Weekly Email 3-22-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,

As students of the Buddha’s teachings, we learn to return over and over again to the direct immediate and intimate study of dukkha, the pervasive and inherent unsatisfactoriness of existence. This insight does not discount the many joyful and beautiful experiences in life, they are real, but they do not satisfy in a lasting way. As it turns out, understanding the underlying nature of dukkha is our most trustworthy, sobering, and ultimately liberating teacher. Although we will resist giving it the curious and careful attention that it deserves, the study of suffering and its release is the best use of this human life.

When teaching about dukkha, Ajahn Chah taught, “It sticks on the skin and goes into the flesh; from the flesh it gets into the bones. It’s like an insect on a tree that eats through the bark, into the wood and then into the core, until finally the tree dies. We’ve grown up like that. It gets buried deep inside. Our parents taught us grasping and attachment, giving meaning to things, believing firmly that we exist as a self-entity and that things belong to us. From our birth that’s what we are taught. We hear this over and over again, and it penetrates our hearts and stays there as our habitual feeling. We’re taught to get things, to accumulate and hold on to them, to see them as important and as ours. This is what our parents know, and this is what they teach us. So it gets into our minds, into our bones.”

Without wisdom, our lives are a setup for endless stress. Reflecting honestly, how many times today have our hearts been burdened by the weight of fear or hope–wanting the conditions to be different than they are? Discontentment seems second nature to us. Although we may deeply desire the resolution of all of our stress, we wrongly presume that this depends on a change in circumstances. It rarely occurs to us that what is required is a transformation of understanding.

Everyone is welcome to join in for one or more of the following three programs where we do our best to deepen our understanding of suffering and its release.

Living the Practice Workshop: Emptiness and Dukkha: 9:30am-4:00pm, Saturday, March 25th

Resilience Daylong Retreat, 9:30am-4:00pm, Saturday, April 1st

Inquiry Retreat: Exploring the Art of Investigating Dukkha, April 13th – 16th

Wishing us all ease with conditions,

Mark Nunberg
Co-Guiding Teacher

Sutta Studies Openings!
Common Ground’s year-long Sutta Study group has openings for this coming year, beginning Saturday, April 1st (or Saturday, May 6th if you are not able to make it by April 1st). For more information about this year-long opportunity and commitment, click here. To submit an application, click here. We will run a lottery for open spots on March 28th.


Weekly Programs
To view a complete list of our regular program offerings, visit our upcoming programs page on our website. As always, our online calendar is the best way to find correct times and Zoom links. 

Open Meditation
In person meditation is now available, M-F, starting at 6:30 a.m. Check our online calendar for additional times and details. There are many in-person as well as virtual opportunities for silent meditation, 7 days a week. Visit the calendar for times and details.

Weekly Practice Groups

  • Sunday mornings, 10:30-11:45am in-person and on Zoom with Mark Nunberg
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30pm in-person with Mark Nunberg
  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00pm currently on Zoom with Shelly Graf.
    *This program will offered in our hybrid format starting on April 5th. 
Monthly Practice Groups
  • Now in-person and on Zoom! First Fridays, 7:00-8:30pm, Lovingkindness with Mark Nunberg and Stacy McClendon

Community Practice Check-Ins

  • Sundays, 4:30-5:30pm, on Zoom with Mark Nunberg and Wynn Fricke, on Zoom
  • Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00pm, on Zoom with Stacy McClendon, on Zoom
  • Wednesdays, 8:30-9:30am, in-person with Shelly Graf, assisted by Robin Major
  • Fridays, 9:00-10:00am, on Zoom with Shelly Graf
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30am-12:00pm, on Zoom with Ramesh Sairam
Yoga & Qigong
We offer Yoga and Qigong several times a week, both in person and online.
Mindfulness, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps
Meets every Friday, 7:00-8:30pm.
In-person and on Zoom

Youth Programs

  • Children’s Program: The Children’s Program is held on the 1st and 3rd Sundays, 10:30 – 11:45am. The program is for kindergarteners – 3rd graders. If your child is preschool age, you are welcome to join the group but a parent will need to stay with the child. The Children’s Program is canceled on Sunday, April 2nd. 
  • Teen Program: The teen group will be meet 10:30 – 11:30am on the 2nd and 4th Sundays. You can join the Common Ground teen listserv by emailing info@commongroundmeditation.org.


Upcoming Programs: Online Only

To see full list of programs and access Zoom links for online programs visit our calendar.

