Monday, April 11, 2016

Ramya Kane Continuation Day Celebration

Our dear friend and diligent student of meditation, Ramya Kane, passed away on April 5th at age 85. A celebration of her life will be held on June 18th at 12:30 pm at: White Haven Memorial Park, 210 Marsh Rd, Pittsford, NY 14534.

Credit Blair Hornbuckle.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Seeking Penpals for Jason

Carmel and Richard invite friends of Blooming Lilac Sangha to consider becoming a pen pal with Jason, an inmate. He has served l9 years of a 35 year sentence, has almost no visitors and would benefit from more contact with the outside world to help him combat depression. Our ability to visit him has been greatly curtailed since his transfer from Attica to Wallkill last Summer.  Email for further information.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

April 2016 Springwater Retreat with Joanne Friday

Dear Friends,

It is with great joy that we have the Registration ready for our April 15- 19 Retreat with Joanne Friday! Please remember that we are unable to process retreat registrations on line or over the phone. Please print out the registration which is the third page of the retreat flyer. Then mail your registration and check by regular postal mail as instructed in the retreat flyer. Please mail as soon as possible as this retreat fills up quickly. With a bow to your awakening! -Janet & Adam

Update - March 24th, 2016: All rooms have been filled at the retreat center (Springwater Center). There are, at the moment, about 3 commuter spots open.

Community member Wendy Smith a documentary film educator and producer, and quigong instructor is seeking a ride to retreat, Saturday and back Sunday morning or down and back Saturday. Wendy can be reached via email: or phone: 585-546-3063

Direct Downloads: PDF, MS DocX

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

March 10th Sangha Caretaking Comittee (SCC)

The next Sangha Caretaking Council meeting will be held on Thursday March 10th, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, at 375 Westminster Rd, the lovely home of Xiaoping and Min. All are welcome to attend.

The Caretaking Council is a gathering to review our past practices and choices, our current circumstances, and to make recommendations, choices and decisions for the future. Like any other practice opportunity its goal is to address these tasks in mindfulness, to be a place where the concrete and practical are approached with awareness.

These meetings happen three or four times a year. They are a pleasant way to learn about the planning and intentions behind sangha events, and to share amongst us the stewardship work which makes the Blooming Lilac Sangha possible. Please send short proposals for agenda items to Chris Phillips, Or call Chris at 585-305-6949.

For the meeting we are in need of volunteers for our three rotating roles – chairing, note taking, and bell keeping.

The chair leads the group in making a final agenda selection at the meeting's start, and then moves the discussion along, watching the time allotted for each item, inviting the group to decide on action items, next steps, or the need for more information, further conversation etc.

The note taker records minutes including highlights of the conversation, with special attention to plans, action items, and those who have volunteered to do any caretaking for the sangha. She or he circulates the notes to those in attendance for review, then sends them to the entire sangha through our general announcements and blog.

The bell keeper fosters an atmosphere of mindfulness by inviting the bell at the start and end of meetings, at transitions between agenda items, and whenever the dynamics of the conversation will benefit from a centering reminder to return to our breathing in the present moment.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Blue Cliff Monastery Music Survey

This is SR Ocean at Blue Cliff Monastery. I'm involved both with the bookshop here and with music creation/recording. I have a request for the Blooming Lilac Sangha members.
We've recently explored selling our latest CD from bcm (healing songs) on-line through CD baby and iTunes. We are interested to know more about the music needs and interests in our larger sangha, and what interest there is for making more of our music available for on-line sales and/or free listening sites.
Please fill out this short questionnaire to help us gather collective wisdom about how to proceed with this. there are only 8 simple questions and your input is very important to us!
Here's the link to fill out the survey: Link

Monday, February 22, 2016

Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings Recitation

Members of the sangha meet most months on the 4th Thursday at Laurie Brewer's home to recite the 14 Mindfulness Trainings.  This month's meeting will be on Marc 24th from 6:30 - 8:30 pm.
We begin with a short sitting period, read the trainings aloud, and then we may have a topic of study or dharma sharing.  We try to relate our sharing to the practice of the 14 Trainings.
The 14 Mindfulness Trainings are an expanded set based upon the 5 Mindfulness Trainings.  The 5 Trainings represent that ethical conduct aspect of the Dharma Path, and are common to all schools of Buddhism.
50 years ago this year, Thich Nhat Hanh founded the Order of Interbeing in Vietnam, based upon these 14 new Trainings.  The Order is intended to be a practical application or update of Dharma to the needs and gifts of the modern world, leading to a "socially engaged Buddhism."
Order members meet regularly around the world to recite the 14 Trainings and look deeply into them together.  Order members attempt to serve the Dharma and support communities of mindfulness.
Everyone is welcome to join these evenings.
For more information, please contact Laurie, her email address is:

