Events Archive

This page shows events that we hold regularly. 

Archived Events

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation (David Whyte)
Sat, Apr 21, 2018

Continuing the theme of this month's Sangha Night we'll explore ways we communicate - out loud, in silence and through writing - that lead to more freedom and less suffering.

with Prasadachitta
Sat, May 19, 2018

Continuing the theme of Sangha Night. Spend the day meditating, reflecting and discussion the Four Noble Truths, how the apply to our lives and how they can free us from suffering. 

with Hridayashri
Sat, Jun 9, 2018

Meditation in the World - part of our Buddhist Action Month series.

This is an opportunity to take our practice outside and commune with nature.  Starting at 10am we will meet in Dolores Park.  Look for us on the grass above the tennis courts near the corner of 18th and Dolores St.  Mats and cushions are provided.  Please bring your own blankets, sunscreen, water, hat, and weather appropriate clothing. We will do a sit, walk, sit. Then share in a vegetarian potluck lunch.  Please register so we know how many cushions to bring.

with Viveka
Wed, Jun 20, 2018

Viveka facilitates breakthroughs with people building community power to shape a thriving world that is healthy, inclusive, and equitable. She has collaborated for 25 years within movements for racial, economic, gender and environmental justice and with dharma communities seeking to model and work towards a transformed, liberating society. She will share her reflections and engage us on these questions:

  • What is power? Different kinds of power?
  • How can we engage and shift toxic power in our society skillfully?
  • What is our power to co-create positive change in the world?
  • How do we wield that creative power ethically?
with Advayamati
Sat, Jul 28, 2018

Developed by Advayamati ‘body dharma’ workshops are based on shiatsu, loving- kindness and mindfulness. They support the integration of body, mind and spirit, leading us to a deeper experience of inter-connectedness. 

Advayamati has taught buddhism and meditation at the Ipswich Buddhist Centre (UK) for 14 years and been practicing shiatsu for 30. 

The workshops involve a combination of bodywork, chi chung, ‘do in’ (simple self shiatsu), and yoga stretching with mindfulness meditation that helps us take our practice deeper and bring more of our whole experience into  our meditation, helping to balance the flow of energy. There is some paired work.

Please wear loose clothing.

 

Led by Shantigarbha
Sat, Sep 15, 2018

I'll Meet You There

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." Rumi.

Based on his new book and drawing on many years of training in meditation, buddhism, non-violent communication (NVC)and mediation, Shantigarbha will lead through meditations, guided reflections, stories from the life of the Buddha, and practical exercises to help us develop our empathic listening skills. 

Shantigarbha is a Buddhist activist and mediator, and author of I'll Meet You There: a practical guide to empathy, mindfulness and communication, released in June 2018 from Windhorse Publications. Read the first chapter and order the paperback and e-book here

All welcome. No NVC or meditation experience required.  

Sep 19 to Oct 3
Wed, Sep 19, 2018

WHERE DHARMA MEETS ART: AN URBAN RETREAT, WITH VAJRADARSHINI

“Our meditation doesn't stay on the cushion. We are a studio and a laboratory, testing new ways to view life. Evoking curiosity and playfulness. Looking for meaning. Finding beauty.”

We are very happy that Vajradarshini will be back after many years to lead 3 weeks of urban retreat: Sep 17 to Oct 7.

Vajradarshini has been teaching and leading retreats since 1997. “In all that time the aspect of practice that I loved the most was bringing the Buddhist teachings together with art. Something would happen, the art illuminated the dharma and the dharma illuminated the art.” She currently lives in Sweden. Take a look at her website.

Events:

SANGHA NIGHTS: THE LIFE OF OBJECTS - FALL IN LOVE WITH LIFE AGAIN

Three Wednesday Evenings, 7pm to 9pm 

  • Sep 19: Bringing Objects to Life
  • Sep 26: A Mutual Relationship
  • Oct 3: Everyday Ritual Objects

When we realise how much the world we live in is influenced by mind, we also discover that we can choose the kind of a world we want to live in. 
When we realise that what we experience is not the ‘thing out there’ but our own perception, our relationship with things is suddenly changed. The teapot and the bowl are no longer separate from us, but intimately connected to us, even a part of us.  

We encourage you if you can to come to all three evenings, but please drop in to just as many as you can. Along with the Day Retreat Sep 22, these events are open to anyone interested in Art, Meditation or Buddhism and/or a combination of all three.  No experience necessary. 

More information about our Wednesday night program here

 

DAY RETREAT: DHARMA DOORWAYS IN THE WORLD OF ART

Saturday 22 Sept, 10am to 4pm - more information and registration here.

The way I see it, meditators and artists are often on a similar mission. The mission to get close to reality. The mission to have an experience that is, somehow, ‘truer’. 

We’ll take the essential Buddhist teaching of the vimoksa mukhas, this teaching points to the idea that we can find doorways to freedom in our own minds, and we'll ask if art can open these doorways? 

Whether you make art or simply value it in your life, if you want to make new connections between meditation and art this day retreat is for you. 

 

CORE SANGHA WEEKEND RETREAT: THREE REALMS: TIME - ENERGY - SPACE. THREE DOORWAYS TO FREEDOM

Weekend Retreat for Core Sangha Sep 28 to 30 - more information here.

with Vajradarshini
Sat, Sep 22, 2018

The way I see it, meditators and artists are often on a similar mission. The mission to get close to reality. The mission to have an experience that is, somehow, ‘truer’. 

