Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Blooming Lilac Sangha Newsletter - January 2018

Blooming Lilac Sangha Newsletter

 - January 2018


BLS Caretaking Council

Date: Sunday, January 14th, 2:30 - 4 pm
Location: Zen Center, 7 Arnold Park, 14607

In keeping with having a "daylight" time for Caretaking Council we have adjusted the date and time Please send agenda items via email to BLS by January 12th.

Metta Days

3 Saturday mornings savoring Metta Meditation

January 20th, February 3rd,  & February 17th

We will deepen our practice of Lovingkindness with the collective energy of a small group combining our intentions for that one purpose. How does kindness fit into the big picture of the 4 Brahmaviharas (Kindness, Compassion, Joy, & Equanimity)? Why are these mindstates paired from ancient times with mindfulness meditation? How do we decide when to use the receptive mode of mindfulness itself, and when to use the proactive mode of creating positive mindstates? What makes the Brahmaviharas tick? Why are they called the Boundless Minds? The Divine Abodes? The Noble Dwellingplaces? How are they a glimpse into heaven and hell, the Pure Land and the 4 Ennobling Truths? What are the Near and Far Enemies of Metta and ways to work with them? We will enjoy settling into a continuity of kindness and dip into various sutras and traditional chants.

Please pre-register by sending a note to Chris Phillips.

There will be a box for gifts to support this work.

This workshop will be limited to 8 participants.

January Day of Mindfulness & Ceremony for the Deceased

We will hold our annual Ceremony for the Deceased on Saturday, January 27th (notice change of date) as the main event for January's Day of Mindfulness. It will be held at Min and Xiaoping's house, at address: 375 Westminster Rd Rochester, NY 14607

10:30 am to 4 00 pm

In the morning we will be practicing sitting and walking meditation.

Bring a bag lunch for silent eating meditation

In the afternoon we will participate in the ceremony for the deceased.

Bring a story to share about any beloved family member or friend who you wish to commemorate together. With a few local variances, this formal ceremony follows the format as developed by Thay and the monastics at Plum Village. RSVP to Chris Phillips by email:  skunkowl@yahoo.com or phone at 585-305-6949

Learning to Truly Rest  by Mitchell Ratner from StillWater Practice Center

In The Miracle of Mindfulness the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh encourages practitioners who are learning meditation to imagine themselves as pebbles which have been thrown into a river:

The pebble sinks through the water effortlessly. Detached from everything, it falls by the shortest distance possible, finally reaching the bottom, the point of perfect rest. You are like a pebble which has let itself fall into the river, letting go of everything. At the center of your being is your breath. You don't need to know the length of time it takes before reaching the point of complete rest on the bed of fine sand beneath the water. When you feel yourself resting like a pebble which has reached the riverbed, that is the point when you begin to find your own rest. You are no longer pushed or pulled by anything. …

This is your own time. This spot where you sit is your own spot. It is on this very spot and in this very moment that you can become enlightened. You don't have to sit beneath a special tree in a distant land. Practice like this for a few months, and you will begin to know a profound and renewing delight.

For me, it is helpful to think about true restfulness as located midway between tenseness (strained, full of anxiety) and limpness (lacking structure, without energy or will). True restfulness is relaxed, aware and alive, able to move and respond as appropriate. In Chinese martial arts this absence of emotional and physical tension is called "song" and is seen as co-arises with clarity of mind and vitality. It is not unlike the tender, loving, holding of an infant or loved one in one's arms.

Thich Nhat Hanh explains in The Miracle of Mindfulness:

In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality. The person who practices mindfulness should be no less awake than the driver of a car; if the practitioner isn't awake he will be possessed by dispersion and forgetfulness, just as the drowsy driver is likely to cause a grave accident. …. Be like a lion, going forward with slow, gentle, and firm steps. Only with this kind of vigilance can you realize total awakening….."

Foundations of Mindfulness Retreat Day Series

Foundations of Mindfulness Retreat Day Series

Part 1 Dwelling Happily in the Present Moment
Saturday January 6th or Saturday June 16th. Also planned for Feb 2019

Part 2 The 4 Foundations Suttra & Emotions
Saturday March 17th with an introductory evening.

