Sunday, April 25, 2021

MAY WE GATHER: A National Buddhist Memorial Ceremony For Asian American Ancestors

Tuesday, May 4, 2021     7:00 - 8:00 PM, EST  More Informationhttps://www.maywegather.org 

When our Chinese immigrant ancestors came to the United States in the 1850s, we faced exclusion and violence, our Buddhist and Taoist temples desecrated and set ablaze. When our Japanese American forebears were herded into U.S. concentration camps in the 1940s, our priests were classified as a threat to national security, our Buddhist faith deemed un-American. When our South and Southeast Asian parents and grandparents arrived on these shores in the 1970s, many fleeing wars inflamed by the American military, we were told our cultures and Buddhist traditions didn’t belong.
 
Asian Americans are now experiencing another wave of religious bigotry and racial animus. We have witnessed a stark increase in violent attacks over the past year. The March 16th Atlanta shootings claimed the lives of eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, including the 63-year-old Buddhist Yong Ae Yue. She is remembered by her two sons as a selfless person who stood up against discrimination and always advocated for treating people right. 
 
Yong Ae Yue’s tragic death follows upon months of unrelenting racist taunts and violence against Asian Americans, including the senseless assault of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee in San Francisco. His daughter, who herself had been accosted twice in the past year and told to go back to Asia because “Asians caused the coronavirus,” described her father as a devout Thai Buddhist; his funeral was held at Wat Buddhanusorn in Fremont, California.
 
Our temples have also come under attack. Six Vietnamese American temples in Orange County, California were vandalized in a single month; an outdoor Buddhist statue was spray-painted with the word “Jesus” at Huong Tich Temple. More recently, the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles was damaged when windows were smashed, lanterns broken, and the property set on fire.
We welcome Asian American Buddhist temples and organizations, ally sanghas, and individuals of all backgrounds to participate in this ceremony by watching the livestream of the national Buddhist memorial on May 4th, and by endorsing this gathering.

As the sutras remind us, spiritual friendship is the whole of the Buddhist path. We look forward to joining together with you, in memory of our Asian American ancestors, to cultivate belonging and liberation for all beings.

In spiritual friendship,
Duncan Ryuken Williams, Funie Hsu, Chenxing Han


Sunday, April 11, 2021

BLS Newsletter April 2021

Newsletter Topics

  • When to return to in-person meditations and include Zoom?  
  • April Day of Mindfulness options.
  • Help Immigrants detained by ICE and held at a Detention Center for months or longer before their case is heard.  Please help Annie fill Dignity Bags on April 11.  When immigrants leave the Detention Center they have nothing.  These bags allow them to have a few basic necessities for their journey
  • Blooming Lilac Schedule





When to return to in-person meditations and include Zoom? 

Our meditation schedule continues via Zoom (see #4).  However, as we move toward more Sangha friends receiving the vaccine, we are looking at how we might return to in person meditations and also perhaps incorporate having a hybrid model, which includes Zoom. To make it more inclusive this might mean investing in equipment.  
Join us for a CareTaking Council meeting to discuss this and other ways that we can continue outreach to let people know about meditating together. Website updates?  Respond to this email if you have ideas regarding this, have agenda items or would like to attend the meeting.  Proposed date for the CareTaking Council meeting:  Sunday, April 18, 9:30 am- 10:30 am via Zoom.  

April Day of Mindfulness options

April 10 and/or April 18.   Both are online and require registration

What can a day of mindfulness do for you? 
❤️ Feel and share joy

❤️ Create a sense of calm and well-being

❤️ Open your heart to greater compassion for all beings

❤️ Restore your energy and confidence for taking action toward a more just world

April 10th (9am to 4:30 pm) 

Valerie Brown sponsored by The Opening Heart Mindfulness Community

No Matter What, Choose Love: Cultivating Compassionate Action in a Changing World

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 join us on Saturday, April 10 for this very special day-long retreat led by Valerie Brown 


Day of Mindfulness with Morning Sun Community with Michael Ciborski and others

April 18th (10 am to 3 pm) 

