Weekly Email 8/25/21

Dear Common Ground Community,

Moral sensitivity is our wish to live in harmony even when this requires more exposure to uncertainty and real or perceived risks. Our human existence seems to be a tender dance where our instincts for certainty and personal survival unavoidably run into our morally sensitive/quivering hearts that care about each other. For example, it makes sense to me to practice relating to COVID and all the community demands that come with this virus as an uncompromising Dharma teacher. Once again, we are in a situation where we are being asked by the experts and our community leaders to wear masks indoors and even outdoors in some situations. More and more organizations and workplaces are requiring vaccination or a COVID test in order to enter shared spaces. In this situation, let’s do our best to keep in mind our deep value around non-harming in all the ways that we relate to others. Of course, we shouldn’t pretend that we know with certainty the best way to care for everyone, but still we must decide how we are going to relate to our wider world. At Common Ground, we are asking folks to join us as we do our best to embrace our commitment to care for all. How can we reimagine our human situation so that caring for our own wellbeing is not seen as being in conflict with caring for the wellbeing of others? So much of the Buddha’s path is an awakening to motives and intentions that are wiser, kinder, more trustworthy, and more liberating than the chronic pursuit of our individual hopes and fears.

May the deepest wisdom and love guide and protect us all,

Mark Nunberg

As a reminder, Common Ground is currently requiring masks for all participants in programs at Common Ground and at Common Ground Retreat at Prairie Farm, our retreat property (vaccination is also required at Prairie Farm). 

Upcoming Programs: In Person at Common Ground

Silent Open Meditation In Person
Monday-Saturday, 7:30-8:30am,
Sundays 8:30-9:30am, &
Tuesdays from 7:30-9:00pm
more info here
Please note the Wednesday mid-day in-person sit has been cancelled

Sunday, August 29th

  • Livestream of Weekly Practice Group with Mark Nunberg, 10:30-11:45am. The meditation hall is open on Sunday mornings for community members to gather to watch the Weekly Practice Group livestream together on a screen. There will be a program host there to facilitate conversation for those who wish to stay afterwards. Mark will be teaching online from the office.
  • In Person Weekly Practice Group with Mark Nunberg, 7:00-8:30pm.
Mark is covering the paramis in his Sunday talks. He wrote up some reflections on Wise Effort, the current parami he’s covering, as well as a list of resources on the topic. You can find his blog post here.
Saturday, September 11th
  • In-Person/Zoom Half-Day Retreat with Mark Nunberg, 1:00-5:00pm. Register here.
8 Mondays, September 13 – Nov 1
  • In-Person/Zoom: Buddhist Studies Course: Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness: Mindfulness of Dhammas with Mark Nunberg, 7:30-9:00pm. Register here.
6 Tuesdays, September 14th – October 19th
  • In-Person/Zoom: Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Course with Mark Nunberg. 7:30-9:00pm. More info and registration here.

Upcoming Programs: In Person at Common Ground Retreat at Prairie Farm

Common Ground Retreat at Prairie Farm is our retreat property in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis. Registration is now open for the following programs there:

  • Daylong Workshop for Those Who Identify as Male, Men, or as Embodying Masculinity: The Masks We Wear
    Facilitated by Mark Nunberg, Louis Alemayehu, Omkar Sawardekar, and Gabe Keller Flores. Saturday, September 18th, 9:30am-5:00pm
  • Practice Period with Julie Meyer and Tony Fernandez
    Thursday evening, September 23 – Sunday mid-day, September 26
  • Work Retreat: Planting
    Monday, Sep 27th-Thursday, Sep 30th
  • Practice Period with Mary Clark and Phillip Cryan, assisted by Zenzele Isoke
    Thursday, Sep 30th-Sunday Oct 3rd
More info and registration for these programs can be found here. Please note that we are currently requiring vaccination and masking for programs at the retreat property.

We now have a new photo gallery of the retreat property available to view here. Thanks to Ari Lindquist for these beautiful photos!

Upcoming Programs: Online

Wednesday, August 25th

  • Shelly Graf will lead the Weekly Practice Group, a cornerstone for one’s practice by providing ongoing instruction and teachings that will help illuminate the simple but challenging practice of mindfulness, 7:30-9:00pm on Zoom.

