INSIGHT A Joint Newsletter of the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Budd

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

INSIGHT A Joint Newsletter of the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies with schedules and dharma articles of lasting interest Spring 1994 =================================================================== EDITOR: Andy Olendzki MANAGING EDITOR: Mu Soeng Sunim COPY EDITING: Katherine S. Diehl, Karen Dreste PRODUCTION ASSISTANCE: Jan Hauben INSIGHT is a newsletter jointly published by the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, which are tax-exempt, nonprofit centers whose purpose is to foster the practice of vipassana (insight) meditation and to preserve the essential teachings of Theravada Buddhism. The goal of the practice is the awakening of wisdom and compassion through right action and cultivating mindful awareness in all aspects of life. IMS offers a year-round program of intensive meditation retreats and various opportunities for volunteer service. BCBS offers a year-round program of workshops and seminars in the study of the larger Buddhist tradition within a contemplative framework so as to build a bridge between study and practice, between scholarly understanding and meditative insight. Copyright 1994 Insight Meditation Society 1230 Pleasant Street Barre, Massachusetts 01005 USA Tel: (508) 355-4378 * * * This electronic edition of INSIGHT is made available for free distribution via DharmaNet by arrangement with the publisher. This electronic edition includes the full text of selected articles that originally appeared in the printed edition. To receive a copy of the original printed edition of this issue, please contact IMS. Page numbers are not particularly meaningful in electronic format. Instead, each article is demarcated here by a number within braces. This allows you to use the Search feature of your newsreader or file viewer program to "fast forward" to the section you want to read. Italicized text is represented by //double slashes//. Formatted by John Bullitt . I welcome your comments and suggestions. DharmaNet International, P.O. Box 4951, Berkeley, CA 94704-4951 * * * =================================================================== CONTENTS =================================================================== {1} INTERVIEW: Christina Feldman {2} ARTICLE: Shining the Light of Death on Life: Maranasati meditation (Larry Rosenberg) {3} SANGHA PAGES {4} ARTICLE: Exploring New Approaches: The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (Andy Olendzki) {5} ELECTRONIC DHARMA: On-Line at the Study Center: The Electronic Dharma (John Bullitt) {6} IMS NEWS {7} ABOUT IMS {8} SCHEDULE: IMS 1994 Retreat Schedule {9} REGISTRATION FORM: IMS Retreat Registrations {10} BCBS NEWS {11} ABOUT BCBS {12} SCHEDULE: BCBS 1994 Course Schedule {13} REGISTRATION FORM: BCBS Course Registrations {14} PALI TRANSLATION: A Wish of Loving Kindness =================================================================== {1} INTERVIEW =================================================================== INSIGHT IS LIBERATING ONLY IF IT IS LIVED An Interview with Christina Feldman "How did you first become interested in Buddhist practices?" I first began my practice in the Tibetan tradition in 1970. By a strange set of circumstances I ended up in India at 17.. Totally culture shocked, I sat in a dingy hotel room in old Delhi and wondered how quickly I could get out of India. An old India hand advised me to head for the mountains to recover before I fled. Arriving in McLeod Ganj, the home of the Dalai Lama and a large settlement of Tibetan refugees, I was stunned by the depth of compassion, sensitivity and happiness they radiated. It very quickly occurred to me that they were surely connected with some great skill in living which was a mystery to me. They were impoverished refugees, exiled from their homeland and many had endured indescribable hardship in their journey to safety -- yet they smiled and walked with a remarkable calm and dignity. After many rebuffs I was accepted as a student by Geshe Rabten and began to study and practice Tibetan Buddhism. I can only say I experienced a profound sense of homecoming in the vision the teaching presented; its universality, its emphasis upon compassion, ethics and motivation, the unrelenting encouragement to abandon self-centeredness, greed and ignorance, all made a deep impact on me. I spent several years living in the mountains practicing. There was something incredibly special about the simplicity and silence of the place and the depth of the teachings. "What brought you to shift from Tibetan practices more towards vipassana?" There was a point after several years when I had to travel to New Delhi for some business. I had been reflecting upon and attempting to develop compassion for many months and, in the mostly non-challenging environment I lived in, I felt that I was beginning to feel with a boundless compassion and friendliness. It very quickly seemed to disappear when the bus conductor attempted to grab my backside and I responded by slapping him in the face. At that point it became clear that there was something of a gap between my ideals and actualities, and I saw there was a need for me to develop some greater insight into the nature of my own reactions, conditioning and grasping. Living in India for a long time, everyone hears about the variety of teachings that are offered and of course I had heard about vipassana retreats being offered at Bodhgaya. It was very difficult for me to take the step of signing up for a vipassana retreat. Unfortunately I was possessed with all of the less desirable attributes of a convert. Identifying with the Mahayana path, I had considerable prejudice towards the Theravada tradition -- this was the lesser vehicle I viewed with mistrust, if not derision. However, with great misgivings, I decided to take the plunge. "What was the vipassana scene like back in the days when you were in India?" Vipassana retreats were a little different in India than we often experience them in the West. One friend describes them as the school of hard knocks. In my first retreat, I was directed towards a small patch of concrete, overrun by the occasional rat. The day began at 3am and ended about 11pm and there was nothing to do but sit and walk. At times we were directed to sit many hours without moving. It was hard, but also wonderful; there was nowhere to hide and the immediacy of the practice was everything I needed. There were very few meetings with a teacher, and what meetings there were were not intended to be consoling but simply to instruct me to practice more, let go more, sleep less and see more clearly. The simple truths of the teaching were impossible to deny and were possible to access. I started to do a number of retreats mixed with returning to the mountains to practice. "Each year you lead a retreat at IMS for women. How did it get started? How is it taught differently from other retreats? What special qualities or perspectives emerge from this experience?" I began to teach retreats for women about ten years ago. They really began out of the wishes of many women who had attended mixed retreats with me. I had never really given a great deal of thought to being a woman in this tradition until I went to Thailand, where it was made clear to me by others that being a woman in meditation frequently meant being regarded with condescension. In the monastery in Thailand where I was women were primarily sent to the kitchens, expected to be devoted and quiescent, almost invisible. This is not true of all monasteries but is not a rare attitude to be encountered. Teaching in the West I became aware to what extent the stories and models that were used in teaching were male stories and models. The silence of many women in discussion groups and the vitality they expressed in groups for women were factors in beginning to teach retreats for women. The format of these retreats differs only slightly from any other retreat I teach; there is silence and intensive practice. But there are differences; there's a very tangible atmosphere on women's retreats which I can only describe as trusting. There is something remarkably powerful to be in the presence of 100 women who are dedicated to freedom, integrity and wisdom. I feel honored every time I teach a women's retreat. "Have you faced any special challenges or difficulties in being a woman in the world of Buddhist practice?" Personally I don't have any difficulty being a woman in the world of Buddhist practice. This doesn't mean that other people don't have difficulty with it. Encountering women in positions of authority challenges some very ancient and often hidden prejudices and assumptions within some people. But it's a wonderful challenge--surely this is what the practice is about. I have had a few bouts and encounters with some more traditional folks. Personally I am not very impressed by hierarchies or prejudices or authority of the past. I teach the dharma because I love to share the dharma and to be together with people who love to be clear. "Do you have any perspective on the Buddha himself with regard to women practicing in the sangha?" Given the cultural condition of the time of the Buddha, he was remarkably open-minded and inclusive of women, with a little persuasion. Given the cultural conditions of our contemporary world, I do feel that the Buddhist tradition does a great disservice to itself in the lack of respect accorded to women. Buddhist teaching is a teaching of liberation and I cannot see that there is any compatibility between liberation and the holding on to prejudice. "What about the family retreats? Can you speak about teaching these?" The family retreats began with the birth of my first child 12 years ago. There are very few models which honor the path of parenting as an authentic path of deepening in understanding. Most models we encounter encourage us to depart from our families and separate our spiritual lives from our family lives. It is a lethal dichotomy. Being a parent is one long retreat. It asks for renunciation, surrender, compassion, selflessness, and immense wisdom. The family retreat honors this. It also provides an opportunity for children to be exposed to the teachings. The family retreat is noisy and chaotic, very different from any other retreat, yet something very important takes place beneath the chaos. For the children it is a time of planting seeds -- important seeds in the context of a culture that endlessly encourages them to get more, strive more, be more. It shows another path. For the parents it is a time of community and appreciating that the challenges offered by the realities of their lives are the places they learn to live the dharma. "You have been teaching at IMS almost since its inception. What changes have you seen over the years?" The teaching of vipassana is still a relatively new tradition in the West but in the time I have spent teaching I have seen a process of maturing taking place. In the early years many yogis were retreat addicts and there was for many an unhealed gap between their retreat life and their life in the world. I do feel that over time many people are appreciating the actuality that insight is only liberating if it is lived. More attention is given to the realities of applying compassion and the wisdom of creating sangha. Many yogis come to do longer retreats, and there is perhaps less of a fascination with the highs and lows of meditation experiences and a deeper interest in liberation. "You might be described as a Western Lay Buddhist Teacher. Any thoughts about this emerging phenomenon?" I know for myself coming to Buddhist teaching my interest was primarily in the experiential and contemplative dimensions of the teaching and not in the forms, rituals or cultural trappings. Most of us have been Christians or Jews and I don't feel we're looking for a new spiritual or religious identity to inhabit. The great gift of the dharma, I feel, is that it actively discourages us from identifying with yet another belief system, from becoming a convert or from becoming a convert or subscribing to someone else's doctrine. I see this as a gift of freedom. The dharma asks us to question, to awaken to the truth of our lives and ourselves, to be free. I feel a profound gratitude for the service the ordained sangha in Buddhism has provided through keeping the teachings alive. I feel an equally profound gratitude for all of the lay people in the dharma who breathe life into the essence of the tradition, the contemplative life that is committed to liberation. "How do you see the interface between psychotherapy and vipassana meditation? What are some of the benefits and possible dangers of doing both practices?" I do feel there are some clear parallels between psychotherapy and vipassana. Both are concerned with healing, with bringing to an end the conditioning power of the past and with insight. There are also some points where the two practices diverge, particularly in regard to the notion of 'self.' There is no doubt that liberation means that there is not 'someone' there to own it or appropriate it as a personal description. In deep meditation experience it can be experienced very directly that all of the images and conclusions we hold about ourselves, even those with incredibly long histories, can be dissolved in the light of new understanding. The past is healed through insight into the present. The danger of combining the two practices is to attempt