We are not currently meeting 'in-person'

We are not currently meeting 'in-person.'
I have made the difficult decision to stop holding our in-person Sunday night meetings - you can read more about this in my post here. I will be continuing to post weekly content here and in our newsletter. Do remember to sign up for the 'Metta Letter' newsletter below as I will be sending out weekly meditations there.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Meditation: Generating Bodhicitta (Awakened Heart) [AUDIO]

In this meditation we contemplate Bodhicitta. Literally, this means 'Awakened Heart-Mind', which is the state of wishing to be enlightened not for our own personal gain, but for the love of all beings.

When we meditate we are encouraged to approach our practice using the 'Three Excellences' - firstly by starting with an attitude of Bodhicitta, then while practicing we should have no attachment to results, and finally when we have finished our practice we offer any achievement ('merit') for the benefit of others.

The concept of Bodhicitta was most famously taught by the 8th Century monk Shantideva. He was an interesting and colorful character, as you can read here. Here are some of his words on Bodhicitta:

"Whatever joy there is in this world
All comes from desiring others to be happy,
And whatever suffering there is in this world,
All comes from desiring myself to be happy.
But what need is there to say much more?
The childish work for their own benefit,
The Buddhas work for the benefit of others.
Just look at the difference between them!"
There are traditional ways of generating Bodhicitta that are beyond the scope of a short 30-Minute introductory meditation. However we can still start to align our hearts towards the benefit of others by meditating on the simple 'Bodhicitta Prayer':

May the supreme jewel bodhicitta
that has not arisen arise and grow,
and may that which has arisen not diminish,
but increase more and more.

The full audio, including a 30 minute guided meditation is below.

If the embedded audio player above doesn't work for you, please click here.

POSTPONED: Tibetan Sand Mandala at Clark College, Vancouver

According to the Clark College Website this event has unfortunately be postponed. They say:
Important Update: The monks have not received their visa yet. At this time, their visit has been postponed to an undetermined date and may in fact be cancelled. We certainly hope that they will be able to come and we will update here and at the International Events website if/when they are able to reschedule. (4/29/15 4:26 p.m.)
There is another opportunity to experience the creation (and destruction) of a beautiful sand mandala at Clark College next week (May 4th - 8th). Watching this powerful meditative form is a wonderful experience and we are truly blessed to be able to witness it. If you have seen this before you will know why I am encouraging you all to go and see it. Meditation doesn't only (or even mainly) happen on the cushion!

The details can be seen at the Columbian Newspaper here.

For a taster, here is some video of when the monks did this three years ago:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Meditation and the Art of Beginning Again [AUDIO]

Too often in our meditations we strive towards some self-imposed picture of progress, and in doing so we miss the point of simply sitting and being present in the moment. Clinging to 'results' and 'achievement' in meditation is just as problematic as clinging to material things.

Instead, if we recognize that 'beginning again' is a natural part of our practice then we can calm our minds and stay present. Sharon Salzberg puts it like this:
The moment you realize you’ve been distracted is the magic moment. It’s a chance to be really different, to try a new response. Rather than tell yourself you’re weak or undisciplined, or give up in frustration, simply let go and begin again. In fact, instead of chastising yourself, you might thank yourself for recognizing that you’ve been distracted, and for returning to your breath. This act of beginning again is the essential art of the meditation practice.
So, rather than feeling that you are somehow 'doing it wrong' when you get distracted or wander off, instead recognize that this is the meditation, and gently bring your attention back to the breath.

You can read the full article by Sharon Salzberg here.

This meditation was recorded on Easter Sunday, 2015.

 The full audio, including a 30 minute guided meditation is below.

If the embedded audio player above doesn't work for you, please click here.