2016 Refuge and Precepts Ceremony

If you have been practicing for a year or longer and wish to formally reflect your commitment to the dharma path, I will be offering this opportunity through One Dharma. It will culminate in a ceremony at One Dharma, which we will plan for a time in November that works for all involved. If you are interested, please email ernst.lisa@gmail.com by October 1. If you have already taken refuge and the precepts and wish to refresh your vows, you are also welcome and encouraged to participate.

About the Refuge Ceremony
Taking refuge means relying wholeheartedly on the Three Jewels of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha to inspire and guide us toward a constructive and beneficial direction in our lives. The real taking of refuge occurs deep in our hearts and isn’t dependent on doing or saying anything. Nevertheless, we may wish to participate in the refuge ceremony by requesting a dharma teacher to formally give us refuge. The refuge ceremony is simple: we repeat the passages after the teacher and open our hearts to make a strong connection with the Three Jewels.

About Taking Precepts
Precepts are a joy, not a burden. They aren’t designed to keep us from having a good time and to make us feel deprived. The purpose of taking precepts is to give us internal strength so that we won’t act in ways that we don’t want to. Having understood that killing, stealing, selfishness and so forth only lead us to harm ourselves and others now and in the future, we’ll want to avoid these. Taking precepts give us energy and strength to do so. Therefore, it’s said that precepts are the ornaments of the wise.

To help people overcome their disturbing attitudes and stop committing harmful actions, the Buddha set out five precepts. During the refuge ceremony, in addition to taking refuge in the Three Jewels, we can take any or all of the five precepts, and become a lay Buddhist.

The five precepts
1. I observe the precept of abstaining from the destruction of life.
2. I observe the precept of abstaining from taking that which is not given.
3. I observe the precept of abstaining from sexual misconduct.
4. I observe the precept of abstaining from falsehood.
5. I observe the precept of abstaining from intoxicants that cloud the mind and cause carelessness.

The refrain “I observe the precept of abstaining from …” which begins every precept clearly shows that these are not commandments. They are instead codes of conduct that lay Buddhists undertake out of clear understanding and conviction that they are good for both themselves and for the world. If you have any questions about these precepts and what they mean to your everyday life, please inquire. (You aren’t expected to become a vegetarian unless you are already inclined in that direction. However, reflecting on and taking actions to reduce harm is at the heart of the first precept.)

Soul Story Podcast Part 2

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This is the second part of a podcast I did with Adam Hill at Radnor Lake.

From Adam:

“In this episode, we discuss Lisa’s  perspective on the mystery of the path, overcoming painful obstacles, and the immersion she feels while seeking photographs in nature.”

December Residential Retreat

Making Peace: Being Self and Emptiness
Thursday Evening, December 8 – Noon, December 11, 2016
Optional extended retreat through noon December 13
Bethany Hills Retreat Center, Kingston Springs, TN

“Live in the nowhere that you come from, even though you have got an address here.” – Rumi

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Please join us at a beautiful, wooded retreat site just outside Nashville for this three or five night residential retreat. We will explore the nature of our identity and sense of self that we use to live in the world, as well as the wise space of heart and mind that lets go. As we practice meeting all of the activity of self with mindfulness, steadiness, and kindness, our insight and compassion grow. The more we make peace with our ego the more we dwell in our boundless, empty nature.

Led by meditation teacher Lisa Ernst, this silent retreat is suitable for newer and more experienced meditators. It will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, instructions, dharma talks and private meetings with the teacher. Retreat fee includes lodging and all meals.

The 3 night retreat is $225 if paid in full by November 9; after $250. If you wish the stay for five nights, the retreat fee is $365 if paid by November 9; $395 after. A $75 deposit reserves your spot. There will be a separate opportunity at the retreat to make a dana (generosity) offering to the teacher. Two reduced fee spots is are available in the case of financial need. Please inquire for details.

Payments can be made through Paypal here or mailed to One Dharma Nashville, P.O. Box 158533, Nashville, TN, 37215. Please indicate the number of nights you will stay. If sending a check, include your email address. For questions, email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com

Lisa Ernst is a Meditation teacher in the Thai Forest lineage of Ajahn Chah, Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman. She is the founder of One Dharma Nashville. In her teaching, Lisa emphasizes both transformational insight and everyday mindfulness as an invitation to embrace all of the path’s possibilities. She leads classes, workshops and meditation retreats nationally.

New Dharma Talk: How to Hold Your Dharma Seat

This talk offers guidance on how to train the heart and mind to become steady and balanced even in the face of the most challenging circumstances.

New Podcast, Soul Story

Blue Heron

Blue Heron at Radnor Lake

I recently had a delightful time with Adam Hill, who interviewed me at Radnor Lake for his podcast, Soul Story. This is part one of two episodes.

“Lisa discusses her connection to nature, personal loss, and her initial encounter with meditation.  Following a beginning scare with an unguided kundalini practice, after many years Lisa built up the courage to follow her intuition and join a zen meditation practice.  We discuss that time in this segment, as we walk with Lisa through her first steps on the road to becoming the meditation teacher which she is today.”

Two Special Events with David Loy, October 14 & 15

Please join us for one or both of these events

Why Buddhism and the Modern World Need Each Other
Public Lecture by David Loy
Sponsored by One Dharma Nashville
Friday, October 14, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Healing Well Yoga, 3808 Park Place, Nashville

The mercy of the West has been social revolution. The mercy of the East has been individual insight into the basic self/void. We need both.