to use meditation as another means of self-improvement or to come to meditation with the conviction that we have to 'work out' everything. Meditation teaching emphasizes the need to have clear comprehension about the contents of our experience, but equally emphasizes that transformation lies not in rearranging or modifying those contents, but in the transformation within the consciousness that receives them. The benefit of having had some therapeutic experience when coming to meditation experience is that the whole area of inquiry and investigation is familiar territory and there is already a mature foundation of insight. "In your experience, do people tend to stay with vipassana practice year after year or is it a practice that people are attracted to for some time and then drift away from to some other tradition or another discipline?" I certainly meet people who come to retreats year after year and feel delighted by their return. One of the greatest attractions of vipassana is the absence of the esoteric, of graduated paths with lots of signposts. No one becomes an expert, no one can fail. The practice begins and ends with being awake. I do feel that this simplicity strips away the fascination with special forms or techniques that are somehow going to magically awaken us. I feel that people more and more understand that their wisdom and awakenings are born of their own willingness to see and deepen and not because they have become an 'expert.' I feel a profound joy when I see people understanding what it means to be a 'light unto themselves.' "After many years of teaching Western students, do you think we are actually 'getting it'?" Yes, Western students do get it. I am repeatedly awed by the depth of commitment and clarity of insight that Western students express and embody in their lives. =================================================================== {2} ARTICLE =================================================================== SHINING THE LIGHT OF DEATH ON LIFE: //MARANASATI// MEDITATION by Larry Rosenberg Adapted from a workshop taught at the Study Center on November 20, 1993 Meditation on death awareness is one of the oldest practices in all Buddhist traditions. In the words of the Buddha, "of all the footprints, that of the elephant is supreme. Similarly, of all mindfulness meditation, that on death is supreme." The //Tibetan Book of the Dead// was one of the first and most popular books to attract the attention of Buddhist practitioners in America in the nineteen-sixties and seventies. The tremendous popularity of Vajrayana Buddhism in America has led to a great deal of interest in bardo states in particular and death meditation in general. Sogyal Rinpoche's new book //The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying// is but the latest in a long line of Buddhist books dealing with death and its related aspects. According to Edward Conze, the noted historian of Buddhism, "If we can believe Buddhaghosa (the author of the ancient classic //Visuddhimagga//), two only among the 40 meditational practices are always and under all circumstances beneficial -- the development of friendliness, and the recollection of death. 'As a result of the recollection of death one reflects on the fact that one is sure to die, gives up the search for what is unworthy, and steadily increases one's agitation until one has lost all sluggishness'. This agrees fairly well with Plato when he says in his Phaidon (64A) that they are the "true votaries of knowledge" who "practice nothing else but how to die or meet death." Few things indeed are as salutary to a Buddhist as to meditate on death, the inevitable sequel of life governed by craving and ignorance." There are many forms of //maranasati// (death awareness) that have had a very prominent place since the time of the Buddha. Our culture does not encourage us to face death while we are still very much alive. This culture is inside us, so without knowing you I can assume, perhaps safely, that there may be some obstacles, some resistance to taking on a contemplation of this sort. I don't think it can be put any better than in the "Hollywood wisdom" of Woody Allen, who in one of his movies says, "It's not that I'm afraid of dying; it's just that I don't want to be there when it happens!" I would say that for vipassana yogis it's the opposite: we openly acknowledge our fear of dying and we //really// want to be there when it happens! Many of us are not paying much attention to the obvious fact that we will die; we are trying very hard to have a good time in the midst of this avoidance. So why formally contemplate our own death while we are still alive? Why are we preparing for our own death? Formal meditation can be very helpful in arousing and letting go of the fears which are latent in us, especially the fear we all have of dying and with which we may not be in touch. Death awareness has been a very important practice for me and I've done it off and on, sometimes very intensively, over the years. My first contact with this meditation was in an informal and natural way almost 30 years ago. I was studying with Badrayana, a teacher from India. We spent three months together in a small Mexican town, isolated from everything. One evening, as I was sitting in my room doing breath awareness practice, he enthusiastically approached me and said, "Drop everything you're doing and come with me." It turned out that one of the local workers, while drunk, had fallen into the bay and had drowned. His dead body had washed up on the beach. For some religious reasons which were obscure to us, the villagers refused to touch his body; all they had done was put the body in a box with ice. They wanted us, as outsiders, to sit with the body until the dead person's relatives and a priest could come from Mexico City the next day. So we sat with the body through the night. I couldn't figure out why it was so important for me to go through this. The teacher was doing this not as a favor to the villagers but because he felt that an extraordinary opportunity had dropped into our lap. So the two of us sat all night with this bloated, blue and festering corpse with a really bad smell. I went through phases of fear, nausea, resistance, and tremendous doubt about the necessity of this project. Who was he anyway? Why was he inflicting this experience on me? He watched me very carefully and whenever he saw a strong reaction, he'd say, "What are you experiencing right now?" I would tell him my experience and he'd say, "O.K. Sit with it." Sound familiar? Be with your breath and sit with it. We sat with the corpse until the next morning when a Catholic priest and the dead person's family took over. Through the night, my teacher would periodically remind me that I was not exempt from this lawfulness, that if something appears, it must also disappear, that this dead body was not some kind of chance occurrence, that it was something to which we are all subject, that it's the great leveler. And he would remind me again and again to reflect on this corpse as my true teacher; to see it as if it were my own body. I finally calmed down and was able to give full attention to the dead body and my reactions to it. His deadness became more clear; my own aliveness did too. Looking back, that experience, though mostly unappealing at the time, was invaluable. It arouses in me a deep interest in death and dying in the Buddhist tradition. In learning more about death awareness meditation, we learn how to shine the light of death on life. It's not meant to be an exercise in morbidity or self-pity, or in terrorizing ourselves. In fact one often feels light, happy and unburdened after directly acknowledging the truth of our inevitable death. One way in which it is extremely invaluable is that it flushes out fear. It gives us an opportunity to work very carefully with fear. Now remember, what we're afraid of is not really death but our idea of death. And this is one of the things to learn, that it's a very powerful idea. Many current Buddhist meditation practices in the West focus on objects associated with beauty or joy or peace -- something desirable, attractive. Certainly death is mentioned frequently in teaching. It is obviously a vital part of the general importance given to the understanding of //anicca//, impermanence, change, uncertainty. Reflection on //anicca//, that everything which arises passes away, is central to wisdom practice. However, it doesn't seem to have been taken up very often as a subject of formal contemplation in a systematic and sustained manner. Nine years ago I gave a talk at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center on Death Awareness. Towards the end of the talk someone bolted out of the hall, obviously saturated with anxiety. This person later told me of the fear aroused by my remarks. Thich Nhat Hanh advised me to be careful in teaching //maranasati//, to avoid encouraging people in poor mental and physical health who are still strongly dominated by desire and aversion to take up this practice. Perhaps wisely, I pulled back and shared this practice with very few yogis. The times have changed and it now seems clear that death awareness meditation is too important not to be talked about openly. Let me hint at a few ways in which we can benefit from bringing the idea of our own death into consciousness. Its full benefit can only be grasped if we decide to actually set maranasati into motion. To do so is to shine the light of death on life. Many aspects of how we live collapse when exposed to this light; others become even more precious. Let me briefly mention some ways in which the practice of death awareness has been of personal benefit. It has often brought fear out into the open--fear of the obviously finite nature of this physical body. Arousing the fear of death provides us with an opportunity to use //sati-panna// -- mindfulness with discernment -- skillfully so that wisdom can take some of the potency out of this very natural source of anxiety. Please remember that what most of us are afraid of is not really death but our idea of death. My impression is that there is now much more interest in the contemplation of death than there was just nine years ago. There has also been a dramatic increase in a number of sincere and committed practitioners willing and able to provide support. Naturally, it can be a great dharma practice. When working with Ajahn Suwat, a Thai forest monk, on what he referred to as "coming to terms with the true nature of the body," I already had a deep commitment to five precepts, years of study and intensive practice, and the support of the sangha; most important was his loving and deeply equanimous presence in the face of all my strong emotional reactions to the ideas of my own death. He had faced his fears and was able to help me face mine. Nonetheless, I remain cautious. The practices mentioned here are simply meant to be an introduction. They have been invaluable for some practitioners in the past. Perhaps they will be of some interest to some of you as well. What we are doing here is not attempting to arm ourselves with a new ideology, a "Buddhist" view of death to replace the discarded Judeo-Christian notions of an eternal soul or Marxist conclusions of total annihilation with the death of the body. We are rather more interested in how the idea of our own death is affecting us right now. Even when we are terrified (at some level) of dying, we usually put this inevitability far ahead of us, in some distant future. This is easier to do when we are younger--"we still have lots of time." We don't really know very much about our relationship to a profoundly obvious and fundamental fact--that we could die at any moment. Our life is literally hanging on by just one breath! We know lots about our relationship to sex, love, art, anger, food, money, clothes, politics but not very much about the personal meaning of our dying. There can be a huge gap between the obvious fact of an unavoidable death and the degree of reflection devoted to this important subject. We find many ways to avoid the emotional significance of our own death. Even Buddhist teachings can be used as a hiding place. The theory of rebirth can be quite comforting. How deep is your confidence in it? Does it cover up deep and unexamined terror? I asked Byok Jo Sunim, one of my Zen teachers in Korea, about what happens after death. He said that he didn't know. I was disappointed by his answer. He saw this and simply added, "I haven't died yet!" He was encouraging me to rely on my direct experience even more than the doctrine of karma and rebirth. The formal meditation practices that I would like to introduce you to shortly are actually invitations to our fear of death to come and visit us -- to present itself in as vivid and immediate a way as possible. When the fear of our own death is evoked it is often happening to an image (it can be very subtle) of a dying that will take place in the future to somebody at that time; that "somebody" is of course you. The fear is in regard to a //notion// of you who is going to die some time later on. This putting death off for a future time without realizing it can be very subtle. It can still arouse emotions that are poignant and sorrowful, and thus provide us with a valuable field of fearful energy to practice with. However, formal death awareness practices are designed to help us move closer to feelings that are convincing and which are more nearly approximate to moments of our //actual// death. Let us pause briefly: What does your breath feel like right now? Can you hear sounds? Silence? Smells? The shapes and colors that make up the room you are in? Any discomfort in the body? What thoughts, images, and moods are coloring the consciousness right now? Be as intimate with this moment as you are able to. When it is time to actually die it will be happening in an ordinary living moment just like this one. The process of dying will take place NOW. Death awareness practice can help us more nearly simulate such a moment and weaken or transcend the power of the fear it may release. Death awareness is a valuable practice in many other ways. Every time we engage in some form of maranasati we help ourselves to acknowledge the impermanent nature of everything. It deepens our understanding of what it means to be alive. We are all companions in all old age, sickness and death -- seeing this more clearly can help us see how precious each one of us is. The obstinate familiarity of everything that encloses our daily life can break wide open and yield a new freshness. There is no way to be exempt from death. Those we love must also die. Really seeing this can enable us to see everyone more sympathetically. