Winter Study: The 14 Mindfulness Trainings as Revolutionary Tools

Today, the Sangha begins our winter study of the 14 Mindfulness Trainings of The Order of Interbeing. We will examine the trainings as tools for practical application in the world of 2016 with a mind of inquiry about usefulness, practicality and adaptation. We will begin with their origins and evolution from the original teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha and, through deep listening, insightful questioning, restatement and mindful discussion, discover a pathway for using the trainings to make meaningful change. For more about The 14 Mindfulness Trainings:

2016 New Years Ceremony At Fish Lake

Today we will engage the Sangha in our annual New Year ceremony.

We have evolved this tradition over the past 20 years. In many cultures and spiritual traditions there is a custom of using the start of a new year to let go of the past and offer the burdens we have carried into the new year with us to the universe, to God or perhaps to the Mother Earth in order to begin the new year with strength and new energy.

May we all by our diligent practice together become fully present and, using the wisdom mind of The Buddha, identify and release those unskillful habits, unwholesome mental formations and limitations that we may have cultivated and carried with us in the past.

By mindfully writing them on paper and letting the fire consume them with the presence and support of the Sangha and mindfuness practice, they are transformed and we can use this as a moment for our own transformation and that of the planet.

May the New Year Be Well!

Non-Duality Can Save The World

There’s a header. At the Pema Chodron virtual retreat this weekend I had an insight-maybe. Let me use Facebook as the stage for the story because its a nice polarized archetype of the phenomenon. Someone posts something inflammatory on an issue that is a “trigger” for you. You slam back with a stinging bit of prose. They, and five friends from “their side” escalate the emotion and the language, you trump that…you get it. This is what happens on Facebook. It is also what happens when countries go to war, when families fall apart and when we get lost and damaged and trapped by our own inner voice. We, and our FB friends, are not mean. We’re not stupid and we’re not bad. The Buddha is telling us that we are confused. We have incorrectly divided reality into two pieces-the “right” piece (our point of view) ad the “wrong” piece (our friend’s point of view). This, The Buddha taught, is “wrong view”-better translated as unskillful view or not-useful view because it is not really true. With right view,  there really are practically limitless other versions of “reality”. Some include pieces of BOTH our position and our friend’s, some contain neither but are still legitimate. So, the little insight was that this division into opposites is in reality a failure of the thing that makes us most human-our ability to be creative. When we attach, when we avert, when we “bite the hook” as Pema says, we not only create immediate suffering (it doesn’t feel good to be at war with our friends or family) but we abnegate a potentially brilliant, elegant and beautiful solution. The Buddha invites us to reclaim our birthright as human manifestation, use our big brains, be playful and curious and create! The Non-Dual nature of reality can then shine through.

Online Dharma

I have seen and heard this many times: “Oh, I don’t understand computers and all of that. Its really not appropriate (or easy…or ???) for the Dharma.” I suggest that we imagine what The Buddha could have done with Twitter! My teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh makes a great effort to make sure our practice is grounded in the here and now. The internet is perhaps the quintessential expression of “here and now”. We have a great gift of this new website and I hope you will embrace it and our Facebook page with energy. This is going to be a place for us to continue to explore practice and Dharma in the here and now!

Special Pema Chödrön Workshop this Weekend

We have a last minute invitation that we are excited about and hope you will consider. This weekend we will be hosting an online video workshop with Pema Chödrön called Making Friends With Your Mind. Pema is a favorite teacher of ours at Fish Lake Sangha and, thanks to one of our friends, we have the opportunity to share this workshop with you all.

We will begin on Saturday at 10 am and end at 6 pm.  We will start the following day on Sunday at 10 am and end at 6 pm as well. This will be a silent retreat and an opportunity to really immerse yourself in these wonderful teachings that can help you to transform your life.

Please RSVP as space is limited. There is no cost to you for this workshop. If space is available and you cannot attend the entire weekend, you are welcome to join us for portions of the weekend.

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