We will offer a similar class in the new year.  Those who would like to be included on the wait list for ERBC’s winter, 2017 Beginning the Buddha’s Path class are invited to contact Callie Justice at <justice.callie@yahoo.com> or at 919-286-5041.

A six-session class, beginning Sunday, October 16th, 2016 

Meeting 1st and 3rd Sundays each month  *  from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Sponsored by The Eno River Buddhist Community * Led by Callie Justice

Sessions will begin with a period of guided meditation practice and time for questions from participants concerning current challenges “on the cushion.”  Each session will also include presentations and discussion centering on specific themes such as:

  • Finding a structure to support meditation practice in your life as it is now
  • Bringing more mindfulness to your moments whatever you are doing
  • Cultivating loving-kindness and compassion while grocery shopping
  • Considering letting go of some things
  • Exploring how work with all elements of the Noble Eight-Fold Path supports the development of meditation practice

It is expected that each participant will be working with these common themes in different ways.  The focus will be on helping each individual find her or his way drawing upon the framework taught by the Buddha – not on finding one, “right way” for all.

Callie Justice is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and psychotherapist.  She began to seriously explore the Buddha’s path in the mid-1990s, and has been a Practice Leader with the Eno River Buddhist Community for over 17 years.  The teachings of the Buddha as presented in the early discourses are her primary source for developing understanding and practice. She especially appreciates the teachings of scholar-monastics such as Bhikkhus Sujato, Brahmali, Bodhi, and Anālayo and benefits deeply from ongoing sharing with good friends on the path.

Callie offers leadership for this class as a practice of dānaDāna, or “giving,” is a central practice taught by the Buddha.  In relating to others from a sense of open-handedness, freely giving (particularly in support of the growth of the Dhamma), we create rich conditions of mind and heart for the development of the Buddha’s path.  Participants will likewise have the opportunity to offer donations in support of Callie.

For more information, please contact Callie at justice.callie@yahoo.com or (919) 286-5041.

Today, September 17, 2016, is the date chosen by the Alliance for Bhikkhunis to celebrate the establishing of the Bhikkhunī Order by the Buddha for female monastics. This year also marks the 2600th anniversary of the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha, according to Theravāda tradition, and events in observance are planned internationally throughout the year.

From the beginning of his teaching to the end of his life, the Buddha asserted the importance of establishing a Four-fold Assembly composed of female and male lay people and monastics. We are privileged to live in a time during which the Buddha’s original vision is being restored. Over the past twenty years, traditions in which the Bhikkhunī lineage had disappeared, been weakened, or was never established, are experiencing a resurgence of efforts to bring about full and equal participation of women in Buddhist monastic life.

You may like to celebrate International Bhikkhunī Day and the 2600th anniversary of the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha by learning a bit more about the women and men who have worked to bring about the renewal of the Bhikkhunī Sangha. The film “The Buddha’s Forgotten Nuns” offers an inspirational telling of some aspects of this story. It is available for viewing at: http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/50345/The-Buddha-s-Forgotten-Nuns.

If you’d like to learn more about the monasteries where the contemporary renaissance of the Bhikkhunī Sangha is being nurtured, the Dhammadharini website is a good place to start exploring these pioneer communities. In addition to providing a window into the life of the Dhammadharini community of Buddhist nuns, the site offers many links to other Bhikkhunī communities and organizations.

In honor of the 6th International Bhikkhunī Day, you may take inspiration from reading some of the verses composed by Bhikkhunīs who lived during the time of the Buddha. A collection of 73 of these poems taken from the Therīgāthā, can be found online at: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/thig/.

The following verses from The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha express the importance of the Four-fold Assembly in supporting the life of the Buddha’s teachings.

One who is competent and self-confident,
learned, an expert on the Dhamma,
practicing in accord with the Dhamma,
is called an adornment of the Saṅgha.

A bhikkhu accomplished in virtue,
a learned bhikkhunī,
a male lay follower endowed with faith,
a female lay follower endowed with faith:
these are the ones that adorn the Saṅgha;
these are the Saṅgha’s adornments.

© Bhikkhu BodhiThe Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, AN 4:7,  (Wisdom Publications, 2012).

