Thursday, May 11, 2017

Family Day of Mindfulness May 20: Planting Seeds of Joy!

Come and experience a farm complete with chickens, horses, veggie gardens and tractors. Bring your favorite child(ren)! We will be exploring our windhorse; planting seeds; and meditating… for all ages!

When? Saturday, May 20, 2017; 10:30 am to 4 pm.
Where? RSVP to Annie for location and directions. (See below).
What? Bring a brown bag lunch. Drinks and snacks will be provided. Wear clothing for outdoors-long pants tucked into socks is helpful, rugged footwear is recommended! If it rains we may spend a limited time outdoors.

RSVP: or 585-820-8025 by May 18, 2017

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February Newsletter

Blooming Lilac Sangha Newsletter - Feb 2017

Sangha Schedule

A friendly reminder that for the most up-to-date information for BLS Sangha happenings Google Calendar is your friend.

Caretaking Council

Meeting on Thursday, February 9th at 6:30 pm at 375 Westminster Road 14607.

If you have agenda items or would like to help facilitate (Bell Inviter, Facilitator, Note-Taker) please email us.

Below is the BLS caretaking Council mission statement:
Like any garden, flower or other living being 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. – Created December 2013 Bernie Shore

Day of Mindfulness

February's DOM will be happening Sunday February 26th at Flying Squirrel Community Center. Activities will include Engaged Buddhism exercises. This event is open to the community. Flyer can be viewed and downloaded here.

Equanimity Practice Suggestions

Chris facilitated the January Day of Mindfulness on Equanimity. He is sharing some suggestions that he had on hand throughout the day for us to review and continue the practice. Thank you, Chris! View and download here.

You're Ready Enough

Cast asides doubt and hesitation, Diane Rennie has shared an article titled You're Ready Enough by  that gets the snowball snow buddha rolling. That first snowball is supposed to stick out a bit.

In Closing, a Quote

In 1952, giving an acceptance speech for the John Burroughs Medal, Rachel Carson summarized her credo thus:

“It seems reasonable to believe — and I do believe — that the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race. Wonder and humility are wholesome emotions, and they do not exist side by side with a lust for destruction.”

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Other January Announcements

January 28th Day of Mindfulness
    10:30-- 4:00

Annie's old email address is being closed and the new one may take a few days to begin. Meanwhile, for this month's day of mindfulness please rsvp to Chris Phillips, Chris will get back to you with directions to the Rush location.

Our focus will be the simple enjoyment of breath, body, sitting and walking, with an activity to practice writing a love letter to a difficult person. Thanks to Greg Michels for offering to host.

Morning Meditations Temporary Location Change

 Our T/Th morning sittings at Westminster Rd. will be changing for a few weeks.
From 1/24- 2/7, please go to Shae’s home on Tuesday and Thursday morning, sittings start at 7:15 am: 
68 Crosman Terrace 14620
off Monroe Avenue, between Laburnum Crescent and Shepard St.
3 blocks east from the 490 Monroe Ave exit 18
Thursday evening sitting on Feb. 2 will be at 375 Westminster Road
Morning Sittings will resume at 375 Westminster Road on 2/9

Mindfulness Trainings

This month's fourth Thursday evening Study/Practice group for the 14 Mindfulness Trainings will be hosted by Diane Rennie. All are welcome. RSVP to

Buddhist Peace Fellowship online events

The December video report from BPF members who had been to Standing Rock to support the Water Protectors was fascinating. Bernie, Chris, Janet, Lauren and Noella gathered to enjoy it together. Others watched it at home.

A recording of the entire program has now been posted at

You can participate from home in BPF's January online 3-part series on the theme of Refuge.
All are invited to a live video-conference, “Refuge & Resistance” Tuesday January 24th, 8:30 – 10:00 EDT

Helping With Sunday Practice
Last year we began holding sangha practice every Sunday from 4 to 6 pm at the Zen Center. Up till recently we had held Sunday practice only on the 1st and 3rd Sundays. We all now benefit from the chance to practice together every weekend.

Let's make sure the organizational duties don't fall to only a few but are shared amongst many of us. If you can help with any of the following tasks please contact Laurie Brewer to sign up a few weeks in advance.

Offering Guided Meditation or a recording of Thich Nhat Hanh
Setting up Tea
Leading Dharma Sharing

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Blooming Lilac Sangha Newsletter - Jan 2017

Inaugurating Hope

The Rochester Pachamama Alliance has created an event to link hands, connect, and collectively prepare to be the change the world needs.