Sunday, January 31, 2016


Sangha Caretaking Council Jan 24 2016

Present: Dustin Weiderman, Robin Long (chair), Chris Phillips (minutes) , Janet Chaize, Diane Rennie (bell keeping), Paula Hanson, Eric Bellman, Laurie Brewer

mission statement read

Brief Business

DOM planning get updates from Annie
$17 authorized for Robin to purchase supplies for valentines crafts for February day of mindfulness

Maryann Conolly's house on Stanford Drive is available for Days of Mindfulness, etc

Robin will send a description of proposed events at 1) Mendon Ponds Bog, and 2) Fossil Hunting, to be held in spring or summer.

Diane will circulate a description of a walk along the birdsong trail at Mendon Ponds

Spring retreat

Janet has gathered some input on theme and sent it to Joanne Friday. In a few weeks we will have a retreat title from Joanne. Robin will do registrar duties.


Action Items: Janet handed out flyers to distribute. Robin will bring to Pittsford and Mendon libraries. Paula will bring to Brighton library and Abundance. Laurie will bring to Scottsville library. And Lori's Natural Foods. Chris will bring to Winton branch.

Eric suggested Harts grocers.

Laurie provided an electronic copy to Chintana who will duplicate for the students she serves at RIT.

We authorized an order of about 600 more flyers from the Brooklyn print shop for $125.
Eric offered to underwrite it.

Hosting Sunday Practice

Seeing as there is no real need to treat 2nd and 4th Sundays differently, we will put all 4 Sundays into Laurie's sign-up schedule.

Action: Laurie will send out the schedules quarterly by electronic means, for people to sign up for duties. She will continue to bring hard copies to Sunday meetings.

Contact List update

Diane proposed that we put an effort into updating birthdays and addresses so that we can reach out to sangha members with a card or by other means as the need arises. There could be a sheet at meetings too, for people to leave their information. Janet suggested leaving out the year of birth for confidentiality. The survey can be coordinated with Bernie to split the active contact list between those who have not been attending sangha events (who will get the survey we planned at the last two meetings) and those who are more active (who will receive the invitation to update info).

Action Diane will draft letter and coordinate the addressees with Bernie's survey
Dustin will help her send it to active people on our email list

Welcome orientation

Action: add to our email announcements an invitation for people to coordinate with Bernie if they wish to help out with welcome orientations.

We reflected on good approaches.
Eric – best technique, talking about your own experience
Paula – practical applications appeal

Laurie and Bernie worked up a summary of what they do now. She will send a copy out to the caretaking council. They use an approach where the guests' level of sharing guides the level of the hosts' personal sharing.

Volunteer for Announcements

overview of announcement situation ….
Action: Chris will ask Adam if he is interested to take a turn

Event Idea

Robin suggested that we implement a custom of inviting sangha members to share their path stories.
Several ideas were floated for how this could work – inviting people for 10 minute story, the “milling” model used at Order of Interbeing retreat, the example of methods used by Queer Dharma in the Bay area, how Turtle Path Mindfulnss Pratice Center recruited community members to tell their story as the only evening talks during quarterly retreats.

Action: continue discussion; watch for opportunities to begin this

Inclusivity for Caretaking Council

Robin and Paula shared their perspectives on involvement. Announcements have been clear that it was open.

Action items: Good to say “everyone is welcome!” on each announcement, good to talk it up at sangha meetings

Action: Future Sunday SCC meetings would best be held from 1:30 to 3:30, to better overlap with sitting time at 4:00.


Zen Center 50th Anniversary
big celebration being planned for first week of July

Wakeup News/Plans?

None at this time. Dustin will soon begin an online certificate program; won't be available to help with Wakeup.


We had a thorough, thoughtful discussion of what noble silence means, how to support each other, and how to build agreement among the entire sangha that we will follow silent practice. No firm actions or conclusions were reached, but many themes for consideration.

Discussion notes can be used as a springboard for further deep looking.

Action – Chris will circulate notes on the discussion to all present, to make sure their thoughts are captured adequately, and then circulate a final draft to the SCC. Perhaps we will be able to take parts of it to the entire sangha?