  • 10:00 am: Welcome to the Sangha  (login encouraged 10-15 minutes earlier)
  • 10:10 am: Guided Opening Meditation
  • 10:35 am: Guided Mindful Movements
  • 10:45 am: Dharma Talk by Dharma teacher or Sharing by Sangha Practitioner
  • 11:45 am: Invitations for personal practice period
  • 12:00 pm: Outdoor Walking Meditation, Eating Meditation (offline)
  • 1:00 pm: Guided Deep Relaxation
  • 1:30 pm: Dharma Sharing
  • 2:15 pm: Dharma Activity
  • 2:45 pm: Guided Closing Meditation, Sharing the Merit, Goodbyes (end at 3pm)

Help immigrants with Dignity Bags

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The members of Blooming Lilac Sangha have been very active in the past in filling backpacks for inmates coming out of the Immigration Detention Center (Prison) in Batavia to help them with essentials they may need while journeying to various places. Rev. Chava is reporting the good news that there are 4 or 5 inmates being released daily. Annie O’Reilly has 11 backpacks that need to be filled with the following: 4 packs of wipes, 10 small bottles of sanitizer, 7 small packs of tissues, 11 granola bars or another food that does not need refrigeration, 9 small notebooks, 11 toothbrushes, 10 Manila envelopes, 11 pairs of socks. If you would like to help, Annie can meet you on Sunday, April 11 at 1 to 1:30 pm, at Highland Park Conservatory to retrieve any items. If you would like to send money for the $20 that goes into each backpack or for the above mentioned items, contact her for an address or meet her at Highland Park Conservatory. Thank you on behalf of the inmates. 
Annie O’Reilly
Ukemiracle1 @gmail.com

 

Blooming Lilac Sangha Schedule

Sundays: 4 pm – 6 pm: Format: Meditation from 4 pm to 5 pm with twenty-minute sittings and 5-minute walking meditation. We offer a recorded Dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh, a reading, or a guided meditation.

Tuesday & Thursday mornings: 7:15 am - 8:15 am:   Tuesday is silent meditation from 7:15 to 8 am. Thursday offers a guided meditation and walking from 7:15 to 8 am. We enjoy a short reading (3 to 5 minutes) after the meditation. The meditation (silent or guided) goes from 7:15 am – 8 am. Then at 8 am we take turns reading from a chosen book. We are currently reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s book: Good Citizens.

1st & 3rd Thursday evenings: Meditation & Study Meditation starts at 7 pm - 8:30 pm. Please arrive by 6:55 pm. We enjoy a short meditation and a longer reading (usually a chapter) together on 1st and 3rd Thursday evenings. ---On the 1st Thursday evening we are reading afresh the book: The Heart of the Buddha’s teaching- Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, & Liberation. The four Noble Truths, The Noble Eightfold Path & Other basic Buddhist Teachings.----On the 3rd Thursday evening we are reading the book: The Art of Living, Peace and Freedom in the Here and Now.

14 Mindfulness Trainings recitations: We meet on the 4th Thursday of the month. 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. 

Zoom information: You may use a phone, smartphone, iPad, or computer. If you have a camera on your smartphone or computer you can have a video connection as well as audio. Computers and laptops should automatically install Zoom as you enter the meeting. If you are using an Apple iPhone/iPad, or an Android device you will need to download and install the app in advance. Email bloominglilacsangha@gmail.com for log-in information.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

BLS Newsletter - March 2021

March Day of Mindfulness: Hello Spring: Awaken to the Earth

When: March 20, 10 AM - 4 PM
Where: Zoom

Schedule:
10:00 AM Welcome & Settling in
10:15 AM Silent Meditation
10:45 AM Tea break
11:00 AM Earth Holder Dharma Talk
12:00 PM Mindful Plant Based Meal on your own
1:00 PM Climate Solutions Accelerator: Community and Individual Actions
1:30 PM Mindful Walk & Council of All Beings
2:15 PM Tea Break
2:30 PM Earth Holder Sangha: Mindful EarthJustice Work
3:00 PM Dharma Sharing
3:45 PM Song and Closing

“Every One of us can do something to protect and care for our planet. We have to live in such a way that a future will be possible for our children and our grandchildren. Our own life has to be our message.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter." - Rachel Carson

Please contact Karen Smith at kdesjardin@gmail.com to RSVP for zoom link or volunteer to assist

Blooming Lilac Sangha Schedule

Sundays: 4 pm – 6 pm: Zoom session starts anytime from 3:45 pm on. Please arrive by 3:55 pm. Format: Meditation from 4 pm to 5 pm with twenty-minute sittings and 5-minute walking meditation. We offer a recorded Dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh, a reading, or a guided meditation.

