Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Meditation Workshop

Introduction to Recollective Awareness Meditation Workshop
Sunday 25th June, 2017, Avalon Beach, NSW
With Jampa Jaffe and Sylvie Vanasse

When: Sunday, 25th of June 2017 Time:  10.00 am – 4.00 pm Where: Avalon Recreation Centre Annex Barrenjoey Road, Avalon (near Green Bowling Avenue Parking) Cost: $50 (to cover venue hire). Lunch:  Afternoon tea will be provided but please bring your own lunch. There are also a number of cafes nearby if you wish to go out. What to Bring: Pen and paper to journal. Chairs will be available but please bring meditation cushions, mats, meditation stools or anything you might use to make your meditation comfortable. Inquiries: Jampa: 9913 2979.
                                               To book: www.sydneyinsightmeditators

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Next 3 weeks at Sangha - meditation and discussion

Hi all.

The next few weeks at Beaches Sangha we'll be meditating together, then discussing whatever arises in the group. I won't send out posts for these weeks, since they'll all be the same.

Here's a picture to make you feel warm.

I hope to see you there.

Monday, 22 May 2017

This week @ Beaches Sangha - Gawaine

Hi guys.

This week @ Beaches Sangha we will have Gawaine Powell-Davies coming to give a talk called 'Being Responsible'. I'll be interstate this week, but I hope you'll be able to come along and enjoy the talk.

Monday, 8 May 2017

A thought about sangha

Hi all.

In addition to my weekly update, I'd like to also say a word about sangha in the colder (non-daylight savings) months. 

Often what we find during this part of the year is that people can find it a bit hard to leave the comfort of their warm homes to come out for the evening, and we find that the group shrinks a bit. 

Small groups are in fact nice in some ways, as we tend to have quite lovely discussions. However the down side is that I feel a bit bad for the teachers who come to join us, sometimes traveling quite a distance to get here. 

Since daylight savings ended, we've had the usual shrinkage. To roll with this, we are going to have a bit more of an unstructured program through the darker months (May-Oct) where we may not always have an organised talk.

Our group is not, and will never be one that obliges people to come. Our practice is one driven by personal commitment and value, with no levers pulled or guilt trips administered if people don't turn up. We're not about to change that, and so having a looser program during this period seems the best way to adapt to changing patterns of attendance. 

At the same time, I'd also like to say a few words about the nature of sangha. Like everything, it is a dependent arising...that is, it only exists due to the arising of certain conditions. The most important condition is that people are moved to participate. There is a yin and a yang of participation in community (sangha). It contributes to our lives, but it can only do that if we also contribute to its life.

And remember....we have nice heaters :)

This week @ Beaches - One Page Dharma

This week at Beaches Sangha I'll be giving my yearly talk called 'One Page Dharma'. This is where I attempt to give an overview of the core teachings of the Buddha in one session. I have a one page hand out that I will bring for you - hence the name of the talk. 

This is a good session to come to both for newies who'd like a sense of the big picture, and for those of us who've been doing the dharma for a bit, because repetition is an important part of learning.

I hope to see you there.

Monday, 1 May 2017

This week @ Beaches - poetry night

This week @ Beaches Sangha we are having poetry night. Bring along a poem that you find inspiring or moving or thought provoking and that is dharmic in some way. It can be one you've written yourself or from another poet. Given that the dharma is about the human experience, it shouldn't be hard to find the dharma in most poetry.

Hope to see you there.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Tonight @ Beaches Sangha

Hi all. 

Sorry, with all these public holidays I keep forgetting what day it is and I forgot to send out my reminder earlier this week.

Tonight we have the re-scheduled session with Gawaine on 'Dharma in difficult times'. I hope to see you there.


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

This week @ Beaches - Jonathan Page

Hi all.

This week @ Beaches Sangha we have Jonathan Page visiting us to give a talk called 'The Perfect Gift'. I'm intrigued!

Hope to see you there.

Monday, 10 April 2017

This week @ Beaches Sangha - Alan Bassal

Hi all. 

This week at Beaches Sangha we have Alan Bassal coming to give a talk called 'Fake News and Alternative Facts'. Now last time he came, his talk was called 'Would the Buddha Have an iPhone?' and it was nothing to do with technology or social media, so I have no idea what this one will be about, but come along and we'll find out!

And don't be a wuss with the weather chilling down, we have hot tea and heaters :)

Hope to see you there.

Monday, 3 April 2017

This week @ Beaches Sangha - Winton Higgins

Hi all.

This week we have one of our old faves coming to give us a talk. Winton Higgins is joining us to discuss 'Experience and the Dharma'. Winton used to lead our sutta study sessions for the first few years of Beaches Sangha's life. We look forward to welcoming him back. I hope you can join us.


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

 Ramsey Margolis from One Mindful Breath, Wellington’s secular dharma practitioners community in New Zealand, will be talking on: ‘From sangha to community, bringing together secular dharma practitioners’ on Thursday 30th March. Ramsey’s interactive talk will be coming live via Zoom on Sylvie's iPad.

You can check out Ramsey’s community website at, and the secular Buddhist website at

Monday, 6 March 2017

This week @ Beaches Sangha - Gawaine

Hi all.