We’ll take the essential Buddhist teaching of the vimoksa mukhas, this teaching points to the idea that we can find doorways to freedom in our own minds, and we'll ask if art can open these doorways? 

Whether you make art or simply value it in your life, if you want to make new connections between meditation and art this day retreat is for you. 

This day retreat is part of our Urban Retreat: Dharma Meets Art, with Vajradarshini.  See also our Sangha Night Series Sep 19 to Oct 3, and for Core Sangha Members a residential retreat Sep 28 to 30. The full program is here.  Open to anyone interested in the topic. 

Please register below - if you are unable to pay within the price range please contact us in advance for a lower rate. 

A writing workshop, led by Acarasiddhi
Sat, Oct 13, 2018

Our theme for October is Creative practice.  During this daylong workshop Acarasiddhi will share ways to connect with our natural creativity through writing.  

The workshop will be positive, friendly, encouraging and productive, with helpful and inspiring writing exercises to get us started, and reflections on the link between words and practice. 

No writing or any other experience required. Bring your curiosity and your favorite writing tools (although pens and paper will also be available if you need them).

Acarasiddhi is an author and poet, usually as Tony Press. His short story collection "Crossing the Lines" was published in 2016.  "Equinox and Solstice", his e-chapbook of poems, appeared in 2018 at Right Hand Pointing. He has also led many useful and enjoyable writing days. 

Please pre-register - see "add to cart" below. If you are unable to afford the suggested rate please just pay what you can. 

Lunch is not provided but there are plenty of nice restaurants very close to to the SFBC, or you can pick something up at the local grocery store. 

 

led by Padmatara
Fri, Nov 9, 2018 to Sun, Nov 11, 2018

Our annual women's weekend retreat is a wonderful opportunity to spend a weekend practicing together in the relaxing natural beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountains. We hope you can join us!

This year's theme is Finding Stability in Turbulent Times.

Whether the turbulence feels internal or external, or both, when we are able to turn towards our physical, emotional and mental experience with compassionate curiosity, we cultivate a sense of stability that, in turn, allows us to respond more creatively to anything and everything we meet in our lives. On this retreat we will gently explore our tendency to argue with, avoid or hold on to experience, and encourage our natural capacity to welcome all of it.

Padmatara will guide this retreat, bringing a love of meditation and an enthusiasm for teachings that help us navigate the worldly winds more effectively - including Dharma, Poetry, Focusing and Insight Dialogue. Feel free to email her with any questions.

Each day will begin with meditation. Mid morning and afternoon sessions will include instruction, guided, mindful dialogue, and more meditation. There is space for hiking, yoga, nature gazing, or relaxing in the hot tub in the afternoon. In the evenings we will have some ritual practice. Silent periods will encourage the deepening of experience. 

All activities are optional and while we invite you to enjoy the flow of the schedule and stretch your comfort zone just a little, we also encourage you to listen to your body and participate in whatever way is most helpful. We share cooking and cleaning. 

Accommodation is in yurts, or there are places to camp if you prefer. 

Register by Oct 31.

Open to all levels of experience, but if you have not taken one of our meditation courses please contact us. See our Newcomer page for information about our meditation classes and courses.

10am to 4pm, with Prasadachitta
Sat, Nov 10, 2018

AWAKENING TO OUR OWN IMAGINATION

Led by Prasadachitta

Our imagination is arguably to most powerful force that works upon the mind. We have only limited evidence of what is happening around us and we rely on our imagination to fill in the blanks. Even what is happening within the sphere of our own being must rely on imagination to have any coherent story or meaning. 

How can we learn to make the imagination an ally in creating harmony and well-being for ourselves and others? How can we avoid the pitfalls of imagination and not become a slave to unhelpful views of ourselves and others? We need an imagination that is awake, vibrant, pliable and most of all helpful. 

During this day retreat, and on Sangha Nights in November, let's try and help each other imagine how this can become true in our lives and by extension the world.  

imagination - noun:

- the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.

• the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful

• the part of the mind that imagines things

10am to 12 noon
Sat, Dec 8, 2018

Join us for a simple morning of meditation - sit, walk, sit.

No instruction - just perhaps a couple of poems or relevant teachings - but there will be an opportunity for anyone interested to hang out and talk about meditation afterwards.

Open to anyone with a meditation practice. 

A fun night out supporting your Buddhist Center
Sat, Dec 8, 2018

Show and Tell, Silent Auction, Vegetarian Food

Please join us at the SFBC as we put aside our meditation cushions for the night to celebrate the past year and invite your support for the year to come.  Bring your friends and family!  You can drop in at any time but try not to miss the entertainment/show and tell starting around 7pm.

Delicious vegetarian food, Entertainment, Silent Auction, Raffle, and plenty of time to socialize. 

Suggested donation $25 to $75. You are welcome to pay at the door (cash, credit, debit, check) or by paypal in advance. No need to register. 

If you are not sure you can be here for the party but would still like to help - please see our donation information. Thank you in advance!

 
 

led by Vimalamoksha and Padmatara
Sat, Dec 22, 2018 to Sat, Dec 29, 2018

Register by Dec 10 - see below.

Our annual winter meditation retreat is a priceless opportunity to spend a week away from our normal conditions, in silence, supporting each other to go deeper with meditation, and being supported by the natural beauty of Nature.

