Sunday, September 1, 2019

BLS Newsletter - September 2019

Blooming Lilac Day of Play

Join us for a Day of Play on Sunday, September 15 12:30 pm to 6:00 pm at East Lodge in Mendon Ponds Park.

Bring your inner child and sense of adventure as we water seeds of joy through fun games, activities and crafts. Bring a comfortable lawn chair, mat/pillow (for deep relaxation), your favorite childhood games and a favorite vegetarian dish to pass. RSVP to Donna Burke at dburke817@gmail.com.

Day of Play Schedule

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm Arriving and settling in
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Fun and Games
 1:30 pm - 2:00 pm Cookies and Milk (Mindful Eating)
 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm  Nap Time (Deep Relaxation Guided Meditation/Music)
 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm  Mindful Movements and Walking Meditation
 3:30 pm - 4:00 pm Making Music Together:  Songs and Drum Circle
 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm Show and Tell (Dharma Sharing): Bring an item, story or special memory to share from your childhood.
 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm Pot Luck Dinner: Bring your favorite dish from your childhood or make a family recipe to connect with our ancestors

Possible games/equipment:  Sidewalk chalk, Box ball, 4 Square, Yo-yos, Hop Scotch, Paddleball, Hula Hoop, Bubbles, Arts and Crafts, Coloring books, Face painting, Board games,

Practicing Together


Regularly Scheduled BLS Events that are not on Sunday.
 

Thursday evening practice:

Live stream participation available via Zoom. Contact Karen Smith at kdesjardin@gmail.com for access information
 

Core Teachings:

First Thursday evening of each month 7 pm - 8:30 pm at 375 Westminster Road, Rochester, 14607. An opportunity to study Core practices and teachings of the Plum Village tradition. We are exploring the book The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh, and inviting sangha members to take turns sharing one Plum Village practice meaningful to them. You are welcome to any and all meetings. No need to make every session. Dharma teacher, Valerie Brown will be joining us for the August 1 Core Teachings.
 

Study And Meditation - Inclusivity:

Third Thursday each month from 7 pm - 8:30 pm at 375 Westminster Road, Rochester, 14607. We start with meditation, then read from Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community by Larry Yang. We follow with Dharma sharing to look more deeply at these issues. You can show up any month for these meditation and study sessions.
 

14 Mindfulness Trainings Study and Practice:

Fourth Thursday of the month. We start with meditation, then read and share the practice of the 14 Mindfulness trainings. Read more about the practice at orderofinterbeing.org All are welcome to explore this practice. For location and directions write to BloomingLilacSangha@gmail.com

Morning Meditations:

Every Tuesday and Thursday 7:15 am to 8:15 am 375 Westminster Road, Rochester, 14607

Retreat with Michael Ciborski - The Path of Freedom

When: November 14 - 18, 2019
Where: Mercy Prayer Center, Rochester, NY

Look for registration materials to come out in Early October
The Path of Freedom retreat offers an opportunity for us, as individuals, and as a community to slow down and touch life deeply. To reconnect with the deep and meaningful inspirations in our hearts that have been covered up by busyness and stress. To discover how we can let these inspirations blossom outwards into the world.

In this retreat, we will study the Noble Eightfold Path, not as a mental or academic exercise, but as an introspective discovery of how each spoke on the wheel manifests in our own lives.

With inward cultivation (Right Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration) we find freedom and joy, developing our capacity to be truly present in this very moment, and to draw nourishment from the wonders and beauty of Life.

Out of this concentration on reality, we steadily grow and deepen our understanding, (Right View) transforming our way of seeing things, kindling the possibility of true freedom and goodness.

This wonderful possibility is carried outwards into the world through every intention, thought, word, and deed (Right Thought, Communication, and Action)- every gesture of kindness and commitment to consume with care. It shapes the way we express ourselves in daily life and supports our healthy participation in society (Right Livelihood).

Through our practice of mindfulness, understanding and compassion, we can transcend the barrier between inner and outer, self and other, and our spiritual aspirations and embodied reality become one. It is a path of joy and freedom.

A full reading on the Eight-Fold Path can be found in Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh

BLS - Caring Connection

Blooming Lilac Sangha is operating a Caring Connection where we as individuals, in a group, are committed to helping each other when one of us is ill, injured, in crisis, or caring for someone who is sick. We need to add names of people who would like to join this group. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet new people or get to know each other more in-depth, while caring for each other. Help may be in the form of meals, giving rides, sending metta or cards, visiting, and meditating together. If you need to get a little outside of your comfort zone, please email Annie at ukemiracle1@gmail.com and give her your name and contact information.