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, "Life is impermanent, but that does not mean that it is not worth living. It is precisely because of its impermanence that we value life so dearly. Therefore we must know how to live each moment deeply and use it in a responsible way. If we are able to live the present moment completely, we will not feel regret later. We will know how to care for those who are close to us and how to bring them happiness. When we accept that all things are impermanent, we will not be incapacitated by suffering when things decay and die. We can remain peaceful and content in the face of change, prosperity and decline, success and failure." Deepening our understanding of death can radically affect how we live life. Priorities can change and we may not have as much of an investment in an imagined future--perhaps less accumulation of things; perhaps less of an obsession with unattainable security; perhaps less of a preoccupation with "becoming someone," not so much living for the "future," because there isn't one. Is it possible to have fulfillment in this moment? To learn how to die is also to learn how to live. Death can serve as a "coach," encouraging us to live completely in the present, with more confidence and less fear. When we shine the light of death on the yearning for power, fame, and money, they tend to lose of some of their magnetic pull. In the case of vipassana yogis this can mean a dramatic strengthening of the commitment to wholeheartedly engage in practice. The contemplation of death has helped to take me through the "ups and downs" of practice -- it can be an effective antidote to periods of mental dullness. We don't have forever! Whatever our condition, whatever time and situation we find ourselves in -- ideal for practice! When I get caught in pettiness or resentment towards others, remembering to turn towards thoughts of death, usually restores the mind to balance. In a dharma talk, Ajahn Maha Boowa told us about a forest monk in Thailand who found himself face to face with a tiger. He was able to manage his fear, and avoid being attacked, by reflecting on how he and the tiger were comrades in birth, old age, sickness and death. His fear was replaced by deep compassion. They observed each other carefully for a few moments, and the tiger walked away. The message of our impending death can of course have a rather different outcome. An obviously dejected person approached me once after a talk on maranasati. He was disappointed in himself, wanting to drop everything for the dharma--but actually preferring sex, drugs and rock-and-roll! What do we really value? Why were we born? In brief, without being mindful of death, whatever Dharma practices you take up will be merely superficial. -- Yogi Milarepa * * * ------------------------ Death Awareness Practice Outline I ------------------------ The Inevitability of Death ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. Everyone has to die; 2. Our lifespan is decreasing continuously; 3. The amount of time spent during our life to develop the mind is very small; The uncertainty of the time of death ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 4. Human life expectancy is uncertain; 5. There are many causes of death; 6. The human body is so fragile; The fact that only insight into dharma can help us at the time of death ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 7. Our possessions and enjoyments cannot help; 8. Our loved ones cannot help; 9. Our own body cannot help. ------------------------ Outline II ------------------------ (Charnel Ground Meditations from Mahasatipatthana Sutta) 1. I see my body, dead for a few days, bloated, blue, festering. 2. I see my dead body infested with worms and flies. 3. I see that all that is left of my body is a skeleton with some flesh and blood still clinging to it. 4. I further consider my skeletal corpse without any flesh, yet still spotted with blood and held together with tendons. 5. All that is left of my dead body is a skeleton with no blood stains, held together by tendons. 6. I see that now all that is left is a collection of scattered bones. The bones of the feet have gone one way, the bones of the hand an other. The thigh bones, pelvis, spinal vertebrae, jaw, teeth and skull have all come apart in different directions. They are all now just bare bones. 7. All that is left is a collection of bleached bones. 8. A year passes and I see that my dead body is reduced to being a pile of old bones. 9. These bones decay and become dust; blown apart and scattered by the wind they cannot even be called bones any more. =================================================================== {3} SANGHA PAGES =================================================================== Space ~~~~~ The morning's thick and soft white fog Has lifted into dappled clouds, Leaving below such tender light That everything is held within. There are no edges to this light, There is no sharpness to this air. October's contrasts are contained- Intensity in softness here. Chartreuse and bright cerise leaves blend -- They do not clash in this pure light, And brilliant leaves provide a frame For stubble's quiet harmonies. Pleasant and harsh can coexist: Sweet bird songs and a squashed dead frog -- Peaceful lake and gunshots near the shore. This soft world's huge And everything has space To be itself-all held in soft embrace By stillness and tranquillity Of mind. Ruth Nelson Extinction ~~~~~~~~~~ In time first cause first nature. Clear way open dimension mind over mind out. Phantom depths phantom surfaces. Dark out of dark out of light out of dark. Sound inside sound inside sound. First cause first nature earth to earth all formless all dream. Face to face suspended there two bodies unborn undying in space face to face. Eyes hollow little eerie shapes. Suspended there two bodies armorless empty free. Earth to earth unthinkable cognition wishless signless poised perfection suchness so deep. Measureless trackless bliss upon bliss little eerie shapes altogether beyond. First cause first nature utmost spell unthinkable cognition. Empty free poised perfection bliss upon bliss unborn undying open dimension mind over mind out. Poised perfection suchness so deep armorless wishless signless extinction complete. Mark Katzman Sangha ~~~~~~ Softly chanting metta Into the sun-drenched breeze, I sit by Stillness Pond. A dragonfly alighting on my knee Looks quizzically up at me. I stop my chant; she leaves. Again I start, and she returns. Rest easy, Sister, bide a while. I will stay and chant to you, Awake perhaps some memory Long lain fallow in endless time. May you reclaim your heritage! Sabbe vinipatika anigha hontu. [*] Mary Jo Meadow * [May all destined to suffer be at peace--Ed.] Coming out of Dreams ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The broken clock ticks The hands go nowhere I come out of dreams Truth illuminates journeys not taken Like the hands of that clock I do not move. Carol Sherman Letting Go ~~~~~~~~~~ Holding the tail of the tornado I am whipped about Gyrating, obsessed, Orbiting in ever-widening Spheres of pursuit. Letting go Motions cease, teeth unclench I breathe in-out My tongue uncurls My eyes open; I see the rainbow. Carol Sherman The Man Who Moved Animals ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (A tribute to Rev. Cuthbert Juettner) Small heaps of fur On the side of the road; Cats, dogs, coons, possums. They ate, drank, scurried about Till the cataclysm -- The thud of steel on flesh. At the moment life left their bodies, They were alone. One man, bald and robed, Tended to their remains, Stopping at the side of the road To move the bodies And say a small blessing To send them off with ceremony. In Montana, they called him The Man Who Moved Animals. If I tell you That he died suddenly The thud of steel on flesh His bicycle bent and twisted His glasses flying off his face Whirling in the gusts Of karmic coincidence The sweetness of his smile Hovering at the side of the road Blessing the distraught driver, You would say It couldn't be. Carol Sherman Compassion ~~~~~~~~~~ I see your sorrow and all I can offer you is this intangible thing called compassion. But take this flower and smell its fragrance, perhaps it will ease your pain. Gita Mann Emptying ~~~~~~~~ Like empty bullet shells washed ashore, Memories line a deserted beach Rimming the endless sea of mind. All their explosive potential spent, They lie inert, abandoned Along the dreary, barren coast. There, washed in salt and whipped by sand, They rust back into the elemental earth From which they were first formed. Mary Jo Meadow Trade Winds in Nevis ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Whispering like the sea The mountain breeze Ruffles the leaves and coralita; Gusting it rings the chimes On the gallery Saws the mahogany tree that Creeks in the garden. A dove flies into the branches The flutter of its wings Lost in the sound of the wind. Like the mountain, I sit Wait for words and thoughts To blow away; So I can rise Free of bone and brain Part wind, Transparent Ringing. Carol Sherman Palindrome ~~~~~~~~~~ Leaves fall -- Twinklings of motion Rustlings of sound -- No leaves, no Fall -- Rustlings of sound, Twinklings of motion -- Leaves, Fall. Ruth Nelson Arriving Home ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I am convinced: To fathom the silence, the body must confess many tight secrets. I am convinced: to dwell in the angerless place, we need but empty our hearts but for the joy we were born with. I am convinced, now, with certainty: that these things are possible; that we were born to fathom, and dwell in joy. But these are words, issuing like tumbleweed across the desert; now here and gone. Go, start now, your restlessness craves taming your wounds await the healing sun, and in a moment, a happy lapse in your sleeplessness you will arrive home. Joel Bennett =================================================================== {4} ARTICLE =================================================================== EXPLORING NEW APPROACHES: THE BARRE CENTER FOR BUDDHIST STUDIES by Andy Olendzki How many ways are there to...how do I put it? Study Buddhism? Understand the Dharma? Train in the //sasana//? Explore the Buddhist tradition? Follow the path? Engage in Buddhist Studies? Inquire into the nature of reality? You see the problem already. There are a lot of ways of going about doing whatever-you-call-it, and what you call it makes a significant difference to what you actually wind up doing. The word "Buddhism" itself, as we are all no doubt aware, is a modern word. It is an abstract noun created in English to situate a vast range of phenomena in a Western tradition of intellectual inquiry. "Study," too, has a specific meaning in the Western academic community. It refers to a special kind of focused investigation that tends to take place in classrooms, offices, studies and libraries, the fruits of which are shared and communicated in books, papers, articles, lectures and conferences. To "study Buddhism," then, is a uniquely modern and Western enterprise, one that takes as its object, for the most part, something ancient and Eastern. All this, of course, is something quite alien to the 2500 year Buddhist tradition itself. The teaching of the Buddha was generally referred to as the //dharma// or //dhamma//, and the closest ancient word we can find to denote the larger movement set off by this teaching is the //sasana//, the "religion" or "dispensation" or "tradition" founded by the Buddha. Training in the //sasana// seems always to have entailed a good deal of "study," at least to the extent that a fairly large and complex curriculum needs to be addressed, memorized, cross-referenced and investigated. This is especially true for the monks and nuns, who not only had to know the 227 rules of the monastic order, but who presumably also were expected to have mastered a prodigious amount of doctrinal material. The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path were only the beginning. Between aggregates and elements, body parts and other objects of meditation, powers and absorptions and perfections, and on and on -- there was a lot to learn. Even lay-followers had a few things to keep track of besides the precepts. School children in Sri Lanka today, for example, still learn the //Dhammapada// by heart. How divergent are the traditional monastic and the Western academic ways of going about training or study? At first glance, they can seem quite similar in some of their more doctrinal inquiries. Both, for example, have a strong interest in the texts and their interpretation. A sound knowledge of the canonical languages -- primarily Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese -- and of the vast literatures composed in these languages, is a shared area of concentration. Beyond this, however, the two approaches appear to go significantly separate ways. For traditional Buddhists, the texts, treatises and commentaries are only a part of something much greater. The whole point to the teaching, and presumably of its study, is to bring about freedom from suffering for oneself and others -- to achieve liberation. Study can be a very useful tool for dispelling delusions, for inducing right view, and for augmenting wisdom. But it is only one of several tools, the others including such things as the practice of meditation, morality, renunciation and service. Study in isolation of practice, or study that is not itself a form of practice, is limited and -- many Buddhists would say -- a somewhat shallow and limited pursuit. The Western scholar of Buddhism, I think, would also agree that textual study is only a piece of a much larger picture, but quite a different picture. The study of Buddhism does include a strong component of trying to decipher what the Buddha and his followers through the centuries taught, but it also goes far beyond this to include whole realms of the human situation covered by such disciplines as history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, archaeology, mythology, art, architecture, and many, many others. All of these can be brought to bear on the Buddhist tradition, but do not inherently emerge from it. The Western academic tradition, from its Greek origins, Renaissance rejuvenation and astounding proliferation in the 19th and 20th centuries, is essentially a study of mankind and the human condition. From this perspective, the study of Buddhism is both worthwhile in itself, insofar as it is an exercise in fathoming a unique human world view, and valuable to the much larger endeavor of providing data for the disciplines. But the academic study of any religion comes with its own special dangers. A common view is that for the study to be truly academic it must at least suspend belief -- and possibly even disbelieve -- statements of religious truth. Otherwise, it stands to lose the precious (though perhaps imaginary) perspective of objectivity. When disciplined intellectual activity is put into the service of the converted, the argument goes, then we have not the study of religion but the practice of religion. For many academics, maintaining a clear distinction between study and practice is crucial. So here we come to a fundamental divergence. For the Buddhist, study should be a form of practice if it is to be at all worthwhile; while for the academic, if study crosses over into practice it becomes greatly diminished in value. But how clear is this distinction? Must the two approaches remain forever at odds? There are a few places in the world that are trying to find a new approach to the subject, one that draws upon the strengths of each perspective and attempts to bring them a bit closer together. Whether or not this can be done remains to be seen. I for one am quite optimistic. As a product of the academy, with a degree in Religious Studies and a specialization in Buddhism, I am basically very sympathetic of the larger ideal of studying the human situation by drawing on a number of disciplines and maintaining some academic "objectivity." As the current director of the Insight Meditation Society and a practitioner of //vipassana// meditation, I have also come to appreciate the indispensability of meditation as a tool for Buddhist Studies. And yet I don't find myself fitting easily or fully into either camp -- I sometimes find much of what is written in Buddhism scholarship to be limited, somehow missing the point, and yet also have a lot of trouble describing myself to anyone as "Buddhist." Perhaps that is why I feel so comfortable at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. A relatively new institution, the Study Center (as it is informally called) has emerged from the Insight Meditation Society and still stays closely associated with this well-established meditation retreat center. Yet its mission extends well beyond either just the preservation and propagation of Theravada Buddhism or the purely academic study of Buddhism. The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies is trying to form a meaningful bridge between study and practice, between the communities of scholars and meditators, between the ancient orthodox tradition and the modern spirit of critical inquiry. There is a whole generation today of brilliant scholars who have more than dabbled in the practice of meditation without losing their critical faculties. There is also a growing corps of experienced practitioners who have an eager appetite for learning more about the tradition that has helped bring so much generosity, compassion and wisdom to their lives. The Study Center is for both these groups of people, and for many others who are in the forefront of changing paradigms that no longer fit into inherited dichotomies. From long- time meditators who are forming study sessions to meet the interests of their sitting groups, to therapists and professional care-givers who use meditation to help their patients out of various difficulties, to college professors who more and more are including meditation practice as part of their courses in religion or psychology, to monks who have been Western-educated or who have left the //sangha// and are trying to find new ways of serving the //dhamma// in lay life -- the list goes on and on. Many people today, like myself, are more interested in learning about the moon than the finger pointing it out, and yet are not so bound by tradition to shy away from asking awkward questions or trying out bold new perspectives. The ancient Buddhist tradition brings to its subject a deep respect and an appreciation of its profundity and transformative significance that is often overlooked by some scholars. The modern academic tradition brings an attitude of critical examination and comparative perspective that is often lacking in the more orthodox monastic approaches. The encounter of these two ways of doing whatever-you-call-it in Barre is exciting and alive with possibilities. What I find so exciting is that we do not really know what we are doing. There is no set plan, no particular way that we expect things to go. It is all a great experiment, one that relies on the creative participation of practitioners and scholars alike. If you have ideas, or if you have any interest in helping us explore this interface between study and practice, then please give us a call or stop by for a visit. =================================================================== {5} ELECTRONIC DHARMA =================================================================== ONLINE AT THE STUDY CENTER: THE ELECTRONIC DHARMA by John Bullitt Access to Insight, a free on-line information service provided by the Study Center, is accessible to anyone with a computer and modem. This computer "bulletin board service" (BBS) puts modern telecommunications technology in the service of the dhamma, to provide an electronic forum for the exchange of dhamma-related ideas and information. Callers of Access to Insight can keep in contact by electronic mail ("e-mail"). General announcements concerning upcoming events of interest to the Study Center community are posted on the "bulletin boards" -- public message areas to which everyone has access. Thanks to DharmaNet, an international network of Buddhist-oriented electronic bulletin board services with which we are affiliated, callers may engage in discussion with like-minded people around the world, on a wide variety of topics ranging from Ahimsa to Zen. The BBS offers a wealth of other information of interest to the Study Center community, including up-to-date course and retreat schedules for IMS and the Study Center, an on-line edition of the Insight newsletter, and a directory of sitting groups. At the heart of Access to Insight is the library of Dhamma files, all of which are freely available for callers to download onto their personal computers. Here you will find books from the Buddhist Publication Society, including a number of its Wheel and Bodhi Leaves publications; transcriptions of Study Center workshops and conferences; Dhamma talks by vipassana, Zen, and Tibetan Buddhist teachers; books by Ajahn Lee, Mu Soeng Sunim, Ajahn Chah, Sister Ayya Khema, and others; and much, much more. The list of titles grows weekly, thanks to the efforts of the many volunteers participating in DharmaNet's ongoing Dharma Book Transcription Project. Access to Insight operates strictly on a dana basis, supported entirely through the generosity of volunteers and friends of the Study Center. If you have a computer and modem, you can connect with us at (508) 433-5847. For directions on how to get started, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Study Center. If you are already on the Internet, you can learn more via e-mail by sending a message to "info@metta.ci.net". What's New This Spring: A Sampling of Books Now Available On-Line ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Heart Sutra: Ancient Buddhist Wisdom in the Light of Quantum Reality by Mu Soeng Sunim (Cumberland: Primary Point Press, 1991) The Mind Like Fire Unbound, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Barre: Dhamma Dana Publications, 1993) The Practice of Loving Kindness, by Nanamoli Thera (BPS Wheel Publication #7) A Human Approach to World Peace, by H.H. the Dalai Lama (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1984) Zazen and Christianity, by Koun Yamada Roshi (from a talk given at the Sydney Zen Center) Internet ~~~~~~~~ The BBS is now on the Internet, the backbone of the emerging "Information Superhighway." Anyone with access to the Internet can now retrieve any of our books and other information simply by sending an e-mail message to the BBS. The BBS then sends back a copy of the file -- automatically. So far this year we have responded to almost 300 such automatic file-requests from six continents. We offer a small Internet mailing list of our own, which allows Internet users to keep up to date with Study Center events without having to dial up the BBS directly, thus saving them a long-distance phone call. We are continuing to explore ways to put all this rapidly-evolving computer and communications technology to good use in supporting the dhamma. If you have any suggestions or ideas, we'd like to know. Support ~~~~~~~ Access to Insight is a free service, and we will continue to offer it for as long as there is support from the community. Dozens of people have already contributed to this project: volunteers transcribed many of our on-line books, course schedules, and other dhamma materials; some are sharing their computer expertise with us; others have made donations to help offset our expenses (telephone bills, Internet access fees, software license fees, etc.). It is truly a communal effort. Anyone who wants to see the possibilities of this evolving technology brought into the service of the dhamma is invited to help. =================================================================== {6} IMS NEWS =================================================================== A NEW LOOK ~~~~~~~~~~ A sangha member with a lot of experience as a graphic designer, Skip York of Mill Valley, CA, has come forward and offered to help IMS develop a new logo and graphic identity for its written and published materials. We hope over the next several months to start introducing this new look to our stationery, brochures and eventually to this newsletter. We thank Skip for his gift of time and talent, and hope you all will let us know what you think of the changes. A NEW SIZE ~~~~~~~~~~ Entering the mainstream of desktop publishing, the IMS newsletter has moved to a smaller and more convenient magazine format. We hope by doing this to ease the production process and keep production costs down to a minimum. Now that we publish the newsletter jointly with the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, its director Mu Soeng Sunim is able to do most of the production work himself, with continuing support from Jan Hauben and the Ruby Shoes graphic arts studio in Watertown, Mass. NEW BOOKS ~~~~~~~~~ Joseph Goldstein's new book //Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom// has been published by Shambhala and is now available at most book stores. The DeWitt Lecture Series which Joseph presented at Harvard Divinity School in January, 1992 are being published this summer by the Paulist Press as //Transforming the Mind, Healing the World//. Also, Sharon Salzberg has a new book on //metta// which is in production and should be out sometime next year. You might want to keep an eye out for them both. 4th OF JULY WEEKEND RETREAT ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Rodney Smith will be joined in his 4th of July weekend retreat by Narayan Liebenson Grady of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center, and not by Carol Wilson as stated in the Fall schedule brochure included in the IMS newsletter, //Insight//. We