Silence: the retreat will be mostly silent except for teachings, meditation reviews and some mindful communication. It's a rare chance to take a break from making conversation and to see what happens when we let ourselves be.

The theme this year is Loving the Dream, and we will contemplate these words from the Diamond Sutra, along with other teachings and poems, exploring what (if anything) they might mean for the way we live our lives. 

Each object in this fleeting world is like a lightning flash,

a bubble in a stream,

a wisp of smoke, a cloud,

a drop of dew,

a fading star at dawn,

a breath, a dream.

Food and Work Periods: Vegetarian food and simple menus are provided and cooking and cleaning are shared by everyone on the retreat. If you have a preference please let us know in advance.

Free Time: There will be plenty of time to explore or hang out among the trees or sit by the fire. 

Meditation experience is strongly recommended for this retreat. If you have not taken one of our meditation courses please contact us or drop-in to our Thursday classes.

Marking Black History Month Feb 2019
Fri, Feb 15, 2019

Friday Feb 15, 7pm 

"13th", 2016, Documentary, Directed by Ava DuVernay.

Rotten Tomatoes: "The title of Ava DuVernay's extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States." The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis."

The Guardian: "Ava DuVernay’s incendiary film is a wakeup call that steers clear of broad brush Michael Moorisms to offer a brutal analysis of race and the law in the US"

See full review.

10am to 4pm, with Danadasa
Sat, Feb 16, 2019

How would it be if we could look at everything that happens in our world, including, or perhaps especially, the annoying or difficult things, as tools to help to wake up?  In February we'll explore this question in many different ways as we kick off our 2019 theme - Bringing Everything to the Path - with this Day Retreat and a new Sangha Night Series

Buddhist Ethics - it's not about being good.

When you yourselves know: "These things are bad; these things are blamable; these things lead to harm and ill," abandon them.'

When you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them.

The Buddha

The trajectory of our lives is shaped by our habitual actions. Where are our habitual actions leading us? And is this where we want to go? Please join us as we explore these questions and more on this day retreat.

These monthly day retreats are a great opportunity to experience the benefits of retreat without leaving the city. Each month, through meditation, reflection and discussion, we will explore a different aspect of practice and see for ourselves how it relates to living well today. They are open to anyone interested in the topics, and no particular experience is required, though if you haven't meditated before you might consider taking on of our introductory classes.

March 22 to 24, at Jikoji - register by March 10 (extended)
Fri, Mar 22, 2019 to Sun, Mar 24, 2019

This annual retreat aims to provide a space to reconnect with beginner's mind - our natural capacity to see through expectations and prejudice and respond to our inner and outer worlds with gentle curiosity and wisdom. People with many years of experience as well as actual beginners are invited to give your practice a refreshing boost, surrounded by the quiet, natural beauty of the Santa Cruz mountains. Meditating together and supporting each other, away from our usual schedule, gives us the chance to go deeper and refresh our perspective on life.

This year's theme is Mirror-like Wisdom as an aspect of beginner's mind - our ever-present potential for seeing experience just as it presents itself, nothing added or taken away. It's like the bright dawn right before the sun rises, when the air is clear and cool and the the light is blue and mysteriously revealing. 

Each day will begin and end quietly with meditation. Mid morning and afternoon sessions will include instruction and guided, mindful dialogue. Weather permitting we plan to spend a fair amount of time outside in nature. 

All activities are optional and while we invite you to enjoy the flow of the schedule and stretch your comfort zone just a little, we also encourage you to listen to your body and participate in whatever way is most helpful. 

Food Work Periods: Vegetarian food and simple menus are provided and cooking and cleaning are shared by everyone on the retreat. If you have a preference please let us know in advance. 

Free Time: Jikoji is a beautiful place and there will be time to explore the area, hike up to the ridge, and/or just relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Meditation Experience: There will be meditation without instruction in the morning and evening so if you have not taken one of our meditation courses we recommend dropping in to one or two of our Thursday 7pm classes. Contact us for more information. 

Sliding scale: Please pay what you can afford within the range: $265-$200.  Plus optional dana for the teacher. (SFBC teachers are volunteers - all fees go to support running costs.) Paying the higher end of the scale helps those who need a lower rate - this is particularly helpful this year as Jikoji's prices have risen. If you are unable to come because of money please contact us as we are sometimes able to offer reductions.  

 

10am to 4pm, with Karunadevi
Sat, Mar 30, 2019

The only thing that will not change is change itself.

It is through change that we grow, heal, learn, engage, suffer, age, and die. We experience pain and disappointment as well as joy and gratitude.

Through the acceptance of change we can transform our habits, our hindrances, negative mental states and emotions, and see through our delusions; we can tread the creative path toward liberation.

On this day retreat we will use meditation, reflection, journal writing, and discussion to explore our views and experiences of change and share ways we can respond creatively and recognize the continuity in the midst of change.

Lunch will be provided.

These monthly day retreats are a great opportunity to experience the benefits of retreat without leaving the city. Each month, through meditation, reflection and discussion, we will explore a different aspect of practice and see for ourselves how it relates to living well today. They are open to anyone interested in the topics, and no particular experience is required, though if you haven't meditated before you might consider taking on of our introductory classes.

See also our Sangha Night Series: The Wisdom of Change

10am to 4pm, with Viradhamma and Danadasa
Sat, Apr 20, 2019

In the Honeyball Sutta (a teaching of the Buddha), the Buddha describes the conditions that give rise to conflict. And with a clear understanding of these conditions, we can also see a pathway leading to the dissolving of conflict and the arising of peace. Please join us to explore this ancient wisdom and how to apply it to our modern lives.