Dignity Bags

The Blooming Lilac Sangha (BLS) has adopted a program administered by Los Samaritanos. People who are left to wait for a bus after leaving the Batavia Detention Center (a facility of ICE) frequently need practical help:reaching relatives, and dealing with other issues. They might need a weather appropriate coat or a meal. Often they are facing a bus ride of several days with only the clothes on their back. They have been in detention (sometimes for many months) and their families have at last been able to raise bond (which is typically being set at $15,000 these days). Now they will be on the outside, but still in the system, usually with a pending court date.

The response by our sangha has been overwhelmingly generous. We have enough Dignity Bag backpacks and supplies to fill 9 backpacks. Many of the items are food or hygiene-related and for now, we have enough. If you like, you may also donate new or gently used winter coats, spring/fall jackets, rain ponchos and sweatshirts. If you would like to send money for the effort, please make check out to Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church, P.O. Box 10602, Rochester, NY 14610 and earmark it to Los Samaritanos. There may be enough need by the time our next bulletin arrives, so stay tuned. For any questions about this program or to donate the above clothing, email Annie at ukemiracle1@gmail.com. Thank you for your generosity as we practice Engaged Buddhism.

Mindfulness Programs with Chris Phillips

Weekly Unified Mindfulness Rochester classes
Monday evenings, 7:30, 339 Berkeley Street
Friday mornings, 10:00 am, Spiritus Christi Church, 121 N FitzHugh

Unified Mindfulness Rochester Welcome & Intro Meetings
Friday 9/13 1:00 - 2:30, Spiritus Christi
Saturday 9/28 8:30 - 10:00 Rochester Mennonite Fellowship, 111 Hillside Ave

General Mindfulness Programs
Friday 9/27 1:00 "Mindfulness Using Labels & Gathas" Spiritus Christi
Saturday 9/28 10:30 - Noon "What is Equanimity?" Mennonite Fellowship

Please RSVP to Chris one week in advance sunlightoftheheart@outlook.com, 585-305-6949

Ceremony for the Deceased

Ceremony for the Deceased & Day of Mindfulness
Saturday, October 19
Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester

Retreat from civilization and busy-ness for one afternoon to enjoy sitting and walking meditation with the ancestors and the earth. We will set up a circle of lawn chairs, blankets and cushions in the oldest section of historic Mount Hope. Plug back into the stream of life. Bring a picture and a story to tell about any beloved being or family member. We will end the afternoon with the full Plum Village Ceremony for the Deceased and a dharma sharing period to practice deep listening as we share memorial stories of those who have "Continued" their transformation.

To help out with the day or attend, rsvp to Chris Phillips, skunkowl@yahoo.com

Practicing Mindful Breathing

When you contemplate the big, full sunrise, the more mindful and concentrated you are, the more the beauty of the sunrise is revealed to you. Suppose you are offered a cup of tea, very fragrant, very good tea. If your mind is distracted, you cannot really enjoy the tea. You have to be mindful of the tea, you have to be concentrated on it, so the tea can reveal its fragrance and wonder to you. That is why mindfulness and concentration are such sources of happiness. That’s why a good practitioner knows how to create a moment of joy, a feeling of happiness, at any time of the day.

First Mindfulness Exercise: Mindful Breathing

The first exercise is very simple, but the power, the result, can be very great. The exercise is simply to identify the in-breath as in-breath and the out-breath as the out-breath. When you breathe in, you know that this is your in-breath. When you breathe out, you are mindful that this is your out-breath.

Just recognize: this is an in-breath, this is an out-breath. Very simple, very easy. In order to recognize your in-breath as in-breath, you have to bring your mind home to yourself. What is recognizing your in-breath is your mind, and the object of your mind—the object of your mindfulness—is the in-breath. Mindfulness is always mindful of something. When you drink your tea mindfully, it’s called mindfulness of drinking. When you walk mindfully, it’s called mindfulness of walking. And when you breathe mindfully, that is mindfulness of breathing.

