White Heron Sangha

Fall 2020

Sunday Program News

by Claudia Coleman

Greetings to everyone from the Sunday Program Committee! We have lots of news to share...

Paramitas Series

This Fall quarter we will be continuing with our series on the Paramitas, or the Perfections, begun in the summer with an Introduction to the Paramitas followed by a program on Kshanti or Patience Paramita, and after that a program on Prajna or Wisdom Paramita. Two programs originally scheduled for the summer were postponed until the fall—these are the upcoming Virya or Diligence Paramita and Metta or Loving-Kindness Paramita.

New - Invited Teachers for Sunday Evenings!

A new development beginning this Fall quarter, and which we hope will continue in successive quarters, is the ability to invite more prominent Dharma teachers to give teaching for our Sunday programs. The Sunday evening gatherings have traditionally been the core of our offerings—in fact, before we moved into our Center, they had been our only weekly gatherings for about the first twenty-five years of White Heron Sangha’s existence!

So in an effort to keep that flame burning, so to speak, and given the increased access we all have to a multitude of teachers around the country and world thanks to Zoom, the Board has allocated additional funds we can offer as dana for teachers from the wider Dharma community. The teachers we are considering are ones we would perhaps invite or have invited for our retreats, and we will include those from various backgrounds and lineages.

We are very pleased to launch this new Invited Teachers Series right off the bat in Fall quarter with Donald Rothberg, “a leading teacher and writer on meditation, the intersection of psychology and spirituality, and socially engaged spiritual practice.” Donald said that he’s especially pleased to visit us in order to capture a small bit of what he missed when his retreat with us last spring had to be cancelled due to the virus.

Please note that for these guest visits we will slightly alter our Sunday format: after brief announcements and introduction, the invited teachers will have the remainder of our hour and a half for their teaching, a guided or focused meditation, and discussion or Q&A. I hope we all enjoy this slight change-up from our regular format.

We look forward to Donald’s teaching September 6th and hope that many of you will be able to attend. Please check our Sunday calendar for our next invited teacher later in the fall.

Thich Nhat Hanh Week

We have also planned what might become a regular type of program, and this is an all-sangha Thich Nhat Hanh week. This will open September 16 with the Wednesday Mindfulness for Everyone Sitting Group and continue with the Morning Sits and the Sunday gatherings through the Tuesday Evening Dharma Meditation Group September 22. The centerpiece is the Sunday program on 9/20 which will be devoted to TNH with presentations by two of his former students.

Final Thoughts

This fall we will also have another installment of our Great Teacher Series, with a program on the great Zen master Dogen. And finally, the quarter wouldn’t be complete without our much loved Bring-A-Reading program.  

On a final, more practical note, even though we aren’t meeting in our Center, the Board has decided that in the deep and abiding interest of our sangha, which means so much to us all, we should keep and maintain our Center so that when health conditions permit, we have a physical home to return to (in addition to our Zoom home). This is just to say that we still need to offer dana when we are able, and—also important—this will help offset the dana the Board allows us to offer the invited teachers.

Let’s all try to remain hopeful and supportive as we move through the coming months and the challenges ahead.

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