See also our April Sangha Night Series: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern World.

These monthly day retreats are a great opportunity to experience the benefits of retreat without leaving the city. Each month, through meditation, reflection and discussion, we will explore a different aspect of practice and see for ourselves how it relates to living well today. They are open to anyone interested in the topics, and no particular experience is required, though if you haven't meditated before you might consider taking on of our introductory classes.

10am to 4:30pm, with Advayamati
Sat, May 4, 2019

The anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing) sutta is a much-loved teaching from the Buddha that quietly and beautifully guides us towards real tranquility and wisdom through awareness of the breathing body.  

On this day retreat we will explore experientially the key themes from the sutta - body, feelings, mind and wisdom - to enhance our experience and practice of both mindfulness and metta (kindness).

The day will include meditation, reflection, body work and communication. 

At lunch time we will have a vegan pot luck - please bring food to share, or you can pick something up nearby if you prefer. 

Open to everyone. 

Advayamati has taught buddhism and meditation in the UK for 15 years and has practiced shiatsu for over 30. He is particularly interested in combining bodywork with meditation and dharma. 

 

June 2019
Sat, Jun 1, 2019

June 2019 - follow Triratna events online at https://thebuddhistcentre.com/action. See also Sangha Nights in June. 

Buddhist Action Month (BAM!) was initiated by the Network of Buddhist Organisations (NBO) (www.nbo.org.uk) to inspire and support social change and care for the environment. In 2015 Triratna Buddhist Centres across Europe got involved and in the years that followed BAM was represented by actions and activities across Britain, in Europe, Australia and North America.

 “For the month of June, BAM encourages Buddhists of all traditions to take their practice off the cushion and into the world, to exemplify compassion, ethics, meditation, and insight in the real world and in contact with others. BAM invites us to make more conscious the connections between our ethical commitment as Buddhists and the needs of other beings – human and otherwise, our society and our environment; and it offers us the opportunity to explicitly explore and discuss the ethical issues facing Buddhists in the 21st century.” (NBO-website)

Saturday June 22, 10am to 4pm
Sat, Jun 22, 2019

If an approach to practice is not working for you, do you just carry on doggedly hoping that it will somehow improve? It’s not very likely that this will work!

This is as true of dhyana or absorption practice as any other area. So, on this Day Retreat Tejananda will be suggesting approaches people have found to be helpful and effective in opening to dhyana through exploring body, breath and awareness. By exploring and uncovering the actual nature of our bodily experience, resources for entering dhyana can be discovered right here, already present – just waiting to be noticed.

Meditation experience is recommended.

Lunch is not provided but there are many restaurants, cafes and stores in the neighborhood. 

Please pre-register.

Saturday July 27, 10am to 4pm
Sat, Jul 27, 2019

Mindfulness in an urban environment. How do we manage? What are the challenges?

Special guest Paramabodhi will lead us in meditation, reflection and discussion as we step back for a day from our usual routine to explore ways to respond with more kindness and care when we return.

Paramabodhi helped get the SFBC going back in the early 90's before going back to London to work on his art.  He has remained a good friend to us and visits regularly to share his interest in Mindfulness practice and creativity. 

Open to everyone, though some meditation experience will be useful.

Please pre-register. 

with Acarasiddhi
Sat, Sep 21, 2019

During this daylong workshop Acarasiddhi will share ways to connect with our natural creativity through writing.  

The workshop will be positive, friendly, encouraging and productive, with helpful and inspiring writing exercises to get us started, and reflections on the link between words and practice. 

No writing or any other experience required. Bring your curiosity and your favorite writing tools (although pens and paper will also be available if you need them).

Acarasiddhi is an author and poet, usually as Tony Press. His short story collection "Crossing the Lines" was published in 2016.  "Equinox and Solstice", his e-chapbook of poems, appeared in 2018 at Right Hand Pointing. He has also led many useful and enjoyable writing days. 

Saturday, October 12, 10am to 4pm
Sat, Oct 12, 2019

A Day Retreat with Special Guest, Aryajaya, from the UK

What does Buddhist practice have to say about being human? Using the traditional Buddhist teaching of the Wheel of Life this day retreat will explore the advantages and opportunities of being in the mental states of the human realm. We'll meditate, reflect, discuss and maybe answer the question by the poet Mary Oliver, 'What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious human life?'

Aryajaya is the current International Order Convenor for the Triratna Buddhist Community, taking over from Parami in 2018.  Her work is to connect and deepen the Order worldwide in many, varied ways. She moved to the UK from Australia in 2000 to participate in Triratna's team based business Windhorse Evolution and the ordination process. Ordained in 2006 she continued to work at Evolution until the closure in 2015. She enjoyed the challenge of creating an ethical working environment and community in a commercial setting. She now lives at Adhisthana and enjoys meditation, the mythic realm, yoga and wild swimming.  Her name means Noble Victory.

Other Worlds are Actual
Sat, Oct 19, 2019

Once again the SFBC will participate in this extraordinary event in San Francisco's Mission District. The theme of our reading is Other Worlds are Actual.

Soak in the atmosphere and enjoy hearing from some great local writers and readers: R. Krishna Chaganti, Tony Acarasiddhi Press, Mary Salome, Laura Blackwell, Mary Wagner, Matthew Keuter.