Part 3    The 4th Foundation / 7 Factors of Enlightenment
Saturday September 15th

Pre-register now

Consult Chris Phillips' website for details

If you have any questions feel free to call Chris at: 585-305-6949 or 845-264-7000

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Blooming Lilac Sangha December Newsletter 2017


December Day of Mindfulness

Save the Date for the December Day of Mindfulness: Sunday, December 17th, 12:30 - 6 pm. RSVP to Annie ukemiracle1@gmail.com with your wishes for theme, practices and/or if you wish to host the Day of Mindfulness.

Alternative New Year's Eve Celebration

Alternative New Year's Eve Celebration on

Date: Sunday, December 31st, 2017, 5 pm - 10 pm

Location: 257 Fishell Rd Rush, NY 14543

Vegetarian Potluck.... plus bring something of yourself to share: a song, a movement or dance, a poem, a piece of art, a tall tale, a joke, a story, a dream, a skit, a spontaneous utterance, something you find inspiring or something you created - let it be something from the heart- that gives you inspiration and intention for 2017. Bring family members or friends!. Dress is casual.The potluck dinner will be from 5:30 - 6:30 pm, so if you wish, please bring food or beverage to share and include what you are bringing in the RSVP. Please RSVP BY December 25th: Contact info: Phone: 585-533-1461 or jchaize@rochester.rr.com

"Dwelling Happily in the Present Moment" Workshop with Chris Phillips

Date: Saturday January 6th, 9 am - 4 pm at the

Location: Mennonite Church
111 Hillside Ave, Rochester, NY 14610

Renew Your Mindfulness Toolbox for the New Year Chris Phillips will be offering a daylong retreat

This will be an excellent intro to mindfulness for the beginner as well as an inspiring refresher for the established meditator.

What is mindfulness? How do we work with a Primary Object of the attention, such as breath awareness, body or hearing? How do we aim and sustain the attention? How do we recognize when the mind has wandered and return to our primary object? Why is the mind wandering one of the most wonderful things that can happen during a mindfulness session? How can we work with discomfort and pain? How does mindfulness build our distress tolerance? How does mindfulness cultivate stability, calm, relaxation, peace and joy?

This day is part 1 of a 3 part series on the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness. Parts 2 and 3 will be coming in March and June 2018.

This series builds upon itself, so "Dwelling Happily" is a pre-requisite to attend part 2 on using the first 3 Foundations to work with emotions, and for part 3 on practicing with the 4th Foundation.

Please register before December 30th by sending a written note to Chris with a small gift as your deposit. 364 Merchants Rd Rochester 14609. There is no fee for Chris' daylong retreats on cultivating mindfulness, but there will be a box for giving available at the retreat.

For more information browse Chris's website or call with any questions you might have at 585-305-6949 or 845-264-7000.

Caretaking Council

The next Blooming Lilac Sangha Caretaking Council will be Sunday January 14th, 2018 at 2:30 pm. The location will probably be the Zen Center, will update if that changes.

Like any garden, flower or other living thing a sangha needs to be tended and nourished to stay healthy and thrive. It needs attention, effort and thoughtful reflection to ensure that its roots and practices remain strong, its direction and efforts are chosen with awareness, and that it offers support and guidance mindfully to Sangha brothers and sisters and the world, all with loving-kindness.

The Blooming Lilac Sangha Caretaking Council was convened to help realize this intention. An evolving forum for considering the Sangha's past and future in the present moment, it is open to all members of the Sangha. It is a gathering to review our past practices and choices, our current circumstances, and to make recommendations, choices and decisions for the future on how to best use our time, effort and resources. 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.

Ceremony for the Deceased

We will hold our annual Ceremony for the Deceased on Saturday, January 20thas the main event for January's Day of Mindfulness. It will be held at Min and Xiaoping's house, at address:  375 Westminster Rd Rochester, NY 14607Time to be announced. Stay tuned.