apologize for the misprint. ADDITIONAL THANKS DUE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In our last issue we told the story of how Sariputta relics have made their way to Barre. Missing from that story was an important piece: The relics were offered to IMS on the recommendation of Bob Ebert, a frequent yogi and long-time sangha member who lives in Cambridge. Bob was asked by the steward of the relics what dharma center might be most appropriate to receive the relics, and we are very thankful to Bob for recommending the Insight Meditation Society. STAFF DHARMA PROGRAM ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The staff of IMS meets together for an afternoon every other week for special programs and discussions of dharma-related issues. Recent months have been particularly enriched by the visits of several guest speakers. Mel Ash was out recently discussing his book //The Zen of Recovery// and his experience with the interface of dharma practice and 12-step programs. John Miller, a psychiatrist and long time meditator from Worcester, talked with the staff about how yogis can sometimes get into emotional and psychological difficulties on retreat and how best to help them when this happens. Joseph Kappel, a long time bhikkhu with Ajahn Chah in Thailand and Ajahn Sumedho in England, talked about some of his experiences as a monk and some of the challenges he has faced in deciding to return to lay life a few years ago. Together with the two-week staff retreat in January, it has been a most stimulating winter for the staff. WANTED: ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR OPERATIONS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Insight Meditation Society is looking for someone who can oversee and supervise all of the day-to-day operational affairs of the retreat center. The AD for operations will: Finances: Be directly responsible (in cooperation with the executive director) for managing all the routine financial affairs of the center. A professional accounting consultant is available as a resource for this responsibility, along with a part-time bookkeeper and administrative assistant. IMS currently uses the Peachtree accounting system. Computers: Play a supportive role (in cooperation with the staff computer specialist) in coordinating the information processing needs of the center. IMS currently uses a custom R-Base system for registrations, mailing lists, etc. Retreat Management: Play a supportive role (in cooperation with the registrar and the front office staff) in overseeing and coordinating the management of meditation retreats, including troubleshooting and decision-making. Administration: Work with the executive director, resident teacher, personnel director, teachers and members of the board of directors to provide leadership and a center of gravity for the management of daily affairs. The position requires a good deal of worldly experience in running a business, a non-profit organization, or some other similar enterprise. The ideal candidate will have a sound training and considerable experience in accounting or bookkeeping (Peachtree experience is a plus), will be familiar and comfortable with computer systems (especially R-Base, though it is not necessary to be a programmer), and will have the ability to coordinate a complex operation gracefully. Because of the special challenges of IMS as a community, the position further requires maturity and balance, excellent communication skills, good insight and judgment about human nature, flexibility, compassion and a deep commitment to the dharma and vipassana practice. The ideal candidate will have a strong personal practice and some experience living in community. This is a potentially long-term administrative position offering food, housing, excellent health benefits, generous vacation and sitting time off, and a modest but adequate salary. It is a unique opportunity for right livelihood in a beautiful rural New England environment with unsurpassed dharma support. Qualified applicants should send a resume and letter to : Executive Director, Insight Meditation Society, 1230 Pleasant St., Barre, MA 01005. IMS is an equal opportunity employer. ANNEX RENOVATION ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Any of you who have done much sitting at IMS over the years are likely to have stayed in the Annex building, where most of our retreatant rooms are located, and if so will no doubt find these images of the Annex quite familiar. Let's face it -- it's a pretty funky place. Some people have developed a great affection for the clatter of the heating pipes, the squeaking of the floors, the whistling wind through the (closed) windows, and even for the tiny, frigid rooms at the end of the heating loop. Unfortunately our insurance company, the local fire chief, town building inspectors and various state regulatory agencies are not quite as fond of the building as these whatever-is-arising-is-just-fine old yogis. The renovation of the Annex is long overdue, and it's past the point where a little paint and some new carpeting will do the trick. Starting next January--if all goes well--we plan a pretty thorough rehabilitation of the Annex. The walls and roof are structurally sound; and thanks to some badly needed work in the basement last summer the foundation is sound too. But inside it's a different story. We need to gut the entire inside of the building and replace most of the plumbing and heating systems, upgrade the electrical system, and re-size all the rooms to the building code. (Retreats will still continue in the main building next year, but will be significantly smaller and not quite as silent as usual.) The goal will be to create as many single, soundproofed rooms as possible, all with a good window, a sink (that works!), individual heating control, and enough space in most cases to do walking meditation in one's room. With new wall, ceiling and floor surfaces the aesthetics will be vastly improved, although the decor will remain quite austere. This project will not be financed by course fees--you will not see the rates go up as a result of the Annex renovation. As with most of the major projects that have been undertaken at IMS over the last several years, we hope to fund the entire project with voluntary donations from the vipassana sangha. Of course, this depends on the response we get from our continuing Annex fundraising program. Most fortunately, IMS has recently received the offer of a substantial matching grant from a New York foundation which makes the entire project seem achievable. The foundation will match all donations up to $75,000 which come in before October 31, 1994, and if we achieve the goal will consider an additional $25,000 matching grant!! Altogether, therefore, we stand to raise $200,000 from this program, which is almost half of the total needed for the entire project. With building funds of nearly $100,000 collected before the matching challenge, and some additional grant-writing activity this year, we hope to reach the goal of over $400,000 by January of 1995. We will report in the fall newsletter how things are going. Historically, the IMS community of friends and supporters has always been most generous -- regardless of individual means. In the spirit of dana, the voluntary giving of gifts that support and further the dharma, the IMS sangha has so far always ensured that there is a place in central Massachusetts devoted to the teaching and practice of insight meditation. =================================================================== {7} ABOUT IMS =================================================================== INSIGHT MEDITATION SOCIETY 1230 Pleasant Street Barre, Massachusetts 01005 USA Tel: (508) 355-4378 INSIGHT MEDITATION (//vipassana//) is a simple and direct practice -- the moment-to-moment awareness of the mind/body process through calm and focused awareness. This practice originates in the Theravada tradition of the teachings of the Buddha. Learning to observe experiences from a place of stillness enables one to relate to life with less fear and clinging. Seeing life as a constantly changing process, one begins to accept pleasure and pain, fear and joy, and all aspects of life with increasing equanimity and balance. As insight deepens, wisdom and compassion arise. Insight meditation is a way of seeing clearly the totality of one's being and experience. Growth in clarity brings about penetrating insight into the nature of who we are and increased peace in our daily lives. The Insight Meditation Society was founded in 1975 as a nonprofit organization to provide a place for the intensive practice of insight meditation. IMS operates a retreat center which is set on 80 wooded acres in the quiet country of central Massachusetts. It provides a secluded environment for intensive meditation practice. Complete silence is maintained at all times except during teacher interviews. VIPASSANA RETREATS are designed for both beginning and experienced meditators. Daily instruction in meditation and nightly Dharma talks are given, and individual or group interviews are arranged with the teachers at regular intervals. A typical daily schedule starts at 5am and ends at 10pm. The entire day is spent in silent meditation practice with alternate periods of sitting and walking meditation. The combination of this regular schedule, the silence, group support, and daily instruction combine to provide a beneficial environment for developing and deepening meditation practice. Meals are vegetarian, and accommodations are austere, mostly double rooms. Men and women do not share rooms. Camping is not available. Retreats offered in 1994 are listed on the following pages. INDIVIDUAL RETREATS: In addition to teacher-led retreat, the center is open to experienced meditators (except for the month of January) for individual retreats. IMS and its teachers encourage experienced students--anyone who has practiced in a teacher-led retreat in the styles of vipassana offered at IMS -- to use the center for individual meditation practice as a way of strengthening self-reliance and increasing the value of meditation in one's life. Individual retreats require the prior approval of a teacher. IMS offers several forms for individual retreats: * Self-Retreat: A self-retreat may consist of any number of days not to exceed the longest period of teacher-led retreat sat by the student. During this time, meditators are expected to practice in silence, observe the five precepts and maintain a continuity of practice throughout the day. There are at least four group sittings daily. Students schedule their practice individually during the remaining hours of the day. Self retreats require the prior consent of a teacher and can be arranged by contacting the IMS office. * Long-Term Practice: For those wishing to do long-term meditation practice of 118 days or more, IMS has available a limited number of scholarships in the form of a reduced daily rate after the 88th day. Practice guidelines are similar to those for shorter individual retreats with an additional emphasis on self-reliance. Long-term practice requires the prior consent of two teachers. Those interested should contact the office for an application form and limited available dates. * Work Retreats: Work retreats offer an opportunity to integrate five hours of work each day into the normal silent meditation schedule at the center. The center occupies a large complex of buildings which require extensive maintenance and care. We invite skilled, semi-skilled, and enthusiastic old students to offer their energy to the center for cleaning, painting and remodeling; landscaping, gardening and grounds work, and assisting the cooks or administrative staff. All work retreats are free. Work retreats are for experienced students only. Contact the office for an application form. EVENING DISCOURSES: When a course is in progress, anyone is welcome to attend evening talks, and meditators with vipassana experience are welcome to attend the group sittings. Some restrictions apply. Please call the IMS office for the daily schedule. DANA (generosity) is intrinsic to the 2,500 year old tradition of Buddha dharma. Going back to the days of the Buddha, the teachings were considered priceless and thus offered freely. TEACHER SUPPORT: In keeping with the spirit of dana, IMS teachers do not receive any payment for leading retreats. Course registration fees cover only the day-to-day operating costs of the center. Teacher support is provided by voluntary donations given by students at the end of each retreat. FINANCIAL AID: As another expression of dana, the Insight Meditation Society provides two forms of financial assistance. The Scholarship Fund allows a limited number of individuals who might not otherwise be able to attend a retreat for financial reasons to do so. The Sponsor-A-Yogi-Fund is specifically geared to giving financial assistance to people with life-threatening illness who cannot otherwise afford to come and practice. Both funds are dependent on the generosity of the IMS community. If you are interested in supporting these important funds, please send your donations for this purpose to IMS at any time. If you are interested in receiving financial support from either fund, please contact the office. STAFF: A volunteer staff of 18, as well as the executive and associate directors and resident teacher, work in administration, maintenance, housekeeping, and the kitchen, guiding the day-to-day operation of the center. Staff life offers a challenging