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Fall Classes are almost here!



Yes they are.

There will be some free classes, and some classes that are modestly priced this Fall.

Fall Schedule

(subject to change)

Sundays   (Sep. 16-Nov. 4)

10-11:15 am      Sitting and walking meditation (free)

11:30-12:45      Buddhist Psychology

Mondays (Sep. 17-Nov. 5)

1-2 pm    Meditation Basics 1

7-8:30 pm   Recycled Art

Tuesdays (Sep. 18- Nov. 6)

7-8:30 pm   Writing the Ocean

Fridays (Sep. 21-Nov. 9)

6-7:15 pm    Bardo

7:30-8:45 pm   Taking Up the Challenge

More details soon.


So what is “meditation basics”?

For anyone interested, here’s a little about the series called Meditation Basics.

The emphasis is more on practices than on the intricacies of Buddhist thought. Not that the intricacies are bad; they’re wonderful, but they’re not for everyone. To get an actual feel for the practices, it’s probably best to show up and try a class.

But what are the classes like? Well, Basics 1 one focuses on mindfulness meditation. This is sitting meditation. Actually, there’s a lot to work on just with this technique. There’s a lot of depth there, and a lot to be discovered. It’s also a foundation for other techniques.

Basics 2 works on some other practices. It continues with the practice of mindful sitting meditation. We work on walking meditation, and also the practice of “the four immeasurables.” This is an introduction to contemplative meditation. In some ways, it’s more intellectual than mindfulness practice.

As you can see, we don’t do anything too exotic, or complicated. Part of the idea there is that learning foundational practices like mindful breathing allows people to do other practices (like visualization) better, if they want to at some point. It’s like doing strength training in order to get better at playing soccer, or baseball.

Basics 1 and 2 coming up in a few weeks. Basics 3 will probably be in the near future, and here’s what that covers: more mindfulness, and what’s known as “body scan” meditation. Another technique is taught as well. The body scan turns the mindfulness developed in other practices, and turns it inward, into the body.

This is what Basics covers. Not too much philosophy, lots of practice.

365/220 The meaning of mindfulness, Aug. 08, 2011

365/220 The meaning of mindfulness, Aug. 08, 2011 (Photo credit: ConnectIrmeli)

New classes on the way! Other thoughts will probably be included!

As I keep chipping away at the Milarepa material, and posting that here, it will show up, here. Or churning away, as one teacher put it, comparing Milarepa’s words to milk, which must be churned, and can then be transformed into milk, butter, and cream. In any case, I plan to keep working on that.
It’s a big task, a lot of songs. It’s interesting to me how a task that big can seem both totally undoable (how could you ever complete all of them, it would take either a monumental one time effort, or just years of smaller continued efforts) and casually very doable- if a song or two a day takes years, then so be it. It takes years, and means not a whole lot of effort, at least short term.

Anyway, classes… This was probably not clear, since I didn’t mention it directly, but the classes offered right now are part of a curriculum, and one that will be changing over time, but a curriculum nonetheless.

This is to say that, yes, I am just a guy offering some classes on meditation and theory, but, then again, I actually have a vision, buzzword that’s often a little annoying, or a plan, maybe, for the kind of education I’m offering.

One pretty traditional setup in Tibetan Buddhism is the “three yana” structure. This is one thing I’m basing my classes on.

So, in order to keep this post to the point, and not too boring, I’ll draw this to a close. Classes are being offered, and you’re invited to attend! Of course, if you are somewhat interested but not sure, you could attend one, and then decide.

Again, there is a curriculum, and it is based on this three part structure of the “yanas.” The next post, which you can skip if you don’t want a detailed explanation of the curriculum and plan for courses, will go over what this structure means more or less, and how I’ll be implementing it.

Oh, it’s also the anniversary of the first turning of the wheel of the dharma, the first official teaching the Buddha gave. Happy turning of the wheel!


Weekend workshop: Karma


One very good way to learn about meditation, or deepen an already-established practice is workshops. Longer retreats, say, a week, are excellent. It can be hard to find the time or money to attend such long retreats, though. Shorter workshops are a good option in this case.

I’m offering a three-day workshop on karma in July.

The dates:

Thurs July 12 7-8

Friday July 13th 7-9

Saturday July 14th 10am-6pm

We’ll do two main things: learn about karma, and practice mindfulness-awareness meditation. The latter is a meditation practice fundamental to Tibetan Buddhism. Of course, you don’t need to be a Buddhist to try it out.

So what is karma? That’s what we’ll find out. The focus will be on habits and patterns in our lives: what they mean, and how they work. For anyone frustrated with trying to start doing something new, or trying to stop a negative habit, these teachings can be useful. Although “karma” is sometimes used in a way that seems mystical or strange, the approach we’ll take will be more common sense, and down to earth.

Call or email to register. The classes are taught at a yoga/dance studio in Newbury MA. The cost for the three days will be $75. Discounts apply.


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