We conduct this formal ceremony as developed by Thay and the monastics at Plum Village. All are asked to bring photos and a story to share about one family member or loved one who has passed away.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Blooming Lilac Sangha Newsletter November 2017

PSA: Schedule Changes

The Tuesday/Thursday Morning (7:15 am to 8:15 am) sitting location will change October 31st and November 2nd. The morning sitting will be held at:  68 Crosman Terrace Rochester, NY 14620

The evening sitting on November 2 is Cancelled.
Our usual location for the Thursday evening, 7 pm - 8 pm meditation and book reading, is not available on Thursday, Nov. 2nd. A possible substitute is to view "Walk With Me" at Eastview Mall on Nov. 2nd.
Although it appears full, Regal Eastview could move it to a larger theater screening of "Walk With Me"
The phone number for the box office at Eastview mall is: (844-462-7342)

No Day of Mindfulness November

There will be no Day of Mindfulness (DOM) in November. We hope to see you at the retreat.

The next DOM  will be on Sunday, December 17.

Meditation Service Nov. 12th

Meditation service will continue Sunday, November 12th from 4 pm to 6 pm as usual at the Rochester Zen Center for those who are not attending retreat.

Chris Phillips One-Day Retreat

Saturday, January 6th Chris Phillips will be offering a one-day retreat day on "Dwelling Happily in the Present Moment" from 9 am to 4 pm at the Rochester Mennonite Church at address:  111 Hillside Ave, Rochester, NY 14610

This is an intro to meditation and a prequel to practicing with the Four Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse of the Buddha. A fine way to start the new year!

Please mail Chris a note with your contact information and a small gift which will be a non-refundable deposit. This needs to arrive at least one week in advance at address: 364 Merchants Rd, Rochester NY 14609

More details at Chris's website.

Call 585-305-6949 or 845-264-7000 if you have any questions.

Ceremony for the Deceased

We will hold our annual Ceremony for the Deceased on Saturday, January 20thas the main event for January's Day of Mindfulness. It will be held at Min and Xiaoping's house, at address:  375 Westminster Rd Rochester, NY 14607Time to be announced. Stay tuned.

We conduct this formal ceremony as developed by Thay and the monastics at Plum Village. All are asked to bring photos and a story to share about one family member or loved one who has passed away.

Spring retreat with Joanne Friday

Save the date for Spring retreat with Joanne Friday: April 12th - 16th, 2018.

Presence on Facebook

Blooming Lilac Sangha now has a Facebook Page!

In order to help our sangha cast a wide net into the community, Blooming Lilac Sangha now has a Facebook page. This is complementary to our Blog which will still have up to date information for events and newsletter items.

The Facebook page provides an easier way to share reminders for upcoming events, poems, news from Plum Village and Blue Cliff Monastery, and pictures from retreats and sangha events.

Please visit and like Hand with blue shirt collar visible in thumbs up position with word like underneath itour page and ask friends to do the same if you think they might benefit. The newsletter, blogspot, and calendar will continue to provide sangha updates and event information.

Update on Walk With Me

Our sangha hosted a sold-out showing of Walk With Me on October 24th. Many people new to the practice were in attendance, in addition to people from our Sangha.

We were fortunate enough to have Venerable Bhikkhu Kaili who, with our Sangha brother, Chris, helped the audience prepare for the viewing by setting a very gentle, calm energy.

Much gratitude for all who helped bring this movie to the Rochester audience. There will be another sold-out showing on November 2nd at Eastview Mall! It is wonderful that there are opportunities for those in our community to see the work of the larger sangha, monks, and nuns, and hear the words of our teacher.

We have an extra ticket for the November 2nd showing - if anyone wants or knows someone wanting a ticket, please email Karen Smith for more info at kdesjardin@gmail.com!

