Female disciples of the Buddha

The story Zac read today was about Khemā of Great Wisdom. He goes on to say, “the other story that I didn’t get to was about Bhaddā Kuṇḍalakesā: The Debating Ascetic. The material was from Great Disciples of the Buddha (publishers website here, full PDF here).”

Slightly different versions of these stories can be found here:




Impermanence and Non-clinging

This past Sunday, Margaret guided our reflections while featuring a talk by Greg Scharf on Impermanence and non-clinging.

The link for the talk was:


A few notes and quotes follow.

This talk starts with a Jataka story.   These are the stories that tell about the previous lives of the Buddha, in both human and animal form. Like fables, these stories always contain a message.

“Fruitful as is the act of giving,  yet still more fruitful is to go with a  confident heart to the refuge of the Buddha, the dharma and the sangha, and  to undertake the five precepts of virtue

But fruitful as that is, yet it is still more fruitful to retain loving kindness in ones being, for only as long as the time it takes to milk the cow.

And fruitful as this is,  yet still more fruitful is to maintain the perception of impermanence only as long as the snapping of a finger.”

“Nothing whatever is to be clung to as me or mine.”

“There seem to be a lot of issues, so much at stake, so much we need to control – but there is nothing to hold on to.  If you are getting rope-burn, only solution is to let go.”

Receptive Awareness

This Sunday, Joey guided the sitting and discussion with a talk by Andrea Fella on “Receptive Awareness”.

The talk is here: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/7172.html

What are the activities or areas of your life where you habitually lose mindfulness?  Planning, driving, spacing out as you wash the dishes, jumping on the computer, turning on the radio?  Once you can identify these holes where mindfulness is lost, you can turn your curiosity to follow where your attention goes.  Receptive awareness is about following the flow of life experience even when it is a state like sleepiness, dullness, or spaciness without trying to fix or change it….simply remaining aware of what is happening, where does your attention go next?

Here is a guided meditation in receptive awareness: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/7136.html  It’s 32 mins. long.

Fear and its Alternatives

Today Payton played a talk by Gil Fronsdal entitled “Response to Election” which focused largely on the role of mindful practice in times of great fear and anger. Gil spoke on the importance of love during these times. He listed what he called the four kinds of love emphasized in Buddhist teachings (which are in fact the Brahma-viharas ): loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.

The group discussion then centered around how we must remaing aware of all the events going on around us, no matter how small, in the wake of the Election results, and take action to keep our deepest values alive even when there may be risk to ourselves. That action, however, should be rooted in kindness rather than fear.

Gil’s talk is available here: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/7270.html

Another talk he gave just after the election is available here, in which Gil describes the image of a lighthouse to light the way while remaining stable even in great storms: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/7252.html


This past Sunday, Mike guided our reflections on the topic “many Kinds of Happiness”, featuring clips from Andrea Fella and Annie Nugent.  It is important to remember that the Buddha established his path as a way of achieving Happiness, and bringing suffering to an end.

Mike included portions of three talks, two from Andrea Fella (http://audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/7081.html and http://audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/7127.html)  and one by Annie Nugent (http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/25/talk/36431/)

In Sickness and In Health

On Sunday, Adam guided a discussion on Sickness as practice. Here are his notes from the presentation.

Using illness constructively in our practice can be a challenge. I didn’t realize how easy it was to simply try and “get rid of” my own sickness until only a few days ago. I had been struggling (and I do mean “struggling”) with a cold and it occurred to me (for the first time while actually being sick) that being in a state of illness need not entail the suffering that seemed to come along with it. For our Sangha Sunday, I’d like to present some dharma talks for contemplation and discussion as a way to enrich our lives as we move headlong into cold- and flu-season.

Sally Clough Armstrong talk (http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/153/talk/25145/)

2:20-4:01       buddha afraid of old age sickness and death 
25:41 -33:23    on sickness 

Skye Dawson talk (http://dharmaseed.org/talks/audio_player/199/19411.html)

1:36-3:51   what the Buddha wanted for us....skillfulness
16:17-29:25 aging and loss of health 

Talking points:

*using the vedanas (feeling tones) to observe sickness and pain as sensation that comes and goes
* observing the body’s automatic responses and our conditioning to illness (sniffling, throat-clearing, coughing)
* sickness as practice for death