More information and writer bios will follow on Lit Crawl's website and our segment here.

Sangha (Community) Night
Wed, Nov 6, 2019

Every year on a Sangha Night close to Day of the Dead (Dia de los muertos) we take the opportunity to get together and celebrate the lives of those we have lost in the recent past.  Please bring photographs or souvenirs to place on the shrine to remember your loved ones. 

Showing "The North Pole Show"
Fri, Nov 15, 2019

The SFBC Green Sangha will host movie night Friday November 15, 7pm.  We will show the web series "The North Pole", "a comedic web series about three best friends born and raised in North Oakland, CA, who struggle to stay rooted as their neighborhood becomes a hostile environment".  http://www.thenorthpoleshow.com/about/

This event is a fundraiser for RAICES whose mission is to defend the rights of immigrants and refugees, empower individuals, families and communities, and advocate for liberty and justice.

You can donate here or donate through the SFBC at this event. 

There are also other ways to donate, including giving air miles or a portion of your fare if you need to get a ride with Lyft. 

The Four Noble Truths may be the most well-known teaching of the Buddha, and as such it can be easy to overlook.  Prasadachitta will lead us in a 5 week exploration of this simple but important expression of the Buddhist path: Suffering, the origin of suffering, the end of suffering and the way to the end of suffering.  

See also Four Noble Truths Day Retreat on May 19.

with Hridayashri and special guests

In June we will be joining Triratna Centers around the world to participate in Buddhist Action Month (BAM).  During Sangha Nights, and our monthly Day Retreat June 9, we will explore the theme of "Transforming Self and World".  There will also be opportunities to join online communities. More information here: thebuddhistcenter.

June 9: What is Buddhist Action, with Hridayashri

Hridayashri will share some thoughts on Buddhist action and what it means to her.  We will look at how the path of Right Action leads to a loosening of the sense of a separate self and a greater connection with all things.  With space for all to explore their own practice of undertaking skillful action. 

June 13: Special guests Lena Wolff and Future Chorus

Future Chorus formed in the summer of 2017 as a way of addressing the fallout of the political moment after the 2016 presidential election. Still going strong today, the chorus is made up of an ensemble of over 25 friends, artists and musicians who sing original and cover songs that are incantations to the forces that drive transformative socio-political resistance movements, offering messages of hope, resilience and empowerment to forge a better future.  Artist Lena Wolff will share some thoughts on how to activate around issues of empathy and how we can generate sublime experiences in times of political and ecological unrest.

June 20: Surprise guest speaker - tba

June 27: The Individual and Social Change, with Viradhamma

Viradhamma will explore the role of individuals as agents of social change in the contemporary world where communities are polarized, news is unreliable and there is confusion about community values.

See also June 9, Day Retreat

Four Tuesdays, July 10 to 31, 7pm - 9pm

Are you too restless to meditate? Is your mind moving a mile a minute? Do you feel like meditation would give you clarity, but you just can't find time for it?

In this 4-week workshop we will explore new ways in to meditation, through the body. And we will explore variations on the loving kindness and mindfulness of breathing practices taught at the Center.

And if you are up for more rigorous training, you can commit to a 21-day no-excuses meditation challenge, to directly experience the benefits of daily mind training. Individual meditation check-ins will be offered throughout the program.

Meditators of any level of experience are welcome. Wear comfortable clothes for actively moving. 

The course instructor, Dayamudra, is an experienced yoga and meditation teacher. 

Please register in advance.

with Danadasa

In this Buddhist path of transformation, how we relate to practice has a profound effect upon what unfolds. How do we relate to the idea of path and goal? How do we relate to effort? How do we relate to not knowing? During this 3 week series, Danadasa will explore what is meant by a wise relationship to practice through the perspective of the 5 spiritual faculties: mindfulness, conviction, energy, meditation, and discernment. 

All are welcome. Come to the whole series or drop in to any of the 3 evenings. Suggested donation $10 to $5 or whatever you can afford.

Please note that the Center will be closed on Wednesday July 4th .

Cultivating stillness, joy, and insight through meditation

During the month of August, we will be focusing on meditation practice. We will explore meditations that calm the mind (samatha) and that lead to insight (vipassana), as well as ritual & devotion and the dynamics of activity and receptivity. Each evening will include a double sit and a brief talk on a particular aspect of meditation. 

Feel free to come to the whole series or drop in to any evening.  

4 Mondays, Aug 13 – Sept 3, 7 – 9 pm

Many people feel isolated and lonely and long for a sense of belonging. Sharing life stories is a powerful way to step more fully into community. This 4 week gathering is an opportunity to be seen and heard with kindness, and to see and hear others with kindness.

The value of sharing life stories

  • Working directly with the experience of isolation and separateness from others
  • Cultivating empathy, connection and community
  • Experiencing solidarity, kinship, shared humanity
  • Getting to know the habitual mental and emotional patterns of our lives
  • Remembering experiences of being wholeheartedly engaged, alive, inspired, at ease
  • Remembering experiences of being stuck, confused, fearful, anxious, frustrated
  • Noticing our relationship to privacy by noticing what we choose to not share
  • Developing the skills of honesty, acceptance, authenticity

This offering is appropriate for anyone who has an established and alive relationship with this community and would like to deepen this connection. All stories will be treated as confidential.

Suggested donation is $100, and please contact us to request a reduced rate.

A Practical Guide to Empathy, Mindfulness and Communication, with Shantigarbha, visiting from the UK

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

‘An excellent book on empathy that teases out the centrality of this value in Buddhism  as the foundation for the cultivation of compassion and loving-kindness.’ – Stephen Batchelor, Buddhist teacher and author.

Shantigarbha has been studying and teaching Non Violent Communication for many years.  On this Sangha Night he will introduce and read from his recently published new book.

On Saturday Sep 15 he will also lead a workshop based on his book. 

with Vajradarshini

3 Wednesday evenings -

THE LIFE OF OBJECTS - FALL IN LOVE WITH LIFE AGAIN

“Everything I kept I wish I had given away, everything I’ve given away I wish I’d kept.”

— LOUISE BROOKS

19TH SEPT - BRINGING OBJECTS TO LIFE
26TH SEPT - A MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP
3RD OCT - EVERYDAY RITUAL OBJECTS

When we realise how much the world we live in is influenced by mind, we also discover that we can choose the kind of a world we want to live in. 
When we realise that what we experience is not the ‘thing out there’ but our own perception, our relationship with things is suddenly changed. The teapot and the bowl are no longer separate from us, but intimately connected to us, even a part of us.  

“Picking violets by the side of the road,
I forgot my begging bowl.
How sad you must be, my poor little bowl.”

— RYOKAN

This Sangha Night Series is part of our Urban Retreat: Dharma meets Art, with Vajradarshini 

“Our meditation doesn't stay on the cushion. We are a studio and a laboratory, testing new ways to view life. Evoking curiosity and playfulness. Looking for meaning. Finding beauty.”

We are very happy that Vajradarshini will be back after many years to lead 3 weeks of urban retreat: Sep 17 to Oct 7. The retreat includes a Day Retreat Saturday Sep 22 (sign up here) and a residential retreat for members of the SFBC core sangha Sep 28 to 20 (sign up here).

Vajradarshini has been teaching and leading retreats since 1997. “In all that time the aspect of practice that I loved the most was bringing the Buddhist teachings together with art. Something would happen, the art illuminated the dharma and the dharma illuminated the art.” She currently lives in Sweden. 

Staying Curious and Keeping Inspiration Alive

This October we will explore creative practice – ways to (gently) shake ourselves free from ruts or habits that can stifle our inspiration and prevent us from discovering anything new or fresh in the world or in ourselves.  

Oct 10: Curiosity and Fear

A creative life means “living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear” (Elizabeth Gilbert). Padmatara will explore what can emerge if we stay curious about things that are scary, including fear itself.

Oct 17: Poetry

Poetry is a doorway into our deepest selves.  Its creative form gives us permission to suspend our habitual ways of thinking and processing, which can provide a fresh source of inspiration and wonder. Shunyamala will share reflections and poems that have inspired her practice and way of life.

Oct 24: Creative Spaces

Vimalamoksha builds imaginative structures, mostly from wood, that reflect and inspire his meditation and dharma practice. He will talk about the ways he has changed the way he works to align with his creative vision.

Oct 31: Remembering

Prasadachitta will lead an evening dedicated to remembering and giving recognition to those who have passed before us.  Friends, family, strangers and other beings from the dead continue to affect us in our own lives whether we are aware of it or not. They are with us in the world in places and things as well as in our minds through thoughts and emotions. There will be an opportunity to remember our loved ones with an offering if we so wish.

No registration required. Come for the whole series or drop in any evening. Open to anyone who is curious!

See also Day Retreat: Words on a Page, Sat, Oct 13 and Lit Crawl, Sat, Oct 20

 

Sangha Night, Wed, Oct 31, 7pm to 9pm

Urgyen Sangharakshita, August 26, 1925 - October 30, 2018

Today we heard the sad news that our founder and teacher - Sangharakshita - has died. We had already scheduled an evening to remember all the loved ones and strangers who have died in this last year, and this will still go ahead (see below), with the addition of stories and chanting in honor of this unique person who, among many other things, made our center possible.

Sangha Night, Wed, Oct 31, 7pm to 9pm

Prasadachitta will lead an evening dedicated to remembering and giving recognition to those who have passed before us.  Friends, family, strangers and other beings from the dead continue to affect us in our own lives whether we are aware of it or not. They are with us in the world in places and things as well as in our minds through thoughts and emotions. There will be an opportunity to remember our loved ones with an offering if we so wish.

No registration required - just drop in. Open to anyone.

7pm to 9pm, led by Prasadachiita

Awakening to our own imagination

Led by Prasadachitta

Our imagination is arguably the most powerful force that works upon the mind. We have only limited evidence of what is happening around us and we rely on our imagination to fill in the blanks. Even what is happening within the sphere of our own being must rely on imagination to have any coherent story or meaning.

How can we learn to make the imagination an ally in creating harmony and well-being for ourselves and others? How can we avoid the pitfalls of imagination and not become a slave to unhelpful views of ourselves and others? We need an imagination that is awake, vibrant, pliable and most of all helpful.

Let's try and help each other imagine how this can become true in our lives and by extension the world.  

imagination - noun:

- the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.

• the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful

• the part of the mind that imagines things

Nov 7, 14, and 28 (skipping Nov 21 for Thanksgiving.)