Tuesday & Thursday mornings: 7:15 am - 8:15 am: Zoom available starting at 7 am. Please arrive by 7:10 am. Tuesday is silent meditation from 7:15 to 8 am. Thursday offers a guided meditation and walking from 7:15 to 8 am. We enjoy a short reading (3 to 5 minutes) after the meditation. The meditation (silent or guided) goes from 7:15 am – 8 am. Then at 8 am we take turns reading from a chosen book. We are currently reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s book: Good Citizens.

1st & 3rd Thursday evenings: Meditation & Study 6:45 pm. Meditation starts at 7 pm - 8:30 pm. Please arrive by 6:55 pm. We enjoy a short meditation and a longer reading (usually a chapter) together on 1st and 3rd Thursday evenings. ---On the 1st Thursday evening we are reading afresh the book: The Heart of the Buddha’s teaching- Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, & Liberation. The four Noble Truths, The Noble Eightfold Path & Other basic Buddhist Teachings.----On the 3rd Thursday evening we are reading the book: The Art of Living, Peace and Freedom in the Here and Now.

14 Mindfulness Trainings recitations: We meet on the 4th Thursday of the month. 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. Please arrive by 6:25 pm.

Zoom information: You may use a phone, smartphone, iPad, or computer. If you have a camera on your smartphone or computer you can have a video connection as well as audio. Computers and laptops should automatically install Zoom as you enter the meeting. If you are using an Apple iPhone/iPad, or an Android device you will need to download and install the app in advance. Email bloominglilacsangha@gmail.com for log-in information.
(janet)

Finding Our True Home

Please enjoy Dharma teacher, Mitch Ratner’s description of Thay’s teaching of stopping and returning to awareness.:

Dear Still Water Friends,
When I went to Plum Village for the Winter Retreat in 1991, I learned the Hearing the Bell Gatha:

Listen, listen,
this wonderful sound.
brings me back.
to my true home.
 

I was instructed that whenever I heard a bell – a temple bell, chiming clock, church bell, or telephone – I should stop what I was doing and become aware of my breath, for a least three in-breaths and three out-breaths. I should return to “my true home.” In its outer form, the practice was not difficult. It was a little like a game. When a bell sounded – and they sounded rather frequently – I could stop washing dishes, stop talking to a friend, and just breathe. It was especially easy because everyone around me was doing it, too.

Gradually, over years, I came to understand that the inner practice of learning to return to “my true home” was really at the heart of everything at Plum Village. Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) explains in At Home in the World:

Our true home is the present moment, whatever is happening right here and right now. Our true home is a place without discrimination, a place without hatred. Our true home is the place where we are no longer seeking anything, no longer yearning for anything, no longer regretting anything. When we return to right here and right now with the energy of mindfulness, we will be able to establish our true home in the present moment.

Your true home is something you have to create for yourself. When we know how to make peace with our body, to take care of our body, and release the tension in our body, then our body becomes a comfortable, peaceful home for us to come back to in the present moment. When we know how to take care of our feelings—when we know how to generate joy and happiness, and how to handle a painful feeling—we can cultivate and restore a happy home in the present moment. And when we know how to generate the energies of understanding and compassion, our home will be a very cozy, pleasant place to come back to. But if we’re not able to do these things, we won’t want to go home. Home is not something to hope for, but to cultivate. There is no way home; home is the way.

-Mitchell Ratner

Dharma Talks from Micheal Ciborski

Dear Friends,

Would you like instructions on mindfulness and deep core teachings in the Plum Village tradition when you need them? Dharma teacher Michael Ciborski offered an online retreat in December 2020. He generously offered the Dharma talks from that retreat. Thanks to Kobi R, they are easily accessed on YouTube

Please make a donation to Michael here in whatever amount you can.