When:  Friday, January 20th, 6:30 pm to 9 pm.

Location: First Unitarian Church of Rochester,
220 Winton Rd. South, Rochester, New York 14610

Taking a page out of Whoville's playbook (remember the Grinch Who Stole Christmas?), there is a dance planned afterward with live music by DreamTree to follow in celebration of hope and unity from 9 pm to 11 pm.

Cost: Both parts of the event are free, nominal donations are gratefully accepted to help defray costs; please register to assure that there is seating for everyone.

January Day of Mindfulness (DOM): Loving Kindness Meditations, Equanimity - Writing a Love Letter

I have a friend that I've known since Elementary school who still has a clumsy love letter I wrote her when we were eight years old. Every couple years she gets it out and teases me about it.

Fantasies of gleaming armor, my trusty broadsword that sings as I deftly and casually slice my way through all my obstacles. I was confident that as her knight, I could save her, a damsel in distress if any baddie came along, at the very least I would die trying my loyalty and honor was unquestionable. My ego was just as young and clueless as I was, and had not learned to be sneaky yet.

Your turn, go! Aw… Not that kind of a love letter you say? Well why didn't you stop me? Puh. Well I hope the marketing team is happy this went viral, thanks a lot!

When:  Saturday, January 28th, 10:30 am – 4:00 pm

Where: RSVP to Chris Phillips to receive the address.   Email: or phone: 585-346-0557

Protesting from the Heart

On a more serious note, in these times of polar extremes, we at BLS want to offer forth this compelling read on walking that fine line between protesting and attachment to views. From Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center.

Spiritual healing for Activists

Blooming Lilac Sangha is proud to sponsor a Day of Meditation and Exercises for Healing at the Flying Squirrel Community Center. Date: Sunday, February 26th, 1 pm - 6 pm. This event is open to the community and Sangha. RSVP by February 22nd. Downloadable flyer here, please share with your friends.

Four-day retreat with Joanne Friday

Mark your calendars, Joanne Friday, a teacher in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh will be leading her four-day retreat Thursday, April 13th to Monday, April 17th. She will be teaching a revolutionary new practice of continuing to shovel the snow when it doesn't stop snowing. You'll never look at snow the same way again.

Where:  Springwater Center, Springwater, NY sponsored by Blooming Lilac Sangha

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Ceremony for the Deceased Details

Saturday January 7th    1:00 - 4:00
Brickstone Community Center, Elmwood Ave

There are almost 20 of us interested to gather for the Ceremony for the Deceased this Saturday.  We will hold the Ceremony and sharing circle at Brickstone Senior Living's community center from 1:00 to 4:00 Saturday afternoon.  Directions below.

The "Horizon Room" is not available, so we will meet in the "Community Room."

Due to the change in venue there will be no potluck supper, but we will have a fruit bowl to pass during the sharing circle and a hot water machine for tea.  

(Bring your own mugs and tea bags.)

Please bring a photo and a story to share about your family member or friend who you would like to remember with us. It is fine if you elect not to share.   We will pass around the Plum Village chanting book and each person may take a turn to recite a portion of the ceremony, or lead us in singing a song, or you may pass.

The recitation takes about 45 minutes.  The sharing is leisurely with lots of deep listening from the sangha.

There was a lot of joy and enthusiasm with the memorial sharing when we last did this event, and there were those who wished to keep sharing.  So we have elected to plan 3 hours to give everyone enough time to share about at least one person.

If you know anyone else who would like to join us there is plenty of room.

Chris Phillips



Brickstone is at  1325 Elmwood Ave. 14620
about .7 miles east of East Henrietta Rd and about .6 miles west of South Clinton on the south side of Elmwood.

Park in front of the main entrance on the street side of the parking lot.  Enter the double glass doors and check in with the hospitality desk on the right.  

To find the "Community Room" take the hallway on the left as you enter the main lobby.  It will be on your right immediately after the rest rooms.

