“When people start to meditate or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they’re going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggression against who they really are. It’s a bit like saying, ‘If I jog, I’ll be a much better person.’ ‘ If I could only get a nicer house, I’d be a better person.’ ‘ If I could meditate and calm down, I’d be a better person.’ Or the scenario may be that they find fault with others; they might say, ‘If it weren’t for my husband, I’d have a perfect marriage.’ ‘If it weren’t for the fact that my boss and I can’t get on, my job would be just great.’ And ‘If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent.’

“But lovingkindness — maitri — toward ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to change ourselves. Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s the ground, that’s what we study, that’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.”

Pema Chodron, from The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-kindness

Retreat: Embracing the Mad Mind

Ruth King is a guiding teacher at Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC, and a member of its Board of Directors. She is also the founder of Mindful Members Practice Community in Charlotte, NC. King is the author of Soothing The Inner Flames of Rage–Meditations That Educate the Heart and Transform the Mind (Sacred Spaces Press 2007), and Healing Rage–Women Making Inner Peace Possible (Gotham 2007).

Film: “The Anonymous People”

“One in every 15 Americans belongs to this film’s eponymous group of ‘Anonymous People’—that is, people recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. In this feature-length documentary, many individuals—from politicians to beauty queens—emerge from the shadows of social stigma to fight for a compassionate approach to their illness.”

Available via Tricycle Film Club and Netflix.


Night of Mindfulness, Saturday, August 30th (Vernon, CT)

Dear Friends,

Please join us on Saturday, August 30th for the next in the series of Nights of Mindfulness.  With the support of Pojama Sangha, Teacher Tom Duva will be offering a practice at The Big Red Barn at Valley Falls Farm from 4 PM to 8 PM. Address:  345 Valley Falls Road, Vernon, CT.  Please park at the barn.

Please dress for indoor and outdoor practice. Please bring a small blanket and bench or cushion for your own use as well.  Chairs will be provided, as well as light refreshments.

To support this practice, donations are appreciated by those who can afford to offer them.

To help in preparation in setting up, please RSVP your intention to attend to

May all beings be at ease.




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