I recently returned from a wonderful retreat with Guy Armstrong and Kamala Masters. Kamala’s love and extraordinary generosity were palpable throughout, and provided a strong support to our practice. On the last day of the retreat she made a personal donation to feed all of the yogis breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Kamala has been one of our Senior Teachers since SIM’s founding 15 years ago. She cares deeply about our organization and all the members of this sangha. When the retreat was over I asked her permission to share the fact that she has been a regular monthly donor to SIM since the program began earlier this year. She readily agreed, and offered these thoughts about why she gives to Sacramento Insight Meditation:
“The practice of generosity has been an important mindfulness practice for my life. Giving of myself—compassion, understanding and patience as well as material and financial resources—helps me to ‘let go’ and ‘let be’ more easily. I do this for the sake of others, and also for my own heart’s release, for the sake of deeper and deeper peace.”
Kamala encourages everyone to join her in support of SIM. I hope that you will hold this in your hearts as you consider your options for year-end generosity.
With metta, and all best wishes during this holiday season,
Vice President, Board of Directors
Sacramento Insight Meditation
We have an extraordinary opportunity in 2018 to practice with senior teacher Steve Armstrong here in the Sacramento region. First, Steve will be leading SIM’s January daylong retreat. It will be held at the Sacramento Dharma Center on Saturday January 27, 2018, from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm. Registration is open now. Please see this flyer for more details (Retreat Flyer .PDF).
Steve’s theme for both events will be “Awareness, Insight and Liberation.” He will be using the January 27 daylong as both a stand-alone one day retreat and as preliminary groundwork (to prepare) for those planning attending the residential retreat. All who attend the January daylong will receive priority registration for the September weeklong retreat. These are Steve’s only teachings in California in 2018, so interest promises to be great.
The SDC Permanent Altar Committee has been working for months to develop a series of recommendations regarding the design and composition of a permanent altar for the SDC Dharma Hall and for the statues that would sit atop it. The Committee is comprised of senior practitioners from Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group (SBMG), Sacramento Insight Meditation (SIM), Valley Streams Zen Sangha (VSZS) and the Sacramento Dharma Center (SDC).
After looking at hundreds of Buddha statues, the Committee recently recommended the purchase of a Theravadan, Burmese Buddha from a gallery in Vermont. The Committee agreed to bring the Vermont Buddha to Sacramento for the express purposes of it being viewed by the Boards and community members of each sangha, and to make a decision about its purchase. The decision needed to be made within a short time window dictated by the terms of a potential purchase agreement.
Members of the Committee subsequently and unanimously decided not to purchase, and to return, the Vermont Buddha to its owner. The primary reason for this decision was being informed that the SBMG Board of Directors voted it was not prepared to make a decision at this time.
The Committee has now decided to expand and balance Committee membership by having a total of six (6) members, consisting of one (1) woman and one (1) man representative from each sangha. The newly reconstituted Committee will revisit its mission and plan for the next step in this important project that will shape the feeling and use of the main Dharma Hall for many years to come.
We are looking forward to seeing all of you at our Annual Holiday Event Thursday evening, December 14th at our Sacramento Dharma Center at 3111 Wissemann Dr, Sacramento, CA 95826. Please go the calendar page for details and to RSVP for yourself and guest(s).
As in the past two years, we will enjoy together our vegetarian potluck dinner and, afterwards, contributions of “personal dana”. Do you have a favorite poem or reading, whether one you’ve written or one you just love? Do you play a musical instrument, paint, sing, write, dance? Do you have a special travel experience with photos you might share a few of? We would love you to offer your passion, skill, or art to our group.
“Personal dana” performances/contributions can be no more than 3 to 5 minutes long. You must pre-register in order to assure yourself a space. “Personal dana” contributions do not have to be strictly Buddhist in nature, just whatever comes from your heart. This is a great way to get to know and enjoy each other. It is also a generous act to share yourself with our sangha community in this way. We have room for only about a dozen performances in all, so please respond soon by completing the form below. Your details will automatically forward to the “personal dana” coordinator, Linda Franklin.
We hope this letter finds you well. As we approach the end of the year, we want to share what is happening at Sacramento Insight Meditation – changes this year, and how we can come together as a community to help our sangha grow and flourish in the year ahead.
The past year has been a time of growth and accomplishments, as well as significant adjustments for SIM. We moved to the beautiful new Sacramento Dharma Center, improved our website and moved many essential functions online, streamlined our operations and brought new clarity to analyzing our finances, while adjusting to increased expenses and strengthening relationships with our new SDC neighbors. The Board has been working hard to support these changes and lay the groundwork for continued development.
We have great hopes for the future. We want to strengthen our community with new opportunities for practice, including new initiatives for study and mutual support emerging from within the sangha. We seek to develop a stable income base to meet our new monthly obligations, while growing financially so we can offer new programs and reach out to new teachers. Our goal is to fulfill our mission of offering the best support possible to those in Sacramento practicing in the insight/vipassana tradition.
We need your help to accomplish these goals. Our projected operational budget for 2018 is approximately $56,000 – this is the funding needed to provide dana to our teachers and presenters, pay our rent, meet ongoing expenses such as insurance and financial and website support, as well as have funds to develop new programs.
