Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Family Day of Mindfulness July 9

Come and experience a beautiful drive to the Finger Lakes area for a Family Day of Mindfulness. Bring your favorite child(ren) or inner child! We will be exploring nature and our feelings with fun activities for all ages! 

When? Saturday, July 9, 2016, 10:30 am to 4 pm.
Where? 5745 Federal Rd. Conesus, NY 14435-Home of Michael and Annie O'Reilly
What? Bring a brown bag lunch-drinks and snacks will be provided. Wear clothing for outdoors-long pants tucked into socks is helpful! If it rains we may spend a limited time outdoors.

RSVP: annieoreilly@frontiernet.net or 585-346-0557

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Day of Mindfulness May 14th, 2016

You are invited to a Day of Mindfulness, on Saturday, May 14, from 10:30 am to 4 pm at the home of Diane Rennie in Fairport at Address: 42 S Ridge Trail Fairport, NY 14450

The day will start with a dharma talk on compassion by Sister Annabel Laity. (see below for brief bio).

Please arrive by 10:30 am so that you can hear the full talk. This Day of Mindfulness complete schedule will be available soon.

If you would like to share a snack, that would be appreciated but not expected. Snacks and tea will be provided by Diane.

Bring a bag lunch for yourself instead of a potluck dish.

RSVP to Diane Rennie via dlrdragonfly1@hotmail.com or 585-223-8663 to let the organizers know how many are attending.

Sister Annabel Laity Bio

Sister Annabel Laity, (Chan Duc, True Virtue), was born in England, and studied Classics and Sanskrit before going to India to study and practice with Tibetan nuns. She has been a disciple of Thich Nhat Hanh since 1986, and in 1988, in India, she was the first woman from the West to be ordained as a nun by Thich Nhat Hanh. She became a Dharma Teacher in 1990, and was Director of Practice at Plum Village for many years.She is currently Dean of Practice at the European Institute for Applied Buddhism in Germany, and divides her time between there and Thailand, where she teaches newly ordained novices at Thailand Plum Village.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Gathas From Spring Water Retreat

Much gratitude to Jackie Siwicki for putting together wonderful gathas for the April retreat at Springwater, she has offered them to all of us here.

Thay gave a wonderful talk about losing our balance and falling, citing the high number of people in France (that particular year) who had fallen down. He gave a lovely visual of bamboo bridges in the countryside in Vietnam. A single bamboo trunk would traverse a river or stream. To aid the bridge crossing person, there would be wires strong across at arm level to grasp on to in order to prevent an accident. 

Thay went on to say that we can also “mentally fall down” He recommended using gathas such as the ones that Jackie put together, to act as our guide wires, and to help keep the positive seeds awake in us. 

Here are the gathas which can be printed for your own use!

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 carmel.merrill@gmail.com 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: wendy45smith@gmail.com 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, skunkowl@yahoo.com. 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: laurie.breathe@gmail.com

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?