Mindfulness in Everyday Living at Little Lakes Community Center

Meets the first and third Tuesday, from 10 am to 11 am, Lead by Annie O’Reilly
Meet in person at: 4705 S. Main St., Hemlock, NY 14466 (Google Maps Directions) or by Zoom by visiting littlelakesny.org and clicking on the icon for registering.

In the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, learn how to resolve conflicts, honor our ancestors and the earth. We will do basic practices, such as breath and walking meditation and more!

Dana is $5 donation toward Little Lakes Community Center.

Questions? Email Annie, ukemiracle1@gmail.com

ARISE Love Letter

ARISE (Awakening Through Race, Intersectionality and Social Equity) Love Letter In Response to the White Supremacist Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and Those Who Perpetrated Similar Acts of Violence Across the United States, as COVID-19 Deaths Exceed 4000 in a Single Day

Dear Thay, dear Beloved Community,

We are grateful for the breath to bring us back home to our body. This simple and profound act of breathing in awareness is a skillful means to come back home during these chaotic times.

The Mangala Sutra (Discourse on Happiness) offers the Buddha’s response on how we assure blessings and protection upon ourselves. It reminds us that when we practice to be an anchor, a blessing to ourselves, this is the greatest gift we can offer to the world.

We offer this reminder during these ungrounded times. We remember that we are the anchor, the protection, the blessed ones that assures we act into peace and step fully into justice. From this place of patience, clarity, humility, compassion, and generosity we lay bare the need for justice for all those suffering from the insurrection that occurred in the US Capitol. We lay bare the need for justice for all those who continue to suffer from similar acts of violence across the United States. We acknowledge this history of violence and we acknowledge the suffering.

We will not skip over justice in a rush for peace because we know one cannot happen without the other. True peace is the settling of the violence which justice attempts to name and take care of. We will not be able to have true peace, until we address the injustices. As Thây says, it’s peace of something…it’s a peace of the violence and injustice. Let us not shy away from naming the injustice that we are practicing to find ways to bring into peace. With true justice as our practice peace is the only way.

These are the times we have been practicing for and this we joyfully and reverently embrace as our true home. Welcome home dear Thây, welcome home dear Beloved Community.

Breathing in I am a blessing to myself and the world
Breathing out I embody this truth
Breathing in I acknowledge the harm caused by white supremacy
Breathing out I feel steady as a mountain
Breathing in I take good care of my suffering
Breathing out I feel calm
Breathing in I abandon the path of suffering of white superiority
Breathing out I release and flow like a river
Breathing in I realize the blessings of my true home
Breathing out I am home, grounded and connected in my body
Breathing in I practice the path of healing from inferiority, superiority and equality
Breathing out I am solid like the earth
Breathing in I know my liberation is connected to yours
Breathing out I smile

Perhaps you may be stunned, shocked, angry, hurting, confused, unsettled, anxious. Or perhaps you may not know what you are feeling. Our practice invites us to embrace our emotions, notice them, be with them. Hold them and breathe with them as you would a young child. Notice the sensations in your body, and move your body and do what can help release — touch the earth, touch the ancestors, be in nature, sing, dance, engage with your creative self, etc.

We invite you to be in the company of others with whom you will feel nourished — your Sangha, a listening circle, close friends.

We also invite you to take mindful care of consumption of social media, the news, conversations, e-mail, technology to care for yourself and the collective body and consciousness.

Together we remain anchored in our body, in love, in our ancestors, and the earth. We cultivate our joy and freshness and offer this to hold the sorrow. And we do this over and over again, with each mindful breath.

With the strength and joy of the sangha, in solidarity, and in love,
ARISE Core Group

Saturday, February 13, 2021

BLS Newsletter - February 2021

February Day of Mindfulness

When: Sunday Feb 21 12:30 to 5:00
Where: Zoom Session

This month’ Day of Mindfulness falls about one week after Tet. So we will set as our theme the special dharma teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh for the New Year's Celebration of the Vietnamese people. Chris Phillips will tell some short stories of how much fun is had in Vietnam and at Plum Village for the festival. We shall celebrate the special place Tet holds in the hearts of Vietnamese people and their families and what it is like for our brothers and sisters at Plum Village to enjoy this special time of community solidarity.

