Weekly Email 4-20-2021

Hi Common Ground friends,

Today we will feel a lot of things, not unlike most days, but perhaps as we await the jury’s verdict, we will be acutely aware of the vast terrain of the heart, today. The sensitivity of the heart is trustworthy and we can at the very least aspire to stay connected even when it feels hard. May we also remember that we are surrounded by love and wisdom even when what we feel is pain. In the midst of this civil rights movement of our times may we notice that is it built on unrelenting care and fierce love. Can you feel it?  I took pause this morning to flip through some of the photos of last Friday’s BIPOC organized Intersangha action led by Zenzele Isoke and Arleta Little. Dozens of practitioners filled the the space outisde the Government Center to train in sensitivity and care. Beautiful. I also took a moment to re-read Shannon Gibney’s article for Buddhist Justice Reporter to remember that our practice is not a goal oriented one but a persistent, inclusive, and renewing expression of care in any moment.  Can you feel it?

Shannon writes:
The Buddha said that everything we need to guide us on this path to being fuller, more compassionate human beings is right here in the body. Right now. The tightness of the shoulder blades. The clench of the jaw. The eagerness of the fingers. The intelligence of the ears. There is so much we can learn from just being with the body in the present moment, but most of the time we are too distracted by our thoughts, stories, and obsessions to notice. 

We can begin to train ourselves to get interested in the body, our first and best teacher, by establishing a mindfulness practice. Sitting or walking meditation, for example, can help us see the loop of thoughts running through our minds that often stop us from experiencing everything the moment has to offer: the banality, the awe, the pain, and yes, the joy. These practices show us the futility and, ultimately, the pain of attachment. They also show us a way through and around suffering: letting go. Surrendering to what our senses are showing us now, in order to learn, be and do better for all beings. Even as the buildings are burning down the street, the white nationalists are terrorizing your neighborhood, and city leaders are calling for more barbed wire, I have discovered that one can still be whole, moment to moment. We can hold it all: anger, fear, doubt, anxiety—letting it move through us rather than move us. We can breathe in, breathe out, wherever we are, sensing the freedom of a gathered mind and heart. A heart held up, fortified not by soldiers or fences but an expansive commitment to justice.

Let us all remember our practice today and always. Let us also remember that there are many ways to keep our practice resources. Join us for tonight for the Truth and Justice Vigil and a Guest Teacher talk with Shaila Catherine (see below).

Many Blessings,

Shelly Graf

Upcoming Program Highlights


  • STACY MCCLENDON & MARK NUNBERG lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In. 12:00-1:00pm. Zoom link here.
  • Guest Teacher MYOKEI CAINE-BARRETT will lead the Truth & Justice Vigil, speaking on the theme of Let Suffering Be A Gift–Changing Poison Into Medicine. 6:00-7:30pm.More info here.Zoom link here.

  • Guest Teacher SHAILA CATHERINE will give a talk on Right Concentration and the Deep Absorption States of Jh?na7:30-9:00pm. More info here. Zoom link here.
SHELLY GRAF will lead the Weekly Practice Group. 7:30-9:00pm. Zoom link here.
  • SHELLY GRAF leads the weekly Community Practice Check-In9:00-10:00am.Zoom link here. Today’s meeting and every other session will explore racism through an inquiry into whiteness and domination. All are welcome.
STACY MCCLENDON leads the weekly Lovingkindness Practice Group, 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom link here.

  • STACY MCCLENDON & JEAN HALEY will lead a Daylong Retreat from 9:30am-4:00pm on the theme of Living in Alignment–Seeing Our Intentions in Our Actions. More info and registration here.
  • RAMESH SAIRAM will lead the biweekly Dharma Practice Reflections Group from 10:30am-12:00pm. More info here. 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 Half-Day Retreat, 1:00-5:00pm. More info and registration here.

MARK NUNBERG will offer an Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Course over Zoom. 6 Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00pm. More info and registration here.

Work Day at Common Ground (Minneapolis)! More info and registration here. 9am-12pm.

Daylong Retreat with SHELLY GRAF & WYNN FRICKE. 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. 

Outside Online Programs with Mark and Shelly

  • Mark will be leading a session as part of the Healing Our City Virtual Prayer Tent series of daily reflections from different faith leaders. Wed. May 5th @ 8am.
  • Online Retreat: Insight Meditation Society: Contemplating Arising and Passing Away: The Path to Insight with Shelly Graf, Tara Mulay, & Andrea Castillo
    May 07 – May 09, 2021; Registration here .
  • Online Retreat: Southern Dharma: Understanding the Whirlpools of this Mind
    with Mark Nunberg
    May 19 – 23, 2021; Registration here.


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

  • Buddhism-Christianity Book Club, Sun. Apr. 25th, 9:00-10:15am, Zoom link here.
  • Dharma Friends Sit & Discussion, Sun. Apr 25th, 7:00-8:00pm, Zoom link here.
See the calendar for more info about these community groups.

Community Survey
If you haven’t yet, please fill out this survey regarding your interest in in-person and online programming in the coming months.

Work Retreat at Prairie Farm May 26th-30th
We are looking for up to 7 volunteers to help out with a Prairie Farm work period. More info here.

Photos from Friday’s Protest Sit Outside the Hennepin Gov’t Center

More photos and an announcement about another protest sit on Wednesday here.

Buddhist Justice Reporter
Read articles from Pamela Ayo Yetunde, Shannon Gibney, and Zenzele Isoke.

Recent Blog Posts
Upcoming Events from MN Interfaith Power & Light
Community Member Looking for Support
National Buddhist Memorial Ceremony for Asian American Ancestors on May 4th

Looking for Donations for Prairie Farm
We’re looking for the following items to be donated to Prairie Farm, if anyone has them:

  • 2 nightstands
  • wool area rugs (5×9 or smaller)
Please email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if you have these items to donate.

Weekly Tejaniya
Every moment there is room for
awareness. Not just when you sit.
Every moment. This is critical.

Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

Spring begins at the CG garden

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