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The Osher Center at Vanderbilt will be offering a professional development program in mindfulness facilitation starting on February 10.

I’ll be guest teaching as my schedule permits. The name of the program is “Professional Development in Mindfulness Facilitation, Diving Deep, Giving Back.” This promises to be an excellent program, worth checking out. Full information is here.

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I’m excited to be offering this tour of India in November 2017, Ancient Roots, Living Branches: Discovering Buddhist India. Dates are November 5 – 19.

Combining a meditation retreat with a Buddhist pilgrimage, this tour is an exploration of both ancient Buddhist history and living Buddhist traditions. First we explore the ancient holy sites in the North and East of India, where the Buddha practiced and taught – including Bodhgaya and Sarnath – before moving on to the mountains of Sikkim to experience Buddhist village life in the Himalayas.

The tour is guided by expert local guides in India, while I offer meditation and dharma discussions along the way in various locations, from hotel gardens to Tibetan monasteries.

We will be interacting with and learning from Buddhist communities and practitioners as we travel. It’s also a fun adventure off the beaten track, and this tour is open to everyone interested in Buddhism and meditation.

For information including the complete itinerary, pricing, etc., go here.

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If you have been practicing for a year or longer and wish to formally reflect your commitment to the dharma path, I will be offering this opportunity through One Dharma. It will culminate in a ceremony at One Dharma, which we will plan for a time in November that works for all involved. If you are interested, please email ernst.lisa@gmail.com by October 1. If you have already taken refuge and the precepts and wish to refresh your vows, you are also welcome and encouraged to participate.

About the Refuge Ceremony
Taking refuge means relying wholeheartedly on the Three Jewels of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha to inspire and guide us toward a constructive and beneficial direction in our lives. The real taking of refuge occurs deep in our hearts and isn’t dependent on doing or saying anything. Nevertheless, we may wish to participate in the refuge ceremony by requesting a dharma teacher to formally give us refuge. The refuge ceremony is simple: we repeat the passages after the teacher and open our hearts to make a strong connection with the Three Jewels.

About Taking Precepts
Precepts are a joy, not a burden. They aren’t designed to keep us from having a good time and to make us feel deprived. The purpose of taking precepts is to give us internal strength so that we won’t act in ways that we don’t want to. Having understood that killing, stealing, selfishness and so forth only lead us to harm ourselves and others now and in the future, we’ll want to avoid these. Taking precepts give us energy and strength to do so. Therefore, it’s said that precepts are the ornaments of the wise.

To help people overcome their disturbing attitudes and stop committing harmful actions, the Buddha set out five precepts. During the refuge ceremony, in addition to taking refuge in the Three Jewels, we can take any or all of the five precepts, and become a lay Buddhist.

The five precepts
1. I observe the precept of abstaining from the destruction of life.
2. I observe the precept of abstaining from taking that which is not given.
3. I observe the precept of abstaining from sexual misconduct.
4. I observe the precept of abstaining from falsehood.
5. I observe the precept of abstaining from intoxicants that cloud the mind and cause carelessness.

The refrain “I observe the precept of abstaining from …” which begins every precept clearly shows that these are not commandments. They are instead codes of conduct that lay Buddhists undertake out of clear understanding and conviction that they are good for both themselves and for the world. If you have any questions about these precepts and what they mean to your everyday life, please inquire. (You aren’t expected to become a vegetarian unless you are already inclined in that direction. However, reflecting on and taking actions to reduce harm is at the heart of the first precept.)

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Just a reminder that we will be meditating at our usual time, 7 – 8:30 p.m. on Labor Day, September 5. Location info is at the block to the right. Please join us!

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Taught by Jeffrey Samuels, Ph.D.
Thursdays, September 1 – November 17
7 – 8:30 p.m.

Ever wonder what the Buddha really taught? Ever want to read and understand the Buddha’s sermons in their original Pali language? In September we will begin a Pali course that is designed for students of Buddhism interested in reading Pali Buddhist texts. The course text that we will use for learning Pali grammar and vocabulary is focused on a wide range of Buddhist literature including sermons, verses from the Dhammapada, passages from the disciplinary texts, the Questions of King Milinda, and so on. This challenging 12 week course concludes with translating the Buddha’s first sermon (the Turning of the Wheel of the Dharma discourse).

Course fee is $150 – $200 sliding scale, plus $10 for the book, which Jeff will supply. Please pay at the highest level you can afford so we can accommodate those who need to pay less. A $50 deposit reserves your spot with the balance due by August 25. A scholarship spot is available in the case of financial need.

Jeffrey Samuels started practicing meditation in 1987 under the Thai forest monk Ajahn Buddhadasa. He has completed several long meditation retreats in Thailand under Mahasi Sayaadaw teachers as well as retreats in the US at the Zen Center in San Francisco and under the Thai teacher Sobin S. Namto. More recently, he has been practicing with One Dharma Nashville and Lisa Ernst.

Jeffrey Samuels is Professor of religious studies at Western Kentucky University. He received a Ph.D. in Buddhist studies from the University of Virginia in 2002. He has been teaching courses on Buddhism and Pali at WKU since 2001.

To register, paypal here and enter the amount you will pay. To pay by check, go here for instructions. For specific questions about the course, email jeffrey.samuels@wku.edu. For inquires about a scholarship rate, email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com

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Here are some photos of One Dharma’s new Nashville meditation space. Its spacious, serene and quiet. We also love the raised ceiling and skylight. If you live in or near Nashville and haven’t come by yet, please join us for meditation and see the new space. We meet Mondays, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Directions and additional info are the the sidebar to the right.

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Low light for meditation

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One Dharma has incurred some significant expenses related to the move. We are paying double rent for part of July as our lease doesn’t officially end at the dharma center until July 31. In addition, we have purchased 15 new sets of zafus and zabutons. As all three of the dharma center groups will be meeting in separate spaces, we had to split up the inventory of cushions at the dharma center. The new zafus and zabutons cost $110 a set, $1650 total. We need to raise funds to cover these added expenses and I hope you can help. If you would like to donate the cost of one (or more sets) of zafus and zabutons that would help a great deal. If the cost of a set is beyond your budget, any amount you can offer will be greatly appreciated and will help toward ensuring we have adequate funds. Here is the cost breakdown for our move:

15 zafus at $40 each = $600
15 zabutons at $70 each = $1050
extra rent for new location in July: $300

Total moving cost: $1,950

You can donate by cash, check or credit card. You can donate by paypal here. To pay by check, please bring it to one of our meetings or email ernst.lisa@gmail.com for where to send it (we’ll be opening a p.o. box). One Dharma is a non-profit organization and your donations are tax deductible.

Thank you for supporting One Dharma!

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