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Hello DRBUx Community,

Welcome to our first email newsletter. Below you will find information about upcoming events, reflections by previous retreat participants, and a book recommendation.

We look forward to keeping in touch and welcome your feedback.

–The DRBUx team
Upcoming Events:
Fall Guan Yin Retreat – October 15 - 23, 2016
Amitabha Retreat – December 11 - 17, 2016

Ongoing Classes:
Buddhism for the Modern Mind – Every other Monday at Berkeley Buddhist Monastery and online
CTTB Community Classes

Living the Practice – A two-month immersion program


​​October 15 to December 18, 2016

City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Ukiah, CA

Registration is open. A full description of the program is available at

What is a Guan Yin session like? 
by Annalise M

"This is a very loaded question, as like with many things, you will never really know until you give yourself the chance of experiencing it first hand, especially with something as transformative as Guan Yin Session. It’s very different for many people.

If I could sum it up, this would be my best analogy: 

Imagine you go in and begin your session just filthy; absolutely covered in the crap that is your illusions, attachments, karma, habituation… you name it! You’re nearly drowning in it. You're in quite a state to where the lack of self awareness and care is so radiantly evident to the world around you. At this point you can’t even recognize it, let alone yourself. You might as well be covered from head to toe in mud, as there’s really not much difference...

So you show up to do the work anyway. You're present and you don’t really know why or even understand what you’re doing here, to which you will constantly question yourself about, but you commit to the time; to staying. You commit to showing up for yourself. And in doing so you’re showing up for others (all beings) and doing your part (whether or not you realize it). 

...Continue reading this reflection on Annalise's blog

Guan Yin Retreat Reflection
by Sheila Xie

I became interested in Buddhism after going to an insight meditation retreat 8 years ago. I liked its simple format and practiced on and off until my first Guanyin recitation session in 2014 (Spirit Rock’s insight retreats were fully booked, and CTTB seemed to offer a related alternative). Back then, I had no idea about reciting Guanyin Bodhisattva's name and thought I’d stay away from the Buddha Hall to meditate on my own. Doug’s lectures were so interesting and inspiring that I’ve kept up with the practice on a daily basis.

Overtime, I’ve realized that recitation can be applied anywhere anytime in any situations. It’s been time tested when I went back to China immediately after this year’s first Guanyin session.

My dad had a small surgery but it had complications due to a medical misstep. Watching him bleeding and suffering coming out of the operation room was very difficult. Out of a habit, I recited Guanyin’s name with all my sincerities. Recitation was the only thing to not lose my mind in a chaotic situation. There was no place to cross my legs and meditate to remain still at the hospital. My dad has recovered well thankfully.

Guan Yin Retreat Reflection
by Linda Shields


Venerable Master Hsuan Hua advised "Do not come to the mountain of treasures and return empty-handed".  I came to the Guan Yin retreat and returned with my treasures I had not expected. By the end of this wonderful retreat I could see and feel the possibilities of my mind and heart reflected in the environment of this amazing Buddhist city.

When you enter this place you cannot help but feel that it is indeed different than the world just outside its gate.  The wild animals here roam so nonchalantly that you can tell that this place belongs as much to them as it does to the humans.  This monastery and university is absolutely permeated with peaceful and compassionate intent. 

The classes that we had every day were extremely helpful to my understanding of Buddhism and I have since returned several times to learn more.  If you are in a position to come to this amazing place I would seize the opportunity, it is truly an mind/heart experience of compassion.
Book Recommendation: The Dhammapada 
By Jason Tseng 

The Dhammapada (literally: “Dharma-verses” or “Dharma-footsteps”) conveys the foundational teachings of the Buddha in a lyrical, elegant style. Organized thematically, the verses are concise and direct—the Buddha’s voice shines through. They are ideal for reading, reflection, and chanting. Covering a broad range of important teachings, the Dhammapada is an excellent text for beginners. It is a personal favorite of mine.  

The Dhammapada has many translations into English. Each translator offers different insights, emphasis, and approaches to the text. Below is a short review of the ones I have read and recommend.

Thomas Byrom’s translation: Poetic, accessible, and succinct. As the first translation I read, this version speaks to my heart. Byrom uses confident and powerful imperatives to capture the Dhammapada’s clear and lucid verses. The book itself is terse and contains no additional footnotes or comments from the author. As a translator, Byrom used poetic license in summarizing stanzas and giving a bit of interpretation to make the text come alive. The translation is technically imprecise, but it does capture one’s imagination (like it captured my heart). Jacob Needleman’s audiobook narration of this translation is deep and resonant—a great fit for the prose. Recommend with caveat.

Glenn Wallis’s translation: Accurate, well-written, and clear. Wallis provides detailed explanations as guides for each chapter as well as footnotes of key terms and concepts. The voice is conversational yet precise, but it never soars for me. Voice-wise, Wallis uses “should”—sounds like my learned uncle teaching me how to live life. However, I can learn a great deal from my uncle’s scholarship. Recommended for all-around good translation. You can’t really go wrong.

Gil Fronsdal’s translation: An experienced Dharma teacher of the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California, Fronsdal renders the Dhammapada with the same attention to accuracy as Wallis. The strength of this translation is in its ability to open multiple layers of meaning and possible interpretations. For example, the title of chapter one is usually translated as “Pairs”; Fronsdal renders it as “Dichotomy,” which carries more force and vitality. You can decide for yourself which translation resonates with you.

Public domain (as in free) translation: I want to mention Bhikkhu Thanissaro's translation, especially since it is freely available on Access to Insight. Venerable Thannissaro, a respected monastic teacher and prolific translator, stays true to the Pali terms and spirit while rendering his verses in free verse to engage the reader. He is translating primarily for practitioners to “savor” the text in order to cultivate to liberation. Verse 21 is an example of the directness, clarity, and style of layout:

      Heedfulness: the path to the Deathless.
      Heedlessness: the path to death.
      The heedful do not die.
      The heedless are as if
      already dead.

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