Weekly Email 6-7-22

Dear Common Ground Friends,

Feeling into the impact of suffering can often inspire us to seek the deepest, most noble place to rest the heart upon. This is what we might call seeking refuge. It’s common practice at Common Ground to take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha in a traditional way at the beginning of some programs and retreats as a way of reminding ourselves of what is trustworthy in the midst of our busy and uncertain realities. It can also be a supportive daily ritual, in our own way, to bring the refuges to mind as a way of seeking guidance and supporting our aspirations to live as skillfully as possible.

Seeking refuge in the Buddha is an effort to trust awareness or intimacy as a deep guide. When we seek refuge in the Dharma, we seek to understand deeply, the nature of life or experience as it is. Going for refuge in sangha is an act of acknowledging the strength of our good intentions to practice in relationship with one another for the sake of our collective awakening. In seeking refuge, we touch into a history and lineage that goes all the way back to the time of the Buddha. It can be a beautiful reflection to place ourselves in relationship with refuge seekers through so many generations. When we take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, we acknowledge that we are part of a sangha or community as the Buddha intended it for all practitioners.

For some of us, rooting in lay dharma centers such as Common Ground makes good sense. We can also be grateful that for some, leaving life as we know it and going forth into monastic life also makes good sense. Beyond putting on robes, the monastic form includes drastically simplifying ones life so that the cultivation of love and wisdom are among the highest values upheld in community and in all of life’s activities, in service of an ever deepening understanding of dharma, and for the sake of our collective liberation. What a deep act of generosity to live in this way! The Buddha intentionally established an interdependent relationship between lay and monastic communities so that we all keep our highest aspirations and collective well being in mind and make contributions that serve our deepest values.

Almost 8 years ago, one of Common Ground’s very own, Michelle Raymond, decided to leave their life in Minneapolis and go forth, entering into the monastic sangha. Venerable Niyyanika now resides in the Sierra Foothills of California, at Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery.  Gratefully, they are back in to visit their Common Ground family this week. They spent some time out at Common Ground’s retreat property where they were instrumental in helping to develop systems in the early days. They are back in Minneapolis for a few more days, before heading back to California. There are  two opportunities tomorrow to connect or reconnect with Venerable Niyyanika in person (below). I encourage you to consider attending either or both opportunities if you are able. Maybe you feel as deeply as I do, what a gift it is to participate in relationship with our beloved monastic sangha.

Warm Wishes,

Shelly Graf

“Among whatever communities or groups there may be, the Sangha of the Tathagata’s disciples is considered supreme — Those who have confidence in the Sangha have confidence in what is supreme; and for those with confidence in the supreme, supreme will be the result.”

The Buddha, Iti 90


Weekly Programs

To view our entire list of programs and to access Zoom links to participate in online programs, please visit the online calendar

Weekly Practice Groups

  • Sunday mornings, 10:30-11:45am on Zoom with Mark Nunberg (with an option to watch the livestream together in person in the meditation hall)
    • June 19th with Amma Thanasanti
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30pm in-person with Mark Nunberg
  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00pm on Zoom with Shelly Graf

Wednesday night programs with Ayya Niyyanika
Tea and Conversation 6:30 – 7:30 pm.
All are welcome to join in for a relaxed time to connect with Ayya Niyyanika and Q&A about monastic life

Weekly Practice Group 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Tonight’s program will be both in person and via zoom.
Join Ayya Niyyanika and Shelly Graf as they explore how spiritual friendship benefits seclusion.

Monthly Practice Groups

  • Fourth Fridays, 7:00-8:30pm on Zoom, Lovingkindness with Stacy McClendon
  • First Fridays, 7-8:30pm on Zoom, Lovingkindness with Mark Nunberg

Community Practice Check-Ins

  • Sundays, 4:30-5:30pm with Mark Nunberg and Wynn Fricke, on Zoom
  • Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00pm with Stacy McClendon (Mark Nunberg joining on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month), on Zoom
  • Fridays, 9:00-10:00am with Shelly Graf, on Zoom
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30am-12:00pm with Ramesh Sairam, on Zoom
  • Every first Tuesday of the month, 8:00-9:00am, with Mark Nunberg, in person
Open Meditation
Join fellow community members for meditation practice in person or online, 7 days a week. Visit the calendar for times and details.Yoga & Qigong
We offer Yoga and Qigong several times a week, both in person and online. Click here for times and details.

