Dharma and Civil Disobedience
This November Gaia House teachers Yanai Postelnik, Catherine McGee, Rob Burbea, and Kirsten Kratz, along with many Dharma practitioners from the wider Gaia House community, participated in a series of planned actions of non-violent civil disobedience in London, part of an attempt to galvanize the UK government to urgently implement a truly appropriate response to the emergencies of climate change and mass species extinction. Despite dozens of participants being arrested (including Yanai and a number of senior Dharma practitioners), the days were pervaded by a beautiful and peaceful spirit. While their decision to be involved and to risk arrest, and to continue to do so, does not represent an official Gaia House stance – they choose as individuals to act in this way – each feels called by their own sense of the meaning of the Buddha’s teachings for our times, by their own conscience and sense of ethical duty.
We are all asked to wake up to the severity of the situation and to see through the dangerous delusion that ‘business as usual’ is still an option. Responding to this wake-up call is the task of our times. But it can be truly heart-breaking, for so much has already been lost, so much is at stake. Rooting ourselves deeply in the heart’s capacity of care, compassion, and joy can be a powerful antidote to despair, grief, and overwhelm. So too can joining forces with others; we can’t do this on our own. And no matter what the outcome, can we view this as an invitation to step up, trust and bring forth the very best in ourselves?” ~ Kirsten Kratz
“The abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, the U.S Civil Rights Movement – there are issues which in their time can be portrayed as if they are debatable or just political or economic questions. A little while later it is clear to all that they are moral issues, on which human beings have a moral duty to act and take a stand. Carrying fundamental moral obligations, they make a claim on us more primary than any other. Climate change and mass species extinction are such issues. And since, for me, the Dharma is above all else about values – including and especially moral values – this is simply part of the commitment of my Dharma practice.” ~ Rob Burbea
“My heart is breaking and my conscience is calling to me, saying, ‘Stand up and take a risk. What else makes sense now?’ We are risking tipping into catastrophic climate breakdown if current policy trends continue, with terrible effects already being experienced by many, mostly worse off and less privileged than myself. And so I act this way because I can, and because the usual lobbying pathways are not working. And I act this way because a force in my body demands that I must do my part. As a member of society I feel I have a responsibility to put pressure on my government to fulfil their side of the social contract and act swiftly in the light of the IPCC report.” ~ Catherine McGee
“We face an undeclared emergency and I feel compelled by my conscience to stand up for our sacred, fragile planetary ecology, on behalf of our children and all living things who have no voice. I am called to risk my comfort, my privilege, and even my liberty, in responding to the ecological and spiritual devastation that confronts us, if we do not act together and act now, with courageous hearts.” ~ Yanai Postelnik
To read more about the background of this action you can visit this page on the DANCE website.
Sunday Sangha Meetings for 2019 – 11am to 2pm
Sunday 13th January -St Margaret’s Institute 30 Polstead Rd, Oxford OX2 6TN
Sunday 10th February – Florence Park Community Centre, Cornwallis Road, Oxford OX4 3NH
Sunday 10th March – Florence Park Community Centre
Sunday 14th April – Florence Park Community Centre
Sunday 19th May – St Margaret’s Institute
Sunday 16th June – St Margaret’s Institute
Sunday 14th July – St Margaret’s Institute
Sunday 8th September – Florence Park Community Centre
Sunday 6th October – Florence Park Community Centre
Sunday 3rd November – Florence Park Community Centre
Sunday 8th December – Florence Park Community Centre
It would be helpful if you could arrive between 11am and 11.15am. If you arrive before that, you can wait in the lobby or outside.
Entrance fee: £5 (£3 concessions)
Sangha is the Pali word for community. These meetings will be an opportunity to practise together, to discuss the teachings of the Buddha, to share food and to get to know each other. Please bring vegetarian food to share. Family members, including children, are welcome to join us, either for the whole session or for the lunch only. The sessions will be suitable for both beginners and experienced meditators.
The meetings will consist of a practice session usually comprising meditation, a recorded talk and a discussion. Lunch will start at 1pm.
The practice session will begin at 11.15. If you arrive after the meditation has started, we ask you to sit on one of the chairs at the back of the room, to avoid disturbing the meditation. You can come forward when it’s finished.
At 12.50, partners and children can come into the hall and join us for lunch.
Most of these meetings will be peer-led and will make use of recorded talks given by experienced Dharma teachers.
In 2019 we will be using the following venues: Florence Park Community Centre and St Margaret’s Institute.
Updated December 2018
Buddhist teachings on Self and Not-Self
4 Week Course with Jaya Rudgard
Wednesday evenings 20th March, 27th March, 3rd April, 10th April 2019
7-9pm, Long Room, Friends Meeting House, St Giles
A 4 week study course on early Buddhist teachings around self and not-self (“anatta”) and their practical application in our lives. Participants should have an existing insight meditation or mindfulness practice and are asked to commit to all four classes. There is a £15 registration fee to cover room hire. The class is offered on a dana basis.
Now Fully Booked. Email Jaya to be put on the waiting list.
To apply please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Venerable Canda, who will be leading a day for us in May 2019, has recently moved to Oxford and set up a Bhikkhuni residence here.
She is in need of all sorts of practical support and would welcome any help from people in the local community. If you think you would like to help in some way see below for more information.
For more information about the Anukampa Bikkhuni project please see https://anukampaproject.org/bhikkhuniresidence/
Or contact email@example.com
We have now recruited a new booking manager to help us with the Eventbrite booking system. We would like welcome Stephen Davies who has very efficiently and skilfully taken up this role (September 2018).
