In the Theravada Thai Forest tradition, we are taught to skillfully reflect on our practice, on our actions, and on the teachings of the Buddha. At Portland Friends of the Dhamma, we strongly encourage practitioners to develop this ability. In this new Monday evening format, we will spend the first hour in sitting and walking meditation. Then we will allow time for all who are interested to reflect on their practice, share joys and challenges, and ask questions about practice and the Dhamma.
Several times a year, we will reflect on specific themes for an extended period of time, and on the fourth Monday of the month, there will be an opportunity for beginner’s instruction prior to the regular sitting time at 6 p.m. More detailed information will be available soon.
Doors will not open until 6:40, except on Introduction to Meditation nights. This program is open to everyone — no RSVP is necessary.
Introduction to Meditation
Fourth Mondays, 6 to 7 p.m., immediately prior to Reflections
Next four: June 26, July 24, Aug. 28, Sept. 25
Portland Friends of the Dhamma
1404 S.E. 25th St., Portland, Oregon
In these monthly introductory classes, participants will be introduced to Portland Friends of the Dhamma, the Theravada Thai Forest tradition, and the very basics of meditation including posture and the breath. These hour-long drop-in workshops are for anyone who is new to the center or meditation and for those who need a refresher on posture or the breath. Participants will be encouraged to stay for Reflections, the weekly program immediately following, to practice sitting and walking meditation and to interact with other more experienced meditators. Doors open at 5:45; please arrive and be seated by 6 p.m. This program is open to everyone, and RSVP is appreciated.
Several times a year, a half-day retreat for beginners will be offered, and we will cover introductory topics in more depth. Dates to be announced. Questions? Email Jessica Swanson through the contact page at pdxdhamma.org.
Dhamma Friends Children’s Program
Every Sunday, Portland Friends of the Dhamma offers children’s programming during Sunday Sila, a weekly meditation program with Dhamma reflections from Sakula, PFoD’s Spiritual Director. The children’s program includes morning meeting time, task-oriented responsibilities, mindful movement and crafts, and playful exploration of concepts and conventions from our Buddhist tradition in a thematic and age-appropriate way. Dhamma Friends Children’s Program plays an integral role in enriching the experience of PFOD’s families and children through family-centered engagement with our tradition and the larger community. Our program thrives in a multi-age environment. I email and post the agenda for each class to families the week prior to encourage a close connection between me, the kids, their families and the community.
Introduction to Meditation
Next class TBA. This course is a meditation primer in the Theravada Thai Forest tradition. Students will practice meditating with the breath and the body, developing wholesome mind states like loving kindness and compassion, working with thoughts and emotions, and dealing with obstacles to peaceful meditation. We explore ways in which practice in daily life and sitting on the cushion are complementary, practicing and reflecting on different topics each week.
We start each course with very short guided meditations and over several weeks, work up to a 30-minute sit. Meditation outside the class is strongly encouraged. Recommended readings and talks will be provided, as well as resources for establishing a practice with a local meditation community. No preregistration is necessary, but the course will close to the public after the second class.
Brightening the Mind
Next class TBA. The Buddha recommended using certain recollections, or Anussatis, as a way to brighten the mind. These can be contemplated at the beginning of a meditation, during a dry spell in practice or as one’s regular meditation. Six of these recollections – Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha; Generosity, Integrity and the characteristics of the Devas – are designed to inspire faith in the path and confidence in our own practice.
Working with the Anussantis encourages us to be generous and have integrity in our daily life and then call upon the memory of those actions to brighten our own hearts, which feeds the desire to continue refreshing those habits off the cushion. The recollections help create a continuous loop of practice, wise reflection and adjustment, focused on the development and maintenance of skillful mind states.
The Friendly Heart: A Practical Approach to Metta
Next class TBA. The main objective of this course is to integrate loving-friendliness into our regular practice. We use the traditional way of extending metta to ourselves and those around us, as well as look at what the Buddha said about metta and the different ways monastic teachers from our lineage incorporate this foundational teaching. Because repetition is one of the best ways to master new information, we take a short time each week to practice chanting the Metta Sutta and the Suffusion of the Divine Abidings. To get a head start, have a listen to Metta Bhavana, a talk by Luang Por Pasanno, abbot of Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery.
Women, Trauma and Healing Meditation Workshop
Held twice yearly at the YWCA Clark County, this hour-long workshop introduces meditation in and women- and mother-specific ways. Developed for the Women, Trauma and Healing Conference, a full day of self-care and relaxation activities for women who have experienced trauma and sexual assault, this workshop focuses on breath meditation, loving-kindness meditation and finding moments of mindfulness in daily life.
All classes except Women Trauma and Healing are held at Portland Friends of the Dhamma, Portland, Ore. These classes and others by esteemed teachers and guests are scheduled throughout the year. For the full slate of offerings at PFoD, please check the calendar for times and dates. To schedule workshops and classes for your organization, school or at another location on a dana basis, please contact me directly.