Weekly Email 8/31/21

Dear Common Ground Community,

One powerful story in the Buddhist tradition centers Kisa Gotami. After losing her only child, Kisa Gotami’s grief was unimaginable, so unimaginable that she couldn’t accept that her child was gone. Instead she went from person to person asking for medicine to heal her child, eventually making it to the Buddha and asking the same thing of him. In a touching moment, the Buddha’s response was to tell her that he could help her, but that first he needed some mustard seed acquired from a family that had not experienced a loss. Of course Kisa Gotami was not able to find a single family who met this criteria, learning both that loss is a part of life, and that we are never as alone as we think we are. These profound bits of wisdom emerged as Kisa Gotami met with and talked to people. Her healing was inspired by the the Buddha’s initial response, meeting Kisa Gotami, a perfect stranger, right in the middle of her grief, with kindness. Without collapsing. No advice. No lectures. What a good friend! Perhaps this story can inspire us to be a good friend too, not just to people we know and love but to people we do not know and do not understand. The Buddha said that good friends do 7 things well.. Good friends give what is hard to give. They do what is hard to do. They endure what is hard to endure. They reveals their secrets. They keeps yours. When misfortunes strike, they don’t abandon you. When you’re down & out, they don’t look down on you.   Let us all aspire to being good friends at those critical moments, when our friendship is needed the most.



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, September 5th

  • 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 Wynn Fricke, 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

Tuesday, August 31st

  • Mark Nunberg and Stacy McClendon will lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In, 12:00-1:00pm on Zoom.
  • Stacy McClendon and others will lead the weekly Truth & Justice Vigil, a compassionate and grounding (virtual) support for practitioners to stay present and fully awake in the face of obscene police brutality and still remain rooted in the intention to be guided by love and wisdom, 6:00-7:30pm on Zoom.

Wednesday, September 1st

  • 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, September 2nd

  • Shelly Graf will lead the Community Practice Check-In. All are welcome. 9:00am-10:00am on Zoom.
Sunday, September 5th
  • Gabe Flores 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: Sept 5th.
  • 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

  • Be Queer Now Meditation Sangha, Wed. Sept 1st. On Zoom, 7:30-9:00pm.
  • BIPOC Community Group, Thur. Sept 2nd. On Zoom, 6:30-8:00pm.
  • Mindfulness & Depression Community Group, Sun. Sept 5th. On Zoom, 4:00-5:30pm.

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
We’re not practicing to make things happen, such as equanimity,
or to make things go away, such as fear or uncertainty.
Rather, we practice in order to observe things as they are.

New flowers at CG!

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