The ERBC Sutta Study Group will start up again this September. The group focuses on investigating early Buddhist teachings in depth using material from the Sutta Piṭaka (The Collection of Discourses). This year we will also be drawing some from supplemental materials from teachers such as Thanissaro Bhikkhu and Bhikkhu Bodhi.

Studying the suttas adds depth to our understanding of what the Buddha taught and to our practice of the Dhamma. It can also clarify how contemporary Buddhist interpretations sometimes misconstrue aspects of early Buddhist teachings, and challenge us to reflect on the views we may have about the teachings.

The study group is oriented to those with prior experience studying the suttas, and is limited in size to support full participation.

For more information about the group and to see a list of topics that we’ll investigate this year, please see our Sutta Study Group page, or contact Steve Seiberling at smseiberling@gmail.com.

For the first two Mondays in June we (ERBC Program Leaders Steve Seiberling and Callie Justice) invite you to explore the relationship between two key practice areas—developing sense restraint and cultivating mindfulness of the body.

This past Monday night Steve led a discussion on the Buddha’s teachings on restraint (saṃvara) of the sense faculties. The handout with the two sutta passages used for this reflection is available here. Steve invited us to consider the happiness that comes with the freedom from grasping after pleasing sensory experience and from repulsion toward what is displeasing. In contrast, indulging the sense faculties without restraint can cause one to swing between “states of longing and dejection”. He highlighted the tendency of grasping after sense pleasure to escalate in a way that leaves us wanting more and more, even as the satisfaction from getting what we crave grows less and less (think of eating ever increasing amounts of chocolate). The suttas describe how cultivating “mindfulness directed to the body” can reduce these pulls that arise with our sensory experience.

Next Monday, Callie will lead the group in exploring how cultivating mindfulness of the body helps us to become more attuned to the negative effects of constantly reaching for pleasant sights, sounds, tastes, etc.  We will also investigate how over time this practice inclines the mind to let go of the need to grasp after happiness through pleasant sense-based experiences.

One of the key practices taught by the Buddha for establishing mindfulness of the body is a contemplation of the parts of the body.  A description of how the Buddha taught this practice in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta is available here. Next Monday we will reflect on this particular practice and look at related approaches to cultivating mindfulness of the body as well.

As always, newcomers and visitors are welcome.

Dear friends,

ERUUF will hold a prayer vigil this evening for the those killed or injured in Orlando on Sunday morning, and their family and friends. The vigil will be an opportunity to gather in sorrow, solidarity and strength, with prayers and readings. It will begin at 7 pm in the Sanctuary at ERUUF.

For those who wish, of course, please feel free to attend the vigil, rather than practice with us tonight.

ERBC will meet this evening to practice sitting, walking, and consideration of the Dhamma at 7:30 in our usual space in the Commons Room of the CARE Bldg.

Peace and best wishes.

The Eno River Buddhist Community (ERBC) will host a women’s retreat, November 6-8, focused on establishing mindfulness of the body through contemplation of the four elements. Callie Justice, long-time leader in ERBC, will lead the retreat, drawing on her extensive study and practice with the early Buddhist teachings on establishing mindfulness (satipaṭṭhāna). Here is the brief description:

The Buddha taught contemplation of the four elements as a practice for establishing mindfulness of the body, which is a key aspect of right mindfulness—the seventh factor of the Noble Eightfold Path. Contemplation of the four elements (earth, water, fire, wind) appears as a core teaching on cultivating right mindfulness in all currently available versions of the early discourses. On this retreat, participants will be supported to develop mindfulness of each element both internally—within our individual bodies—and externally—as we encounter the elements in the world around us. The interweaving of mindfulness of the elements throughout the activities of the day as well as during meditation will be encouraged.

This women’s retreat will be limited to 11 participants. A framework will be provided as a container for the practice of the group as a whole. Within that framework, there will be space for each individual to discern what she needs to do at any given time in order to wisely develop her personal retreat experience. The retreat will be held in noble silence. The retreat environment will be structured to support the cultivation of continuous careful attention (yoniso manasikāra) both on and off the cushion. Dhamma talks, instruction in breath meditation, guided contemplations and interviews with Callie will be offered. The retreat is intended to benefit both those who are new to the Buddha’s path and those who are more experienced.

The retreat will be held in the Pelican House at the Trinity Center on Emerald Isle. For more information and to register, please see the retreat flyer, or contact Callie at justice.callie@yahoo.com.