We will enjoy the annual Oracle practice as it was lead by Thay when Chris was at Plum Village for a month during the winter retreat of 2000. Thay and the monastic family have transformed this ordinary party game with fortune cookie style predictions into a special poetic koan drawn for each person from Vietnam's national epic. Each sangha member draws from the big bell a short verse by the “Shakespeare of Vietnamese” as their personal dharma riddle to shine light on their practice and life in the new year.

We will practice Earth Touchings to celebrate our interbeing solidarity with the Vietnamese people, our stream of spiritual ancestors, and the special power of our Tet aspiration for the year ahead. There will be singing and music. There will be a party game pantomime over zoom. And of course there will be Dharma Sharing at the end of the day to nurture each others' mindfulness and give our thanks to the heritage which brought us Thich Nhat Hanh and so many tools for happiness, peace and justice.

RSVP now to get your Oracle delivered by midnight of 2/19 by emailing Karen Helles at klhelles@gmail.com

Listening Circles for Healing White Racism

BLS Listening Circles for Healing White Racism, with Cedar Cabin and Apple Blossom Sanghas - Session 5

Feb 16, 7- 8:30 PM via Zoom: Moving Forward

Based on the work of John Bell, Dharma Teacher, educator and community activist, Blooming Lilac Sangha has been hosting a series of Listening Circles for Healing White Racism. This session, originally planned for JAN 19, was postponed, to allow us to consider, hold and respond to the violence at the Capitol building and its aftermath. We will be going ahead with it on Feb 16. We’ll use our next session to consider what we’ve learned and what we will do next to continue moving forward.

Listening Circles provide a safe, structured space for white people to listen and be listened to, separate from their friends of color, about the emotional, heart level damage they have experienced by being soaked in racism and white supremacy conditioning. They provide a way for us to begin to transform and heal so we can become better allies, and act mindfully as we take on the work of dismantling cultural and institutional racism.

These Listening Circle sessions since September have been deeply appreciated by participants, with nearly all wishing to continue the process. Prior sessions have focused on exploring our own experience of racial identity, our needs for healing, and recognizing the effects of white privilege on others and in ourselves.

For whom is this intended and what will this involve?
It’s intended for practitioners practicing with the Blooming Lilac, Cedar Cabin and Apple Blossom Sanghas who self-identify as white. Again it will involve a commitment to a single 90-minute Zoom gathering It will require a capacity for compassionate listening and mindful speech (with the aspiration to listen and look deeply as if we were the Buddha) There are no fees associated with participation There is an expectation of respectful confidentiality, during and after the session, as we would do for Dharma Sharing. Additional sessions may be possible if interest exists, but are not yet planned.

To learn more or register please email us at bloominglilacsangha@gmail.com

(If you email us using the link above it will automatically provide the “Listening Circles” Subject line. It will also offer text for you to advise us if you have or haven't attended previous sessions. You can always delete that and put in your own text or questions.)

Note: If you have already emailed BLS that you plan to attend - no need to re-send

The Blooming Lilac Sangha Listening Circles Planning Team

Online Meditation and Chanting options

Visit Dharma Pathways website.

Dharma Pathways is a collaboration of dedicated Buddhist monastics whose aspiration is to support individuals and communities on the path of awakening, service, and wellbeing.

Mid-Winter Online Retreat “Interbeing: Opening our Hearts to Life”

February 18 - 21, 2021

The greater New England Sangha is offering an online Retreat with talks and meditations led by Dharma teachers Fern Dorresteyn, Richard Brady and Michael Ciborski, as well as many wonderful practices, such as dharma sharing in small groups, walking meditation, deep relaxation, and tea meditation offered by other local Sangha leaders.

Blooming Lilac Sangha Schedule

Sundays: 4 pm – 6 pm: Zoom session starts anytime from 3:45 pm on. Please arrive by 3:55 pm. Format: Meditation from 4 pm to 5 pm with twenty-minute sittings and 5-minute walking meditation. We offer a recorded Dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh, a reading, or a guided meditation.

Tuesday & Thursday mornings: 7:15 am - 8:15 am: Zoom available starting at 7 am. Please arrive by 7:10 am. Tuesday is silent meditation from 7:15 to 8 am. Thursday offers a guided meditation and walking from 7:15 to 8 am. We enjoy a short reading (3 to 5 minutes) after the meditation. The meditation (silent or guided) goes from 7:15 am – 8 am. Then at 8 am we take turns reading from a chosen book. We are currently reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s book: Good Citizens.