So the object of your mindfulness is your breath, and you just focus your attention on it. Breathing in, this is my in-breath. Breathing out, this is my out-breath. When you do that, the mental discourse will stop. You don’t think anymore. You don’t have to make an effort to stop your thinking; you bring your attention to your in-breath and the mental discourse just stops. That is the miracle of the practice. You don’t think of the past anymore. You don’t think of the future. You don’t think of your projects, because you are focusing your attention, your mindfulness, on your breath.

It gets even better. You can enjoy your in-breath. The practice can be pleasant, joyful. Someone who is dead cannot take any more in-breaths. But you are alive. You are breathing in, and while breathing in, you know that you are alive. The in-breath can be a celebration of the fact that you are alive, so it can be very joyful. When you are joyful and happy, you don’t feel that you have to make any effort at all. I am alive; I am breathing in. To be still alive is a miracle. The greatest of all miracles is to be alive, and when you breathe in, you touch that miracle. Therefore, your breathing can be a celebration of life.

An in-breath may take three, four, five seconds, it depends. That’s time to be alive, time to enjoy your breath. You don’t have to interfere with your breathing. If your in-breath is short, allow it to be short. If your out-breath is long, let it to be long. Don’t try to force it. The practice is simple recognition of the in-breath and the out-breath. That is good enough. It will have a powerful effect.

Full article with more mindfulness exercises at:
"Thich Nhat Hanh on The Practice of Mindfulness,” Lion’s Roar, 2017

Earth Holder Sangha Update

Earth Holder Sangha Call to Action for Youth Climate Strikes September 20th

The EHC Compassionate Direct Action (CDA) team has been working hard to make it easy for Earth Holders to get involved in the September 20th youth-led climate strikes (and beyond!). Here is a great article from 350.org on how to do just that.

Our home page has been updated with lots of resources and information - please check it out! And if you would like to be more involved with the CDA team, you can find out more on the EHC mindful hub.

Retreat Posters

Pictures of the Posters Valerie used at the August Retreat on "Nourishing Inner Wisdom, Joy, and Beloved Community in a Polarized World" can be found here.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

BLS Newsletter - August 2019

Canceled: Sun Aug 4 Practice at RZC

The 4 - 6 pm practice time on Sunday, August 4 at the Rochester Zen Center is canceled, there will not be a Newcomer’s Welcome.

Our apologies, but there will not anyone available to facilitate or let anyone into the building. Our members who typically facilitate will be practicing at the August 2 - 4 Retreat with Valerie Brown.

August Day of Mindfulness (DOM)

Please join us for a different kind of Day of Mindfulness on Saturday, August 17, 2019, 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Have a Lazy Day in or near the forest on marked trails, or in the garden or house. Contact Annie at ukemiracle1@gmail.com to RSVP and get directions.

Here is what Plum Village has to say:
A Lazy Day is a day for us to be truly with the day without any schedule activities. We just let the day unfold naturally, timelessly. It is a day in which we can practice as we like. We may do walking meditation on our own or with a friend or do sitting meditation in the forest. We might like to read lightly or write home to our family or to a friend.

It can be a day for us to look deeper at our practice and at our relations with others. We may learn a lot about how we have been practicing. We may recognize what to do or not to do in order to bring more harmony into our practice. Sometimes, we may force ourselves too much in the practice, creating disharmony within and around us. On this day, we have a chance to balance ourselves. We may recognize that we may simply need to rest or that we should practice more diligently. A Lazy Day is a gift for us and the Sangha to enjoy, in our own time and space. It is a very quiet day for everyone.

Practicing Together

Regularly Scheduled BLS Events that are not on Sunday.

Thursday evening practices offer Live stream participation available via Zoom. Contact Karen Smith at kdesjardin@gmail.com for access information

Core Teachings: First Thursday evening of each month 7 pm - 8:30 pm at 375 Westminster Road, Rochester, 14607. An opportunity to study Core practices and teachings of the Plum Village tradition. We are exploring the book The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh, and inviting sangha members to take turns sharing one Plum Village practice meaningful to them. You are welcome to any and all meetings. No need to make every session.

Study And Meditation - Inclusivity: Third Thursday each month from 7 pm - 8:30 pm at 375 Westminster Road, Rochester, 14607. We start with meditation, then read from Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community by Larry Yang. We follow with Dharma sharing to look more deeply at these issues. You can show up any month for these meditation and study sessions.

14 Mindfulness Trainings Study and Practice: Fourth Thursday of the month. We start with meditation, then read and share the practice of the 14 Mindfulness trainings. Read more about the practice at orderofinterbeing.org All are welcome to explore this practice. For location and directions contact Laurie Brewer at 585-698-7664 or laurie.breathe@gmail.com .