Mindfulness, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps
Meets every Friday, 7:00-8:30pm.
In-person and on Zoom
Visit the calendar for Zoom link

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, June 9th. 7:00 -8:30pm

Daylong Retreat with Mark Nunberg & Shelly Graf
Saturday, June 11th | 10:00 – 3:00pm
Zoom only
Info and registration here.

Mindful Self-Compassion Practice Group with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst
This month this practice group will meet on the fourth Friday:
Friday, June 24th | 7:00 -8:30pm

Book Study: The Citadel of Awareness with Merra Young
Wednesday, June 22nd, 12:15–1:30pm

Upcoming Programs: In Person/Hybrid at Common Ground

To see full list of programs visit our calendarHalf-day Retreat with Mark Nunberg
Saturday, June 4th | 1:00 – 5:00pm
In-person and on Zoom.
Info and registration here.

Workshop with Shannon Gibney: Writing as a Practice of Freedom
June 19th | 2:00 – 4:00pm
In-person only
Info and registration here.

Buddhist Studies Summer Course
Sila: Moral Integrity, Non-Harming, and the Bliss of Blamelessness

8 Mondays, June 27th – August 15th | 7:30 – 9:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Info and registration here.

Half-day Retreat with Mark Nunberg
Saturday, July 2nd | 1:00 – 5:00pm
In-person and on Zoom.
Info and registration here.

Relating Wisely to Vulnerability and Uncertainty with Ramesh Sairam
July 9th, 2022 | 9:00am – 12:00pm
In-person only
Info and registration here

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation with Jen Racho & Mark Nunberg
Five Tuesdays: July 12th- August 9th | 7:30pm – 9:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Info and registration 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. Registration for the following programs can be found here

June Practice Periods with Wynn Fricke & Gabe Keller-Flores:

  • 5:30pm Wednesday, June 8th – 2:00pm Sunday, June 12th.
  • 5:30pm Thursday June 16th – 2:00pm Sunday, June 19th.
  • 5:30pm Wednesday June 22nd – 2:00pm Sunday, June 26th.

Practice Period with Robin Major & Richard Bonk
5:00pm Thursday, July 14th – 2:00pm Sunday, July 17th.

Divine Abodes Retreat: Four Dimensions of Love with Patrice Koelsch
5:30 p.m. Thursday, August 11th – 12:30 p.m. Sunday, August 14th

In addition to these weekend retreats, we also offer public drop-in groups on select Wednesdays at the retreat center, 6:30-7:45pm.

  • First Wednesday of the month: Community Group led by Matthew King and other practice leaders
  • Third Wednesday of the month: Monthly Practice Group with Mark Nunberg and guest teachers
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 

  • Wish List for the retreat center: We are looking for a large cooking pot (sized for 15 or more servings) and comfy sitting chairs for the bedrooms.
  • Weekly Sunday Evening Cleaning: Every Sunday evening there is a drop-in Community Cleaning time from 6-7pm, led by community leaders Brad Dupre and Dave Redelman. No RSVP needed.
  • Bellringers (in-person): We’re looking for volunteers interested in ringing the bell for the morning sits on Tuesday mornings, 8:00- 8:30am.  Email info@commongroundmeditation.org if interested.

Community News 

Seeking vocalist/guitarist

Local Kirtan group “Temple of Light”, led by Common Ground community members, is seeking a vocalist/guitarist. Click here for more info.Upcoming Community Group Meetings:

  • Be Queer Now, weekly on Wednesday, 7:30-9:00pm
  • Community Group for Organizers & Social Justice Activists, Thursday June 9th, 6:00-7:30pm
  • Christianity-Buddhism Book Group, June 11th, 9:00 – 10:15am
  • Refirement Community Group for Retirees, Thursday June 16th, 12:00-2:00pm
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, Thursday June 16th, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, June 19th, 4:00-5:30pm
  • Millenials Sangha, Friday, June 24th 7:00-8:30pm

View public calendar for Zoom links and more information.
To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Teen Practice Group
For more info, click here.

Weekly Tejaniya

No matter whether you are
sitting, walking, or going about
your daily activities, ask yourself
now and again: What is the mind
doing? Thinking? Thinking about
what? Being aware? Being
aware of what?

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

One comment on “Weekly Email 6-7-22
  1. Jake Vase says:

    Mala Prayer Beads are a string of beads to help with meditation and strengthen inner peace and mindfulness. It’s gaining popularity throughout the world. This is a complete guide that informs you what a Mala is, its benefits, and how to use it. https://buddhastoneshop.com/blogs/news/mala-prayer-beads

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