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Heather Martin, Vipassana teacher from Salt Spring Vipassana Community, will lead a two-day meditation retreat in Port Townsend, WA in October. Heather has led several weekend retreats in Port Townsend in the last several years and we are very enthusiastic to have her here again.

More information and registration instructions are on the Port Townsend Sangha’s web site.

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Rodney Smith will be in Port Townsend to lead a two-day non-residential retreat on the weekend of May 12 and 13, 2012. The subject of the retreat this year is Working with Dharma Fundamentals.

Rodney is the guiding teacher of the Seattle Insight Meditation Society and we are always happy to have him here to teach. The retreat will consist of sitting and walking meditation, dharma talks from the teacher, and small group meetings with the teacher.

More information and registration instructions are on the Port Townsend Sangha’s web site.

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Heather Martin, Vipassana teacher from Salt Spring Vipassana Community, will lead a two-day meditation retreat in Port Townsend, WA in October. Heather has led several weekend retreats in Port Townsend in the last several years and we are very enthusiastic to have her here again.

More information and registration instructions are on the Port Townsend Sangha’s web site.

Read Full Post »

Rodney Smith will be in Port Townsend to lead a two-day non-residential retreat on the weekend of April 9 and 10, 2011. The subject of the retreat this year is Distorting Reality: We will explore how the mind distorts reality to form its misperceptions of the world.

Rodney is the guiding teacher of the Seattle Insight Meditation Society and we are always happy to have him here to teach. The retreat will consist of sitting and walking meditation, dharma talks from the teacher, and small group meetings with the teacher.

More information and registration instructions are on the Port Townsend Sangha’s web site.

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From Living Dharma: Teachings of Twelve Buddhist Masters by Jack Kornfield:

A Western monk once asked permission of his forest teacher to journey to Burma to try the intensive meditation systems of several other well-known teachers. Permission was readily granted. After several years he returned to his first teacher.

“What did you learn?” the teacher inquired.

“Nothing,” answered the monk.

“Nothing?”

“Nothing that is not already around, that was not right here before I left.”

“And what have you experienced?”

“Many teachers and many meditation systems,” the monk answered. “Yet, the more deeply I penetrated the Dharma, the more I realized there was no need to go anywhere else to practice.”

“Ah, yes,” replied his teacher. “I could have told you that before you left, but you could not have understood.”

I’ve always liked this story.  It certainly reflects my experience with vipassana teachers from related traditions, such as those of Burma and Thailand.  The Insight Meditation teachers I listen most to are influenced by Burmese teachers such as Sayadaw U Tejaniya, so that is the practice that I follow.  I see the various lineages as different flavors of the same teachings.

Or, in other words, the grass is just a different shade of green.  And all green is beautiful.

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Om Mani Padme Hum has always had special meaning to me.  It was probably the first Buddhist mantra/chant I was introduced to, in the early 1970’s.  We meditated to this mantra when I was in Kathmandu in 1976.

Om Mani Padme Hum is the mantra of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.

This YouTube video is one of the most melodic and beautiful versions I have heard.

(If the YouTube video is not visible here, you can find it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eygz-RJ3bR4.)

I do not use a mantra as part of my regular practice.  Yet sometimes Om Mani Padme Hum will arise spontaneously in my mind, especially if my mind is extremely agitated.  To me, there is a strong connection between compassion and patience, both of which I find essential in being with my mind.

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The Rush is Over!

I started this blog intending to write about what was happening in my life and how meditation was part of it.  I watch bemusedly as computers keep coming into it.

Traffic to this blog is fairly light, as is expected given the subject, the newness of the blog, and probably the content.  The blog software does record statistics that describe how many people have visited the blog and what they have looked at.  (Only statistical summaries are available; individual users cannot be identified.)

A month or so ago, a friend asked about using an mp3 player with the Macintosh.  I did a quick check on some forums and said “sure, it will work fine.”  Well, that turned out not to be the case.  I researched the problem further and wrote a web page on how to use an mp3 player with a Macintosh computer.  I shared that with my some friends and also referred some people on the Sansa Fuze forum who were trying to get their player to work with the Macintosh.

Since then, the majority of accesses to the blog have been to read the article on using mp3 players with a Macintosh.  The busiest day on the blog was the day before Christmas, the second busiest was Christmas, and the third day was the day after.  I guess lots of people gave or received Sansa Fuze players for Christmas and then needed to figure out how to make them work with a Macintosh!  (By any web standards, we are talking small numbers here–peak use was less than 100 visits per day.)

Traffic is now returning to normal levels.

Emotionally, I find reinforcements to my expert persona like this to be difficult.  They build the ego, the sense of “I,” and the sense that “I am an expert and everyone should recognize that.”  I fall into a mode of answering questions and playing an expert on mp3 players, and on use with the Macintosh.  The latter is particularly a problem as I don’t even have a Macintosh.

So the challenge is always to back off and let others be the experts.  I need to say something myself only when what I say is truly useful instead of just being first with the “right answer.”

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