Morning Meditations: Every Tuesday and Thursday 7:15 am to 8:15 am 375 Westminster Road, Rochester, 14607

Retreat with Michael Ciborski

When:  November 14 - 18, 2019
Where:  Mercy Prayer Center, Rochester, NY

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Walking With Thay: A Book Project

Do you have a story of transformation inspired by Thay's teachings that you'd like to share? Proceeds raised will go towards the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation. View Mary & Jeanine's letter to learn more.

Update from Earth Holders

Greetings Dear Sangha

The Earth Holder Community received a dharma talk from Sandra Kim. Sandra shared stories and insights from her own journey in using the practice to help her heal from internalized oppression and co-create a more liberating future with others. You can watch her dharma talk on YouTube

"Earth Holders understands the interconnection between our environmental crisis and racism and therefore the interconnection between earth justice and racial justice. However, being mindful of this interconnection can be very difficult because we have been unconsciously conditioned to be so afraid of acknowledging the presence of racism and white supremacy in our society, in our communities, and within ourselves.

White supremacy teaches us that you're either a good (non-racist) person or you're a bad (racist) person. So it's understandable that many people, especially white people, are terrified of noticing and naming internalized white supremacy as such!

And yet, it is inevitable that all of us have internalized toxic messages from white supremacy because it is embedded in the founding of the US and in the society that we inherited.

So it's important for us to lean on our practice to remind ourselves that we are human beings raised in a society built on white supremacy and other forms of systemic oppression - but we don't need to be unconscious and mindless to it.

With our practice and sangha, we are able to be mindful of the presence of white supremacy within us and around us - with compassion and equanimity and take right action to address it.

But that's only possible if we're able to take care of the pain and fear that stands in the way between us and being mindful of its presence. "
-Sandra Kim, Founder of Everyday Feminism & Re-becoming Human

For additional resources from Sandra, please visit:
Re-Becoming Human: Heal from oppression and co-create a liberating life
Everyday Feminism: Apply intersectional feminism to your real life

Thursday, July 4, 2019

BLS Newsletter - July 2019


BLS Day of Mindfulness (DOM) for July Canceled

Blooming Lilac Sangha (BLS) had originally planned to offer a Day of Mindfulness (DOM) on July 21st, but it turns out we are unable to do so, the BLS DOM for July has been canceled. Stay tuned for future DOM offerings from BLS.

That being said, we at BLS want to encourage members to attend Valerie Brown's public talk and  Retreat / Days of Mindfulness (info in post immediately below)

Nourishing Inner Wisdom, Joy and Beloved Community in a Polarized World


Public Talk/ Days of Mindfulness Retreat with Dharma Teacher: Valerie Brown, in the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh.

This is a modular retreat, there is a free public talk by Valerie Brown on Friday, and then there are the two retreat days which require registration. You may choose to go to one, two, or all three events/days, the choice is yours. Let's pretend that the number zero hasn't been invented yet ;-).

When:
Free Public Talk
Friday, August 2, 7:00 pm (Doors open: 6:15 pm)

Retreat Days ( Registration Required )
Saturday, Aug. 3, 10:30 am to 6 pm
Sunday, Aug 4, 9:30 am to 5 pm

Where:
Friday and Saturday: Friends Meeting House, 7 Charlotte St, corner of Scio St.
Sunday: Westminster Road Meditation House, 375 Westminster Rd.

Join Valerie Brown to learn and practice mindful breathing, walking, and looking deeply on our journey to awaken from the illusion of separateness.

Valerie Brown, ‘True Sangha Power,' received Lamp Transmission at Plum Village, June 2018, and is a Dharma Teacher in the Plum Village tradition, and has been a member of the Order of Interbeing since 2003. She has been practicing in the Plum Village/Thich Nhat Hanh tradition since 1995. Valerie is a member of the Plum Village ARISE sangha.

Valerie transformed her high-pressure, twenty-year career as a lawyer-lobbyist, representing educational institutions and nonprofits, to human-scale work with leaders and teams to foster trustworthy and authentic connections. Through her writing, she seeks to foster a more compassionate and peaceful world. Visit her website for more information.

Registration for the Days of Mindfulness/ Retreat, and a Flyer for the public talk Valerie Brown is giving on Friday evening for anyone who would like to invite or share with others on social media, email etc.

