Monday, 15 January 2018

This week @ Sangha + preparation for sutta study

Hi all.

Listening meditation last week was a terrific start to the year. We even had some impromptu Indian chime-playing from Carol to add to the multitude of sounds that came our way during meditation. 

This week
This week we have our monthly Open Discussion where we focus on applying the dharma to our daily lives, discussing experiences or challenges that we face and how the dharma might help. We hope you can join us.

Sutta study
If you'd like to join in the sutta study program this year, a reminder that you need to get yourself a copy of The Basic Teachings of the Buddha by Glenn Wallis. We'll set off on that adventure in two weeks' time. Please read the introduction to the book by then, so that the session will be most fruitful. It's a reasonable length introduction, so don't leave it til 5 minutes before sangha, but I think you'll find it very interesting.

This year's program
The program for the year is shaping up well, and we've updated it further this week. You can find it here.

Thought provoker
If you haven't already seen it, Winton Higgins wrote a short article in the SIM newsletter called Sanghas R Us. It's a timely thought prod as we start a new sangha year - indeed it's Beaches Sangha's 10th year. You can read it here.

Hope to see you at the hut on Thursday night.

(Photo by Yuriy Rzhemovskiy on Unsplash)

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Welcome to Sangha for 2018

Hello, and welcome to 2018 everyone! I hope you've all had a lovely holiday season. Beaches Sangha resumes its meetings this Thursday 11th January.

Over the past couple of months, your SOG (Sangha Organising Group) has been working on a schedule of topics for this year that we think will be engaging and educative. We've chosen 4 types of sessions that we'll rotate through each month. They are:

1) Sutta study: we'll be studying a book which contains 16 important suttas from the Pali canon (the earliest recorded teachings of the Buddha). If you'd like to join in, you'll need to get yourself a copy of The Basic Teachings of the Buddha by Glenn Wallis. We'll start this in February.

2) Speakers: we've already got a number of speakers booked for the year and are waiting to confirm several more. A couple of them are open to suggestion in terms of topics, so if there's a topic you'd like to learn about, let us know.

3) Open discussion: we had lots of this last year and people found it really valuable. It's where we discuss how the dharma can help in our real life, day to day situations.

4) Wild card: prepare to be surprised - it'll be different each month. We have everything from sound meditation in the garden this week, to  poetry nights, our favourite podcasts, star gazing, and lots more. These nights are where we'll use creative ways to open to the dharma.

Click here to see what we've got lined up for you so far. We're starting this week with sound meditation led by Sylvie. Weather permitting, we'll do this outside in the garden.

Your SOG for this year is me, Selena, Sylvie, Renata and Kate. If you have any ideas for topics or for sangha generally, please do speak to any one of us. I'd also like to say a big thank you to Betsy who has looked after the program every year since Beaches Sangha started 9 years ago. Thank you so much Betsy. I've been there for all 9 years of it and I appreciate it very much. A thank you also to Florence who, although we didn't see much of her, was our Treasurer last year. 

I hope to see you this week for the start of a new year of sangha wonderfulness.

Warm regards

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

This week @ Beaches - Poetry Night

Hi all.

This week is our last 'normal' session for the year at Beaches Sangha. We're going to have one of our favourite things - Poetry Night. This is where we share some of our favourite poems, and reflect on their relevance to the dharma. Poetry can be a 'door to the dharma' by opening the heart to compassion and seeing clearly, this experience of being human.

Because the dharma is about the human experience, almost anything can be relevant. That might be because it illustrates how we get caught up in reactivity, and helps us have compassion for that common trap. Or it might be poetry that helps us see wisely - that experience is the constant coming together of conditions - or maybe it helps us be with experience in a mindful, real way. Hope to see you there.

Party and final session next week
A reminder also that next week is our last session for the year. We'll have a shorter meditation and our little sangha party. If you haven't already rsvp'd, can you please let me know either Thursday night, or using the Contact Form to the right, whether you'll bring a savoury or sweet dish to share.

Monday, 20 November 2017

This week @ Beaches Sangha: Jampa discussing emotions

Hi all.

This week at Beaches, Jampa will facilitate a discussion on emotions: what are they, how are we to judge between those that are positive and those that are negative, and should we even make such judgements? 

Also, please let us know, either on Thursday night, or by using the Contact Form on the right, if you can come to our Sangha Party at our last meeting for the year on the 14th of December. If so, please tell us if you'll bring sweets or savouries to share.

Hope to see you on Thursday night.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

This week @ Beaches - special guest Victor von der Heyde

Hi all.

This week we have the pleasure of Victor von der Heyde's company at Beaches. Victor is a regular, although not frequent, speaker at Beaches, (he lives between Brisbane and Sydney). Victor will be giving a talk about going on long retreats. For me, a week is the longest I've ever done, so I'm intrigued to hear about what it's like on longer ones.

I hope you can join us.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Sangha update & end of year party

Hi all. With the end of the year fast approaching, we've got a couple of things to update you on...

Sangha plans
Us SOGgies (Sangha Organising Group) met last week and came up with a format for next year's meetings. We're going to have a regular monthly schedule with a different focus each week of the month:

WEEK 1: sutta study
With a secular approach to the dharma it's important to understand the core teachings of the Buddha, from the most original source available - the Pali Canon. Next year we're going to have one session a month focused on this. We'll use the book by Glenn Wallis called 'The Basic Teachings of the Buddha' which walks through 12 suttas that the author sees as central to the dharma. If you'd like to take part, it'd be a good idea to get yourself a copy soon. (P.S. The first sutta in the book can seem rather a strange one....don't let that turn you off, we'll explain it, and the others are less weird.)

WEEK 2: speaker night
Talks by people from outside of our sangha.

WEEK3: open discussion
We've had lots of this during the colder months this year and the discussions have been thought provoking, connecting and in some cases very helpful for people. The idea is that we discuss issues that are alive in people's lives, and what the dharma can contribute to the way we see and deal with them.

WEEK4: wild card night
We've got a bunch of topics and activities that we'd like to do that have no particular theme. We'd also love to hear any ideas you have. Feel free to use the contact form on the right here - or better still, come and tell us on Thursday night!). Our ideas include podcasts, poetry night, trying different types of meditation, book reports, beginner's nights, a noble silence 'taster', and more.

We've also got some good ideas for a few activities outside of our regular meetings. More on that soon.

End of year party

Thursday 14th December will be our last meeting for the year. As is our long standing tradition, at our last meeting we have a shorter meditation (15 mins) and a celebration. We all bring some food and drink to share and we get to enjoy each other's company before we head off for the end of year break. Can you please let us know, either in person, or using the contact form to the right, whether you'll bring sweet or savoury food to share.

Sangha will resume on Thursday 11th January. 

This week @ Sangha
This week we'll be listening to a podcast by Stephen Batchelor and discussing it. I hope you can join us.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Sangha update

Hi all.

After having a pretty loose schedule at Sangha over the cooler months, we had a really good meeting last week to do some thinking and planning. We've got some great ideas for structuring our program for next year and are meeting again in a couple of weeks to flesh it out. More to come soon.

In the meantime, our meetings are continuing as usual on Thursday nights. Hope to see you there.