The Single Thing (from

“I don’t envision a single thing that, when
undeveloped, leads to such great harm as the
mind. The mind, when undeveloped, leads to
great harm.”
“I don’t envision a single thing that, when developed,
leads to such great benefit as the mind. The
     mind, when developed, leads to great benefit.”
“I don’t envision a single thing that, when
     undeveloped and uncultivated, brings about such
     suffering and stress as the mind. The mind, when
     undeveloped and uncultivated, brings about
     suffering and stress.”
“I don’t envision a single thing that, when developed
     and cultivated, brings about such happiness as
     the mind. The mind, when developed and
     cultivated, brings about happiness.”

Anguttara Nikaya 1.23–24, 1.29–30. Trans. Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Ullambana (Ancestor) Day Celebration

Come celebrate Ullambana on Sunday, August 17th, at Phap Hoa!  Ullambana is the traditional Ancestor Day celebration in the Mahayana tradition.  Coinciding with the seventh month of the lunar calendar, it is time to honour one’s ancestors and also relieve the suffering of souls through chanting and commemoration.

The celebration will begin at 11 AM and be followed by a wonderful vegetarian luncheon.

Phap Hoa Buddhist Temple
85 Prospect St.
Vernon, CT 06066

Being Held by The Dharma

“There’s no switch that turns on enlightenment. You move toward it with your effort. It’s an effort that might be unrecognizable to those who think ‘effort’ means trying hard. You have to try soft—to be curious and open to whatever it is that results. Effort doesn’t mean gritting your teeth and pushing through to the other side; it means sitting where you’re stuck and not running away.”

– Nancy Thompson


Night of Mindfulness–Saturday, August 2nd

Dear Friends,

Please join us for a night of mindfulness this Saturday, August 2nd.  Practice will begin at 6 PM and conclude at about 10 PM.


345 Valley Falls Road

Vernon, CT

@ The Red Barn

If you can attend, please RSVP to, as space is limited. Please bring clothing suitable for indoor and outdoor practice.  Chairs will be provided but you may also bring your own zafu, cushion or bench.  Please note that the barn floor is concrete so you may want to bring a blanket as well.

Please park at the barn (overflow parking at the white house across the street) and enter at the lower level

Dinner-and-a-Movie at Phap Hoa, Saturday, July 26th

Hello, Dear Friends! Dharma Flower Sangha will be hosting a dinner-and-a-movie night Saturday, July 26th, 6:30 PM to 9 PM at Phap Hoa Buddhist Temple.  A vegetarian potluck dinner will be followed by a screening of the film, Unlikely Friends, and a discussion.

“From award-winning filmmaker Lesie Neale, Unlikely Friends documents victims of brutal crimes who, through the power of forgiveness, unexpectedly become friends with their perpetrators. The victims forgive out of a need to heal themselves, which in turn motivates their perpetrators to fully account for their actions and begin a process of true rehabilitation.”


Because of the subject matter, the film is appropriate for adults and older teens. Please bring a vegetarian dish and a friend!

Phap Hoa Buddhist Temple
85 Prospect Street Vernon, CT

What Does Being a Buddhist Mean to You? re: life as a Korean Nun

“Inspiration must come from within ourselves.  If we hope to get inspiration from the outside—as if it was falling from the sky–this is wrong. It should be like water coming out of a source.  From where else could we receive it?”

Myongsong Sunim

Dinner and A Movie at Phap Hoa, Saturday, July 5th

It’s Dharma Flower’s  dinner-and-a-movie night! Saturday, July 5th, 6:30 PM to 9 PM at Phap Hoa Buddhist Temple.  A vegetarian potluck dinner will be followed by a screening of the film, “Free The Mind,” and a discussion. “Free The Mind” explores the potential benefits of meditation techniques for military war veterans and children. The film is appropriate for children and adults. Please bring a vegetarian dish and a friend!
Phap Hoa Buddhist Temple
85 Prospect Street Vernon, CT

Awareness Meditation Practice with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Practice: Awareness Meditation
When we practice ngondro, we can alternate our supports for awareness. We can move from using the breath for support, to looking at a flower or listening to a sound. And what happens when our monkey-mind pops up screaming, “Pay attention to me! We must replay this past episode and anticipate the future”?  If we are using the breath for support, we come back to the breath. Without judging ourselves, without getting discouraged or feeling hopeless, we just come back to the breath and get on with it.

Various forms of shamata, or awareness meditation, teach us how to uncover our innate qualities of mind, and the most common will use the breath to support our recognition of awareness. This works with feeling sensation. Breath is the most common support because it is available in all circumstances and conditions, which explains why we so often hear “Come back to the breath.” If we get lost in discursive thinking, if we get lost inside a past experience or disappear into a black hole of anger or jealousy: “Come back to the breath.” The nature of the breath makes it the most reliable support, especially for new students.

Let’s try meditating using the breath as support for awareness. But first, before purposely doing any particular meditation exercise, it’s good to start with just resting your mind. Just that. For now, remain in whatever informal posture you are in. To get a sense of how it feels to rest the mind, think about how you rest in daily life. If you jog for a few miles, what happens when you stop or take a break? Imagine cleaning the house for an hour or two, and then stopping to rest. Imagine that first moment of taking a break. Or imagine coming home to an apartment tower in Hong Kong or Minneapolis and learning that the electricity has gone off. The generators aren’t working, so you have to walk up two flights of stairs, or maybe ten or twenty. Finally you reach your apartment, get a glass of water, and sink into the couch. Aaahhh. Something like that. Think of an activity that requires extra effort, and then practice a silent version of this release. Just rest. Just relax the mind, even for a few seconds. Aaahhh.

Try that. Then rest.

Rest for a few more seconds.

Then come out of resting. How was that?

Now I have one big secret: resting the mind this way is meditation.

Yet if I say that beforehand, you might start off with some big expectation and become tense and anxious, and that’s not helpful. Yet that sense of resting, of allowing whatever arises to just be, without trying to control anything, that mind of “aaahhh” comes close to natural awareness. We call this “open awareness” or “shamata without support.”

When I say that this mind comes close to open awareness, I mean that without the intention to meditate, you will not benefit much from just the experience. Motivation and intention help you realize awareness. But if you infuse your intentions with too much hope and expectation, they may lead to disappointment. You want to combine your purposeful intention with the relaxed mind of resting.

This exercise can be repeated many times. Don’t try to hold on to the awareness. When you find your mind wandering, just come back to the exercise and start again.

Now let’s try a more formal approach to meditation. The practice is shamata, or awareness meditation. We use our breath as the object that supports our awareness.

Awareness Meditation with Breath

• Sit in a relaxed posture with your back straight.
• Your eyes can be open or closed.
• Take a minute or two to rest in open awareness. Perhaps bring to mind that feeling of sinking into a chair to rest after strenuous exertion: Aaahhh.
• Now breathe normally through your mouth, nose, or both.
• Bring your awareness to your breath as it flows in and out.
• At the end of the out-breath, rest your awareness in the gap that comes naturally before the next inhalation.
• If your mind wanders, simply bring it back to the breath.
• Continue this for five to ten minutes.
• Conclude the exercise with resting in open awareness.