There will be plenty of comfortable chairs.
Bring cushions if you would like to sit on the floor.
Bring your own mug and tea bags.  We will have a hot water machine.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Sangha Newsletter -- December 2016

Blooming Lilac Sangha Newsletter - Dec 2016

Day of Mindfulness - Healing and Peace-making

We will come together, devoted to healing and peace-making on December 11th,at Laurie Brewer’s new home, just south of Rochester in Scottsville.
Please leave an RSVP with Annie: 346-0557 or, she will be happy to share the address.
Do you have a friend who is working for peace or justice who would like to join us? You are welcome to share the format with them and bring them if they are interested. The schedule is as follows:

DOM Schedule for Sunday, December 11th, 2016
12:30 – 12:50 Arrive and settle
12:50 – 1:10 Sitting Meditation with Bells and Gongs
1:10 – 1:20 Walking Meditation
1:20 – 1:40 Sitting Guided Meditation: “Arise,” from Sister Ocean.
1:40 – 1:50 Walking Meditation
1:50 – 2:30 Inspirational Readings from those who have worked for Peace
2:30 – 3:00 Deep Relaxation
3:00 – 3:30 Guided meditation on Compassion and Equanimity
3:30 – 4:00 Writing a Love Letter
4:00 – 4:45 Dharma Sharing
4:45 – 5:00 Break and prep for Potluck
5:00 – 6:00 Potluck and Celebrate
After Dinner Optional Owl Prowl if weather permits

A downloadable flyer can be obtained here, please share widely, countless people suffer greatly around this time of year. Sow the seeds of peace, invite people you see that are suffering to come and celebrate with us.

Tuesdays & Thursdays with Morrie

Got your attention didn't I? No, it's not with Morrie, but I'd rather sit with our sweet hosts Xiaoping & Min any day, wouldn't you? Opportunities to find inspiration and opportunities for deeper understanding abound.

Tuesday/Thursday morning meditations begin at 7:15 am. On 1st and 3rd Thursdays, we begin meditation practice 7 pm and then take a brief break and finishing the evening with book study. These all take place at 375 Westminister Dr

Alternative New Year’s Celebration

No new years resolutions allowed! It's a crime! Punishment is laughter veggies and fun times.
Must appear in court for a-rain-mint on Saturday, December 31st, 2016. Time: 5 - 10 pm

Wise instructions from our leader:
“Don't get your hopes up, the ball will drop in a couple of days,” and “Bring veggies, but leave your peashooter at home.”

Above all, 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 - let it be a steady wind that fills your sails of intention for 2017. Let's set ourselves up to thrive, not merely survive.
The food figh. ahem, 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. We don't want ten pumpkin and apple pies, or do we?

RSVP by December 25th for address and directions. 533-1461 or

Response to U.S Election 2016

We wanted to share a statement which includes a gatha titled “Healing Racial, Systemic and Social Inequity.”
You can read and optionally download here.

Staying Currant

Staying up to date on technology is a time-consuming and ultimately futile endeavor in the long run. No need to be sour, fortunately for us, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Case in point, digital Calendars for all their bling and features can't escape the fact that there are thirty days in a month.

One advantage digital calendars have is that they update with current information when details change, like the day or time of an event. So we're encouraging everyone to subscribe to our Google calendar. If that just ain't happening, have no fear, you can open any of our emails, a link to our calendar is always included in the footer.

Blog | Calendar | Email

Other December 2016 Announcements

Ceremony for the Deceased

Two winters ago a dozen of us gathered to recite the Ceremony for the Deceased from Plum Village and remember our loved ones who have passed away by sharing a photo and a story.  We would like to get in the habit of doing this together on a regular basis.

Please save the date of Saturday, January 7th.  1 - 3 pm
Meeting place to be announced.  For more info, contact Chris Phillips, skunkowl@yahoo.com585-305-6949

Buddhist Peace Fellowship national conference call

You are invited to a meeting this Wednesday, Dec 7th, 8:00 pm to 10 pm at the home of Chris Phillips, 364 Merchants Rd. to join in a national conference call from BPF.