1st & 3rd Thursday evenings: Meditation & Study 6:45 pm. Meditation starts at 7 pm - 8:30 pm. Please arrive by 6:55 pm. We enjoy a short meditation and a longer reading (usually a chapter) together on 1st and 3rd Thursday evenings. ---On the 1st Thursday evening we are reading afresh the book: The Heart of the Buddha’s teaching- Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, & Liberation. The four Noble Truths, The Noble Eightfold Path & Other basic Buddhist Teachings.----On the 3rd Thursday evening we are reading the book: The Art of Living, Peace and Freedom in the Here and Now.

14 Mindfulness Trainings recitations: We meet on the 4th Thursday of the month. 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. Please arrive by 6:25 pm.

Zoom information: You may use a phone, smartphone, iPad, or computer. If you have a camera on your smartphone or computer you can have a video connection as well as audio. Computers and laptops should automatically install Zoom as you enter the meeting. If you are using an Apple iPhone/iPad, or an Android device you will need to download and install the app in advance. Email bloominglilacsangha@gmail.com for log-in information.

From Dharma teacher Mitchell Ratner of Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center

stillwatermpc.org

Setting Intention for the New Year

Over the decades, as I’ve written many New Year’s resolutions, I’ve learned to distinguish between my goals and my intentions. In “The Heart’s Intention” Dharma teacher Phillip Moffitt clarifies the difference:

"Goal making is a valuable skill; it involves envisioning a future outcome in the world or in your behavior, then planning, applying discipline, and working hard to achieve it. .... Committing to and visualizing those goals may assist you in your efforts, but neither of these activities is what I call setting intention. They both involve living in an imagined future and are not concerned with what is happening to you in the present moment. With goals, the future is always the focus: Are you going to reach the goal? Will you be happy when you do? What's next?

Setting intention, at least according to Buddhist teachings, is quite different than goal making. It is not oriented toward a future outcome. Instead, it is a path or practice that is focused on how you are "being" in the present moment. Your attention is on the ever-present "now" in the constantly changing flow of life. You set your intentions based on understanding what matters most to you and make a commitment to align your worldly actions with your inner values."


Samyak samkalpa, is the second element in the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. Although samyak samkalpa is often translated as “wholesome thinking” or “wholesome resolve,” Moffitt and others prefer “wholesome intention” which emphasizes that it is samkalpa(intention) that initiates action. The karmic energy contained in our thoughts, spoken words, and behaviors arises from our wholesome (or unwholesome) intentions.

The “wholesome intention” I regularly come back to is to be mindfully present.

When I am mindfully present during my sitting meditation, I can recognize and embrace my physical and mental sensations without wanting to change them. When I am mindfully present in daily life, I feel more alive, more at ease, less pushed around by fears and anxieties. It is not that everything is suddenly changed and I become perfect. I am still a work in progress. I still procrastinate, say stupid things, and get anxious making decisions. (Sigh.) However, it is clear that with mindful presence, I live with greater ease and joy.

One of the distinctive teachings of the Plum Village tradition is that mindful presence is a source of joy, not a burden or an obligation.

Thich Nhat Hanh writes in Breathe, You Are Alive!:

"In traditional Chinese medicine, doctors often offer their patients something healing that is delicious to eat. And just by eating, you begin to heal in a pleasant and relaxed way. The same thing is true with the practice. While you practice sitting, you enjoy sitting. While you practice breathing, you enjoy the breathing. And if you are able to enjoy yourself, then healing and transformation will take place.

When you're able to stop and breathe and enjoy each moment, you're doing it for all your ancestors. Make a peaceful step. Smiling and touching the earth happily is very important. Your practice is not for yourself alone, it benefits the whole world.

We practice stopping and observing to arrive at liberation. We live as if we're in a dream. We're dragged into the past and pulled into the future. We're bound by our sorrows, agitation, and fear, and we hold on to our anger, which blocks communication. "Liberation" means transforming and transcending these conditions in order to be fully awake, at ease and in peace, joyfully and freshly. When we live in this way, our life is worth living, and we become a source of joy to our family and to everyone around us."