opportunity to integrate mindfulness with daily activities, and for service to others. The center depends on dedicated volunteer staff people for its continued existence. Due to regular turnover, staff positions are periodically available in all departments. Anyone who has sat at least one 9-day vipassana retreat is eligible to apply. If you are interested in a staff position, please contact the IMS office. SERVE THE DHARMA ON STAFF AT IMS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "If somehow we can practice the spirit of blessing in our work, the spirit of service, then we can transform what could be a very ordinary job into something that really carries us along the great way." -- Joseph Goldstein IMS OFFERS: An opportunity to grow in an environment which fosters mindfulness and metta, time and support for daily sitting, access to dharma teachers, annual staff retreats, room, board, health insurance, and $125 monthly stipend. IMS ASKS: Adherence to the five precepts, commitment to meditation practice, cultivation of a spirit of service, ability to live and work harmoniously with others, and at least a one year commitment. POSITIONS INCLUDE: Cooks, office staff, maintenance staff, grounds keeper, housekeeper, computer coordinator, administrative assistance. Openings become available throughout the year. If you feel it may be the right time in your life for the adventures of service and community, please call or write to IMS for information/ application. OPPORTUNITIES FOR GIVING ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Insight Meditation Society depends greatly on donations and contributions from its community of friends and supporters. If you care about IMS and would like to help support its valuable work, please think about making a donation or gift (tax-deductible, of course). There are a number of ways you can help: Membership Fund: A direct contribution to each year's operating costs, memberships help keep the daily rate as low as possible. IMS Dana Fund: A general contribution to the center, IMS dana is allocated each year by the Board wherever it is most needed. Scholarship Fund: This money is given out each year to people who request financial assistance to sit meditation retreats. Sponsor-a-yogi Fund: These funds support the meditation practice of people in chronic pain or with life-threatening illnesses. Building Fund: The building fund is used to help with some badly needed repairs and renovations of the buildings and grounds. Annex Fund: Started in 1993, the Annex Fund will be used for a thorough renovation of the yogi rooms in the Annex building. You may send your donation for any of these funds to IMS at any time. Simply indicate the fund/s you wish to support. Also, please contact the executive director if would consider making a bequest to IMS as part of your estate planning. SENIOR DHARMA TEACHERS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ruth Denison studied in Burma in the early 1960s with the meditation master Sayagi U Ba Khin. She has been teaching since 1973 and is founder of Dhamma Dena, a desert retreat center in Joshua Tree, California, and The Center for Buddhism in the West in Germany. Christina Feldman has been studying and training in the Tibetan, Mahayana and Theravada traditions since 1970, and teaching meditation worldwide since 1974. She is co-founder and a guiding teacher of Gaia House in England, author of Woman Awake! and has co-authored Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart. Joseph Goldstein is a co-founder and guiding teacher of IMS. He has been teaching vipassana and metta retreats worldwide since 1974, and in 1989 helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. He is the author of The Experience of Insight, and Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom, and co-author of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom. Jack Kornfield is a co-founder of IMS and Insight Meditation West/Spirit Rock. He has been teaching vipassana retreats worldwide since 1975. He is the author of A Path With Heart, co-editor of Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart, and co-author of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom. Michele McDonald-Smith has practiced vipassana meditation since 1975 and continues to study with Sayadaw U Pandita. She has been teaching at IMS and worldwide since 1982, weaving her interest in relationship, nature, and poetry into her teaching. Corrado Pensa teaches vipassana retreats in the U.S., England and Italy. He is founder of the Association for Mindfulness Meditation in Rome, a professor of Eastern philosophy at the University of Rome, and a former psychotherapist. Larry Rosenberg practiced Zen in Korea and Japan before coming to vipassana. His approach has been strongly influenced by the forest tradition of Thailand and the teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh. He is the resident teacher at Cambridge Insight Meditation Center. Steven Smith has studied meditation since 1970, training as monk and lay student with Sayadaw U Pandita since 1982. Founder of Vipassana Hawaii, he teaches vipassana and metta retreats worldwide. A deep reverence for nature and the power of myth is reflected in his teaching. Christopher Titmuss gives teachings worldwide concerned with spiritual realization and insight meditation. He is the author of Spirit of Change, The Profound and the Profane, and Fire Dance and Other Poems. He is co-founder of Gaia House Trust and lives in Totnes, England. Carol Wilson has been practicing vipassana meditation since 1971, most recently with Sayadaw U Pandita. She has been teaching since 1986 in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. ASSOCIATE DHARMA TEACHERS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Steve Armstrong has been practicing vipassana meditation since 1975, both as a layman and as a monk, and leads retreats in the U.S. and Australia. His primary focus is Buddhist psychology. He was on the staff and board of directors at IMS for several years. Anna Douglas, in addition to vipassana, has a background in Zen, psychology and the arts. Presently she lives in the Bay Area. Jose Reissig, a former university professor, has taught meditation at Gaia House, and teaches regularly at IMS. Sharda Rogell has been involved with meditation and healing since 1975 and currently teaches retreats in Europe, India and the U.S. Rodney Smith has been practicing vipassana for 18 years and spent 4 years as a Buddhist monk in Asia. He has been teaching meditation for the last 10 years and is currently the director of the Hospice of Seattle. IMS RESIDENT TEACHER ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Marcia Rose has been studying and practicing Buddhist meditation and related disciplines for many years, and has been resident teacher at IMS since 1991. =================================================================== {8} SCHEDULE =================================================================== 1994 IMS RETREAT SCHEDULE Registrations for retreats are taken only by mail or in person. We cannot accept any registrations by phone or fax. Course costs are listed in the main portion of this brochure. We request that you pre-pay the full retreat cost if possible, as this significantly reduces the time required to process your registration. However, the minimum deposit required with your application is listed in the table below. After the receipt of your deposit, a confirmation letter will be mailed to you with information on travel details and what you need to bring. Deposits are refundable, minus a processing fee, if we receive notification of a change or cancellation before the opening day of the retreat. Transfers made before a retreat's first deadline will incur no fee. Transfers made after the first deadline, and all cancellations, will have processing fee applied. These fees are outlined in the table. For most retreats, the first deadline occurs two weeks before the retreat begins, with the final deadline one week before. The Three Month and New Year's retreats have special deadline dates due to their popularity and the time needed to arrange attendance at them. Cancellations or changes made after a first deadline incur higher fees. For many years now our retreats have filled and have had waiting lists of those unable to get in. Please cancel as early as possible so that others who may be waiting can have sufficient time to arrange their participation. Participants are expected to attend the entire retreat. Any exceptions should be discussed with the office staff and confirmed in writing in advance. Such partial retreats will be charged at full retreat cost, except for the Three Month retreat (special obligations apply to the Three Month partials.) Except in cases of emergency, pre-arrangement, or teacher recommendation, refunds will not be available after a retreat starts (exceptions may be made during the first ten days of the Three Month retreat.) We have adopted these policies to allow the greatest number of people to have the opportunity to participate in retreats. We appreciate your understanding. Participation in retreats or use of facilities is always at IMS discretion. IMS reserves the right to end retreats for individuals. INSIGHT MEDITATION SOCIETY 1994 RETREAT SCHEDULE IMS, 1230 Pleasant Street, Barre, MA 01005-9701 Tel: (508) 355-4378 Telephone Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10am - 12noon; 3pm - 5:30pm May 20-30 METTA RETREAT (10 days) SM1 $280 (Steven Smith, Michele McDonald-Smith, Carol Wilson, Kamala Masters). Metta is the Pali word for friendship or loving-kindness. Classically it is taught as a practice along with meditations cultivating compassion, rejoicing in the happiness of others (sympathetic joy), and equanimity. They are practiced to develop concentration, fearlessness, happiness, and a loving heart. This course is devoted to cultivating these qualities. May 30-June 10 VIPASSANA RETREAT (11 days) SM2 $305 (Steven Smith, Michele McDonald-Smith, Steve Armstrong, Kamala Masters). This retreat emphasizes the intensive continuity of mindfulness, along with some daily practice of metta (loving kindness) meditation. The teaching is in the basic style of Mahasi Sayadaw, refining the tools of mental noting, slow movement, and precise, open awareness as a way of deepening the wisdom and compassion within us. May 20-June 10 METTA & VIPASSANA RETREATS (21 days) SM3 $555 June 14-19 MEN'S COURSE (5 days) MEN $155 (Steven Smith and Steve Armstrong). This traditional vipassana retreat will combine silent sitting with careful examination and thoughtful dialogue of significant issues in men's lives. Suitable for new and experienced students. June 23-27 YOUNG ADULTS COURSE (4 days) YA $130 (Steven Smith). This retreat is specifically for teenagers. It will offer beginning meditation instruction, 1/2 hour sitting and walking periods, discussions, stories, and free time. The aim is to allow young people to discover, develop, and value their natural spirituality with a tremendous amount of support. Extensive supervision will be provided. July 1-4 4TH OF JULY WEEKEND -- THE HEART IN VIPASSANA MEDITATION (3 days) 4TH $120 (Rodney Smith and Narayan Liebenson Grady). This weekend course will center on the ways of the heart, and how awareness brings us in touch with the joys and sorrows of living with ever-increasing sensitivity, stability and love. July 8-17 VIPASSANA RETREAT (For Experienced Students) (9 days) LR4 $255 (Larry Rosenberg and Corrado Pensa). Anapana-sati -- Buddha's teaching on the full awareness of breathing -- will be the frame of reference for this retreat. Conscious breathing will be practiced to develop and nourish both serenity (samatha) and liberating insight (vipassana). In addition to formal sitting and walking meditation, we will learn to keep the breath in mind throughout the day enabling us to stay awake in the midst of all ordinary activities. Retreatants are required to have sat at least one 9-day retreat at IMS, or a comparable vipassana retreat situation elsewhere. July 22-31 VIPASSANA RETREAT (9 days) CF1 $255 (Christina Feldman and Anna Douglas). An opportunity to develop calmness, wisdom and compassion in a supportive environment. Emphasis is placed upon developing sensitivity, attention and awareness in sitting and walking meditation to foster our innate gifts of inner listening, balance and understanding. Silence, meditation, instruction and evening talks are integral parts of this retreat. August 4-9 FAMILY COURSE (5 days) FAM Adult $155, Child $50 (Christina Feldman). This course explores integrating meditation and family life. In a less formal atmosphere, a full program of sittings, discussions, family meditations, and talks is offered. Child care is shared cooperatively through a rotation system with parents and volunteers. Each family unit pays an additional $25 for professional child care coordination. Please specify names, year of birth, and sex of all children on your registration. Aug 12-21 INSIGHT MEDITATION AND INQUIRY (9 days) CT2 $255 (Christopher Titmuss, Sharda Rogell and Jose Reissig). The emphasis of this retreat is similar to the April 22 retreat. (See above) Sept 2-5 LABOR DAY WEEKEND (3 days) RD1 $120 Sept 2-11 VIPASSANA RETREAT (9 days) RD2 $255 (Ruth Denison). This retreat fosters awareness and correct understanding of life's process in ourselves and others. The focus of the practice is on opening the heart, discovering oneself, and developing insight into the reality of the mind and body. Retreat