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Fall Classes 2012

Recycled Art

This class will be hands-on, and experiential. Learn to meditate, and explore concepts such as interconnection, and mandala. At the same time, we’ll spend lots of class time working with recycled materials to create new art. No prior artistic training required.



Buddhist Psychology

Eastern and Western traditions offer sophisticated ways to understand ourselves. We’ll look at ways they intersect, and what to make of this. Topics will include ego, shadow, conditioning, the subconscious, and society and the individual.




This class will focus on a topic that combines complexity and simplicity at the same time. This concept comes from a body of teachings on the process of transitions within life, and from life to death. However, this model can also shed light on the changes that occur in our minds, as life shifts before our eyes.



Writing the Ocean

For beginning or experienced writers. We will do a little meditating, but will spend most of our time on the writing process. A variety of written exercises will be presented, on basics such as plot, character, and emotion. Overall, our goal will be to discover new ways to bring out a voice, and how to work with this.



Taking Up the Challenge

Recommended for more experienced meditators. Through a variety of traditional practices, we will both meditate in the studio, and out in the world, in a variety of locations. This class will work on “meditation in action” and bridging the gaps between formal practice and in the world practice.



Dharma Talks

These weekly get-togethers will be chances to practice, enjoy the support of community, and hear teachings. These talks will happen on Tuesday evenings. Open to everyone. Five dollars or by donation. There will be time for discussion after each talk.

(free/by donation)


Sitting and walking meditation

Open to everyone. Free public sitting and walking meditation, with some instruction.



Discounts apply. No one will be turned away for inability to pay.


Rowley talk

Clinical research shows Buddhist mindfulness t...

Clinical research shows Buddhist mindfulness techniques can help alleviate anxiety , stress , and depression (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m giving a talk at the public library in Rowley, Mass. It’s on stress and mindfulness. It’s free!

It’s from 630-745. The more people who show up the better!

Let me know if you need directions to the library. Here’s the description:

Almost everyone today seems to be stressed out. Everyone seems busy,
and being so busy, it can be hard to relax. On one hand, work is not
optional. Having a full life can be very satisfying. On the other
hand, not only is stress unpleasant, it has clear health consequences.
Everyone seems to be stressed out, and it’s hard to know what the
solution might be.

In this talk, we will discuss how mindfulness, especially mindfulness
meditation, could be helpful. This is a technique drawn from Buddhism.
It may be useful to people from all backgrounds. Using the mind and
the body, we can work with the material our lives give us, and find
out more about stress, emotions, and reality.

Spontaneity through meditation

Meditation with Arms, a sculpture by Auguste R...

Meditation with Arms, a sculpture by Auguste Rodin. Located at the B. Gerald Cantor Rodin Sculpture Garden at Stanford University. Right side shown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Meditation somehow magically makes spontaneity more likely. This happens with perception, and with action. This means that when I practice enough, which is a lot for me, my senses clear up, like my nose clears up when I’m not suffering from allergies, and suddenly my breathing is better and I feel good. Also, what I say, the way I walk, how I open a door even, become less robotic, less clunky and the same as usual. This spontaneity is connected to the idea of dance. This kind of dance is spontaneous, at least a little bit.



Meditation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Classes and meditation

Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana




Sunday meditation is now from 8-9. Not too early!

Classes start soon: Intro to Buddhism, Meditation 101, and Dharma Art.

Here are some brief descriptions.


A look at Buddhist tradition: practice, theory, schools. Learn about the origins of Buddhism in India, and the historical Buddha. Learn about how Buddhism has mixed with the cultures of Asian countries. Learn about core concepts, such as mindfulness, karma, compassion, and suffering. This class will combine history and culture with practical experiential training. There’ll be lecture, discussion, and very short meditation periods.

Mondays and Thursdays, April 23-May 31

6-7:30 pm




This class will explore the basics of Tibetan Buddhist meditation. We’ll focus mainly on mindfulness (“shamatha-vipashyana”) meditation. This technique has been taught for thousands of years. It is common to all Buddhist schools. Many consider it useful in a secular sense: not limited to Buddhists. Certainly, all are welcome, interested beginners, and seasoned practitioners. There will be some discussion, but we’ll spend longer periods in sitting and walking meditation. We will also try some other meditation techniques. However, because mindfulness is the foundation of other practices, we will spend most of time practicing that. This class will be a prerequisite for future, intermediate classes.

