The Essentials of Buddhism Course

Starting June 12, 2014 at12 South Dharma Center

Led by Lisa Ernst

shylotuscrop3This intermediate, five session course is designed for those who wish to support their meditation practice with a deeper understanding and practical application of the Buddha’s teachings in daily life. The curriculum is based on the Eightfold Path and will emphasize mindful and abiding awareness, interconnection with all life, right effort, wise speech and compassion.

This course is ideal for students who have prior meditation or study experience such the Basics of Meditation Course and/or daylong and weekend residential retreats. Classes are taught as a mix of practice and study so that students gain experiential insights into the Buddha’s teachings while deepening their practice. You will receive study materials and suggestions for practice at home. The classes will include plenty of time for group support and interaction.

Course fee is $125. Two reduced fee spots are available in the case of financial need. Class will begin on Thursday, June 12, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Following Thursday meetings are: June 19, July 3, 10 and 24. A makeup session is available with Lisa if you have to miss one of these dates. Paypal is here. If paying by check, make it out to One Dharma Nashville and send to: 12 South Dharma Center c/o One Dharma Nashville, 2301 12th Avenue South, suite 202, Nashville, TN 37204. Be sure to include your email address. For questions or to reserve your spot, please email

Lisa Ernst is a Buddhist Meditation teacher in the Thai Forest lineage of Ajahn Chah. In her teaching, Lisa emphasizes both transformational insight and everyday awakening as an invitation to embrace all of the path’s possibilities. Lisa is the founder of One Dharma Nashville and she regularly leads daylong and residential retreats, private meditation training and classes.

June Daylong Meditation Retreat

Cultivating Clarity through Living the Questions
Saturday, June 7, 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Nashville Friends House
Led by Lisa Ernst

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

During meditation practice it is customary to look inward and clarify our deepest intentions, yet unanswered questions may stand in the way. In this day of mindfulness, we will have the opportunity to practice opening our hearts to our unresolved questions. These questions contain a rich source of insight; learning to live them brings about a radical shift that opens the door to clarity and equanimity.

Led by dharma teacher Lisa Ernst, this retreat is appropriate for newer and more experienced meditators. The retreat will include sitting and walking meditation, practice instructions, Q&A and dharma talk.

Retreat fee is $50. A reduced fee spot is available. Paypal is here. Please confirm to that a space is still open before registering.

Dive In To Retreat!

This is an excerpt from Trudy Goodman’s InsightLA blog about the value of meditation retreats:

We live in a culture that doesn’t teach us how to nourish ourselves in truly fulfilling ways. Taking a day or a week or a month or more for retreat, at home or in a group, can provide the protected, safe space we need to deepen our trust in experience, to discover what we really want in this life, and to fall in love. We fall in love with life, with the miracle of awareness, with this vast reality we inhabit together.

As lay people devoted to a life of mindfulness and awakening, we are creating beautiful contemplative forms that allow us to weave loving awareness into our everyday lives. Learning from our teachers and ancestors, we respectfully bow to the ancient wisdom traditions while experimenting and inventing our own.

The forms of our Vipassana/Mindfulness/Insight meditation retreats have matured to allow us to attune our inner rhythms to the immense current of universal life flowing through us, as us. Finding our way on retreat requires some patience, but it’s well worth it. Yes, it takes effort to stop, to let our guard down, and feel safe enough to let the heart open and the bodymind unwind. Then effort surrenders to relaxing more and more in the wholeness of life as it is, and from this relaxation there can be an illuminating encounter with unknown parts of ourselves, and with the mystery of being – DIVE IN!

For the full post, go here.


Registration Still Available for Spring Residential Retreat

There’s still time to register for One Dharma’s Spring Renewal Meditation Retreat, happening at Bethany Hills in Kingston Springs. Retreat runs from Thursday evening, April 24 through Sunday Noon, April 26. Full info is here.

Practice Idea – Taste The Mud and Be Free

IMG_6809In Buddhism we often talk about remaining fully present and mindful in the midst of unpleasant sensations, thoughts and emotions. Most people understand this, but actually sustaining presence beyond noting and momentary awareness is often quite challenging.

When we’re in the midst of difficult feelings or sensations, we may transition from avoidance into full presence for short bursts of time. That’s an important step. But with especially intense discomfort, it’s all too easy to quickly re-engage with external stimuli and old stories to blunt the intensity. Somehow it feels safer than stepping over the edge and letting go, where it seems the discomfort may swallow us.

I’ve found a practice approach that helps me sustain attention when I need a little extra encouragement. I look for simple, even playful ways to increase my capacity to stay present long enough to counter my ingrained resistance. What I’m doing is interrupting the flow of mental formation long enough to create a gap.

I discovered this practice at a time when I was so upset and miserable that the last thing I wanted was to increase my discomfort by feeling it more fully. This very resistance was a clue – time to face it, not run away. But my mind was like a wild horse, rearing and bucking, ready to run. To redirect the energy I asked myself what this horrible sensation tasted like. As someone who especially enjoys food, this question stimulated my interest and interrupted an entrenched reactive pattern. My resistance went down a notch; my mind stilled a bit. If you are more auditory or tactual, look for a specific sound or touch instead.

The key here is that you are engaging in direct experience, what’s actually present, no analysis or stories added. Just find a visceral taste, touch or sound. The answer to my own question was mud and manure – that’s what the discomfort tasted like. Really unappetizing and not even food! This lightened me up a little and engaged my curiosity. After the first few moments of really tasting mud in all its dark grit, the present wasn’t overwhelming anymore. I could stay with it. As I let go, the last slivers of separation and resistance dissolved into immediate experience. The mud dissipated on its own.