activities include sound and body movement meditations, and the development of mindfulness in the day-to-day activities of our lives. This retreat is somewhat different from other IMS retreats, and includes sustained and on-going verbal teacher instruction throughout the day. Sept 21-Dec 17 THREE MONTH RETREAT (87 days) 3MO $2,200 Sept 21-Nov 3 PARTIAL #1 (6 Weeks) PART1 $1,150 Nov 3-Dec 17 PARTIAL #2 (6 Weeks) PART2 $1,150 (Joseph Goldstein, Carol Wilson, Steven Smith, Michele McDonald-Smith and Steve Armstrong).The three month course is a special time for practice. Because of its extended length and the continuity of guidance, it is a rare opportunity to deepen the powers of concentration, wisdom and compassion. The teaching is in the style of Mahasi Sayadaw, refining the skillful means of mental noting, slow movement and precise, open awareness. Prerequisite is one 9-day retreat with an IMS teacher or special permission. Dec 28-Jan 6 NEW YEAR'S RETREAT (9 days) NY $255 (Jack Kornfield and Rodney Smith). The New Year is traditionally a time for listening to the heart and taking stock of our lives from the deepest wisdom within. This retreat offers a systematic training in mindfulness of breath, body, feelings, and mind. Emphasis is placed on incorporating a spirit and training of loving kindness into all aspects of the practice, developing our capacity for clarity and compassion in each moment. Please note the special cancellation deadlines for this retreat. =================================================================== {9} REGISTRATION FORM: IMS Retreats =================================================================== If you are taking an IMS Course, please fill out this form. Please print clearly. Please photocopy this form if you will be registering for more than one course at IMS. Name___________________________________________ Phone ( ) ___________________ Address__________________________________________________________ City_______________State_____________________Country__________________ Zip__________ _ Check box /_/ if this is a new address. Old address______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ _ /_/ I have been to IMS before. _ /_/ I have not been to IMS before. Retreat experience___________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ Year of Birth_________ Female/Male________ Do you snore?_________ Physical disabilities or special needs________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ _ /_/ I can offer a ride to others in my area coming to this retreat. Course Code________________ Course Cost____________ Deposit Enclosed__________________ (See table for cancellation dates. Prepayment of full retreat cost is greatly appreciated.) Dates you will be here: From_______________________to_________________________________ I have added the following contribution to my deposit for the scholarship fund $____________________ Days spent at IMS outside of formal retreat dates are charged at $29 per day. Mail to: Insight Meditation Society 1230 Pleasant Street Barre, MA 01005 USA =================================================================== {10} BCBS NEWS =================================================================== Inaugural Academic Course at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As a first step towards fulfilling its vision of a new paradigm of Buddhist studies within a contemplative environment, the Study Center offered a 2-week intensive academic program in Buddhist Studies at its new dormitory/conference hall building from January 9-21, 1994. This vision has been inspired by the great Buddhist universities in ancient India. The objective of this paradigm is to explore Buddhist thought and practice as a living tradition, to provide a bridge between study and practice, between scholarly understanding and meditative insight. The 2-week program provided an in-depth academic look at the doctrinal and historical background of the tradition. The daily schedule was framed by morning and evening meditation as well as a weekend long vipassana meditation retreat in the middle of the course. Although unscheduled, students were provided with impromptu opportunities for experiencing different forms of Theravada and Mahayana chanting. All students found the course to be a very enriching balance of academic investigation and experiential participation. The 17 students shared a great variety of ages and backgrounds and geographical locations. There were participants from California, Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, New York, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Several had an extensive background in meditation practice while others had almost none; almost all shared a deep interest in enriching their understanding of the tradition. The core faculty for the course were Dr. Andy Olendzki, Executive Director of IMS & BCBS, and Mu Soeng Sunim, Director of Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. There was a rich contributing faculty as well, including Dr. Dorothy Austin, who teaches psychology and religion at Drew University; Dr. Perrin Cohen, who teaches psychology at Northeastern University; Dr. Diana Eck, professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University; and Dr. Jack Engler, author and vipassana meditation teacher, who is a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and The Cambridge Hospital. Joseph Goldstein, guiding teacher at the Insight Meditation Society, offered seminars on the wisdom and compassion aspects of meditative experience. One student wrote, "Sitting here, seeking balance amidst the ebb and flow of my daily life, I realize just how thoroughly thought out the meeting of my every need was during my stay at the Center. From the excellent meals and insightful teachings, to the beautiful landscape and finely crafted facilities, I had a wonderful experience." Some other comments on the course: "Well-organized and complete. I appreciated the range of presenters." "Provided me with an excellent foundation [in] Buddhist teachings." "Great, excellent presenters ... easy and pleasant to absorb many teachings." This program will be offered again from January 8 to 20, 1995. See course schedules for more details. =================================================================== {11} ABOUT BCBS =================================================================== THE BARRE CENTER FOR BUDDHIST STUDIES 149 Lockwood Road, Barre, Massachusetts 01005 Phone: (508)355-2347 The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies is dedicated to bringing together teachers, students, scholars and practitioners who are committed to exploring Buddhist thought and practice as a living tradition, faithful to its origins and lineage, yet adaptable and alive in each new time and place. The Center's purpose is to provide a bridge between study and practice, between scholarly understanding and meditative insight; it encourages active engagement with the tradition in a spirit of genuine inquiry and investigation. The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, or more informally, the Study Center, offers a variety of study and research opportunities, lectures, classes, seminars, workshops, conferences, retreats, independent study, and, in the future, scholars-in-residence program. The Study Center plans to offer research and publication facilities for Buddhist scholarship and translation. Its vision calls for dialogue between different schools of Buddhism, discussions with other religious and scientific traditions. The emphasis is always on the interrelationship between study and practice, and on exploring the relevance of classical teachings to contemporary life. Location: The Study Center is located on 90 acres of wooded land in rural, central Massachusetts, one-half mile from Insight Meditation Society. Founded in 1989, the Study Center provides a peaceful and contemplative setting for the study and investigation of the Buddha's teaching. For many years, it had been a dream of teachers at Insight Meditation Society to complement the silent meditation retreats at IMS with study programs. This vision became a reality with donations enabling the purchase of a 200-year old farmhouse and surrounding forest property. After extensive renovations, there are now residential facilities, a library, offices and a dining room that provide a comfortable setting for students, staff and teachers. A newly completed dormitory and conference hall provides space for larger workshops and more course participants. The Library at the Study Center is a major resource to be used by both students and visitors. Our collection consists of the complete Pali Canon in both English and Pali, several hundred volumes on Theravadan, Tibetan and Zen Buddhism and a variety of journals and newsletters. As part of our vision, we plan to expand our current collection into a respectable research library. Courses and Registration: The Study Center courses offer learning to students with a wide range of exposure to the material taught. If you have questions about a course, please call. Registrations are accepted only by mail or in person. We cannot accept registrations by phone. Early registration is advised since our capacity is limited. Please send the entire course cost as deposit. Upon receipt of your deposit, a confirmation will be mailed to you with information on travel details and what you need to bring. Deposits are fully refundable until 10 days before the start of the course. After that a small processing fee will be charged. If you need to cancel, please do so before the day of the course, otherwise there be an additional cancellation fee. DANA (generosity) is intrinsic to the 2,500 year old tradition of Buddha Dharma. Going back to the days of the Buddha, the teachings were considered priceless and thus offered freely. Teacher support comes primarily from voluntary contributions from students. The registration fee covers the center's cost of housing the retreat, and a small part of our ongoing expenses. As another expression of dana, the Study Center makes scholarships available to those who might not be able to attend a course due to financial need. Please contact us if you need financial assistance. TEACHERS AT BARRE CENTER FOR BUDDHIST STUDIES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (For teachers not listed here see biographies in the IMS section) Sylvia Boorstein has been teaching vipassana meditation since 1985 and is a founding teacher of Spirit Rock Center in California. She is also a psychotherapist, wife, mother, and grandmother, and is particularly interested in seeing daily life as practice. Tara Bennet-Goleman, M.A, is a psychotherapist and has been practicing meditation for over 20 years. She leads workshops on the integration of mindfulness and psychotherapy, meditative arts and clinical relaxation, and has a private psychotherapy practice. Robert Ebert, Ph.D., a psychologist and musician, was formerly on the faculty of Boston University. He is a collector of Buddhist art and has practiced in different Buddhist traditions for more than 20 years. Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., is a psychologist and long time student of vipassana meditation. His book The Meditative Mind explores meditation paths from an Abhidhamma perspective, and examines the implications of Buddhist psychology for the West. Michael Liebenson Grady currently teaches at Cambridge Insight Meditation Center. Narayan Liebenson Grady teaches full time at Cambridge Insight Meditation Center and regularly at Insight Meditation Society. Ven. Henepola Gunaratana, Ph.D., has been a Buddhist monk for over 50 years. Knowledgeable in both Western and Buddhist philosophy, he is the founder of Bhavana Society, a retreat and monastic center in rural West Virginia. He is the author of a number of books, including Mindfulness in Plain English. Gavin Harrison teaches Buddhist insight meditation in groups and retreat throughout New England. He is HIV+ and meditation practice is at the core of his efforts to engage the AIDS virus in a life-affirming way. He lives in Amherst, Mass. Bob Hiller is the director of Cambridge Insight Meditation Center in Cambridge, Mass., and a vipassana practitioner. Jon Kabat-Zinn is founder and director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the UMass Medical Center. The focus of his teaching is on mind/body interactions for healing and clinical applications of mindfulness meditation for people with chronic pain and stress-related disorders. He is the author of Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness; and Wherever You Go There You are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. Daeja Napier is the founding teacher of Newbury Insight Meditation Center and the Phillips Exeter Academy Insight Meditation Program. She is also on the teaching staff of Interface Foundation. She has been studying and practicing Buddhist meditation for over 20 years and is the mother of five children. V. Walter Odajnyk, Ph.D., is a student of Zen Buddhism and a Jungian analyst in private practice in New York City and Westport, CT. He is the author of the recently published book Gathering the Light: A Psychology of Meditation. Charles O'Hara, formerly a Theravada Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka, is a major supplier of Buddhist art to practitioners in this country. He lives in Susquehana, Pennsylvania. Andy Olendzki, Ph.D., received a degree in Religious Studies from the University of Lancaster in England, and studied