Tuesdays, April 24-May 29

6-7:30 pm





Art has been used for ages to express the connection between man and his world. Art and magic are closely related. Buddhism has a long history of both secular and religious art. This tradition invokes wisdom through artistic means. We will not focus on the formal elements of traditional art. Instead, we will learn about how art can transform the mind (through perceiving and creating). Practically this means we’ll learn about Buddhist theory, we’ll meditate, and do art in class. No previous experience required. Basic materials will be provided at no extra cost. Feel free to bring extra art materials.

Saturdays and Sundays, April 28-May 27

Saturdays 10-11:30 am                     Sundays 11-12:30 pm



Ask me if you have any questions! Classes will begin in a few weeks. Discounts do apply, so have a look at the “discounts” page.          978-462-9737                 Newbury MA


meditation 101

meditation 101 (Photo credit: anyjazz65)

Don’t be a vulcan! Eat faster.

I had a very odd roommate some years back. In my experience, you meet a lot of interesting people having roommates.

He had studied Buddhism with at least one prominent teacher, had learned some things, along with Reiki, and a bunch of other stuff. I remember him standing in the hallway, as a potential future roommate (he moved out after about a month or two) with an electronic cigar device, glowing blue (they’re real, they really are), telling the potential roomie, “X is a sheister.” X being the third roommate, who’d lived there for years, and collected rent. He also, reportedly, said that Buddhists were like Mr. Spock. We’re like vulcans.

The idea being that we try to be too perfect, too disciplined, and maybe are too much in our heads.

I don’t know about how much about Vulcan culture, but they probably have (had? will have? will have had?) music. There’s the classic Buddhist story of “not too loose, not too tight.” It gets told in various various ways, in Thailand, it seems to get a slightly different twist, according to what my students told me.

Here goes.

A vina player was trying to learn to meditate from the Buddha. (Historically he’s known as Shakyamuni, something of a family name, being part of the Shakya family or clan.)

So this musician, almost like a guitarist, was trying to learn to practice meditation. He couldn’t get it. It was so hard to understand. He asked the Buddha for some practice advice. The Buddha told him that learning to practice with his mind was like tuning his instrument. Again, think of tuning guitar strings.

He told the artist, when you meditate, the best way is like when you tune your vina, “not too loose, not too tight.” This is an instruction that’s very helpful.

But back to the Vulcans. I think my odd old roommate had a great point. Of course, Buddhist come in all varieties, but right now I’m thinking of those in the West, the interesting hybrid that’s developing in new places. Buddhists can definitely be uptight: about meditating enough, about being disciplined, about following rules. We hear stories about great meditators and saints, like Milarepa, or Marpa, or Shakyamuni, or more recent teachers, and we feel like we have to measure up. We have to sit for hours a day. We have to be perfect, because they were.

That could be too tight. If someone makes a habit of saying mean stuff about others, so their speech is like some kind of constant pollution, dripping out into the environment, it could be too loose. (In my obviously somewhat biased opinion.)

One last example.

“Mindful eating.”

Everyone knows “our culture” in America, whatever that is, is crazy when it comes to food, diet, body, and so much more. If you read a book on Buddhism, or attend a talk, you will probably encounter the idea of being mindful when you eat. This tends to mean slowing down, not scarfing like crazy, really savoring and tasting.

That’s fine. It must work for some. I felt like I was doing it wrong for years, because I could not force myself to slow down when I ate. It felt unpleasant. I wanted to eat fast! Somehow, I was doing it wrong. I love to eat. Pizza, coffee, curries, eggs, breakfast in general, pies, desserts, chocolate. I love to eat.

Sometimes you can go off track when you get caught up in the “Buddhist way” or the “liberal way” or the “American way” of doing things. These are basically random examples. I hope you get my idea.

About a year ago I stopped caring about eating too fast. I like to eat fast. I try to eat faster sometimes. It’s so exciting and satisfying and visceral. I hesitate a bit less than I used to. I really eat.

Buddhists shouldn’t be too polite.

Eat faster! Have a good time.

Sunday sunday sunday!



Join me for Sunday morning meditation.

It’s an excellent way to start your Sunday. It’s nice and early so you have the rest of the day.

From 7-8 am.

Sitting, walking meditation.

There will be some instruction given at the beginning. If you want to practice meditation some other way, that’s fine too.


email- Jake(dot)karlins(at)


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