Reflections on Skillful Effort



We can view wise effort as taking a canoe to the water and making the effort to put it in. Once the canoe is in the water, it floats on its own – we don’t need to make it float. Our effort is to launch the canoe. Once in the water, we have paddles and can direct the canoe, but we don’t have to try and make it float. –
~ Lisa Ernst

Stay right at that point of balance where you’re not pushing it too hard and not being too lazy or lax — just the right amount of interest, the right amount of attention and intention to keep things going — so that the breath can have a chance to heal the wounds in the body, soothe the mind, and bring both the body and the mind to the stages of practice where the concentration gets stronger and your insights grow sharper, more subtle. It’s important that the groundwork be done. Just keep on doing the work. Things will develop.

~ Thanissaro Bhikkhu

According to Stephen Batchelor, Enthusiasm is a better translation than Effort. He offers the 8th century poet Shantideva’s views on Wise Enthusiasm as finding joy in what is helpful and having a passion for living a mindful life, a moving force like wind that fills our sails and moves us.

Dedicated Practitioner Summer Class

5 Session Course Starting June 18, 2015
Thursdays, 7 – 8:30 p.m. at 12 South Dharma Center
Led by Lisa Ernst


This five week practice and study course is designed for committed practitioners and will allow for deeper exploration of the process and practices of meditation and awakening. Patterned on Sprit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioner Program and led by Lisa Ernst, the class will offer specific teaching and practice approaches based on the Noble Eightfold Path. There will be plenty of time for group discussion and interaction. The basic requirements are that everyone attending has an established daily meditation practice, or will re-commit to one, and has attended at least one daylong or longer meditation retreat. Meetings will be held Thursday evenings at the 12 South Dharma Center, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

The class fee is offered on a sliding scale of $125 – $150. Anything you pay above $125 will help toward our scholarship fund. Two reduced fee spots are available in the case of financial need. A deposit of $35 reserves your spot with the balance due by June 11. To pay by paypal go here. Instructions on paying by check are also available at this link. Please include your email address. Please note that we will not meet on Thursday, July 2 due to the 4th of July Holiday. For additional information contact

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.