Weekly Email 3/15/2021

Dear Common Ground Friends,

The painful truths of our criminal justice system and policing and our deep habits of neglecting, oppressing, harming, and killing each other will probably be more obvious in the weeks and months ahead as the trials of the officers involved in the killing of George Floyd begin. As people interested in the teachings and practices that the Buddha taught so long ago, let’s do our best to meet this time with a compassionate resolve to learn how to care for all members of our community including ourselves. This will be impossible without a profound humility that is found in a willingness to listen to all voices, especially those voices that our dominant white culture has oppressed and ignored for a long long time. And, how can we respond to suffering if we haven’t taken the time to listen and sense the deep currents of ignorance in our own minds and hearts?

As an older, white cis gender man, I am learning to acknowledge the reactions that arise whenever I recognize my racial conditioning and how racism operates in my world. I have felt numbness in my heart, the tightness of resistance, the heat of self righteousness, and times when the mind simply checks out. I have learned that this is what the mind does when it approaches painful places that have been hidden away. Can we reimagine this Buddhist path of awakening as a movement of the heart that can embrace the heat of humiliation when our ignorance becomes apparent? In other moments, the practice will be about learning how to forgive ourselves and others. And, there will be times when we will be challenged to acknowledge what is good and beautiful in others as well as ourselves. Any conviction that we can remain apart or aloof from the suffering of others has to be exposed for what it is – a cause for more suffering.

I find this work of leaning into the discomfort without a defined map of how I can be right or good quite challenging. I also find this work enlivening and the essential work of liberation. Whether or not others are doing the work, this path is healing, liberating, and the best way we can care for all beings.

Mark Nunberg


Upcoming Program Highlights


  • STACY MCCLENDON & MARK NUNBERG lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In. 12:00-1:00pm. Zoom link here.
  • ANN VIVEROS & PAUL SACKAROFF will lead Dharma Among Us this week on the topic of the role of education in our lives and at this complicated time of social distancing. 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom link here.
  • This week is Week 2 of the Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation course with MARK NUNBERG. 7:30-9:00pm. It’s ok to join even if you weren’t able to make Week 1. Zoom link here.
SHELLY GRAF will lead the Weekly Practice Group. 7:30-9:00pm. Zoom link here.THURSDAY, MARCH 18TH
  • The bimonthly Black, Indigenous, People of Color Practice Group meets 6:30-8:00pm. Zoom link here.
  • SHELLY GRAF leads the weekly Community Practice Check-In. 9:00-10:00am. Zoom link here.
  • JEAN HALEY & JANE RAUENHORST lead Mindful Self-Compassion, 7:00-8:30pm. All are welcome. Zoom link here.
  • MARK NUNBERG will lead the Weekly Practice Group. 10:30-11:45am. Zoom link here.
  • WYNN FRICKE & MARK NUNBERG lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In. 4:30-5:30pm. Zoom link here.
  • MARK NUNBERG will lead a Daylong Retreat, 9:30am-4:00pm. More info and registration here.
  • AYO YETUNDE & STACY MCCLENDON will lead the Opening Night of the Truth & Justice Vigil. 6:00-7:15pm. More info here.
  • MARK NUNBERG will lead a Half-Day Retreat, 1:00-5:00pm. More info and registration here.
  • MESKI MEBATSION, SHELLY GRAF, & MARK NUNBERG will lead a daylong Living the Practice Workshop on Relating Wisely to this Sensual World. More info and registration here.

Please note that all times listed are in Central time. For complete, up-to-date program information, visit the online calendar. We 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.


Community News 

Community Groups Meeting this Week

  • Be Queer Now, Wed., Mar. 17th, 7:30-9:00pm. Zoom link here.
  • Buddhism & Christianity Community Group, Sat. Mar. 20th, 9:00-10:15am. Zoom link here.
  • Support Group for Friends and Family of People with Mental Illness, Sun. Mar 21st, 1:00-2:30pm. Zoom link here.
  • Mindfulness & Depression Community Group, Sun. Mar. 21st, 4:00-5:30pm. Zoom link here.

See the calendar for more info about these community groups.

Please Fill Out Our Communications Survey!

We are considering making changes to our website and weekly email and we would like your feedback on our communications systems. Please take 5-10 minutes to fill out the survey here. Thank you!

Buddhists Connecting with Isaiah

Meeting on Friday, March 19, 6:30 – 8:00pm
Isaiah is a multiracial and interfaith organization that works for social justice in Minnesota.  Earlier this year, 25 Buddhist practitioners from Common Ground, Clouds in Water, Minnesota Zen Center, and Tergar gathered to explore the idea of connecting with the activism of Isaiah. Since then, a core team of six folks has been working with Isaiah leadership to understand its efforts to bring about a multiracial, environmentally just democracy. We will gather on Zoom to share what we are learning and discuss how to become involved on Friday, March 19, from 6:30 to 8.  If you attended a meeting earlier this year, you will receive a link to this meeting by email.  If you are new and want to attend the meeting or just learn more about this effort, contact Patrice Koelsch at pckoelsch@yahoo,com.  Anyone on the Buddhist path who is interested in engaging in social justice work is welcome.

Antiracism Study & Dialogue Circle Beginning March 25th

ASDIC is a local organization Common Ground has partnered with in the past. We recommend anyone interested to join in for their upcoming 10-week circle. More info here.

Weekly Tejaniya

You cannot do mindfulness meditation
blindly, mechanically, without thinking.
You have to use knowledge and intelli-
gence to bring your practice to life.


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