Living Christ Sangha: A Meditation Practice and Community
Sunday afternoons, 3-4:45 pm
Room 32 (3rd floor)
Next Council: July 14
The Five Mindfulness Trainings:
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you if you do not act on them. -Buddha
Each Sunday afternoon at 3pm a group meets for meditation practice, ending by 4:45pm to allow members to attend the 5pm Eucharist if they wish. All are welcome. Wear comfortable clothes. The practices are simple and instructions are provided.
Our weekly practice consists of:
A second round of sitting meditation
Feedback for future sessions
If you arrive late, please wait in silence outside of the room until the first break, when someone will bring you in. Please don't feel bad about being late or let this keep you from coming. This "waiting practice" minimizes distractions for our shared meditation and is another way to support each other in the practice.
Occasionally, on dates specified in advance, the sangha also includes a tea ceremony, the Five Mindfulness Trainings, or a council discussion.
The tea ceremony follows our traditional sitting and walking meditation. We continue to practice mindfulness as we enjoy tea, light snacks and each other's company. We also have the opportunity to share something with the group, such as a favorite poem, photograph or drawing, or an appreciation from our life or practice. On these dates (specified in advance), sangha participants are encouraged to bring something to share or some food (fruit, cookies or other light foods) to include in the tea ceremony.
Reciting the Five Mindfulness Trainings together is a simple yet powerful ceremony that helps us reflect more deeply on our lives and choices. These are based on the five Buddhist precepts that constitute the code of ethics undertaken by lay Buddhists; they are also found in the Ten Commandments. Thich Nhat Hanh says, "The Five Mindfulness Trainings are the basis for a happy life. They have the capacity to protect life and to make it beautiful and worth living. They are also the door that opens to enlightenment and liberation."
In Council discussion, we reflect on our experience of the sangha and explore next steps we would like to take together.
The Living Christ Sangha at St. Bart's grew out of a Forum presentation by Clay Williams followed by Clay's three-class series Buddhism and Christianity: A Comparison during 2012. The sangha began as a three-month experiment October-December 2012. The group has unanimously chosen to continue meeting weekly through 2013. A key developmental task during 2013 will be to cultivate the leadership (enough facilitators) needed for the sangha to sustain itself and to grow.
On May 12, 2013, the Sangha welcomed its first Guest Teacher: Ray Olson, who offered a teaching on "Everyday Practice." A Zen student for over 30 years, Ray received Jukai in 1989 from Berkeley Zen Center Abbot Mel Weitsman and then, in 2009, was ordained novice priest by Roshi Joan Halifax, Founding Abbot of Upaya Zen Center.in Santa Fe, NM. In 2010 Ray was designated Dharma Holder by Roshi Joan, authorizing him to teach and to give spiritual interviews. For six years Ray has coordinated the Upaya Prison Outreach Project. For the past three years he has been engaged in the Jukai preparation program at Upaya. He and Nancy have been married for over fifty years. They have three grown children and four grandchildren. Ray, an internist by training, was a long-time Professor of Medicine at University of North Texas Health Science Center.