This week at Beaches we have one of our regular visitors, Gawaine Powell-Davies, giving us a talk called Dharma for Hard Times'. Personally, I've found the dharma incredibly helpful during life's difficulties - grief, hurt, disappointment, rejection...all the painful stuff. It's what I sit with and what I turn to, when I feel like I'm at Ground Zero. 

Gawaine's talks are always stimulating and poetic. I hope you can make it.


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

This week @ Beaches Sangha - Victor von der Heyde

Hi all.

This week at Beaches Sangha we have one of our favourite regular (if not frequent) dharma teachers, Victor von der Heyde coming to give us a talk called: Soulfulness and Stress. I don't know anything about it, but I do know that Victor's talks are always thought provoking and enjoyable. 

Hope to see you there.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Family Retreat with Betsy Faen, Gorrick's Run [23-25 September 2017]

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This is a camping retreat, with everyone sharing the cooking and the responsibility for activities for the children.
This retreat will provide time for shared activities with the children, like bushwalks, but also time for parents who want to, to be able to meditate while their children are having fun doing other activities.
Betsy Faen will provide some meditation instruction for those that would like it, plus the possibility of individual interviews and groups.
There is one shared room available for sleeping in, plus wide verandahs for those who don't want to sleep in tents. Gorrick's Run has bush toilets and showers, a beautiful meditation hall, and a cottage with a kitchen and dining room. It is in a beautiful bush setting near St. Alban's.
Please contact Betsy: 9913 2979, 0403 871 605, or if you are interested.

Monday, 20 February 2017

This week @ Beaches - Jampa and the Eight Worldly Winds

Hi everyone.

This week @ Beaches Sangha, Jampa is giving a talk on the Eight Worldly Winds. From memory they are:

Pleasure and pain
Loss and gain
Obscurity and fame

You'll have to come along to hear what the last two are, because I can't remember and I want to remember rather than Google it!

These are things that come and go, that buffet us around in our lives like the wind. I've been wanting to hear a talk on them for a long time, so I'm really looking forward to it.

Hope to see you there.

Monday, 13 February 2017

This week @ Beaches Sangha: The Circle of Compassion

We talk a lot about compassion - the willingness to feel with another and to care or feel good will. In this session we're going to explore our own personal boundaries of compassion. What are the conditions for compassion? Who is in, and who is outside our circles? And what does that tell us about the landscape of our own inner world?

Here's another, quite relevant, quote for the week from Rainer Maria Rilke:

"So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloudshadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you."

Monday, 6 February 2017

This week @ Beaches Sangha

Hi all.

This week @ Beaches, Sylvie is leading us again. This time our topic is generosity. This is one of my favourite topics. It's a really powerful part of practice; indeed Gotama said that if we knew what he knew about generosity, we wouldn't let a day go by without practising it. It's also a part of practice that can be easily hijacked by 'shoulds', the desire to please or gain approval from others, or to look benevolent. Intention is important.

Come and explore it with us on Thursday.

Here's another Rilke quote for the week:

"I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."


Monday, 30 January 2017

This week @ Beaches Sangha - Sympathetic Joy

Ok, so here's a photo of the group at 7.10pm last Thursday night. I discussed with myself the idea that perhaps going ahead with Sangha on a public holiday wasn't such a good idea. 

I was just about to meditate on my own, which would have been nice anyway, but then Kate showed up. We had a lovely evening together and everyone lived happily ever after.

This week @ Beaches
This week at Beaches Sangha we are kicking off our program for the year with Sylvie leading a session on 'sympathetic joy' (I like to call it empathic joy). This is one of the 'divine abodes' - one of the telltale signs of awakening, where we feel genuine joy at the good fortune of another. Here's Sylvie's taster:

There are many types of enjoyment. There is even one that the German call "Schadenfreude", which means relishing in another's misfortune. But the Buddha believed that such joy, based on envy or jealousy, was short lived and sooner or later would bring suffering to his or her beholder. 

The opposite of "Schadenfreude" is sympathetic joy. It is often undervalued and not spoken about as much as other qualities to be cultivated such as compassion and loving-kindnesses. But there are numerous benefits to experiencing joy for ourselves and others.

Come and explore this with us this week.

Something nice from Kate
A couple of weeks ago, in our discussion, Kate quoted Rainer Maria Rilke with a phrase 'living in the question'. That resounded with many of us in relation to being curious about our own processes. She brought along some material from Rilke, but because no-one was there to share it with, we thought we could do so in these little updates for the next few weeks. Here's our first one:

“Things aren't all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered”

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Beaches Sangha - our meeting is on this week

Hi all. 

We had a lovely meditation and discussion last week. We will be having a similar format this week, which is going ahead regardless of it being a public holiday. Our organised program will start next week....but don't miss out on our un-structured 'whatever' sessions. They're kinda nice!

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Beaches Sangha - meditation and whatever

Hey guys.

Just a quick note to say we'll have another 'whatever we feel like' session again this week. I'm not actually sure what ended up happening last week - after our meditation I had to dash off to find food like a hungry bear. It was lovely meditating on the deck together though. We'll kick off our organised program in Feb.

Hope to see you Thursday.


Monday, 9 January 2017

Beaches Sangha resuming this week

Hi all. 

I hope you've had a fabulous festive season.

Beaches Sangha is resuming meeting this Thursday night at 7pm. We won't have any organised talks for the first couple of weeks as there are still a number of people away. However we'll meditate together and see if any discussion emerges.

Hope to see you there.