Please rsvp to Chris at or 845-264-700, 585-305-6949

The announcement from BPF headquarters:

We've been deeply moved by how many of you have reached out to us in recent weeks, seeking refuge in Buddhist community in light of this election. We have tremendous resources in the BPF community, and we're eager to connect all of you to your spiritual-political comrades.
Please join us December 7 from 5:30 - 7 pm Pacific time for a community Zoom call to learn from Buddhist supporters at Standing Rock. 
We all have many questions about how best to keep organizing for spiritual and political freedom in the Trump era. On this call we will:
  • Hear a report back from BPFers who are on the ground at Standing Rock, putting their bodies on the line for indigenous sovereignty and #NoDAPL
  • Reflect on what keeps us steady, smart and ready during periods of sustained resistance
  • Highlight our comrades in current movements for racial- and eco-justice rooted in spirituality
  • Learn how to help grow BPF's ongoing work in 2017
This globally significant, peaceful, prayerful movement raises so many issues critical to our times. The wisdom of buddhadharma is by no means the only good way to approach these issues, but it can offer some resonant frameworks for raising questions.
How to collectively avow, and truly endeavor to heal, all the ancient, twisted karma of colonization?
How to compassionately confront the greed, hatred, and delusion manifesting in police lines, water cannons, and rubber bullets protecting a pipeline?
And particularly for non-indigenous people,... how to practice true solidarity and spiritual friendship, centering indigenous power and leadership, and striving to contribute more than we deplete?
The most important questions defy easy answers. Please join us this Wednesday from wherever you are, to reflect in community.

More Info on BPF

You may like to get acquainted with the work of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship --

BPF public statement on the Standing Rock Water Protectors and the Dokota Access Pipeline --

Mindfulness Trainings as a Roadmap for Times of Social Challenge 

Do you have questions or strong feelings about social issues or communicating with friends and family after the divisive presidential campaign?  You may wish to join our regular meetings to explore Thich Nhat Hanh's Mindfulness Trainings.

first Sunday   5 Mindfulness Trainings

We recite these Trainings together every first Sunday after the 4:00 group meditation. They are based upon the 5 codes of ethical conduct found in all schools of Buddhism.  At the end of retreats or special periods of group practice, people will chose to "receive" the 5 Mindfulness Trainings.  Those who "take the trainings" wish to make a public commitment to the extended community of Thich Nhat Hanh, Plum Village and our tradition.  In doing so they ask for the support of fellow practitioners, spiritual ancestors, bodhisatvas and teachers.  They commit to begin again continually in a journey to understand and manifest the suggestions found in the 5 Trainings.

fourth Thursday   14 Mindfulness Trainings

The 14 Trainings are a tool to support those who want to deepen their formal mindfulness practice, and broaden the way they embody mindfulness informally in daily life, through relationships, possessions, lifestyle, livelihood, consuming, communication, and conflict.  There is an aspirant formation process supported by local sanghas, mentors and dharma teachers.  

Students of the 14 Trainings follow in the footsteps of Thich Nhat Hanh's lineage of Vietnamese Buddhism, particularly the 6 leaders who came together 50 years ago to apply core principles of the Dharma to modern challenges such as mounting a peaceful and compassionate response to the war raging around them in Vietnam.  (More info here   They commit to build or serve community and support mindfulness in others and in society.  They wish to make the dharma relevant to all circumstances, and to protect and keep intact the teachings in the minds of modern people.  Those who follow the 14 Trainings also  find ways to set aside substantial time for days of mindfulness or reteat every week and all year -- to keep their actions for others rooted in a personal experience of Compassion and Wisdom.

For more information about the monthly recitation and study, contact Laurie Brewer,

The 5 and the 14 Trainings do not set one apart from others, but turn the mindfulness towards others in a spirit of quiet service and continual learning.  Trial and error, plus beginning again are crucial.  They are not a tool for comparing or judging ourselves or others.  More like a safety net for travelling through the unknown; guidelines by which to navigate.  The Trainings can support a deep investigation of relationships, work, war, economics, oppression, and the environment. 

Joanna Macy's Work that Reconnects

One of the most exciting Buddhist teachers of our time is Joanna Macy, who herself is a student of Thich Nhat Hanh.  Joanna has lead countless group process trainings for activists and others who care about community at local or global scales.  Her work combines the essence of the world's wisdom traditions, systems theory, despair and empowerment, ceremony, and the intrinsic heartfelt sense of connection and belonging which we all share.  Plus it is downright FUN!!!!

If you are involved with an organization or circle of friends who want to share questions of a skillful and compassionate response to society's pressing challenges, who may struggle with burnout, or who are looking for a safe and supportive venue to explore strong feelings of grief, fear and love for our world, please check out these workshops inspired by Joanna's leadership.  Mary Gleason and Chris Phillips are available to provide small or large group process experiences to empower your work in community.

