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 Ordained Women in Buddhist Tradtiion
A message from Doreen
•  Spring Retreat with Shaila Catherine March 26
•  * Special Presentation * Monday, March 20 
•  Dharma Seed Talk and Discussion
•  Dinner and Dharma
•  In the Sitting Groups
•  Practice Schedule






Monday Evenings:
Sit and Dhamma Discussion

Hanover Friends Society
(next to Hanover High School)
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Meditation and discussion, open to all on a drop-in or continuing basis. We warmly welcome new and experienced meditators. VIMS guiding teacher Doreen Schweizer leads the group on the fourth Monday of the month; Associate Teacher Peg Meyer leads on the first and third Mondays, and Karen Summer leads the sit every second Monday of the month.
All are welcome; please join us at any time.
details here...

Tuesday Evenings:
Sit and Dhamma Discussion

Led by Peg Meyer
St. Barnabas Church
Main Street, Norwich

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Open to all on a drop-in or continuing basis. 
Details here ...


Thursday Mornings:
Sit and Dhamma
Study Group

14 Green Street,
Lebanon, NH
11 am – 12:30 pm

Sit and Dhamma Discussion
Led by Doreen Schweizer

This group is open to experienced meditators on a drop-in or continuing basis. The current format is guided meditations followed by discussion. This group is open to those with meditation experience and is not suitable for new beginners. Please contact Doreen using this form before attending for the first time. This sit is offered on donation basis.
details here...




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Greetings to the Valley Insight Community!

Fully Involved:
The Story of Ordained Women in Buddhist Tradition

A Message from Doreen

Though I am thin, sick,
And lean on a stick
I have climbed up Vulture Peak.

Robe thrown down
Bowl turned over,
[I] leaned on a rock,
Then the great darkness opened.

      – Citta’s awakening poem from the Therigatta,
From The First Buddhist Women, by Susan Murcott 

After many years of steadily presenting their desire and their right to be fully involved in Dharma practice as renunciates, women were allowed to join the ordained sangha as equals on the Eightfold Path, and though social norms kept them somewhat separate from the monks, many of these early female practitioners quickly became fully awakened, as well as highly respected Dharma teachers. Over the course of its 2,500-year history, Buddhism, like so many cultures, came to devalue the role of women. Now, thanks to the strength and commitment of contemporary nuns, such as our sangha’s friend and visiting teacher Ajahn Santacitta, the nuns are returning.

Many of us practicing in the West in the Insight tradition are not familiar with the strength and importance that early Buddhist teachings put on the interactive roles of monastic and lay communities; we have mostly lost touch with and interest in the part monastics have played in keeping the Dharma alive.
This month, we have an opportunity to learn a bit more about the roots of our Buddhist Insight tradition. On Monday, March 20, within the format of our regular 5:30 sit, VIMS has the special honor of hosting a presentation by Mindy Zlotnick on the history of ordained women in the monastic order. Please join us for a meditation at 5:30 p.m., and a 6 p.m. video presentation. If your are able, come at five p.m. for a reception for the presenter.

(See below for full details)

Spring Retreat
March 26

Mindfulness and Concentration
A Daylong Retreat with Shaila Catherine

Sunday, March 26
9 a.m.–4 p.m.
AVA Gallery
Lebanon, NH
Shaila Catherine will return to VIMS to lead a daylong, silent retreat on Sunday, March 26 at the AVA Gallery in Lebanon from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. In connection with our sangha’s study of the Eightfold Path, the retreat will focus on mindfulness and concentration. Shaila Catherine’s teachings will be on the training of the mind that is an essential aspect of our path, stabilizing the mind and leading to emotional maturity. 

Shaila Catherine is the founder of Bodhi Courses, an online Dhamma classroom, and Insight Meditation South Bay, a Buddhist meditation center in Silicon Valley.  Shaila Catherine also teaches at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and leads retreats at Insight Meditation Society’s Retreat Center and Forest Refuge in Barre.

Last year the retreat with Shaila Catherine filled up, so we encourage you to sign up in advance if you plan to attend. Registration details are on the Valley Insight retreats page.