– Gary Snyder

The highest ideal of the Western tradition has been to restructure our societies so that they are more socially just. The most important goal for Buddhism is to awaken and put an end to dukkha “suffering” due to the delusion of a separate self. Today it has become obvious that we need both: not just because individual transformation and social transformation complement each other, but because each needs the other.

Suggested donation: $15. No one turned away for lack of funds. To pay in advance, you can use Paypal here.

David Loy is an internationally renowned Buddhist teacher, keynote speaker, lecturer and author. He is a professor of Buddhist and comparative philosophy and his many published books include his most recent, A New Buddhist Path: Enlightenment, Evolution and Ethics in the Modern World. He lives in Boulder Colorado.

Transforming Self, Transforming World

Workshop with David Loy
Saturday, October 15, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Nashville Friends Meeting, 530 26th Avenue North
Sponsored by One Dharma Nashville

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What is the connection between personal and social transformation?

According to Buddhism, our usual sense of self is haunted by a sense of lack: “something is wrong with me.” Why do we never have enough money, fame, sensory pleasure? Because we try to fill up our sense of lack with them — but it doesn’t work.

Those obsessions also reveal where our society is stuck. The Buddha’s “three poisons” have become institutionalized and taken on a life of their own: our economic system institutionalizes greed, racism and militarism institutionalize ill will, and the corporate media institutionalize delusion. And our collective sense of separation from the rest of the biosphere lies at the heart of the ecological crisis.

Any personal awakening we may experience remains incomplete without a “social awakening” to these institutionalized causes of suffering. Through meditation, interactive inquiry and group discussion we will explore how to connect personal and social awakening and transformation.

Cost is $50 – $75 sliding scale, plus dana (donation) to the teacher. Please pay at the highest level you can afford on the sliding scale so we can accommodate those who need to pay less. You can pay at the Paypal here and enter the amount you will pay. Instructions for paying by check are at this link. Please include your email address. Scholarships are available if you need a reduced rate. Inquire to onedharmaretreat@gmail.com

Pali Language as a Gateway to Understanding Buddha’s Teachings

Taught by Jeffrey Samuels, Ph.D.
Thursdays, September 1 – November 17
7 – 8:30 p.m.

Ever wonder what the Buddha really taught? Ever want to read and understand the Buddha’s sermons in their original Pali language? In September we will begin a Pali course that is designed for students of Buddhism interested in reading Pali Buddhist texts. The course text that we will use for learning Pali grammar and vocabulary is focused on a wide range of Buddhist literature including sermons, verses from the Dhammapada, passages from the disciplinary texts, the Questions of King Milinda, and so on. This challenging 12 week course concludes with translating the Buddha’s first sermon (the Turning of the Wheel of the Dharma discourse).

Course fee is $150 – $200 sliding scale, plus $10 for the book, which Jeff will supply. Please pay at the highest level you can afford so we can accommodate those who need to pay less. A $50 deposit reserves your spot with the balance due by August 25. A scholarship spot is available in the case of financial need.

Jeffrey Samuels started practicing meditation in 1987 under the Thai forest monk Ajahn Buddhadasa. He has completed several long meditation retreats in Thailand under Mahasi Sayaadaw teachers as well as retreats in the US at the Zen Center in San Francisco and under the Thai teacher Sobin S. Namto. More recently, he has been practicing with One Dharma Nashville and Lisa Ernst.

Jeffrey Samuels is Professor of religious studies at Western Kentucky University. He received a Ph.D. in Buddhist studies from the University of Virginia in 2002. He has been teaching courses on Buddhism and Pali at WKU since 2001.

To register, go to paypal here and enter the amount you will pay. To pay by check, instructions are here. For specific questions about the course, email jeffrey.samuels@wku.edu. For inquires about a scholarship rate, email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com

Practice Tip: Creating a Story Room

So often during meditation our minds can wander into planning, stories and other thought patterns that lead us away from our present moment experience. When our minds are identified with thought, we miss our breath, sensations and feelings in our body, and the inner and outer sounds arising and passing away. But anyone who has meditated for a while knows quite well that we can’t simply turn off our thoughts.

Sometimes during meditation, when I’m particularly busy and have a lot on my plate, I slip into planning and stories about what I need to do, how I will do it and when. As my mental formations get stronger, I find it challenging to turn my attention back to my immediate experience. But as soon as I notice anxiety in my body related to planning, I begin to relax and dis-identify from the thoughts. Another simple tool I have found useful is a “story room.” Here is where I store planning, stories and other thoughts about upcoming activities. I close the door to this room, reminding myself I can re-enter after meditation. My mind releases and I return to the moment. Any lingering anxiety about “getting it all done” begins to dissipate and I relax into my present moment experience. Inside and outside dissolve into the simplicity of the breath, sensations, sounds, the suchness of this moment. After mediation, I can reenter my story room with a refreshed mind and open heart. My planning is much more effective.

Daylong Meditation Retreat: Resting in Openhearted Awareness

Saturday, August 27, 9:30 – 3:30
Nashville Friends Meeting
Led by Lisa Ernst

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“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.” – Rumi

In this silent retreat we will stabilize attention and deepen concentration through the breath and body, then gradually open our awareness to the boundless space of mind and heart. These practices will help us relax into freedom from our habitual thoughts and patterns and find equanimity in our present moment experience.

Led by meditation teacher Lisa Ernst, this retreat is suitable for newer as well as more experienced meditators. The retreat will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, instructions and dharma talk

Cost: $50, plus dana (generosity donation) to the teacher. A reduced fee spot is available in the case of financial need. The retreat fee can be paid by Paypal here.  Directions and additional information will be emailed prior to the retreat.

Please contact onedharmaretreat@gmail.com with any questions.