Oct. 14-20

“Loss is a fact of life. Impermanence is everywhere. We’re all going to suffer losses, but how we deal with those losses is what makes all the difference. It’s not what happens to us that determines our character, our karma, and our destiny, but how we relate to what happens is what matters.”

-Lama Surya Das


This Week’s Discussion Topic

Describe some of the ways we all react to loss. Based on your personal experience, what happens when your reaction is to resist loss?

Sept. 23-29

“How sad it is that most of us only begin to appreciate our life when we are at the point of dying.”

-Sogyal Rinpoche

 

This Week’s Discussion Topic
It’s well-documented that many people facing terminal illness report feeling more happiness and peace with their lives. What do you think the reason for this might be?

July 15-21

“Allow yourself to let go of the idea that who you are now isn’t already enough, and realize this deep acceptance is the path to true freedom.”

-Mark Van Buren

This Week’s Discussion Topic
One-by-one (for those willing to participate), each attendee should briefly describe their greatest fear. The key is to be as honest as possible, but if it’s something secret or embarrassing, feel free to be vague by not mentioning any specific names, places, things, etc. I’ll start: As someone with no kids, my greatest fear is that my wife will die well before I do, and I’ll be alone as an old man, with no children or family around to care for me.

July 8-14

“There is a misconception that Buddhism is a religion, and that you worship Buddha. Buddhism is a practice, like yoga. You can be a Christian and practice Buddhism. I met a Catholic priest who lives in a Buddhist monastery in France. He told me that Buddhism makes him a better Christian. I love that.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss how Buddhism can be viewed and practiced both as a religion and in a secular form.

July 1-7

“When we consider that everything we experience results from a complex interplay of causes and conditions, we find that there is no single thing to desire or resent, and it becomes more difficult for the afflictions of attachment or anger to arise.”

-H.H. the Dalai Lama

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Point out an example from you own life that shows the interplay of cause and effect, and discuss how these factors led to your experience of reality in that particular instance. Bonus points for causes and conditions that resulted in a much different “effect” than you’d typically expect.

June 24-30

“The law of karma is one of the fundamental natural laws through which we create vastly different realities. It is as though we are all artists, but instead of canvas and paint, or marble or music, as our medium, our very bodies, minds, and life experience are the materials of our creative expression.”

-Joseph Goldstein

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss your personal view (not a definition you read somewhere) of how karma works and offer evidence of karma’s unfolding in your own life based on your own experience.

June 17-23

“Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.”

-Pema Chödrön


This Week’s Discussion Topic

What parts of yourself are the most challenging to accept and “befriend”?

June 3-9

“We must become intimate with anger to clear the way to our connectiveness—to our vulnerability and an aliveness to everything. In the end, our anger is transmuted to wisdom, which in turn gives rise to compassion.”

-Jules Shuzen Harris

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Have you ever paid attention to or become aware of the physical sensations caused by intense anger? What does anger feel like in the body, and how does this feeling relate to the mental sensations of anger?

May 27-June 2

“We have to be careful not to think that meditation is about getting rid of thoughts. On the contrary, I would say that meditation helps us to creatively engage with our thoughts and not fixate on them.”
-Martine Batchelor

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss how your own relationship with thoughts has evolved since you started practicing.

May 20-26

“A mirror reflects everything, yet it is not altered by what it reflects and does not judge those reflections. If the mind is like a mirror, it is not conditioned by what appears in front of it.”

-Lama Tsultrim Allione

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss your perception of “conditioning” and how it relates to your practice.