Join Me on a Tour of Buddhist India!

I’m excited to be offering this tour of India in November 2017, Ancient Roots, Living Branches: Discovering Buddhist India. Dates are November 5 – 19

Combining a meditation retreat with a Buddhist pilgrimage, this tour is an exploration of both ancient Buddhist history and living Buddhist traditions. First we explore the ancient holy sites in the North and East of India, where the Buddha practiced and taught – including Bodhgaya and Sarnath – before moving on to the mountains of Sikkim to experience Buddhist village life in the Himalayas.

The tour is guided by expert local guides in India, while I offer meditation and dharma discussions along the way in various locations, from hotel gardens to Tibetan monasteries.

We will be interacting with and learning from Buddhist communities and practitioners as we travel. It’s also a fun adventure off the beaten track, and this tour is open to everyone interested in Buddhism and meditation.

For information including the complete itinerary, pricing, etc., go here.

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.”

Mindfulness Study

Want to take part in a brief online mindfulness study? Sara Eckstein, who has participated in a number of One Dharma workshops, is doing her PhD dissertation on mindfulness and has created a research questionnaire. She needs people to participate — if you’d like to help, here’s the info:

When you take a moment to slow down and smell the roses, you are engaging in mindfulness. Mindfulness can be defined as intentionally focusing on what you are feeling, thinking or doing in the present moment. When practicing mindfulness, you simply allow your experience to be exactly as it is, rather than judging it or trying to change it. Research has shown promising results about mindfulness being very helpful in stress reduction, pain management, and even ADHD symptom alleviation.

The present study invites you to complete a 10-15 minute online survey related to your thoughts about mindfulness. Participants will be entered into a drawing to win a $25 VISA gift card. This study hopes to assess what individuals in the modern world think about mindfulness so we can better understand reasons why people may be more or less willing to practice it. This research is important because it can help inform a variety of mindfulness-based treatments so they are more effective for a diverse range of individuals with unique preferences.

Eligibility: The only requirement for eligibility is that you must be an American adult. No prior knowledge of mindfulness is required.

If you are willing, please click on this link to complete this brief, confidential survey. Feel free to share this link with others so they can also complete the survey as well. If you have additional questions or concerns contact Sarah Eckstein, M.S., at seckstei1134@gmail.com.

December Refuge and Precepts Ceremony

Once again this year, One Dharma will offer a Refuge and Precepts Ceremony  for committed practitioners. If you’re interested, here is some general information:

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 society.

If you are interested or have questions, please contact ernst.lisa@gmail.com no later than November 17.

Buddhist Geeks Podcast — Working With Questions in Your Practice

I was interviewed recently by Vincent Horn, founder of Buddhist Geeks, and we talked about how to work with questions in your practice. Unanswered questions, intractable situations often appear to stand in the way of living from our deepest intentions. We might feel blocked even from knowing what our true priorities are. But if we take time to turn inward with a spirit of patience and inquiry, instead of requiring the dilemmas to go away, or insisting on immediate resolutions, we can discover the resources that we need.  Internal dilemmas contain a rich source of insight; learning to live with them brings about a radical shift that opens the door to clarity and equanimity.

You can click on the image below to access the podcast. I hope you enjoy it!

LisaErnst_Overlay copy

A Phantom and a Dream

Bubble freezing in the midst of popping! Photography by Lisa Ernst

Bubble freezing in the midst of popping!
Photography by Lisa Ernst

Diamond Sutra

So you should view this fleeting world

A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream

A flash of lightning in a summer cloud

A flickering lamp, a phantom and a dream

Making Friends with Your Stress

A recent TED talk by Kelly McGonigal about stress reminded me of a short article I wrote about fear with a complimentary viewpoint — its not the stress or fear that is the real problem, but our relation to it. When we view it as the enemy, something to get rid of, we set the stage to increase our tension and anxiety until it actually is a problem. But there are ways we can create a healthier relationship to our fear and stress.

As Fearful as You Need to Be: Joy in the Midst of Fear

There’s a popular saying about how to eliminate fear, I’m sure you’ve heard it: “Choose love, not fear.” This is reassuring; it makes people feel that they always have a choice not to be afraid if they can love instead. It is the principle of replacing what’s considered a negative, fear, with a perceived positive, love. But it doesn’t always work, if it works at all. Sometimes we just feel afraid and there’s nothing we can do to eliminate the fear. We can try, perhaps we can do it for a while, but often the fear just pops back up in another way, just like grief or anger. Maneuvering to get rid of it can have unwanted repercussions and often intensifies the anxiety.

So what do you do when your maneuvering fails? Be as fearful as you need to be. Open to it, feel it, don’t try to get rid of it. Stop viewing it as a problem and approach it as a friend. But also be aware of the thoughts and projections that are feeding the fear. You don’t have to nourish those thoughts. What would happen if you just let your fear live inside your body for a while, just as it is? What if you quit viewing fear as the enemy, something to get rid of? Would it overrun you and eat you up? Not if you cultivate a steady mind and an open heart in the presence of the fear. Take a few deep breaths and step in. Through this practice you can reach a still and open dwelling place. You can freedom in the midst of fear, and maybe even joy.

Here’s a link to Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk: The Truth About Stress

Mindful Photograhy Calendar Update

Image by Gay Mayes

Image by Gay Mayes

The calendars have arrived and will be available for sale at the 12 South Dharma Center starting this Saturday, November 23 at 10:15 a.m, before our bi-weekly intro to meditation. class. You don’t need to attend the class if you only want to purchase calendars.

Calendars are $20 each and are a fundraiser for One Dharma. You can also purchase them on Monday nights at 6:30, before our regular weekly meditation session. I hope you will support this fundraiser; your calendar purchase helps to fund One Dharma’s ongoing presence in the Nashville community, where we ensure that meditation, dharma classes and retreats are accessible to all.

Daylong Meditation Retreat in Nashville, September 14

The Joy of Refuge in This Moment

September 14, 2013, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Led by Lisa Ernst

IMG_0551Please join us at a beautiful and secluded West Nashville location for a day of sitting and walking meditation. We will cultivate appreciation and joy through taking refuge in this moment.

Led by meditation teacher Lisa Ernst, this silent retreat will focus on developing a quality of compassionate presence that embraces our experience with an open heart. Through this practice, we begin to find true refuge in the way things are.

This retreat is suitable for both beginning and experienced meditators; it will include sitting and walking meditation, practice instructions, and a dharma talk.

Cost: $50, plus dana (donation) to the teacher. A deposit of $50 reserves your spot and is due no later than September 9. Paypal is available here.  You can also bring your deposit to one of our Monday meditations or send a check made out to One Dharma Nashville to: 12 South Dharma Center, c/o One Dharma Nashville, 2301 12th Avenue South, Suite 202, Nashville, TN 37204. Be sure and include your email address. Directions and additional information will be emailed prior to the retreat.

Please contact onedharmaretreat@gmail.com with any questions.