Peace

Writing from Thich Nhat Hanh

"Yes, there is tremendous suffering all over the world, but knowing this need not paralyze us. If we practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful sitting, and working in mindfulness, we try our best to help and we can have peace in our heart. Worrying does not accomplish anything. Even if you worry twenty times more, it will not change the situation of the world. In fact, your anxiety will only make things worse. Even though things are not as we would like, we can still be content, knowing we are trying our best and will continue to do so. If we don't know how to breathe, smile, and live every moment of our life deeply, we will never be able to help anyone. I am happy in the present moment. I do not ask for anything else. I do not expect any additional happiness or conditions that will bring about more happiness. The most important practice is aimlessness, not running after things, not grasping.
We who have been fortunate enough to encounter the practice of mindfulness have a responsibility to bring peace and joy into our own lives, even though not everything in our body, mind, or environment is exactly as we would like. Without happiness, we cannot be a refuge for others. Ask yourself, what am I waiting for to make me happy? Why am I not happy right now?" - excerpt from The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching

Sisters Sing For Thay

Enjoy this lovely video of sisters singing for Thay.

Blooming Lilac Sangha Newsletter October 2017

PSA: Schedule Changes

The Tuesday/Thursday Morning (7:15 am to 8:15 am) sitting location will change for the following dates: 10/17, 10/24, 10/26, 10/31 and 11/2 only. On those dates, the morning sitting will be held at:  68 Crosman Terrace Rochester, NY 14620
Image has text that says "Scent Free Zone" with the profile of the tip and bottom of a nose superimposing over the bottom of the Z in Zone as negative space

PSA: Scented Products

For some people, scented products may trigger migraines, breathing problems, even neurological effects.

Several people in our Sangha are sensitive to fragrance of any kind and report respiratory difficulties and migraines when sitting in a room with people wearing perfumes, essential oils, or where incense is burned. Please respect the health needs of your friends during meditation and be sure to wash off or don't use scents or perfumes when coming to meditation gatherings. Thanks!
There is an image of Thich Nhat Hanh and a Photo with a bamboo forrest with translucent darker green BLS initialized over it.

Presence on Facebook

Blooming Lilac Sangha now has a Facebook Page!

In order to help our sangha cast a wide net for community, Blooming Lilac Sangha now has a Facebook page. This is complementary to our Blog which will still have up to date information for events and newsletter items. The Facebook page provides an easier way to share reminders for upcoming events, poems, news from Plum Village and Blue Cliff Monastery, and pictures from retreats and sangha events. Please visit and like Hand with blue shirt collar visible in thumbs up position with word like underneath itour page to receive updates if you are a facebook member. The newsletter, blogspot, and calendar will continue to provide sangha updates and event information.
Man with clean shaven head looks at viewer with a smile

One Day Retreat Workshops With Chris Phillips

Chris Phillips from our sangha is offering a series of one-day retreat workshops to build mindfulness skills. Taking registrations now for:

Saturday, October 7th 9 am - 4 pm
Rehabilitating Concentration - What is it? Why we all can do it?

Saturday, January 6th, 2018 9 am - 4 pm
Dwelling Happily in The Present Moment Foundations of Mindfulness Part I. This is a nice way to start the new year, with a basic intro to mindfulness meditation. Perfect for beginners and a detailed refresher for longterm meditators.

Both these events will be held at Rochester Mennonite Fellowship, 111 Hillside Ave Rochester, NY 14610

For more information visit Chris's website.
Solid white statue of monk bowing in gassho

BLS Caretaking Council

Date: October 12th, 2017 , 6:30 - 8:30 pm,

Location:   375 Westminster Rd Rochester, NY 14607

Please send agenda items via email to BLS by October 8th
Pond with lillies and orange highlights from the setting sun

October Day of Mindfulness

Plan to attend our next Day of Mindfulness on Sunday, October 22nd, 2017, 12:30 pm to 6 pm We hold a monthly day of mindfulness at a member's home or public venue. This practice time is held in Noble Silence. The day includes sitting meditation, walking meditation, guided meditations, audio or video dharma talks, mindful movements, earth touchings, and Dharma sharing. The agenda is updated within the calendar notice as we approach the date. Sunday days of mindfulness end with a potluck dinner and conversation. Please email Annie O'Reilly or call at 585-346-0557 if you would like more information or if you would like to plan the Day of Mindfulness

"Walk With Me" Film Screening Update

"Walk With Me: was filmed over three years at Plum Village. The movie follows the seasons of monastic life with relatively little dialogue. It is a visually beautiful and captivating meditation, not a narrative nor a documentary.