MBSR-Based Mindfulness Practice with Nancy Boros
Mondays, 12:00 -1:00pm

InterPlay with Spruce Krause
Thursday, April 13th, 7:00-8:30pm

Mindful Self-Compassion Practice Group with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst
Friday, April 21st | 7:00 -8:30pm

Upcoming Programs: In Person/Hybrid at Common Ground’s City Center
To see full list of programs visit our calendar

Cultivating Virtue as a Support for Liberation: a Bimonthly Practice Group with Gabe Keller Flores
2nd and 4th Thursdays | 7:00 – 8:30pm
In-person and on Zoom
No registration necessary

Living the Practice Workshop with Shelly Graf, Mark Nunberg, and Meski Mebatsion
Saturday, March 25th | 9:30am – 4:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
More info and registration here

Resilience Daylong Retreat with Cecilia Ramón and Mark Nunberg
Saturday, April 1st | 9:30am-4:00pm
Register here

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation with Shelly Graf
Six Tuesdays: April 4th – May 9th | 7:00 – 8:30pm CST
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Half-Day Retreat with Shelly Graf & Jen Racho
Saturday, April 8th | 9:00am – 1:00pm
Register here

Community Practice Intensive with Sarah Wilson and Mark Nunberg
Three Mondays: April 10th, April 17th and April 24th from 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Ending with a Daylong Retreat on Saturday, April 29th from 9:30am – 4:00pm
Register here

Earth Day! Celebrating our Love for Earth
9:30am- 12:30pm, Saturday, April 22nd
Optional Potluck 12:30pm-1:30pm
In-person only
Register here

Sound Bath Meditation with Marc Anderson
2:00-3:30pm, Sunday, April 23rd
No registration necessary

Half-Day Retreat with Mark Nunberg
Saturday, May 6th | 1:00pm-5:00pm
Register here

Upcoming In-Person/Hybrid Programs at our Retreat Center
Common Ground Retreat Center is located in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis. More information and registration for the following programs can be found here

Masculinity & Status: A Daylong Conversation
Saturday, April 8th | 9:30am – 4:00pm
Register here

The Stress of Change and Impermanence: An exploration of viparinama dukkha: Inquiry Retreat with Ramesh Sairam and Mark Nunberg
Thursday, April 13th – Sunday, April 16th
Register here

Tranquility & Insight Retreat with Gabe Keller Flores & Mark Nunberg
Tuesday, April 18th – Sunday, April 23rd
Register here
In addition to these weekend retreats, we also offer public drop-in groups on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month at the retreat center, 6:30-7:45pm. The groups are led by dharma teachers and community leaders. More info about these Wednesday night programs here.

The Practice of Generosity

Continuing in the tradition of Buddhist monasteries in Southeast Asia, all programs at Common Ground 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.

Current Volunteer Needs 
Please contact Robin Major at robin@commongroundmeditation.org if you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities:

  • Audio and YouTube Volunteers: We’re looking for volunteers to join our audio processing and YouTube editing teams. It’s easy to learn! No previous experience in audio or video necessary.
  • Office Volunteers: We are looking for one or more people with 1-2 years experience at the center and with prior office experience to help us with office tasks and bulletin board maintenance. Experience with G-Suite and general comfort with computer technology would be helpful.
  • Website Volunteer: We are hoping to re-do our website in the coming months. If you have experience building websites and are interested in helping with this, please write an email of interest to Robin.
  • Wishlists: If you would like to donate a specific item, check out the Retreat Center Wishlist and the City Center Wishlist.

Community News 

Community Potluck!
Join in for Common Ground’s Spring community potluck on April 16th from 12:00-1:30. Bring a vegetarian dish to share!  If you’d like to volunteer before, during, or after the event you can sign up here.

Volunteers in Prison
A few Common Ground community members are working with prison facilitators to re-start meditation and Buddhist programs that were suspended during the height of covid. If you are interested in volunteering with this community group, you can read more here.

Calendar Page Captchas
If you have been experiencing difficulty opening the calendar page, you are not alone! We are working to update our calendar page and hopefully will have it fixed soon. Accessing the calendar through Google Chrome, or another non-Safari platform, works best.

New Articles from our friends at Buddhist Justice Reporter (BJR) 

Upcoming Community Group Meetings
To view a complete list of our regular program offerings, visit our the upcoming programs page on our website. As always, our the online calendar is the best way to find correct times and zoom links. 

  • Be Queer Now, weekly on Wednesday, 7:30-9:00 PM
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, First and Third Thursdays, 6:30-8:00PM
  • Millennials Sangha, Friday, March 24th, 7:00-8:30 PM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, April 2nd, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, April 8th, 9:00-10:30 AM
  • Community Group for Organizers and Social Justice Activists, Thursday, April 13th, 6:00-7:30 PM
  • NEW! Learning to Approach Social and Political Conflict with Skill and Kindness, Sunday, April 16th, 1:30 – 3:00pm
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

What Is Our Relationship to Life?
First, we must ask ourselves:
what is our relationship to reality?
What is our understanding of life?
We must look at life as it is,
and come into intimate contact with life.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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