Learning from Our Enemies

This short piece from Pema Chodron fits into the them of a dayong retreat I’m teaching at Spirit Rock Saturday, so I’m sharing it here.

Ego clinging is our means of denial. Once we have the fixed idea “this is me,” then we see everything as a threat or a promise—or something we couldn’t care less about. Whatever we encounter, we’re either attracted to it or averse to it or indifferent to it, depending on how much of a threat to our self-image it represents. The fixed identity is our false security. We maintain it by filtering all of our experience through this perspective. When we like someone, it’s generally because they make us feel good. They don’t blow our trip, don’t disturb our fixed identity, so we’re buddies. When we don’t like someone—they’re not on our wavelength, so we don’t want to hang out with them—it’s generally because they challenge our fixed identity. We’re uncomfortable in their presence because they don’t confirm us in the ways we want to be confirmed, so we can’t function in the ways we want to function. Often we think of the people we don’t like as our enemies, but in fact, they’re all-important to us. They’re our greatest teachers: special messengers who show up just when we need them, to point out our fixed identity. – Pema Chodron

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Check Out My New Meditation Website!

Hi, I’ve finally completed my new website, dedicated to my dharma teaching and meditation. Please drop by and let me know what you think. If you’d like to subscribe to my new email newsletter, just scroll down to the bottom of the front page and you’ll see the sign up form on the right.

Mindfulness Meditation Instructor Training

This program will help you deepen your own practice and learn the vital tenants of Buddhist mindfulness meditation in a format for skillfully sharing it with others. You will also learn how to lead effective guided meditations, give meaningful talks about mindfulness and meditation and answer questions skillfully. You will benefit from an engaged learning environment with peer and teacher support.

This course provides:

24 hours of teacher led class time, 30+ hours of course study, practice and peer engagement, guidance for daily study, teacher support and review. Our study guide for this class will be Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein.

Eligibility:

A minimum of two years consistent meditation practice, meditation retreat experience, participation in a sangha or other such community.

This program is not a lineage empowerment to teach the Buddhadharma, which requires years of study, teacher mentoring, deep commitment to daily practice and numerous meditation retreats. But for those interested in this path, the program can serve as a step along the way. For others the training will provide a foundation for deepening your own practice while learning how to effectively share it with others.

On successful completion of the course you will receive a certificate from One Dharma and Lisa Ernst verifying that you have been trained and approved to facilitate and instruct others in essential mindfulness and meditation practices. Opportunities through One Dharma and the greater community will be available.

If you are interested, please email Ernst.lisa@gmail.com for full course description, fee, class dates and application. The class will begin on June 21, 2018.

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!

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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