we recommend attending the 2nd & 4th Sunday practice until
you become comfortable with meditation .
1st and 3rd Sunday Practice consists of a 45 minute sitting meditation,15
minutes of walking meditation, followed by dharma discussion.
2nd and 4th Sunday Mindfulness Practice consists of a 20-25 minute
sitting meditation, a 10-15 minute walking meditation and a second
20-25 minute sitting meditation. This is followed by tea ceremony
and a mindful eating practice and discussion.
5th Sunday is usually a potluck social.
Usually two people facilitate each Sunday. Upon entering or exiting
the meditation room, we put hands together at our heart and bow.
This is a respectful greeting and helps us be mindful of the
gift of that moment. . If you practice using a cushion, bring
it with you, along with any pad, blanket or back jack that you
use while sitting. We regret this inconvenience; however, storage
space is quite limited. Chairs are also available. We begin with
lighting candles and incense. If you are allergic to incense,
or having respiratory problems please let us know and we will
offer virtual incense . We use three bells to begin and end seated
meditation. Walking meditation is begun and ended with one bell.
The sitting and walking meditation, which together is about one
hour long, is followed by a dharma discussion and, a practice
of mindful eating during a tea ceremony. The dharma discussion
is a time for us to discuss our mindfulness practice and to learn
from each other's experiences. During dharma discussion we also
bow in to begin speaking and bow out when we are finished. You
also bow to accept and offer food during a tea ceremony. Just
watch the person before you and you will get acquainted with
what to do.
There are more details below too!
If you are not familiar with seated or walking meditation, a
few suggestions may be helpful. It is important to be able to
sit in a manner that promotes relaxation and stability. Traditionally,
this can be realized by sitting on a cushion in a cross-legged
position. You can also sit in a chair with your feet flat on
the ground. Or, you can sit on the floor in a kneeling position
supported by a cushion or bench.
Ideally, sit erect, back straight, ears over shoulders and shoulders
over hips in a straight line, eyes closed or partially closed
and focused on a point about four feet in front of you. Your
hands can be folded in your lap or placed on your knees. In seated
meditation, we keep our body as still as possible and allow ourselves
to rest. If you feel any pain though, please re-adjust your seated
position. Focusing on your breath helps to settle the mind so
that you can begin to look inward and contemplate. You can follow
the breath both in seated and in walking meditation.
There are several ways to deal with physical sensations, thoughts
and emotions during meditation. You can simply observe them come
and then watch them go. You may also choose to hold an emotion
or thought and see if it has anything to say to you. It is most
important to work with your thoughts and emotions with an attitude
of acceptance and love. Try not to judge yourself; there is no
'wrong way' to meditate. Everyone has distracting thoughts and
feelings; watching them come and go and gently observing them
in a somewhat detached way can be the source of great insight.
A mantra or gatha may also be helpful for focusing the mind.
One gatha to try as you follow your in-breath and out-breath
is: In-Out, Deep-Slow, Calm-Ease, Smile-Release, Present Moment-Wonderful
Moment. Remember, touch and nurture the enlightenment, peace
and joy that come from within!
In walking meditation we turn to our left and begin walking after
the facilitator sounds a chime and begins walking. We walk slowly,
maintaining a consistent distance from the person in front of
us, and aware that with each in-breath we are walking mindfully
and with each out-breath we are walking mindfully. We end walking
meditation with a chime and pause and breathe before we return
to our cushions for the second seated meditation. Walking meditation
helps us to cultivate the capacity to be mindful while in motion.
The tea ceremony consists of mindfully sharing tea, cookies and
fruit. The facilitator will begin passing the items to be shared.
The person who is receiving should bow to the person presenting
the tea or food. They then take what they wish, take the tray
and offer it to the next person. The person who has passed the
tea or food bows to the person who has accepted. Once everyone
has received the tea and food we can begin to enjoy them. We
eat mindfully for some time and then begin sharing in dharma
Once the tea ceremony is complete, the dharma discussion begins.
The discussion may revolve around a particular reading or talk,
or may be an open discussion about any topic pertinent to the
group. The procedure for the dharma discussion is simple; in
order to speak you simply bow to the group, they will bow back
to you and you may begin to speak. When you have finished speaking,
you again bow and the group will bow back to you. This is not
a time for direct conversation, but for speaking from your heart
to the entire Sangha. No one is forced to speak, and you may
speak to whatever subject you feel is most important to you at
the time. We also sometimes will share songs, poetry, readings,
dharma talks on tape.
When the dharma discussion has concluded everyone will rise for
the ringing of the bell. The bell will be invited to ring three
times and the Sangha bows once with each ring. The first is to
the Buddha (or to our teachers), the second to the Dharma (the
teachings of transformation) and the final bell to the Sangha
(our community of practice). We often do a dedication of merit
to acknowledge that we practice for the benefit of all beings.
When the meditation session is concluded, meditation items are
stored away, we wash the tea cups, and there is social time for
Peaceful Heart Sangha supports itself with "Dana",
the practice of sharing our resources generously. There is a
Dana basket at each meeting. There is no obligation to contribute,
nor is there a fee to attend practice. Dana is used to meet expenses
that have been approved by the Sangha Care Committee. No one
receives payment for the work of the Sangha. Please participate
in the practice of Dana in the way most comfortable for you.
The Five Mindfulness Trainings:
Our Sangha makes a practice of reciting all of the Five Mindfulness
at our regular meetings at least once every three months,and
reciting one of the trainings at each regular meeting. These
Trainings are concrete practices for bringing mindfulness into
our daily lives. They are not rules or commandments. No one can
practice them perfectly. They are like the North Star, guiding
us toward a more mindful way of living.
Other local activities:
Peaceful Heart Sangha joins with other local sanghas for "Days
of Mindfulness" (single day retreats) as well as multi-day
retreats that Thich Nhat Hanh and other teachers hold in Colorado.
Each month there is a Day of Mindfulness at Compassionate Dharma Cloud Monastery in Morrison
Colorado. There is also a children
and family sangha
which meets on the Front Range.
The Colorado State University Zen
meets on campus each Wednesday for meditation. Finally, there
are more Fort Collins meditation groups listed in links.