Please see our retreat days for booking on http://oxfordinsightdayretreats.eventbrite.com/
Anyone wishing to book on our retreat days, and has a query regarding this, should contact Stephen on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or if you don’t have access to email you can text Stephen on 07463 953 757
Mindfulness and Race, a day for People of Colour / BAME with Salma Darling of Brighton Insight Meditation: Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG (near Brighton Station) on 25th November 2018
We will be creating a supportive sanctuary for People of Colour to explore mindfulness in the context of the Buddha’s teachings.
Through sitting and walking meditation, guided instructions, dharma talks and discussion, we will explore experientially how best we can access, and keep exploring, what it is to be present with ourselves and others.
We’ll also be turning towards the issues of race in dharma and mindfulness practice and communities, and exploring racial bias. What is the impact of race in our bodies, minds and practice? How can practicing mindfulness in a Buddhist context explore and work with racial bias? What are the teachings that help support our understanding and waking up? How might neuroscience help us in understanding of unconscious bias? What common learnings and wisdom can we share together to serve each of us to wake up personally, and with and for our world?
This day will focus on the practical application of teachings in our everyday lives, and is suitable for beginners as well as those with more experience.
BOOKING AND PAYMENT
This day is organised by the Bodhi Tree Brighton, Booking is via the Bodhi Tree website and offered on a dana/ donation basis http://www.bodhitreebrighton.org.uk/events/.
Booking fees go towards room hire and the essential costs of putting on an event.
Cash and cheque donations will also be invited for the teacher, during the day.
If you will not be attending but would like to support by donation dharma teaching for POC’s, you can donate via paypal: paypal.me/SalmaDarling
WHAT DEFINES A PERSON OF COLOUR (POC)?
The term “person of color” sometimes abbreviated POC, is used primarily in the United States to describe any person who is not white. The term encompasses all non-white people, emphasizing common experiences of systemic racism. I have also sat in POC groups with people who appear white, but are mixed race, latinos and from a variety of backgrounds and experience racial bias. You can self-identify as POC. POC is growing in usage in the UK as the common term in the UK ‘BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic)’ is often considered diminutive.
COMMON QUESTIONS. . .
Why a day only for People of Colour? Isn’t that exclusive? Aren’t we practicing for unification rather than separation?
Many POC’s value POC spaces to explore issues of what it is to practice as a POC without needing to engage with a strong level of unconscious racial bias in the room. Similar to women’s groups, some issues need space and sanctuary and common understanding to unfold to allow freedom, and for us as community or sangha, to support each other and grow in strength together.
I’m recommended to teach dharma and mentored by Ajaan Amaro the Abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Hertfordshire. Primarily my practice has been in the Buddhist Theravada ‘vipassana’ or Insight tradition with particular interest in early buddhist teachings, including meditation practice of deep absorptions (jhanas). I’ve spent extended periods in Thai Forest monasteries and retreat centres since 1998, undertaking a number of silent retreats up to 6 months duration. In the way of Burmese monk Sayadaw U Tejaniya my approach to practice is practical and relaxed. I’ve been practicing meditation since 1989 and teaching meditation and mindfulness since 2002 including in NHS mental health. I’m a visiting dharma teacher at Heartcamp, San Francisco and a mentor on Insight Meditation Center’s online dharma course based in Redwood City, California.
I’ve been a Roehampton-trained body-oriented psychotherapist for over 20 years. I trained in MBSR at University of Massachusettes and in MBCT at Bangor University, have taught at London Mindful, University College London and currently am a mindfulness consultant for a mindfulness and cognitive therapy ap for Meru Health, Finland.
DONATION / DANA
The teachings are offered in the traditional ‘dana’ basis. This means that you give how much you feel moved to give with respect to your circumstance and how much you value the teachings and this way of freely offering.
When you give dana you are supporting the teacher to continue to work in this way, and are paying for future people to benefit from the teaching. No-one is turned away for lack of funds.
The Buddha said that the highest happiness is the happiness of peace, which far surpasses the happiness of sensual pleasure.
In this Dhamma Talk, Ajahn Brahm differentiates between worldly happiness that depends on things going just to plan and deep inner happiness that supports us through all the vicissitudes of life.
This evening programme will begin with a short guided meditation, followed by a Dhamma talk from Ajahn Brahm. After the talk there will be an opportunity to ask questions.
All proceeds of this special benefit event will go towards developing a nun’s monastery in England.
Tickets £15. To register please click here
Date(s) – 07 Dec 2018
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Please aim to arrive at 6.15pm in order to register and settle in quietly.
Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College
As many of you know, Gaia House launched a Building Appeal last year, and in March this year Chris Cullen generously invited those attending his day retreat in Oxford to give dana to the Appeal, instead of to him.
For the latest news please Click here for the latest news on the Gaia House Building Appeal
For general information on Gaia House Building Appeal please see the Gaia House website which also has a video regarding the renovations and more information on how to donate
According to the United Nations, there are currently 22.5 million refugees worldwide. 22.5 million human beings who have fled their homes in the face of war, persecution and the devastating effects of global climate change.
As a response to this complex and painful situation SanghaSeva is offering the Humanity in Action retreat for the second time. We will be bringing our meditation practice into action by working alongside grassroots organisations supporting refugees in Calais, France. In turn we will support each other as we open ourselves to engage directly with the refugee crisis, fulfilling our hearts natural wish to respond with humanity when confronted with that which seems so inhumane.
18 – 24 May, 2018
18 – 21 May; meditation in action retreat facilitated by SanghaSeva co-founder Nathan Glyde
21 – 24 May; peer led Sangha volunteer period
Or find it on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/2021765138103930/