As you plan your year-end giving, please consider supporting SIM by:
• Making a one-time year-end contribution. Any amount will help and be appreciated;
• Signing up for a monthly, automatic on-line contribution to SIM. It is simple, helps stabilize our finances and is the key to our financial success in the long run.
You can make a donation of any kind at http://sactoinsight.org/what-is- dana/ . If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our Board members at http://sactoinsight.org/contact-us/ .
We hope you will consider regularly supporting Sacramento Insight Meditation. Thank you in advance for your generosity. We look forward to practicing with you in the coming year.
Warmly, Sara E. Denzler
Treasurer, SIM Board of Directors
November 16, 2017 / Sabitre / Comments Off on 11/16/2017 “The Atthakavagga: the original seeds that gave rise to Buddhist teachings” with Diane Wilde
The Atthakavagga: the original seeds that gave rise to Buddhist teachings
“The wise person does not oppose any other person’s doctrine.” This is one of the reflections from one of the earliest books in the Pali Cannon, the Atthakavagga. Gil Fronsdal states in his introduction to his translation of the Atthakavagga: “Here we find the Buddhist teachings pared down to their most essential elements, free of the more complex doctrines often associated with Buddhism.” The poems and verses from this small collection reveal a pattern of teachings that are much different — in their directness and simplicity — from the later sutta collections. Verses in the Atthakavagga often have an almost koan-like quality, which often seem open to interpretation. We will discuss the exegesis of the Atthakavagga and our own interpretations of a few of its seemingly “simple” verses.
Two Darts: How is that working for you? The last few months have presented us with a seemingly unending string of tragic events. Natural disasters, human cruelty, and events combining both have caused death and destruction around the world. As we take all this in, how is our practice serving us? The Sallatha Sutta, SN 36:6, provides some clues. Are we adding to the pain or using our mindfulness to “endure courageously, with patience and equanimity?” SIM Community Mentor Rich Howard will lead a discussion of how this well-known sutta may help us with our current challenges.
To prepare, read “In the Buddha’s Words” page 21 and section I,2(1) The Dart of Painful Feeling, pages 31-32.
November 2 will be a special evening to review the considerable accomplishments we’ve made as an organization on our one-year anniversary in the Sacramento Dharma Center. Members of the SIM Board will share their perspectives on the State of the Sangha and plans for 2018 and beyond.
We’ll celebrate all that we’ve achieved in moving to a new physical home, building relationships with the other sanghas who are now our neighbors, and rising to meet the financial challenges that accompanied our move. We are pleased to be able to present a positive year-end report and to share our plans for 2018. We’ll look forward to hearing community members share their observations about the last year as well as new ideas for improvement and change.
An important part of the evening will be an expression of gratitude for the indispensable help from all our volunteers during this year of transition and for all our members for being part of this community and providing essential financial support.
We also want to announce some significant changes in the operation of our Board. This includes several new officers as well as a new President who is scheduled to serve a full two-year term beginning in March of 2018.
We’ll sit, have cake and tea, then have presentations, discussion and questions and answers. This will be a very special evening, and we look forward to seeing and hearing from each of you. Event details are on the calendar.
Death and Dying as a Teaching Just like in the Buddha’s time, death is not an easy topic for people to consider. Fear, guilt, denial, and/or sadness all come to the surface when we speak of our own death, or the deaths of those close to us. This is exactly why the Buddha recommended that we don’t turn away, but rather make this fact of our existence, a subject of frequent reflection. Maranasati, or Mindfulness of Death is a reflection on our death and the deaths of others. Death of course, is inevitable, and when we can to begin to view it with the same acceptance as birth, we start the process of uprooting ignorance and delusion. We will discuss how we can begin incorporating a “friendly” attitude towards death in our daily lives.
If you would like to download this talk, please right click and select “save as” here.
Uposatha: Deepening Practice
Since the time of the historical Buddha, the days of the full moon and new moon have been special days (and nights!) for Buddhist practice. Laypeople living near a monastery might visit, bring offerings, and stay to listen to a dharma talk and meditate with the monks or nuns. If they cannot participate at a monastery, laypeople can still deepen their practice by meditating for a longer time, chanting, reading texts, or giving in a special way. This October 5 is a full moon day. We will celebrate Uposatha by having our normal sitting and break. After the break, SIM Community Mentor Rich Howard will give a brief description of the observance of Uposatha and answer any questions. We will then have an optional period of chanting, sitting, and walking meditation. We may also have another break for tea or additional sessions of chanting. You may stay as long or as short as you like; Rich will stay until midnight or until the last person has left!
There are several suttas that are specifically recommended for study on Uposatha days. Several alternative translations from Access to Insight are listed below; they are not found in “In the Buddha’s Words.”
Dana is a Buddhist word that means generosity
or heart. Nearly all Sacramento Insight Meditation
activities are offered on a dana (donations) basis.
This means our programs are sustained by the
generosity of instructors in offering teachings freely
and on the generosity of students and members of
the meditative community in the form of financial
support, service and participation in events.
Practice dana, please support our Sangha. DONATE NOW