White Heron Sangha

From the President

 by Carole Maurer

WHS President

Looking Toward the Future

Jack Kornfield, co-founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin County, and his wife, Trudy Goodman, founder of InsightLA, were asked about the future of Buddhism in America. What form will it take in the future, and where will it make its greatest contribution? Of course, no one has the answer, but they both agreed that there will be a new form. And, White Heron Sangha is part of part of this unfolding. (Full Article: Future of Buddhism)

Through our expanded classes, retreats, programs, discussions, and sitting groups, we are learning how to change the way we live. Embracing the essence of the Dharma and practicing mindfulness, lovingkindness, compassion, forgiveness, and interdependence ultimately transform our own lives and allow us to extend our practice out into the world. 

Offerings This Quarter

White Heron Sangha has so much to offer at our beautiful meditation center in Avila, and I hope all of you will take advantage of one or more of these offerings.

Yoga. You might want to check out our Mindful Yoga and Meditation classes on Monday and Wednesday mornings. They are not strenuous and are a great way to start your day.

Sitting Groups. Meditating together with like-minded people often can be a powerful form of healing and helps us develop a feeling of community and belonging. We now have many opportunities for getting together for meditation and discussion, and hopefully, we will be adding more in the near future. I encourage you to make a point of sitting with one of these this quarter: Sunday evening meetings, Tuesday evening meditation and discussion, Wednesday evening Mindfulness for Everyone, Friday mornings Socially Engaged Buddhist Study (2nd and 4th Fridays), Tara Meditation on March 30, Reflective Insight at Crow’s End Retreat Center on the 3rd Saturday, North County Sangha and South County Meditation Group on Sunday mornings.

Classes. Consider taking one of the classes that White Heron Sangha is offering this quarter: Mindfulness Practice for Everyone on Thursday evenings, beginning March 6, and Understanding Your Mind: Principles of Buddhist Psychology on Thursday evenings, beginning April 18. You might also want to attend the discussion group, Conversations on the End of Life on March 17.

Retreats. Lama Palden is returning on March 2-3 to lead a weekend retreat on the compassion practice of tonglen. The title of the retreat is Love on Every Breath. The retreat is now full. Spirit Rock teacher Guy Armstrong will be here for a weekend retreat on May 4-5. His topic is Emptiness: A Practical Introduction for Meditators. Online registration will be available for this retreat in early March.

Mentoring. Private mentoring and meditation instruction is available with an experienced practitioner and is a great way to start or refresh your meditation practice. Check it out.

Planning for What's to Come

Space. As White Heron Sangha Treasurer Greg Thomas points out in the 2018 Financial Report, the Sangha is in a good financial position, with the beginnings of a solid base of committed donors and significant reserves for planning for the future. The Board of Directors recognizes that attendance at our retreats and other activities has grown substantially in the past year and, if this growth continues, we will be needing more space in order to accommodate the greater numbers of people who want to participate.  

Sitting Groups. In our current setting, we hope to serve more of our members and those in the community interested in meditation practice by offering new sitting groups and classes during the week and possibly more daylong retreats. There is a call for White Heron Sangha to reach out to younger people, parents and families, and the LGBTQIA community, by offering programs and activities specifically geared to these groups. These will be announced on our website and calendar, so check the website frequently.

Outreach. Additionally, as awareness of the benefits of mindfulness and compassion practices become more widespread, we hope to expand our outreach into the wider community this year by providing meditation training at specific sites where it is needed and requested. In addition, we would like to form a new compassion committee to reach out to our members who may need assistance during difficult times.

Volunteering. As we remind everyone each Sunday evening following the meditation period, White Heron Sangha is an all-volunteer organization. Volunteering brings mindfulness and service together. In order to prevent burnout in our wonderful volunteers, we need everyone who benefits from our activities to step up and help us in any way they can. Ways to participate include (not an exclusive list): being an opener/closer/tea volunteer for Avila Sunday evening programs once a month, being on the cleaning crew on Fridays, volunteering to help with retreats (lots of different jobs), feeding the hungry at Prado one Sunday each month, leading a meditation sitting during the week (future), leading or becoming a member of one of our committees, and participating fully by being a Director on the White Heron Sangha Board (we currently have an opening). When we put out a call for help in these areas, please consider responding with a “yes.” 

The Sangha

White Heron Sangha is a lay Buddhist sangha, and  we have no formal affiliation with any particular Buddhist lineage. We value the teachings and training provided by our own members who have been trained by the more traditional groups, and appreciate the various flavors of the Dharma as presented by the variety of teachers we bring in from other centers for our retreats. We feel that this approach has enriched the lives of the many people who have found us.

We want to continue to be a welcoming community, valuing equally people of all cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, racial identities, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, gender, identity and education. We honor and respect the specific knowledge and expertise each person brings to our sangha. If anyone ever feels slighted, we hope you will contact us so we can address this situation.

We reverence the Sangha, and aspire to follow it: the fellowship of those who tread the way. As, one by one, we make our own commitment, an ever-widening circle, the Sangha grows.

With metta and gratitude for all -

Next article - Spring 2019

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