Every month, some of our sangha get together online to discuss dharma and how it plays out in our daily lives. We meet 10am -11am (UK time) on the last Saturday of the month. Everyone is welcome – read on to find out more.
Next meeting: March 28th, 2020, 10am – 11am (UK time)
on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/6325532696
Theme: Viriya, Energy
Before the meeting, take some time (if you can) to reflect on the following: The universe doesn’t run out of energy! Investigate why you do… Note the times that you feel energised or the times where you feel like your energy is depleted. What else is going on? Are there any strategies you have to jumpstart your energy when it feels low?
Each parami builds on the previous ones. Here are some of the reflections we shared on dana (generosity, interest), sila (coolness, ethics) and ksanti (patience).
Reflection 1: Dana – The very first parami is dana, often translated as ‘generosity’, ‘interest’ or ‘support’. It is at once a basic practice and an opportunity for profound exploration. What do you give your interest to? What don’t you give your interest to? How does it feel when you are/aren’t interested? How does interest manifest for you?
Reflection 2: The Four Efforts – 1. Recognise the unwholesome for the unwholesome & name it. 2. Make efforts to keep it from arising again. 3. Recognise the wholesome for the wholesome & name it. 4. Make efforts to support it – don’t take it for granted!
Reflection 3: Your Vision – If you really want to move beyond your conditioned patterns, take some time to write a vision, constitution and action plan for 1 year, 5 years and 10 years from now. (Thank you to Doug and Catherine for this exercise, which was given to us to help break through the resistance we hold around changing our patterns.)
Reflection 4: Patience: Things have their own time. What are you impatient with? What are you impatient with? Can you think of times in your life when you have been too patient, or too impatient, with a certain pattern in yourself? How do you know what the right balance is to strike?
Why meet online?
Our sangha is spread far and wide across many countries and the time between retreats can be long. Online meetings are one way of bridging this gap as they create a way for us to connect more often and to get to know each other ‘in the world’, while keeping dharma as the focus.
The sessions will evolve over time, and what we discuss will depend a little on who comes along each time, but the idea is that we create a space where we can share dharma-related experiences and questions that come up for us in our daily lives. Before each session, I (Zoe) will send out some material to read, listen to online or reflect upon to help focus and guide our discussion, but there will also be space for you to raise other questions if you wish to. Much of the material will come from Doug and Catherine’s website, Planet Dharma.
My experience of online spaces like this has been that there will always be someone present who can offer a new insight that takes you deeper, or who helps you find a new (and maybe better) question to ask or way of seeing things.
What will we discuss?
Over the next few sessions, we’ll be exploring the paramis and how they manifest in our daily lives. The paramis are aspects of consciousness that have been taught in Buddhadharma for over 2000 years. Sometimes called the ‘perfections’, they allow practitioners to become their own inner and outer works of art. They are qualities we can grow to help us feel internally grounded and to act from a positive, wholesome place in our relationships with others.
If you can, visit the Planet Dharma website and listen to the podcast Become a work of art: Understanding the 6 Paramis by Doug and Catherine. The podcast is quite short – it lasts 26 minutes – and is available at: https://www.planetdharma.com/podcast/. You can also find some notes from the podcast at https://www.planetdharma.com/becoming-a-work-of-art/. This will give you a great introduction to the paramis before we meet.
As Doug and Catherine say in the podcast, the paramis are meditations – things to practice and explore. They are at once basic practices and opportunities for profound exploration.
Where and when do we meet?
Last Saturday of the month, 10.00am – 11.00am (UK) on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/6325532696
What else do I need to know?
- You don’t have to come along to every session – come to whichever meetings you are able to.
- If you can email me to let me know you’re coming, that would be helpful.
- If you haven’t used Zoom before, it is very easy. You don’t need your own account. Just follow the link above and if you are asked for a meeting number, type in the numbers from the link. You can join the meeting by audio only or with a video camera as well – the choice is yours.
- Following the tradition in this lineage, there is a virtual dana bowl at each meeting and all money donated will go towards supporting Doug and Catherine’s next retreat in Europe. I’ll share details of how to donate in the meeting.
- The meetings are open to anyone who might be interested in hearing more and meeting Doug and Catherine in the future.
If you have any questions or would like to be added to the monthly mailing about the online meetings please email Zoe at firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking forward to meeting you soon!