My New Year’s hope is that 2021 will bring an increase in mindful presence and joy to all beings, everywhere.

Warm New Year’s blessings to all,

Mitchell Ratner

Racial Justice Project Newsletter from Indigo Sangha

Check out the January edition of the newsletter from Indigo Sangha.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

BLS Newsletter - January 2021

New Year’s Eve Gathering!!

Grief and Gratitude:
A New Years Eve of Reflection, Practice, Grieving and Celebration


Dear Friends,

Normally Blooming Lilac Sangha has celebrated New Year’s Eve by gathering in person and having a fun, meaningful, and joyful Tea Ceremony. This year we cannot do that in person and somehow it didn’t see feasible to do it on Zoom. However, Dharma Teachers Larry Ward, Peggy Rowe Ward and many others including Sister Hai An are offering a chance for “Deep togetherness, ritual, play, music and practice as we bid farewell to 2020 and welcome 2021”:

Sliding Scale, $0-$108

8pm EST - doors open

8:15pm EST - Welcome, silent meditation, and reflection practice - with Kim Fleisher

9pm EST - Joe Reilly will offer songs from his heart to honor the growth of the past year and encourage us to continue on the path of healing and transformation, inviting us to sing along and move together with joy!

10pm EST - Peggy and Larry will offer some somatics exercises, talk and guided meditation practicing with joy and grief.

11pm EST - Improvising on the Tar, Shahriar Panahi will offer pieces in classical Iranian music with a Plum Village spirit.

11:30pm EST - Sister Peace and HaiAn will offer practices to connect to our ancestors and descendants as we bid farewell to 2020 and welcome 2021.

12:30 am EST- Happy New Year and good night!

Come to part or all of it. Bring paper, a pen, and a candle.

Grief & Gratitude Registration

Conscious Being Day of Mindfulness

When: Saturday, January 16, 2021; 10 am to 3 pm
Where: Zoom - a link will be sent
If you liked Michael Ciborski’s retreat in early December or if you missed it, you will surely want to attend this Day of Mindfulness. The theme is Conscious Being, based on the talks and guided meditations offered that day. Please email Annie at ukemiracle1@gmail.com if you would like to help plan. See you then.

Listening Circles for Healing White Racism

BLS Listening Circles for Healing White Racism, with Cedar Cabin and Apple Blossom Sanghas.

JAN 19, 7- 8:30 PM via ZOOM: Reflecting and Looking Ahead

Based on the work of John Bell, Dharma Teacher, educator and community activist, Blooming Lilac Sangha has been hosting a series of Listening Circles for Healing White Racism. This is the last of our 4 scheduled sessions.

Listening Circles provide a safe, structured space for white people to listen and be listened to, separate from their friends of color, about the emotional, heart level damage they have experienced by being soaked in racism and white supremacy conditioning. They provide a way for us to begin to transform and heal so we can become better allies, and act mindfully as we take on the work of dismantling cultural and institutional racism.

Our first sessions in September, October and November were deeply appreciated by participants, with nearly all wishing to continue the process. Sessions have focused on exploring our own experience of racial identity, our needs for healing, and recognizing the effects of white privilege on others and in ourselves.

For whom is this intended and what will this involve? It’s intended for practitioners practicing with the Blooming Lilac, Cedar Cabin and Apple Blossom Sanghas who self-identify as white. Again it will involve a commitment to a single 90-minute Zoom gathering It will require a capacity for compassionate listening and mindful speech (with the aspiration to listen and look deeply as if we were the Buddha) There are no fees associated with participation There is an expectation of respectful confidentiality, during and after the session, as we would do for Dharma Sharing Follow-up sessions may be possible if interest exists, but are not yet planned.

To learn more or register please email us at bloominglilacsangha@gmail.com. The link should automatically begin a new email in your default email client with “Listening Circles for Healing White Racism” in the Subject line and begin the message body should auto-populate beginning with a sentence where you can indicate if you have participated in the prior BLS Listening Circle sessions or not, simply delete the incorrect statement in "I have/have not participated". If that doesn't work for you, please enter these manually in your email client of choice. Note: If you have already emailed BLS that you plan to attend - no need to re-send

Climate Solutions Accelerator of the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region

Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC) has changed its name, created a new brand, and launched a new website! We are now... climategfl.org

Why this change? Words matter. This name clearly articulates who we are, what we do, and how we do it. Our new name better reflects our focus on catalyzing effective climate action among governments, organizations and citizens across our nine-county region. It highlights the urgency of the climate crisis that drives our work and our community's ability to quickly implement systemic solutions.