Thursday, August 26th

  • Shelly Graf will lead the Community Practice Check-In, this meeting and every other session will explore racism through an inquiry into whiteness and domination. All are welcome. 9:00am-10:00am on Zoom.
Friday, August 27th
  • Stacy McClendon will lead the Lovingkindness Practice Group. This practice group is for people interested in developing the heart by training in the four beautiful emotions of lovingkindness (metta), compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. 7:00-8:30pm on Zoom.
Saturday, August 28th
  • Ramesh Sairam will lead the biweekly Dharma Practice Reflections, an opportunity to explore the practical implications of following the path of dhamma. The emphasis will be on establishing and sustaining mindfulness practice, and, especially, its integration in daily life. 10:30am-12:00pm on Zoom.
Sunday, August 29th
  • Mark will lead the Weekly Practice Group, a cornerstone for one’s practice by providing ongoing instruction and teachings that will help illuminate the simple but challenging practice of mindfulness, 10:30-11:45am on Zoom and Youtube.
  • Wynn Fricke & Mark Nunberg will lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In, 4:30-5:30pm on Zoom.
Friday, September 10th
  • Lovingkindness Practice Group with Mark Nunberg, 7:00-8:30pm, on Zoom.
Saturday, September 25th
  • Daylong Retreat with Shelly Graf on Zoom. More info and registration here.
These are program highlights. To see a complete list of all our programs and access Zoom links to participate, please visit the online calendar. Also, please note all times listed are in central time.

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

  • Biweekly Sunday Evening Cleaning: Every other Sunday evening there is drop-in Community Cleaning time from 6-7pm, led by community leader Dave Redelman. Upcoming dates: Aug 22.
  • Looking for Teen Practice Group teachers: we are looking for a couple of teachers to join our Teen Practice Group teaching team this fall. Ideally teachers would have residential retreat experience, have been coming to the center for at least a year, and have experience working with youth. Please email shelly@commongroundmeditation.org if interested. A modest stipend is provided.
  • Cooking for Practice Periods at Prairie Farm: There is a tradition in Buddhism of supporting people doing intensive retreat practice. We are always looking for volunteers interested in cooking and freezing meals ahead of time for retreatants at Prairie Farm. You can see a list of recipes here. Common Ground has pots and tupperware you can borrow for cooking and freezing. Contact gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if you wish to offer a meal. Or to donate in support of groceries for the retreatants, you can designate a gift for “PF Operating Expenses” here


Community News 

Community Groups Happening This Week

  • Millenials Sangha, Fri. Aug 27th. In Person, 7:00-8:30pm.
  • Dharma Friends Sit & Discussion, Sun. Aug 29th. On Zoom, 7:00-8:00pm.

Have Any Items in the Lost & Found?
We will be clearing our lost and found on September 5th and donating the items to Goodwill, so if you think you may have some items there please stop by the center during one of our programs before then to check it. The lost and found is in the basement, down the steps and around the corner, in the hallway.

Article from Ben Connelly on Line 3
Priest and teacher at MN Zen Center and local intersangha leader Ben Connelly has written an article for Lion’s Roar regarding participating in the Stop Line 3 movement. You can read it here.

Arrow River Forest Hermitage in Thunder Bay Looking for Steward
Some of you will be familiar with Arrow River Forest Hermitage, where one of CG’s longtime visiting teachers, Ajahn Punnadhammo is the resident Buddhist monk. The hermitage will be needing someone to act as steward for the fall and/or winter months. The best time to start would be early September. The steward is a volunteer position and is responsible for cooking the one meal a day, managing the kitchen and doing the shopping. It is strongly preferred if you have a driver’s license. For more information check out the Visitor’s Pageson their website. Please send all inquiries to arfh@xplornet.com and CC to akyle@lakeheadu.ca.

Helping Common Ground Purchase Land and Protect the Fields and Woods around our Prairie Farm Retreat Property
Common Ground is moving forward with the purchase of approximately 32 acres just to the east of our retreat property that is a beautiful mix of fields and mature woods. You can see the plot here. Please let Mark know if you are interested in helping make this purchase possible or you can go make a contribution here: Supporting the Center. Please designate the gift “Prairie Farm Land”. Email mark@commongroundmeditation.org if you want additional information.

Print Newsletter
Our Summer 2021 newsletter is available at Common Ground and in our newsletter box outside the front door. You can view the PDF here.

Weekly Tejaniya
Whenever you get the feeling
of not knowing what to do, just
wait. Don’t do anything.

Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

New flowers at CG!

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