that experience depends on your concentration. You have to drink the tea with 100 percent of your being. The true pleasure is experienced in concentration."
(From The Pocket Thich Nhat Hanh)

In the days leading up to our gathering, I invite you to experiment with doing just one thing at a time with your full concentration, and see what happens!

Bowing and smiling to all,

Stephanie :)