Try these tips to reduce your personal carbon footprint:

Use this Carbon Footprint Calculator to find out which of your day-to-day activities could be “greener.”

Upgrade the energy efficiency of your home and get a heat pump and/or consider Go All Electric!

Eat less meat and other animal products -The Rochester Area Vegan Society can help you learn how to eat in a more climate friendly way. Purchase locally produced and seasonal foods, which Headwater Food Hub and Taproot Collective can provide. Eat organic food, or pesticide and synthetic nitrogen fertilizer-free foods - visit NOFA-NY for more information

In gratitude for sharing these resources with you!
Karen Smith

Earth Holder Online Sangha

Please enjoy the following recent Earth Holder Sangha recordings.


November: Living & Practicing in Times of Crisis with Brother Man.
Brother Fulfillment (Brother Phap Man, Br. Man for short) is a monastic ordained at Plum Village in 2007. He received the Dharma Teacher lamp transmission in 2016. Brother Man is currently part of Dharma Pathways, a new monastic collective of monastics who are outside of the PV monasteries supporting communities and projects like social justice. Living in NYC is a current 'sacrifice/practice'—the question/koan he is looking at: how to bring beauty/joy/peace/nature/wilds and deep connections back to our city spaces. https://www.dharmapathways.org

December: The Insight of Remembering: Mother of Indonesia, Ibu Pertiwi, and You
Led by Brian Kimmel (BK), who was offered the Dharma Name True Lotus Concentration, by Thich Nhat Hanh and in 2006, and the lineage name, Health-giving Music of the Heart, in 1999. BK is located in Seattle, and is in private practice as a mental health counselor, bodyworker, musician-songwriter, and movement educator.

For more Earth Holder Community resources, please visit us at earthholder.org.

In gratitude for the earth, a beautiful jewel in the cosmos,
Karen Smith

Blooming Lilac Sangha Schedule

Sundays: 4 pm – 6 pm: Zoom session starts anytime from 3:45 pm on. Please arrive by 3:55 pm. Format: Meditation from 4 pm to 5 pm with twenty-minute sittings and 5-minute walking meditation. We offer a recorded Dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh, a reading, or a guided meditation.

Tuesday & Thursday mornings: 7:15 am - 8:15 am: Zoom available starting at 7 am. Please arrive by 7:10 am. Tuesday is silent meditation from 7:15 to 8 am. Thursday offers a guided meditation and walking from 7:15 to 8 am. We enjoy a short reading (3 to 5 minutes) after the meditation. The meditation (silent or guided) goes from 7:15 am – 8 am. Then at 8 am we take turns reading from a chosen book. We are currently reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s book: Good Citizens.

1st & 3rd Thursday evenings: Meditation & Study 6:45 pm. Meditation starts at 7 pm - 8:30 pm. Please arrive by 6:55 pm. We enjoy a short meditation and a longer reading (usually a chapter) together on 1st and 3rd Thursday evenings. ---On the 1st Thursday evening we are reading afresh the book: The Heart of the Buddha’s teaching- Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, & Liberation. The four Noble Truths, The Noble Eightfold Path & Other basic Buddhist Teachings.----On the 3rd Thursday evening we are reading the book: The Art of Living, Peace and Freedom in the Here and Now.

14 Mindfulness Trainings recitations: We meet on the 4th Thursday of the month. 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. Please arrive by 6:25 pm.

Zoom information: You may use a phone, smartphone, iPad, or computer. If you have a camera on your smartphone or computer you can have a video connection as well as audio. Computers and laptops should automatically install Zoom as you enter the meeting. If you are using an Apple iPhone/iPad, or an Android device you will need to download and install the app in advance. Email bloominglilacsangha@gmail.com for log-in information.

Practice Resources in a Time of Uncertainty

Enjoy Dharma talks by Thich Nhat Hanh and other Dharma teachers in the Plum Village Tradition.