Monday, 6 August 2018

This week @ Beaches - special guest - last meeting until October

Hi all.

This week at Beaches Sangha we have our last meeting before the winter break. We've got special guest Subhana Barzhagi coming to give us a talk. Subhana is both an Insight Meditation teacher and a Zen Roshi. She tends to have a very full teaching calendar, so Selena did well to book us a night with her. Please come along and help her feel welcome.

Her talk will be called "Gratitude: Abiding in the Fullness of our Being".

I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

This week @ Beaches Sangha - Victor von der Heyde

Hi everyone. 

Beaches Sangha is back on this week, and we are lucky to have Victor von der Heyde coming to give us a talk called "Vedana: Beyond the First Glance".

Vedana is the Pali word for what we refer to as 'feeling tone' - that quality of pleasant, unpleasant or neutral, that we experience in response to every bit of stimulation that washes past, over or through these body-minds of ours. It, and our reactions to it, are an important part of dharma practice.

I hope you'll be able to come along and make Victor welcome.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

This week @ Beaches - last talk for a month

Hi all. 

This week at Beaches Sangha we have one of our old regular speakers, Gawaine Powell-Davies, coming to give us a talk called 'Perspectives on Making Choices'. Gawaine's talks are always interesting and thought provoking, and generate good discussion.

After this week we will have a 4 week break, partly due to the hall being closed for maintenance. Please do come along to welcome Gawaine, make it worth his trip to the northern beaches to be with us, and soak in enough sangha to last you for a month!

I'll be in touch the week before our next meeting.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

This week @ Beaches - last sutta study until October!

Hi guys.

This week we have an early sutta study so that we don't miss out on too many over the break. We're up to sutta #5 called 'The All'. This is where Gotama (the Buddha) describes the totality of human existence. It's the shortest sutta in the book, but a really juicy one for discussion. 

This will be our last sutta study until we return after the winter break, so please do come along and take part.

Hope to see you there.

Monday, 11 June 2018

This week @ Beaches - a special guest

Hi all.

This week
This week @ Beaches Sangha we have a special guest coming to give a talk...Winton Higgins. Winton was an important part of bringing Beaches Sangha to life, having given regular talks and led sutta study with us for the first 6 or 7 years. This week he's making his only appearance at Beaches for 2018 and he'll be giving a talk called "Confidence without certitudes in dharma practice'.

Winton is also a walking wikipedia, and in all the time he taught regularly with us, we never managed to find a question he didn't know the answer if you have any questions at all on anything dharma-related, please bring them along.

The program
I also want to let you know that there'll be two breaks in the sangha program this year. One for 3 weeks in July, most of which is due to hall maintenance by the council. The other is a winter break from mid August to the end of September, largely because I'll be off racing in Europe. 

With only 3 more Thursdays until the first break, I very much hope you can make it this week to welcome Winton and contribute to our always-vibrant questions and discussion.

A sangha resource for next year
It's apt that Winton is with us this week because he is involved in a project to produce a workbook for Stephen Batchelor's most recent work: After Buddhism. He and some others have a Kickstarter project going to fund the production of this resource. 

I've made a pledge of $125 from our sangha, which means we'll receive some of the workbooks when they're done. Assuming Beaches Sangha continues to 'dependently arise' next year, I'm thinking we can use these after we finish our sutta study. 

We don't actually have much in our bank account at present, but enough to make this contribution without jeopardising our existence (in the short term anyway). If you'd like to support our Sangha in this act of generosity, please feel free to contribute some extra to the sangha basket this week.

Hope to seeya there.

Monday, 4 June 2018

This week @ Beaches

Hi everyone.

As it's the first Thursday of the month, we have our monthly sutta study this week. This one is a very well known sutta, and a particularly important one for us secular types. It's called Discourse in Kesamutta and it's the one where Gotama gives advice on how to decide what to believe...the most reliable method being to know for ourselves.

As always, if you value our sutta study sessions, please indicate that by turning up and joining in, even though the nights are getting colder. Our sangha will only continue to exist if people participate.

Hope to see you there.

Monday, 28 May 2018

This week @ Beaches - a special guest

Hi all.

This week @ Beaches Sangha we have a special guest, Jill Shepherd. Jill lives something of the mendicant's life - she has no fixed home, no car some extent she's a 'wanderer' like the Buddha was. She's currently staying in the Blue Mountains and will be making her way down here (on public transport) to be with us. If there's any way you can join us this week to help welcome and support her visit to us, that would be wonderful (there are a few regulars who will be away, so I'm really hoping as many of you can come as possible). 

Jill's talk will be centred on helping us maintain momentum with our practice:

Practice in Daily Life: the Ten Parami as means to maintaining momentum
Many people struggle to maintain a regular meditation practice in the midst of daily life, and can get discouraged when their formal sitting doesn't measure up to the calm and clarity experienced on retreat.  The ten parami are a list of qualities that require the rough and tumble of daily life to develop though, so assessing our practice in terms of these qualities can be a more encouraging way of measuring progress.

Jill's background

Jill began practicing insight meditation in Thailand in 1999, and since that time has lived and worked at several meditation centres and monasteries in the US, Australia, England, and Thailand. She recently spent seven years on staff at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, where she participated in several long retreats and Buddhist study programmes, as well as offering weekly meditation classes at a nearby men's prison. She is a graduate of the IMS / Spirit Rock teacher training program in the US, under the guidance of Joseph Goldstein and Gil Fronsdal. Currently, she divides her time between the USA, Australia and New Zealand, teaching vipassana and brahma vihara retreats and offering ongoing study and practice groups focused on bringing the dharma into daily life.