at Harvard and the University of Sri Lanka. He is executive director of IMS & BCBS. Mu Soeng Sunim is director of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. He is a Zen monk and the author of Thousand Peaks: Korean Zen--Tradition and Teachers, and Heart Sutra: Ancient Buddhist Wisdom in the Light of Quantum Reality. Lama Surya Das is an American poet, writer, and Tibetan Buddhist lama and meditation teacher. He has been studying with the great teachers of the major Tibetan Buddhist schools and spent eight years in secluded retreats. He is the author of The Snow Lion's Turquoise Mane: Wisdom Tales from Tibet. Rabbi Sheila Weinberg is the Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Amherst, Mass, and a graduate of The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. She is one of the principal organizers of the Jewish-Buddhist Dialogue at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and interested in feminism, social change and spirituality as forces for the renewal of Judaism. =================================================================== {12} SCHEDULE =================================================================== THE BARRE CENTER FOR BUDDHIST STUDIES 1994 COURSE SCHEDULE June 12 SUBLIME STATES OF MIND (BRAHMA VIHARAS) (Sunday) Michele McDonald-Smith and Steven Smith (94SM $45). The Buddha taught that cultivation of four states of mind -- Loving Kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity -- are the great peacemakers and healers of suffering inherent in our human condition. This course will use traditional contemplative practices to cultivate these four qualities of heart and mind. June 17-22 SUTTA STUDIES (Fri-Wed) Bhante Henepola Gunaratana (BG1 $150). This dhamma study course will explore the dialogues of the Buddha with an emphasis on the Mahasatipatthana Sutta. This sutta is the basis for both samatha (concentration) and vipassana (insight) practices. Students will have the opportunity to both study and practice the meaning of this very important teaching. June 23-27 VIPASSANA MEDITATION FOR PARENTS OF YOUNG ADULTS (Thurs-Mon) Bhante Henepola Gunaratana (BG2 $120) This four-day course is designed to give parents of participants in the IMS Young Adults Course a unique opportunity to join the young adults in practicing Insight Meditation. Although the two retreats will be separate, they will occur at the same time and may have joint Dhamma talks. This retreat is open to anyone, but priority will be given to parents with children are participating in the Young Adults course. June 25 EXPLORING FULLNESS OF LIFE IN THE FACE OF DEATH (Saturday) Gavin Harrison and Rodney Smith (94GR $45) Conflict with the truth of our mortality creates enormous suffering in our life. Difficulty with aging, illness, change, insecurity -- all are ultimately founded in our nonacceptance of the inevitability of death. By honestly facing our mortality, we open to the possibility of deep freedom, joy and peace in our life. This workshop will engage -- through meditation, discourse, and discussion -- the issue of birth and death, so that together we come face to face with the fact of our mortality. July 9 THE TEACHINGS OF AJAHN MAHA BOOWA (Saturday) Corrado Pensa (94CP $45). Ajahn Maha Boowa is one of the most renowned living meditation masters in the Thai forest tradition. He is a disciple of Ajahn Mun (1870-1949), perhaps the most charismatic monk in Thailand in this century. Ajahn Maha Boowa's teaching, in accordance with the Thai forest tradition, encourages using the power of samadhi to nourish a more and more refined mindfulness and discernment (satipanna) into the fundamental nature of existence. July 16 BUDDHIST CHANTING: THERAVADA AND MAHAYANA FORMS (Saturday) Mu Soeng Sunim and Bob Hiller (94BC $45). This workshop will introduce participants to Theravada and Mahayana forms of Buddhist chanting. Often Buddhist chanting is used both as concentration practice and a teaching tool. Intensive experiential participation will be accompanied by historical and cultural backgrounds of how chanting is used in different Buddhist cultures. Sept. 10 MINDFULNESS AND STRESS REDUCTION: BRINGING THE DHARMA INTO THE MAINSTREAM (Saturday) Jon Kabat Zinn, Ph.D (JKZ $45) Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and director of the Stress Reduction Center at UMass Medical Center will describe his work at the clinic and in prisons, the inner cities and schools. This will form the back- ground for participatory inquiry into the integration of dharma, meditation practices and perspectives into mainstream institutions and life. Discussion will include issues and barriers that arise around this integration. Sept. 11 FREEING THE MIND: MEDITATION AND DIALOGUE (Sunday) Joseph Goldstein (94JG $45) This workshop will explore meditative techniques for working with difficult emotions. Anger, fear, jealousy, loneliness, boredom, unhappiness all arise at different times in our life. Through discussion and practice, we will bring the liberating insight of dharma to these experiences, allowing us to live from a place of natural open awareness. Sept. 17 ART AS DHARMA, DHARMA AS ART (Saturday) Charles O'Hara and Robert Ebert (94OH $45) This workshop will provide a survey of the development of Buddhist art and its relation to the spread of Buddhism throughout Asia. Diverse and varying meditative and religious practices, including art, will be emphasized. The presentation will use paintings, sculpture and slides to highlight the major cultural manifestations of Buddhism. Sept. 24 A JUNGIAN UNDERSTANDING OF BUDDHIST MEDITATION (Saturday) Walter Odajnyk, Ph.D. (94WO $45) The aim of this workshop will be to apply the insights of Jungian psychology to the processes and goals of Vipassana and Zen meditation. It will enable practitioners to look at the effects their meditation has on the conscious ego structure and on the personal and transpersonal layers of the psyche. October 1 METTA (LOVING KINDNESS) (Saturday) Michele McDonald-Smith and Steven Smith (SM2 $45) In the cultivation of the wholesome qualities of mind, metta (loving kindness) is the foundation of basic human warmth; karuna (compassion) opens us to the sorrows of the world; mudita (sympathetic joy) opens us to the joys of the world; upekkha (equanimity) is the balance of mind to hold both of these opposites. This course will use the practice of metta as foundation for cultivating these four qualities of heart and mind. Oct. 14-16 REFLECTIONS ON THE ANAPANASATI SUTTA (Weekend) Larry Rosenberg (94LR $120). Anapanasati Sutta, the Buddha's teaching on the full awareness of breathing will be the focus of this period of textual study within a contemplative framework. Through formal sitting and walking meditation, we will develop both serenity (samatha) and insight (vipassana), and learn to keep the breath in mind through the day, enabling us to stay awake in the midst of all ordinary activities. October 22 FREEING THE HEART: AN EXPLORATION OF BUDDHIST ETHICS IN DAILY LIFE (Saturday) Narayan and Michael Liebenson Grady (NMG $45). The Five Precepts provide a framework for cultivating clarity and compassion in ourselves and in our relationships with others. In this workshop, we will investigate the application of Buddhist ethics in contemporary life. October 30 PARENTING: STAYING ALIVE AND COMPASSIONATE IN THE SEA OF FAMILY DHARMA (Sunday) Daeja Napier (94DN2 $45) Western practitioners of mindfulness/vipassana are primarily householders, trying to be compassionate and understanding in the midst of raising children, dealing with families, jobs etc. This workshop focuses on the challenge of being parents, of bringing the dharmic perspective to the karmic field of parenting, of implementing the values of metta (loving-kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy), and upekkha (equanimity) in enhancing our capacity to be fully present and effective in life. Nov. 10-13 JEWISH-BUDDHIST CONTEMPLATIVE DIALOGUE (Thurs-Sun) Sylvia Boorstein and Rabbi Sheila Weinberg (JBC $180). This conference/retreat is a continuation of the yearly Jewish-Buddhist dialogue held at the Study Center in 1992 and 1993. This year's focus is on deepening spiritual experience through silence and contemplation. A day of Vipassana and Metta (Loving-Kindness) meditation and practice will precede Shabbat celebration, talks and discussions on pre-selected topics (including investigation of meditative tradition in Judaism and different dimensions of Jewish renewal), and study of Jewish and Buddhist texts on Impermanence and Emptiness. Nov. 19 MINDFULNESS OF EMOTIONAL PATTERNS (Saturday) Daniel Goleman and Tara Bennett-Goleman (GOL $45). The observing power of mindfulness can help us investigate the habitual emotional patterns that cause us suffering. Drawing from Buddhist psychology and Western modes of the mind, integrating mindfulness with cognitive therapy, we will investigate ways to free our selves from repetitive patterns in daily life -- our relationships, our work -- as they arise in our practice and on retreats. Dec. 2-4 METTA (LOVING KINDNESS) (Weekend) Daeja Napier (DN3 $120) Metta is the first of the Brahma Viharas (Sublime States of Mind) taught by the Buddha. It is a concentration practice which softens the experience of life, enhancing a loving, compassionate, joyful and balanced relationship with oneself and others. This workshop will explore the teaching and practice of Metta to restore a sense of loving connection with ourselves and the world around us. Dec. 9-11 DZOG CHEN: AWAKENING THE BUDDHA WITHIN (Weekend) Lama Surya Das (SD2 $120) Dzog-chen (Tibetan for "The Natural Great Perfection") teaches awareness techniques for awakening to inner freedom, and directly introduces the inherent freedom, purity and perfection of the innate Buddha-Mind, and the interconnectedness of all beings. Oct-Dec INTRODUCTION TO PALI LANGUAGE (Weekly) Andy Olendzki, Ph.D.(PALI Dana) This course will start with a review of Pali grammar and vocabulary and go on to reading classical texts as a way to build our understanding of vocabulary, grammar and meaning of the suttas that are most frequently used in vipassana teachings. Jan 8-20 1995 INTENSIVE PROGRAM IN BUDDHIST STUDIES (2 Weeks) (Resident and Visiting Faculty) (95INT $750) This repeat of the academic program is a new vision of the study of Buddhism in America. It provides an in-depth academic introduction to the doctrinal and historical background with a contemplative environment. The objective of the program is to explore Buddhist thought and practice as a living tradition, to provide a bridge between study and practice, between scholarly understanding and meditative insight. =================================================================== {13} REGISTRATION FORM: BCBS Courses =================================================================== NAME_________________________________________________ TEL_______________________ ADDRESS______________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ Course Code 1._______________2._________________3.________________4._____________ Total Cost__________Deposit enclosed_________ Send check to: BCBS, 149 Lockwood Road, Barre, MA 01005 =================================================================== {14} PALI TRANSLATION =================================================================== A WISH OF LOVING KINDNESS [Cullavagga V.6] translated by Andy Olendzki apadakehi me mettam; For those without feet, I have love. mettam dvipadakehi me; I have love for all with two feet. catuppadehi me mettam; For those with four feet, I have love. mettam bahuppadehi me. I have love for all with many feet. ma mam apadako himsi; May those without feet do me no harm. ma mam himsi dvipadako; May none with two feet do me harm. ma mam catuppado himsi; May those with four feet do me no harm. ma mam himsi bahuppado. May none with many feet do me harm. sabbe satta sabbe pana May all beings, all living things, sabbe bhuta ca kevala All who've come to be -- one and all -- sabbe bhadrani passantu May they see every blessing! ma kinci papam agama. May no evil at all come to them! appamano buddho; Without limit is the Buddha. appamano dhammo; Without limit is the Dhamma. appamano sangho. Without limit is the Sangha. This less-well-known metta verse has its origins in an ancient, probably pre-Buddhist, snake charm. It is taught by the Buddha in the Vinaya in response to his hearing of a monk who perished after being bitten by a snake. The first stanza, not translated here, extends loving kindness to the four main groups of snake deities. The Buddha tells the monks that if they adequately develop loving kindness to these snake deities, they will be free of harm from snake bites. More interesting is the characteristic way in which the Buddha adapts an existing tradition -- charms against snake bites -- to serve as a vehicle for his own more universal teaching. He expands the cultivation of loving kindness far beyond snakes and reptiles to include insects, animals and all human beings. At the same time he emphasizes the interdependent thinking that one's best protection against being harmed is to do no harm oneself to others. The word metta has a more unique scope than even that most protean of English words -- love -- can easily express. Except for the fact that it throws off the eight-syllable meter of the verse, one can easily substitute words such as friendship, friendliness, deep unselfish caring or loving kindness. [end of file]

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank