Weekly Email 10/7/20

Hello Common Ground Friends,

I have been out at Common Ground’s Retreat Property with a few volunteers this week cleaning out the barn of all the construction debris from our 2+ year renovation of the place. It is messy work but it feels very healing to be working with this small group of 3-5  volunteers on such a wholesome project–creating a place where we all can relearn how to be intimate with the changing conditions of life with compassion and nonattachment. In this challenging time, we need to be even more creative and fearless in all the ways we can create and sustain wholesome friendships. It breaks my heart that we are unable to gather together, in person, in our meditation hall. Shelly, Gabe and I are available to assist you in finding and maintaining spiritual friendship(s). With this in mind, please let us know if you are interested in a teacher reaching out to you for spiritual counseling, or perhaps a community leader reaching out simply to connect as a spiritual friend. Chaiya, one of the center’s volunteers and leaders is interested in forming a community group of other experienced practitioners who would organize ways to provide spiritual friendship to those in the community that might appreciate more connection. Let the office know if you might want to volunteer for this new group. Of course there are many ways these friendships can arise so please reach out with your ideas.

Sending love and wishes for ease in our turbulent times,


Upcoming Program Highlights

This week:

  • Shelly will lead the Wednesday evening Weekly Practice Group as usual, 7:30-9:00pm. Zoom link here. Feel free to join early for virtual Tea Time, 7:00-7:20pm, for some time to connect with others over Zoom before the program.
  • Shelly will offer their weekly Community Practice Check-In on Thursday, from 9:00-10:00am. All are welcome. Zoom link here. This week’s meeting and every other session we will explore racism through an inquiry into whiteness and domination.
  • Every 2nd Thursday evening of the month, the CG Community Group for Organizers and Social Justice Activists meets, 6:00-7:30pm. You can email phillipcryan@gmail.com for more information including meeting time and whether it will be online or in person.
  • Jean Haley will lead the Lovingkindness Practice Group on Friday, 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom link here.
  • On Saturday, Ramesh Sairam will lead his biweekly Dharma Reflections program, 10:30am-12:00pm. Zoom link here.
  • On Sunday, Mark will lead the Sunday morning Weekly Practice Group over Youtube, as usual, 10:30-11:45am.
  • The Teen Practice Group is now meeting weekly in the CG Garden (Minneapolis) on Sunday mornings. For more info click here.
  • This Sunday afternoon begins a new friendship/support group for people who have a loved one with mental illness, to provide listening, support, practical resources and reflections on our experiences in light of the dharma. Facilitated by Jean Fagerstrom and Carolyn Lancaster. Reply to this email for more info.
  • The Dharma Friends Sit & Discussion community group meets again Sunday at 7pm. Facilitated by Gabe Keller Flores, Megan Brandeland, and Danielle Sewell. Zoom link here. All are welcome.
  • Mark Nunberg and Stacy McClendon offer the Tuesday mid-day Community Practice Check-In every Tuesday, at 12:00-1:00pm. Zoom link here.

Looking ahead:

  • Mark will be leading an online Daylong Retreat on Saturday, October 31st, from 9:30am-4:00pm. More info and registration here.
  • Registration will open soon for our next multi-day online retreat with Mark and Shelly, Nov 5-8. Look for registration info in next week’s weekly email.

Please note that all times listed are in Central time. For complete, up-to-date program information, visit the online calendar. I recommend you bookmark it for easy access during the week. You might also want to bookmark our Youtube channel.

The Practice of Generosity

Continuing in the tradition of Buddhist monasteries in Southeast Asia, all programs at Common Ground, including these online programs, are offered free of charge in the spirit of generosity. This offering is possible because of the generosity of people like you—from the Buddha on down to all the people in our community—who contribute their practice, time, and financial resources to support the continuation of the center.

To learn how to support the center and our teachers, visit this page. Let us know if you have any questions.

Volunteer Request 
Our volunteer audio team leader, Kevin Bjorklund, is looking for audio processing volunteers to help him continue to keep our Dharmaseed page updated. If you have experience with audio editing and are interested, please contact kbjork63@gmail.com.

Community News 

Common Ground Forums

We’ve created a new medium for online connection for the CG community: forums! We envision the forums as a place for community announcements, mutual aid offers/requests, dharma discussions, and more. Check them out here! I made an initial post inviting folks to introduce themselves and share something about how they’re practicing these days.

Aloka Vihara Kathina
Aloka Vihara is a monastic community in California where former Common Ground community member Niyyanika Bhikkhuni currently lives and practices as a Buddhist nun. They are having a online kathina event (day of celebration and alms-giving) on October 25th. More information here.


Community Survey Still Open for Participation
Thank you to everyone who filled out the community survey we sent out recently. You can still fill it out if you haven’t already, here.


Weekly Wisdom
To attain calm in practice, it’s not necessary to be
sitting in meditation. Just ask yourself, “Eh, what is
this?”, and solve your problem right there! A person
with wisdom is like this. Perhaps they can’t attain high
levels of samadhi, but there must be some, just enough
to cultivate wisdom. Our practice can be like this, that
we depend more on wisdom to solve problems.
When we see the truth, peace arises.— Ajahn Chah, from “On Meditation”Fall Quan Yin

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