Mary  482-0763,
Chris  305-6949,
Joanna's website:

Earth Holder Sangha Position on Standing Rock

A Dharma Response to Climate Change

"Lord Buddha,.... I am one with the sunlight, the rivers, the lakes, the ocean, and the clouds in the sky. The four elements in my body and the four elements in the bodies of the cosmos are not separate. I vow to return and take refuge in Mother Earth to see her solid and resilient within myself. "   Thich Nhat Hanh, Touching the Earth

Monday, September 26, 2016

November Retreat with Michael Ciborski, flyer and registration

When Clouds Turn to Rain:
Practicing to Become an Essential Part of Life

A Mindfulness Retreat in the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh
With Dharma Teacher:
Michael Ciborski

November 10 - 14, 2016
Mercy Spirituality Center, Rochester, NY

There are many storm clouds we would rather not see in the world’s atmosphere.  There are parts of our bodies, hearts and minds that we want to get rid of or change. Yet like the cloud, gathering fully into itself and letting go into the rain, the secret of transformation lies not in trying to change ourselves into something different, but in coming home to discover who and what we truly are. 
The cloud and the rain are not two different things.  We already have within us, all that we strive to become. 
When we are burdened with stress and anxiety, when we feel overwhelmed with anger and sadness, life appears full of suffering and despair.  The cloud seems to obscure the Sun and our capacity to help ourselves and others is small.
When we are able to come home to ourselves – as we are, and connect deeply with Life – just as it is, our understanding has more clarity, and our actions can come from a place of ease, inner stability and freedom.  The rain is essential to all of Life, and in every moment we have an opportunity to offer nourishment and healing.
The cultivation of mindfulness in each activity will form the base of this retreat. We will practice conscious breathing, sitting and walking meditations, mindful eating, singing, deep relaxation and joyful togetherness.  This will build a strong collective concentration, allowing us to deeply explore our theme through Dharma teachings, deep listening, care-filled discussions and personal reflections.
Recommended reading to prepare for the retreat: The full-length discourse on the Full Awareness of Breathing (can be found in the book by Thich Nhat Hanh: Breathe! You are Alive)

Michael Ciborski has been traveling to upstate New York for 9 years to lead retreats.  Each year he deepens our understanding of the Dharma, and his relaxed and smiling presence reminds us that ours is a path of openheartedness and joy.
Michael lived and worked intimately with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh both as a monastic and lay practitioner. He practiced for seven years as a monk in Plum Village, France, and received teaching transmission in 2001.  He is married to Fern Dorresteyn, a Dharma teacher in the same tradition. They live in New Hampshire with their son and two daughters.  Together with others they are building a mindfulness practice community for sustainable living and education.  For more information, go to:

The retreat is residential or commuter, centering on periods of sitting and walking meditation and daily Dharma talks by the teacher.
Periods of silence and being wonderfully together are an important part of the retreat experience, as is small group sharing and work meditation.

Is conveniently located near Highland Park in Rochester. This retreat is designed for both beginning and experienced practitioners.

Eleven comfortable rooms, some with single beds and some with double beds are provided, as are vegetarian meals. Please indicate any special food needs on the registration.

The teaching offered by our Dharma teacher is offered in the spirit of generosity. It is a practice of this retreat for participants to make an offering to support the livelihood of the Dharma teacher. We incorporate the offering into the cost of the retreat. 

For those registering by October 20, the cost of lodging for a single room, food and dana for the teacher is $420. If you share a room (and a bed) the cost is $400 each. Due to the large number of people applying for residential space, we cannot reduce the cost for lodging. If you are commuting, the cost for day space, food and dana is $260. If you can only partially attend the retreat as a commuter, the base rate is $150, then add $37 for each day beyond 1 day. Complete retreat cost is due at time of registration. Please note that registration is only by postal mail.
After October 20, please add $10 for late registration.
Cancellation Policy: The purpose of our cancellation policy is to acknowledge that retreatants’ future plans can change unexpectedly and at the same time to clarify that Blooming Lilac Sangha may have already incurred costs for food, etc. or commitments to the retreat center.  If you cancel more than 2 weeks prior to the first day that a retreat begins, you can expect a full refund.  After that if you have a last minute illness or emergency that prevents you from attending the retreat, refunds will depend on money that has gone out already and how solvent the retreat funds are.
Registration ends October 28 or when we are full
Scholarships (Commuters only): We will do our best to help those who cannot afford the full cost to be able to attend. Application is required by October 20.