Reflections and Intentions

Traveler, there is no path, the path is made by walking. (Antonio Machado)

The path is you in the process of organizing your mental states in such a way that growth and development take place in a positive direction. (Sangharakshita)

As we approach the end of the year, the winter retreat and the solstice, we will reflect on our practice together and celebrate our intentions as we continue our path. 

Dec 5 and 12: Danadasa will lead these 2 evenings.

Dec 19: Karunadevi will lead a special end of year puja

December 19 will be our final Sangha Night this year, resuming Feb 6, 2019 with a whole new program. 

Bringing everything to the Path, Wednesdays 7pm to 9pm

Our Wednesday Sangha Night Program resumes Feb 6 2019, introducing a new theme for the year - Bringing Everything to the Path.  

How would it be if we could look at everything that happens in our world, including, or perhaps especially, the annoying or difficult things, as tools to help to wake up?  

This year we'll explore this question in many different ways. 

Feb 6: Treasure your Resistances!  With Kulanandi, visiting from Europe

Are we aware of gross and subtle resistances in ourselves? How do we react?  How can we explore them and mine the gold in them?  Kulanandi has been teaching and practcing for many years and it's a rare treat to have her here - see her bio below. 

Feb 13: Everything, with Prasadachitta

Prasadachitta will go further into the theme of “Bringing everything onto to the path” by looking into what is meant by “everything”. 

In one passage the Buddha is recorded as saying: “The Universe, the Origination of the Universe, The end of the Universe, and the Path leading to the end of the Universe, all lie within this fathom-long body.” To bring everything onto the path and realize the flowering of truth in all experience is to be intimate with our physicality both in its gross and subtle manifestations.  Even our thoughts are like the touch of cloth or the background hum of the city. They pass through the space of our body like a murmuration of starlings twisting and turning in unexpected ways.  All of our pursuits, our foibles, our successes, and our inspirations happen in and through this soft and bony body. 

Feb 20: Turning to the Circus of the Mind, with Danadasa

Do you sometimes feel as if your mind is out of control?  To what extent are we aware of our habitual mental patterns, and how these patterns shape our experience? And how can we work creatively with unhelpful mental proliferation?  Join Danadasa in exploring how to bring "the Circus of the Mind" to the path of practice. 

Feb 27: The Path of Heart, with Hridayashri

See also our February Day Retreat  - Feb 16.

From Kulanandi: I was ordained by Bhante Sangharakshita in 1988 at Taraloka, where I was one of the founding members.  I moved to Essen, Germany, in 1990 with three other Dharmacarinis to set up women's activities there. Through friendships formed in Taraloka, I also had a strong connection with Sweden and since 1994, I have been visiting Sweden at least twice a year.  In 2004 I started doing Dharma work in India for 6 months every year.  This developed into project management and consultant work for Karuna Trust.  In 2004 I became a private Preceptor and in 2018 a public preceptor.  I stopped my 'official' Karuna Trust work in 2017 but still continue to visit India regularly.  I am involved in the ordination training in Germany and live in a small women's community there.

The Wisdom of Change, Wednesdays 7pm to 9pm

Whatever our physical age we're all changing all of the time. Some times it's more noticeable than others, some things seem to get harder, while some get easier. How we respond to each moment influences the next. 

This month Karunadevi, along with Nanasiri, Danamaya and Acarasiddhi, all long-time Sangha members, will reflect on their experience and share what has worked for them in working with the wonders and challenges of our ever-changing lives.

March 6: Change and Continuity - a Buddhist Perspective on Aging, with Karunadevi

March 13: Being Friends with Unpredictability, with Nanasiri

March 20: Walking the Path in Beauty: How to Sustain the Long Haul, with Danamaya (here is a link to the transcript of this talk.)

March 27: A Few More Tools to Carry on the Path,  with Acarasiddhi

Plus a Day Retreat on the same theme March 30.

Ancient Wisdom for the Modern World, Wednesdays, 7pm to 9pm

What is the cause of discord and strife? Is it possible to live a life free of stress and anxiety? What the Buddha taught 2500 years ago continues to be relevant to our modern age. Please join us during the month of April to explore some important Teachings of the Buddha from the Pali Canon (a collection of the teachings attributed to the Buddha).

April 3: Prasadachitta

On April 10 we will take a break from this series for a special event:

Kindness,  integration and awakening, with Dayanandi, visiting from Manchester in the UK. Dayanandi is part of the Preceptors College and a founder of Taraloka Retreat Center, among many other things.  

April 17 and 24: Viradhamma

See also Day Retreat April 20: Viradhamma and Danadasa - the Honeyball Sutta: The Root of Conflict and the Cultivation of Peace

 

Bringing our Skills and Talents to the Path

This month as part of our "Bringing Everything to the Path" theme, Medhahshri is asking people in the Sangha to talk about their skills and talents and the ways they influence and are influenced by their spiritual path and practice.

May 1 - Danadasa: Bringing Faith on the Path  

May 8 - Medhahshri: Moving from Knowledge to Wisdom: college teaching and Dharma practice

May 15 - Michaela: Sharing our skills & talents with confidence and love

May 22 - Acarasiddhi: Writing and the Path

May 29 - Viradhamma: Music, Dharma and the sound of the Cello

Buddhist Action Month

This month members of our community will talk about ways they bring their Buddhist practice to the world, and the world to their Buddhist practice. 