Next meeting
Thurday March 10th at Xiaoping & Min's
375 Westminster Rd, Rochester
6:30 – 8:30

Chris will -- send SCC separate report on potential meeting places.

After we disbanded a few people made suggestions for Guidelines for how we conduct discussion at these meetings. Since we have decided to hold these meetings with normal dialogue rather than the Dharma Sharing format, we need to help each other maintain mindful listening and pacing. (People expressed appreciation for Diane's bell work at the meeting today!!)

Some ideas for us to consider:

1 Not interrupting
2 breaths before speaking
3 each person remaining mindful of how long they speak

Laurie shared some meeting customs she follows - wait to speak till end, most of what I wanted to say got said, relaxes self focus and builds trust in group

Paula observed how people in groups can have a habit of repeating what has been said in their own way, and this uses up valuable meeting time.

We could refer to the 3 questions the Buddha offered students to consider for “Right Speech”
Is it true?
Is it necessary/useful?
Is it kind?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Day of Mindfulness: February 14


Come join us on Sunday, February 14, 2016, for a Day of Mindfulness to honor our spiritual ancestors with an Earth Touching ceremony. Please bring a memento or other artifact(s) to help in honoring your spiritual ancestor(s). Please bring a dish to pass. RSVP by February 12 to Annie 585-346-0557 who will give you directions to the home in Penfield where this will take place.

12:30 – 12:50 Arrival/settle in 

12:50-1:00 Ten minute silent sitting

1:00-1:20 Reading or Dharma talk 

1:20 – 1:40 Walking Meditation 

1:40 – 2:00 Sitting Meditation 

2:00 – 2:10 Walking meditation 

2:10 – 3:00 Earth Touching and sharing of artifacts regarding our spiritual ancestors. 

3:00 - 3:15  Walking Meditation 

3:15 – 4:00 Valentine make and take 

4:00 – 4:30 Chanting and singing 

4:30 – 5:00 Dharma sharing 

5:00 – 6:00 Potluck Preparation and first 15 minutes of mindful eating  in silence

5:00 – 6:00 Potluck Preparation and first 15 minutes of mindful eating  in silence

Monday, January 25, 2016

Second Body Practice

Would you like more companionship with your practice? Would you like someone to talk with about your practice in between the times you attend regular Sangha meetings?

If so, you may be interested in practicing with a “Second Body”. This is similar to having a “practice buddy”. The idea of a Second Body originates in the monastic tradition at Plum village, and now other sanghas use a version of the practice for lay practitioners.

We happily offer the support of the “Second Body” practice as a way to deepen the connections within our Blooming Lilac community, despite the fact that we do not all live in close proximity to each other. Working with a Second Body allows you and your partner to support one another in mindfulness and compassion as well as practice deep listening together.

Please be in touch with Jude to learn of opportunities for Second Body practice, or to hear how this practice is evolving. Contact Judith Lardner by phone: 585-317-9168 or email:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Monday & Friday Meditation Opportunities

A Message from Chris Phillips

Dear Sangha,

All are invited to new weekday sittings at my house as an experiment for the winter, which has begun with encouragement from Dustin, Greg & Adam. The schedule is Monday mornings at 8:15 and Friday afternoons at 6:00 for a a simple 30 minute sit.

(Schedule update -- There will be no sitting meditation Monday March 14th.)

I am asking people to call or email a few days ahead if they plan to come, because it's just me in the house right now, and if I were sick or needed to travel I would want to alert people.

These group meditations are piggy-backed on to the existing practice schedule followed by the little community who works with me on the St Fiacre Microfarm vision. Those folks come over Mondays at 9 for morning prayer, and Fridays at 5 for evening prayer in a Christian format. Some people stay for both, but that is completely optional.  We will evaluate this schedule at the end of March.

Directions: 364 Merchants Rd in Rochester, 2 blocks west of N Winton on the North side of the street.

Best parking is on the side street Woodstock which runs between Merchants and E Main. Come to the left side door off the driveway. (In summer we use the back door overlooking the gardens.) Come up the stairs and leave boots etc at the entrance to the kitchen, Coats are hung on hooks by the back door (to your left as you come in). Go to your right and through the dining room which leads to the living room where we meet.

Bring layers as the house can be cool. There are warmer microclimates near the woodstove! I would describe the place as neo-rustic roughing it/farmhouse bachelor/plus a touch of plant-spirit medicine.

You can contact me (Chris Phillips), by email Or phone: 585-305-6949, or 845-264-7000.

Yours, Chris