Check-in is 3-6 pm on Thursday, November. 10. The retreat will end around
2 pm on Monday, November 14.
Retreat event schedules will be available at check-in.

Questions? Please contact
Janet Chaize at 585-533-1461 or

When Clouds Turn to Rain
November 10 - 14, 2016





I, the undersigned, understand that during my stay at Mercy Spirituality Center, I am responsible for my well being and that Mercy Spirituality Center cannot be responsible for any accidents that befall me. I also understand that a silent retreat can be deep and relaxing, but it can also be challenging mentally.  I understand that meditation is a complement to psychological treatment, but not a substitute for psychiatric medication or treatment.  I am not currently withdrawing from psychiatric or other drugs. If I have a history of acute mental crisis, I have contacted the retreat coordinator to discuss the appropriateness of retreat for me at this time.
(signed) ___________________________________________
(If you have questions about the above, please contact Janet Chaize, 585-533-1461)

___I have enclosed $420 for lodging, food, & dana .(by 10/20 – add $10 after that)
___I have enclosed the commuter fee of $260. (by 10/20 – add $10 after that)

___I have enclosed the part time commuter fee of $150 first day and $37 each additional day
___ I have enclosed a donation to the scholarship fund.

___ I have special dietary needs.
They are: _____________________

____ I can help with set up, clean up or other volunteer needs

Please return form and payment to:

Make checks (U.S. Funds) payable to:

Robin Long

Thursday, September 8, 2016

September 2016

Day of Mindfulness
Saturday, September 10th, 2016 from 10:30 am - 4:30 pm in Rush, NY. Please RSVP by September 8th for more information.

We will be working with the four brahma-viharas:  loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity which manifest as forces of purification transforming the turbulent heart into a refuge of calm. These mindfulness practices protect the mind from falling into habitual patterns of reactivity.

Special Guest Teacher
Bhikku KaiLi, a resident monk from Plum Village - Dharma teacher and student of Thich Nhat Hanh, will be spending a week in Rochester with gracious hosts Xiaoping and Min at their beautiful home (address and directions below) from 9/13- 9/21. We plan to make the most of this opportunity to meditate and learn with Bhikku. These are opportunities to bring questions forward from our practice or any part of the book Understanding Our mind.

Thursday, September 15th, 7pm - 8:30 pm
Sunday, September 18th 10 am - 4:30 pm

Please let us know if you will be attending either or both events.

November Retreat with Micheal Ciborski
The retreat with Michael Ciborski is November 10th - 14th, 2016. Please contact us with theme and areas in which you would like to further your practice by September 8th if you are interested in going!

For our complete and up-to-date events scheduling please refer to our calendar. If you would like to add our calendar to your google calendar, please subscribe, to do that click on the + button on the bottom right corner of the calendar window once you've clicked through the link above.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Registration Form -- Satipatthana & Emotions Retreat Day, Nov 5

Satipatthana* & Emotions Retreat

* The Buddha's classic discourse on “foundations of mindfulness”

This retreat is a good introduction to early Buddhist psychology for the serious beginner or the experienced meditator.  No previous knowledge of Buddhism is required.  It is also a hands-on skill building experience for increasing our mindfulness, freedom and vitality while meditating and in daily life.   It is helpful if you train in mindfulness regularly or wish to do so.

Please return to Chris Phillips,, 364 Merchants Rd., Rochester, NY 14609

Name _______________________________________________________________________

Address _____________________________________________________________________

Town ___________________________________________ Zip __________________

Email __________________________________________

Do you have a daily/regular silent awareness practice? Would you like to establish a steadier routine?


Buddha talks about sadda, or “faith,” as an experiential confidence in the Dharma and in practice.
Please rate your confidence level with dwelling happily in the present moment. We will measure that according to the following skills, which are always under development, from the first steps at practice onward. (We will not aim to cover these skills directly on this retreat, but they will come into play and it will be helpful for me to learn some about your practice.)

(Dwelling happily in the present moment could be the subject of an entire retreat!!  If you would like a consultation about these four skills and some ideas for experimenting with them during your meditation, please give me a call and we will set up a time.)