June 5: Love in Action - Pete will look at some of the work of Thich Nhat Hahn.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, was exiled from his home country in 1975 due to his activism. He is credited with the idea of "Engaged Buddhism" and has spent his life developing and teaching this relationship between Buddhist practice and activism.  On this Sangha Night we will explore Thich Nhat Hanh's life and work, some of the traditions that his work grew out of, and some of his very simple and eloquent writing about Engaged Buddhism.  Complete with guided meditation based on his teaching. 

"With mindfulness -- the practice of peace -- we can begin by working to transform the wars in ourselves."

"Peace is not an end.   It can never come about through non-peaceful means."

"Meditation means to be aware of what is happening in the present moment.  But if you see and you don't do anything, where is your awareness?  Your compassion?"

"These are the three domains of action:  body, speech, and mind.  In addition, there is non-action, which is often more important than action."

June 12: The Dynamic Mandela, with Tejananda 

(taking a break from our June theme to make the most of Tejananda's visit - see also Day Retreat June 22)

In Triratna, our system of practice is a dynamic mandala of five principles. We progressively integrate mind and body, samatha and vipassana, and discover the power of skilful and positive mental states. Then, directly penetrating and dispelling our delusions, we open ever-more to the wonder of what is. Thus, at last, we can wake up to and be who and what we truly are. 

On this Sangha Night we’ll take a somatic approach these five principles, that is, one based in the living energy of our body and being. Through being open to the energy of the body, and by becoming attuned its actual nature we’ll discover ways to “integrate” all five principles experientially into a single, embodied ’non-practice’ of Simply Being. 

June 19: Dharma and Deep Ecology: Turning Towards Climate Change, with Mary and Mary

An experiential approach to considering restlessness and worry alongside compassionate action in the context of climate change.

June 26: Ethical Consumption, with Hridayashri

Drop in any evening or come or the whole series.  

Stillness, Simplicity and Contentment, Wednesdays 7pm to 9pm

July 3:  Independence? 

Join us for meditation and some pre-holiday reflections on freedom, the illusion of an independent self, and other possibilities.  With Padmatara.

July 10: Suicide, Escape and Liberation

The cessation of suffering is central to Buddhism.   It is also central to suicide.  On this Sangha Night, we will look for insights about both Buddhist practice and suicide that might arise by tracing this common thread that runs through them. 

Suicide impacts many peoples' lives, sometimes through losing someone to it, and sometimes through their own suicidal thoughts or concern about someone else's.  Continuing with this year's theme of "bringing everything on the path"  Pete will talk about his experience as a telelphone counselor at San Francisco Suicide Prevention.

July 17: Celebrating Dharma Day - the Teaching of the Buddha

Tonight our special guest Succhita will explore the Word of the Buddha - Buddhavacana, through increasingly subtle levels; words and concepts, embodied chanting and mantra, and silence. 

Suchitta has lived at Taraloka Retreat Center since 2009. She's a classically trained musician, and practiced for many years in London as a Registered Music Therapist, working creatively with a broad range of client groups. She has a natural affinity with, and is drawn to sound worlds and silence. Suchitta was ordained in 1990, and spent two years working at the Wellington Buddhist Centre in New Zealand and six years at the Triratna Centre in Brighton. She has a particular interest in Dharma study and the place/space of chanting and mantra in spiritual practice. 

July 24 and 31: Stillness, Simplicity and Contentment

Special guest and old friend Paramabodhi will lead these two nights, helping us settle into the profound and yet beautifully simple practice of mindfulness and kind attention. (See also day retreat July 27.)

Paramabodhi lived and worked at the SFBC for 6 years during the 90's, helping to get us started along with Paramananda, Karunadevi and others. He currently works full time as an artist (aka Hugh Mendes) and teacher in London, teaching occasionally at the London Buddhist Center. Luckily for us he still has time to visit fairly regularly. 

Drop in to any evening.  Open to everyone. 

Freedom from Stress and Pain

Wednesdays, 7pm to 9pm, August 7 to 28

This month Prasadachitta and Shunyamala will combine meditation and experiential exercises to help us address the stresses and pain in our life with mindfulness and kindness. Slowing down and reconnecting with our breath, body and heart we can cultivate the awareness and resilience we need to experience more freedom and ease even in the middle of complicated and challenging circumstances.

Although the classes will build on each other and you will benefit from coming to the whole series, you are also welcome to drop in whenever you can. 

Change your story, change your life: the role of the Imagination in the Spiritual Life

“Whatever one keeps pursuing with one’s thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of the mind.”  --The Buddha

Does your mind ever get caught in negative habitual thinking? Do you ever feel like a small boat riding upon the stormy oceans of the mind?  Please join Danadasa in an exploration of the imagination and creative ways to reshape our minds and transform our lives. 

Sept 4:   The Role of the Imagination in the Spiritual Life

Sept 11: The Journey from Isolation to Connection

Sept 18: That Which Dies and That Which Rises from the Ashes

Sept 25: Surrendering to What Is

Drop in any evening or come for the whole series.

Sangha Nights in October, 7pm to 9pm

Having gone to the forest, the shade of a tree, or an empty building, the meditator, body held erect, brings mindfulness to the fore.  

For 5 sangha nights in October we will explore the Buddha's direct teaching of the Anapanasati Sutta. Developing sensitivity to the Body, our Feelings, our Mental Habits, and the Dharma, sets the foundation for developing deeper experiences of dhyana and personal insights related to daily life.   

Please join Shunyamala, Viveka, Dhammarati, and Danadasa as they share and continue their own inquiry into how this ancient teaching feeds their personal practice.