Meditation sessions are held every Monday evening from 7pm - 8pm at the Foundation. Please check our event calendar for dates. After the meditation session there will be an opportunity to discuss and share your experience with others. Meditation leaders may vary from week to week. Everyone is invited and it's free.
If we examine our life we will discover that most of our time and energy is devoted to mundane activities, such as seeking material and emotional security, enjoying sensory pleasures, or establishing a good reputation.
Although these things can make us happy for a short time, they are not able to provide the deep lasting contentment that we long for. Sooner or later our happiness turns into dissatisfaction, and we find ourselves engaged in the pursuit of more worldly pleasures. Directly or indirectly, worldly pleasures cause us mental and physical suffering by stimulating attachment, jealousy, and frustration. Moreover, seeking to fulfill our own desires often brings us into conflict with others.
If true fulfillment can't be found in worldly pleasures, then where can it be found? Happiness is a state of mind, therefore, the real source of happiness lies in the mind, not in external circumstances. If our mind is pure and peaceful we'll be happy, regardless of our external conditions, but if it is impure and unpeaceful, we will never find happiness, no matter how much we try to change our external conditions.
The purpose of meditation is to cultivate those states of mind that are conducive to peace and well-being, and to eradicate those that aren't.
Only human beings can do this. Animals can enjoy food and sex, find homes, hoard wealth, subdue their enemies, and protect their family; but they cannot completely eliminate suffering and attain lasting happiness. It would be a great shame if we were to use our precious human life only to achieve results that even animals can achieve. If we wish to avoid such a wasted life and fulfill the real purpose of being born human we must devote ourselves to the practice of Lamrim (The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment).
Meditation class is open to everyone. It is perfect for those first timers interested in learning more about meditation. There is no charge for this class, though donations are welcome.
Meditation with Sujatha Baliga
Sujatha Baliga in her own words:
Warm Hellos. I’m so very looking forward to sitting with you. I’d like to share a little bit about my dharma journey with you and my approach to group sits: In 1996, when I was 24 years old, I had the incredible blessing of an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I was seeking his advice on how to forgive some very painful experiences I had suffered during my childhood. His Holiness explained that in order to step onto the path of forgiveness I needed to tame my mind, and so I needed to learn how to meditate. I immediately signed up for my first Vipassana course, in the lineage of Sayagyi U Ba Khin as taught by S.N. Goenka. I’m deeply grateful to Goenka-ji for helping me begin to make friends with my mind. In the years that followed, I made efforts to do at least one ten-day sit a year – during law school, during pregnancy – no matter what. (I wish my daily practice had been as consistent!) Over time, my personal spiritual predilections led me to Tibetan Buddhist teachings, and I received instruction in dzogchen and mahamudra meditation, and many other teachings from primarily Gelugpa teachers. I also have found walking meditation, as taught by Ven. Antonio Satta and Thich Nhat Hahn, to be beneficial in relation to the constant motion in our western lives.
My “day job” is in the field of restorative justice, and that work, too, is inspired by my Buddhist path. I work at an Oakland-based non-profit called Impact Justice, do a bit of public speaking on forgiveness and restorative justice, and will be teaching at Berkeley Law School in the spring. This is a link to a talk I gave a few years ago at Berkeley Law School about the nexus of my meditation practice and my work to reduce our reliance on the criminal legal system.
A little bit about how my group sits will go: Meditation can be divided in several different ways, but one distinction is analytical meditation and stabilizing meditation. Since stabilizing meditation is key to successful analytical mediation, we will be practicing stabilizing meditation. The ultimate goal of stabilizing meditation is calm abiding which is achieved through prolonged single-pointed concentration. To achieve this, we focus our minds on a single object (such as the breath) or topic (such as impermanence). In the beginning (and even for those of us who’ve been sitting for decades), returning to the breath or other object of meditation can be challenging! The purpose of our time together, then, will be to compassionately return our attentions to our objects of meditation (for most of us, that will be the breath.) I will be offering some gentle guidance for us to return our monkey minds, compassionately, and with no sense of judgment, to the breath. I cherish the opportunity to do this with you.
Meditation with Richard Winser
Richard Winser in his own words:
My approach to meditation is to start slowly and to do it everyday.
The science on meditation and the brain is fascinating to me. The fact that one can raise their happiness level and lower depression and anxiety through meditation is a very exciting and also that Science has documented it.
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