Date: Tuesday, October 24th at 7:30 pm. Tickets will Not be sold at the door.

You must get your tickets ahead of time online via gathr. If you would like a guide to getting tickets click here.

Location: Regal Henrietta,


Some of you are unable to come on October 24th. See below for other choices.

GathR films is distributing "Walk With Me" through something called "Theatrical On Demand." Theatrical On Demand screenings can only happen if a minimum number of people reserve tickets before a screening expires. Tickets will Not be sold at the door. You must get your tickets ahead of time online via the links below.

There is more than one screening in Rochester and the surrounding area. Here are all the choices, though some haven't met the minimum number of reservations yet, called "Tipped." If they don't meet the minimum number of reservations ("tip") your credit card is not charged.

Rochester, Regal Henrietta, Tuesday, Oct. 24, will show, has "tipped." Information and to reserve tickets

Rochester, Eastview Mall, Thursday, Nov. 2 - has not tipped yet. Still needs 46 more tickets sold before 25 days from today. Information and to reserve tickets.

Ithaca, Wednesday, October 4 - will show, has "tipped" Information and to reserve tickets.

Clay, NY (north of Syracuse) Thursday, October 12, - will show, has "tipped" Information and to reserve tickets.

Buffalo, NY Thursday, October 19 has not tipped yet. Still needs 28 more tickets sold before 11 days from today. Information and to reserve tickets.

Right Mindfulness With Bhikkhu Kaili

Bhikkhu Kaili is returning to Rochester from 10/28 - 10/31/2017. He will offer a Day of Meditation and individual and group meetings Bhikkhu Kaili is a senior monk at Plum Village. View or download the flyer to learn more.
Group Photo w/ Micheal Ciborski in the center with members of BLS

Fall Retreat with Michael Ciborski

When: November 9th - 13th, 2017.

Location: Mercy Spirituality Center


Openings are only available for commuters as all rooms have filled up.

Housing Needed for out of town retreatants. Can you house an out of towner during the retreat? If yes, please email Janet Chaize

Registration form with more info and details can be viewed or downloaded here.

Connecting with Earth Holder Dharma - Karen Smith

At the "Awakening the Ancestral Heart" retreat at Blue Cliff Monastery in August, I had the honor and pleasure of being part of the Earth Holder Dharma Sharing Group. Brother Phap Mann shared inspiring practices that help him be close to mother earth, and his intention for solar power in the meditation hall, for which he is fundraising. We spent time supporting the Earth Holder Sangha resource table, which provided an opportunity to talk with each other about practices for supporting the earth. Please enjoy the information about this special sangha. Your sister, Karen Smith, Healing Embrace of the Heart.

The Earth Holder Sangha is a group within the Plum Village Community; guided by the engaged Buddhist ethics of the Five Mindfulness Trainings and Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings. The purpose of the Earth Holder Sangha is to:
  • Build a community, bringing like-minded sangha members together for support and inspiration, and to develop "Earth Holding" practices inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings.

  • Engage in mindful Right Action, locally, nationally and internationally.

  • Support sustainable communities, in particular, Plum Village monasteries, lay practice centers and local sanghas.

The Earth Holder Sangha has a quarterly newsletter, featuring efforts and practices from Earth Holders in the US and around the world. You can subscribe to the newsletter below, and you can also access the current issue and archives here.

Interested in becoming an Earth Holder? If you wish to engage in the purpose and vision of the EHS, please consider if you are ready to make the 6 Earth Holder Pledges.

Gifts from Blue Cliff Monastery

Please enjoy these Dharma talks given by the monastics at the "Awakening Together Tour" at Blue Cliff Monastery this past August.

Responding to the World, Brother Phap Vu
Trauma and Beginning Anew, Sister Dang Nghiem
Q&A with Brothers Ppah Lac, Phap Man, Sisters The N, Tri N, Jeanne Anselmo
Something There Is That Doesn't Love a Wall - Br Phap Luu

Blue Cliff created this wonderful slideshow to commemorate their 10th year anniversary which shows the building and growth of the monastery from it's beginnings.