1 = high 2 = moderate 3 = uneven but investing practice time on this 4 = unsure but interested

aiming and sustaining attention upon the chosen object of awareness (e.g. the breathing)      1 2 3 4
recognizing and returning to your primary object when the mind wanders         1 2 3 4
conscious tolerance of discomfort/pain during mindfulness practice                1 2 3 4
cultivating stability/calm/relaxation/peace/joy during mindfulness practice          1 2 3 4

Note that the skills rating is about your perception of your practice, since none of us are able to give a completely accurate assessment of our own practice. Best to answer “from the hip” with the first rating that comes to mind. If your first impulses tend to be overly self critical, best to look at your answer again in a few hours.

Do you have physical limitations which would prevent you from being able to participate in sitting, walking and listening to short presentations from 8:30 am to midday, and from 1:30 or 2:00 pm till 5:30, plus a silent brownbag lunch eaten together around midday? What can we do to accommodate or support your physical needs?

“Noble silence” is a very important mindfulness support which we offer each other to deepen and keep strong our attention and intention, magnifying individual effort through a steady group container. Is there any reason which would make it impossible to offer the gift of complete silence to fellow retreatants and preserve the gift of silence for yourself from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm?

Our Approach to Practice during the Retreat

Between the two sessions, orientation and retreat day, we will:

A) define some important terms from the Satipatthana Suttra and related terms from classical Buddhist psychology – the six sense spheres, feeling-tones, mind events, mental formations

B) explore some options for how to aim attention for each foundation of mindfulness – ways to contact bodily senses, ways to contact feeling-tones through the senses, and ways to experience mind events as sensations. We will explore distinctions between the full spectrum of awareness and thinking as part of that spectrum.

C) do a few Trigger practices – artificial experiments using very short stories, pieces of music and clips of video to “trigger” a mild emotion which we will approach using the 3 foundations (i.e., focal points or frames of reference) recommended by the Buddha in the suttra.

The arc of the retreat follows 3 organizing principles:
1) mindfulness occurs at the 6 sense doors
2) mindfulness works best with simpler sensations and gradually contacts more complex experience
3) mindfulness show us all experience is like a wave, beginning, rising, falling, ending.


Preliminary orientation sessions will be held at various times, to maximize the time we have for practice on the day itself. These will be held at my home, 364 Merchants Rd, Rochester unless otherwise announced. Orientation required – choose one –

Thurs Sept 29 7 – 9 pm       Erin Bullock's Wild Hill Farm, Ionia NY
Wed Oct 19 7 – 9 pm       Brickstone Senior Living community room, 1325 Elmwood Ave, Rochester

Other orientation time slots available upon request.

Directions to Preliminary Orientation

Brickstone Senior Living – “Horizon” community room    1325 Elmwood Ave, Rochester, 14620.

Thanks to Carmel Merrill and Richard Lunt for kindly arranging the hospitality for us with this pleasant meeting space.  On Elmwood Ave in Brighton, Brickstone is on the south side approx 8/10th of a mile from the corner of Rt 15A, East Henrietta Rd, or coming from the east about 5/10th of a mile from the corner of South Clinton.  Please park on the street side of the parking lot near the front door of the center.

Wild Hill Farm    2176 Elton Rd     Bloomfield NY     Hamlet of Iona
Take Monroe Avenue east to Pittsford.  Turn right on Clover St. (Rt. 65) and travel 1.9 miles. Turn left on Tobey Rd. travel  9/10 mile.  Tobey Rd. turns into Stone Rd. go another 4/10 mile.  Make a slight right onto NY 64.  Travel 10.3 miles.  You are now in Ionia.  Turn right onto Elton Rd and go 6/10 mile and look for the grey barn and sign Windy Hill Farm.  We can carpool from Rochester.

The Purpose of the Orientation Session

– preview of retreat schedule
– introduction to the Satipatthana Suttra
– more silence and more practice during the retreat
– more open time to discuss terms and raise questions before the retreat day
– setting groundwork for some of the major concepts
– trying sense-based mindfulness
– exploring ways to divide present-moment sense experience into arenas based on the sense door
– getting a “homework” assignment – how to use voicemails/other recordings to do “trigger practice”
– getting to know elements of each others' practice

Registration required.
Limit 25 people.

When I receive your registration I shall send a confirmation with any questions/replies that may arise. The confirmation will contain the retreat day schedule, detailed directions to our meeting place, a word on “Why this topic for retreat?”, info about the retreat leader.

Chris Phillips
mobile:  845-264-7000         home:  585-305-6949