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Hello everyone,

We are happy to announce a one-day retreat led by Reverend Heng Sure on December 10, 2016. The topic will be "Adulting in the Dharma." If you'd like to join us, please register here.

Many new and returning practitioners joined the Fall Guan Yin retreat this October. Over sixty people attended the evening classes. A few have offered their reflections on the retreat, featured below.

The Living the Practice program started a few weeks ago and so far students are enjoying the combination of practice, study and community life. We've shared a few photos in this newsletter.

You'll find information on our upcoming retreats and classes, an essay on the role of emotions in practice, and a book recommendation below.

Questions or suggestions? Don't hesitate to reach out.


The DRBU Extension team

Upcoming Retreats
One-Day Retreat
December 10, 2016

Led by Reverend Heng Sure

Sudhana Center
Ukiah, CA
Amitabha Recitation Retreat 2016

​December 10 - 18, 2016
Ongoing Classes:
Buddhism for the Modern Mind – Every other Monday at Berkeley Buddhist Monastery and online.

Drop-in and Online Class Schedule
Photos from the Fall Guan Yin Retreat

"Guan Yin’s qualities lie within me"
by Dori Rutkevitz

I didn’t expect this to be the case, but what developed most during my first Guan Yin retreat was confidence. I expected the session to mostly be about developing concentration and peace. Over time, I began to view chanting “Guan Yin Pu Sa” as a way to stoke the fire of Great Compassion, Great Kindness, and Great Joy within myself. I read an excerpt from Master Hua about the importance of being confident in your own Buddha Nature, and this helped me tremendously. Recitation became not a wish for some future state, but an uncovering of the current reality -- Guan Yin’s qualities lie within me. The more I practiced seeing this, the more I could confidently relax into my true self, and the more I could begin to release fears and tensions which were artifacts of a false self. I am very grateful to CTTB and the DRBU Extension team for creating this sacred space to cultivate together -- because of their efforts, I have gotten a glimpse of a greater level of freedom and joy.

"Guan Yin's arms don't argue with one another"
by Eric Berman

(Below is an excerpt from Eric's talk in the Buddha Hall. You can read the full reflection here.)

In our [DRBU] Buddhist Classics class, we are currently studying the Platform Sutra. The Sixth Patriarch, Huineng, says, about practice: "Buddhahood is realized within the essential nature; do not seek for it outside yourself." He goes on to say that, "Kindness and compassion are Avalokitesvara." I see that the contention and judgmental attitude within in my own mind--habits conditioned over years of seeking for distinction and professional success in a competitive career field--must be transformed into the kindness and compassion embodied by Guan Yin.
Guan Yin's arms don't argue with one another. She doesn't have one arm that brags about how it is superior to her other arms, how it is stronger and can reach further than the others. Guan Yin's arms don't do battle with one another. They are all unified in action by her broad, compassionate mind. Her arms all manifest her vow to save all living beings. This allows her to act with an unimpeded mind, without thoughts of praise or blame. ...continue reading this reflection.

"Experiencing the life of purity, simplicity and discipline" by Babita Thakker

I thank the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and DRBU for offering this beautiful opportunity to come and experience the life of purity, simplicity and discipline. I am a Hindu who had been taught since childhood to respect our 9th Incarnation - Buddha. As I studied deeper in Vedant studies, I often felt that Buddha's teachings have not been properly understood so I have been doing Vipassana meditation for a few years. This Guan Yin retreat was a totally different experience and all the chanting along with the explanations by the learned monks and Doug really brought lots of clarity in my understanding of the importance of chanting (naam japa in sanskrit) to help purify the mind along with the knowledge from the 100 Dharmas book.

It was inspiring to experience such loving discipline, simplicity, frugality and the love for all living creatures in daily living practice of life. Thank you very much for the openness in giving all people this opportunity and for sharing the teachings of Buddha. I feel indebted for this beautiful pilgrimage of my life.

My sincere gratitude to each one of you and salutations to all the monastics.

Photos from the 2-month Living the Practice program
The Role of Emotions in a Lifetime of Practice

An essay investigating the role of emotions in the life of great contemporary Chan master, Venerable Master Xuyun (Empty Cloud).

by Jin Chuan Shr

Read essay here
Review of “Ācariya Mun Bhuridatta Thera: A Spiritual Biography
Reviewed by Jason Tseng 

As travelers on the path of wisdom, we read Dharma texts in order to guide our practice and integrate the teachings into our everyday lives.  The biographies of eminent monastics bring to life the teachings and principles in these texts. Ajahn Mun’s biography is one of the best examples of this.

First, Ajahn Mun’s life is full of adventures: he encountered enlightened masters, tigers, and even a spiritual partner from past lives upon his realization of Arahantship. Each of these stories exemplifies Dharma principles through his incredible vigor in applying the teachings in every moment.

Second, Ajahn Maha Boowa, one of his main disciples who carried on his legacy and teachings, wrote a “spiritual biography” in order to give inspiration and advice to others who wish to follow in Ajahn Mun’s footsteps. Ajahn Maha Boowa combines spirited storytelling with his own deep understanding of the Dharma--making the biography accessible yet profound.  A lot of care went into this biography with well-written footnotes and an extensive glossary for the dedicated reader.  

Third, we are introduced to an entirely different way of seeing the world-- where the spiritual landscape that we encounter in the Tripitaka, the Buddhist Canon, comes to life. Ajahn Mun teaches not only humans, but animals (who call humans “ogres”),  devas (who come to him requesting instructions), and other spiritual beings (you’ll have to read it for yourself to find out!).

Finally, and perhaps most important, the stories and encounters in Ajahn Mun’s life include his motivations, reactions, and thought processes. We see not only the external aspects of his practice, but the inner workings of his mind as well.

Ajahn Mun’s life is an embodiment of the Dharma; he influenced not only Thai Buddhism, but Buddhism in the West as well. One of his students, Ajahn Chah, went on to teach Westerners such as Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Pasanno, Ajahn Amaro, and Jack Kornfield who have played pivotal roles in bringing Thai Forest tradition and meditation to the West. The book is available for free from Abhayagiri Monastery (link).

For more information, please visit
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