After reading the brochure or flyer, if you should have any questions please email us at: bloominglilacsangha@gmail.com or call at: 585-360-6651

With much gratitude for your practice,
Janet Chaize for Blooming Lilac Sangha

Practicing Together

Regularly Scheduled BLS Events that are not on Sunday.

Thursday evening practices offer Live stream participation available via Zoom. Contact Karen Smith at kdesjardin@gmail.com for access information

July 4th Thursday Evening Practices session is canceled due to 4th of July holiday, other sessions will continue as usual.

Core Teachings: First Thursday evening of each month 7 pm - 8:30 pm at 375 Westminster Road, Rochester, 14607. An opportunity to study Core practices and teachings of the Plum Village tradition. We are exploring the book The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh, and inviting sangha members to take turns sharing one Plum Village practice meaningful to them. You are welcome to any and all meetings. No need to make every session.

July 4th Core Teachings session is canceled due to 4th of July holiday.

Study And Meditation - Inclusivity: Third Thursday each month from 7 pm - 8:30 pm at 375 Westminster Road, Rochester, 14607. We start with meditation, then read from Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community by Larry Yang. We follow with Dharma sharing to look more deeply at these issues. You can show up any month for these meditation and study sessions.

14 Mindfulness Trainings Study and Practice: Fourth Thursday of the month. We start with meditation, then read and share the practice of the 14 Mindfulness trainings. Read more about the practice at orderofinterbeing.org All are welcome to explore this practice. For location and directions contact Laurie Brewer at 585-698-7664 or laurie.breathe@gmail.com .

Morning Meditations: Every Tuesday and Thursday 7:15 am to 8:15 am 375 Westminster Road, Rochester, 14607

Unified Mindfulness w/ Chris Philips

Sangha member Chris Phillips leads a weekly class and monthly Saturday morning on "Unified Mindfulness," a system of vipassana or insight meditation.

Mondays 7 - 8:30 pm Webster
Fridays 10 - 11:30 am Spiritus Christi church downtown
First Saturdays Mennonite church, Hillside Ave

For more info contact Chris Philips at:
Phone: 845-264-7000
Email: Sunlightoftheheart@outlook.com
Social Media: Unified Mindfulness Facebook Page

Stillness & Presence Groups

After attending many interfaith groups which dialogue about the ideas of Buddhism and prayer Chris Phillips developed a small group method to share the interfaith experience. "Stillness & Presence"

These days 2 S&P groups meet:
every third Tuesday at 7 pm
and usually a Wednesday at 6:30 pm.

Format is
  1. opening meditation
  2. “weather reports” on the state of our mindfulness life and prayer life
  3. book discussion

We try to alternate between experiential books on either dharma/meditation or mystical prayer.

Tuesday group is currently sharing Jack Kornfield's After The Ecstacy The Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path. First person accounts from all traditions of growth towards enlightenment and after. Great stuff!

The Wed group is beginning a new topic. We'll be listening to James Finley, a former student of Thomas Merton's, program called Intimacy: The Divine Ambush.

Finley unpacks and makes accessible the mystical prayer teachings of St John of the Cross with many excellent bridges to mindfulness. How do we still grow when inspiration gets dry, life doesn't work, and the going gets confusing?

Contact Chris Phillips for meeting places and other info.
Phone: 845-264-7000,
Email: skunkowl@yahoo.com

Recovering Sangha Member Seeking CD Player

Sangha member, Jo Anne Wilson, is looking for a CD player so that she can listen to discs of dharma talks while she is recovering from a knee injury and surgery. Jo Anne Wilson can be reached by phone at: 585-427-7711.

Practicing Being A Lotus in Today's Sea of Fire - Our Bodhisattva Call

This month, the Earth Holder Sangha dharma talk was given by George Hoguet, True Precious Smile, who is an active member of the Earth Holder Community, and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and practices with the Laughing Rivers Sangha. His talk focused on balancing being a torch and a lotus at the same time in the dynamics of today's world.

George used Thay's "Lotus in a Sea of Fire" treatise to frame his talk, and reminded us that we can best be a light by promoting peace, calm and collaboration through our actions. When our actions reflect our practice, we can also retain our passion for important causes, while grounding our words and actions in kindness and compassion. These peaceful actions are seen and heard, and can help move the world forward in a positive direction. You can listen to his talk here on youtube. The video is auto-captioned in English.