In keeping with our Buddhist Insight lineage’s respect for the commitment to offer teachings freely, there will be donation (dana) box for the teacher. The $25 registration fee covers retreat and ongoing expenses at VIMS.
• Next Week •

Monday, March 20
Monday, March 20, 2017 
Mindy Zlotnick
A History of the Nuns
“I Will Not Pass Away …. ” 
Reinstating the Buddha’s
Vision of the Fourfold Sangha

This presentation was developed by Friends of Aloka Vihara co-founder Mindy Zlotnick. It outlines the history of bhikkhunis (fully ordained Buddhist nuns) from the time of the Buddha to the present day. The nuns of Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery    are highlighted prominently as an example of pioneering women who are helping to revive the bhikkhuni lineage.

Mindy was moved to create the video history when she saw a similar presentation by the Alliance for Bhikkhunis in 2011. She had been meditating in the Theravada tradition for over twenty-five years at that point and was surprised that she had never heard this part of the history of the tradition.

This presentation provides an overview of the history of the Buddha’s vision of the fourfold sangha and how women were an integral part of this vision. Because of political and cultural decisions, a strong female monastic presence disappeared for almost a thousand years. The revival of the Bhikkhuni Sangha began about thirty years ago and has now spread throughout the world.


Meditation 5:30 p.m.
6:00 p.m. Video presentation

~  There will be an 
Informal Reception at 5:00 p.m

All are welcome.
Aloka Vihara nuns at Santa Clara Buddhist Vihara
A Sunday Gathering of
Dharma Friends

When the Buddha’s cousin and chief attendant, Ananda, said: “Oh, I see, having spiritual friends is half the holy life,” the Buddha replied, “No, say not so, Ananda. Having spiritual friends is the whole of the holy life.”

In that spirit, Gina Sonne opened her home on Sunday, February 9th, for sangha friends to come and listen to a Dharma talk by Larry Yang on Dharma Seed.

The gathering was a meaningful and intimate time of sharing, Gina reports, and she plans another such gathering in April. Gina hopes others will consider offering their home for a similar meeting of friends for Dharma talks and discussion.
Dhammapada Reflection

Seeing the Real

Mistaking the false for the real 
and the real for the false, 
one suffers a life of falsity. 
             Dhammapada v. 11

We all make mistakes; the question is how to truly learn from them. Even after many years of practice we can still forget ourselves and misjudge situations. If this happens, we should not automatically assume we've been heading in a wrong direction. An oak tree is not failing because it takes years to grow. When we deny reality for a long time, inertia builds up and part of us resists change. On the surface we might feel we want to change, but on another level we prefer that which is familiar, even if it hurts. Hence the need for great skill and great patience. For those who have perhaps had a glimpse of 'the real,’ old habits can still return and trip them up. But with time, skill and patience, the momentum of running away from reality diminishes. This gradual wearing away of old habits might not sound as inspiring as a sudden awakening from our dream-world, but it's what really works that matters.


In the Sitting Groups  

A Sangha-wide Study of the
Eightfold Path

This month, the Monday group continues its study of The Eightfold Path. More information as well as references for further reading can be found here. As always, it will not be necessary to be reading the text in order to participate in the study and discussion. The discussion ends at 6:45 to allow for informal visiting and discussion with friends. All are welcome. VIMS Guiding teacher Doreen Schweizer leads the fourth Monday of every month, Peg Meyer leads the first and third Mondays, and Karen Summer leads the second Monday of each month (from time to time, variations in this schedule occur due to unpredictable circumstances –  please check the VIMS website for updates).

NEW: On the third Monday of each month, you are welcome join others for 'Dinner and Dharma' after the sit.

The Tuesday Meditation and Sit, led by VIMS instructor Peg Meyer. The Tuesday group continues its look at the noble Eightfold Path. As with all the sitting groups, they will be studying the Eightfold Path using materials referenced on the website. Each month they will study one of the factors on the Path. The group is open all on a drop-in or continuing basis.

This month the Thursday group continues its study of The Eightfold Path. Optional reading material is available, including short readings, suggested reflections, and a recorded Dharma talk. All are available on the VIMS website. As always, it will not be necessary to be reading the book to follow the teachings and to take part in the discussion. On the third Thursday of the month, you are welcome to join others for lunch after the sit.  Please contact info AT valley insight DOT org for more information or before attending for the first time. 

Detail, painting of the Buddha's first discourse, turning the Dharmacakra.  Nalanda, Bihar, India. Circa 700-1100 CE.
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