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MAY 2016 NEWSLETTER
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IN THIS ISSUE:

•  A Place of Refuge
   A message from Doreen
•  New Support Group for Leaders

       

 

    

WEEKLY 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 second and fourth Monday of the month; Associate Teacher Peg Meyer leads on the first and third Mondays.  
All are welcome; please join us at any time.
details here...
 

Tuesday Evenings:
Sit and Dhamma Discussion

Led by Peg Meyer
    • NEW LOCATION •
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. Please contact Doreen using this form before attending for the first time. This sit is offered on donation basis.
details here...
 

       

 

QUESTIONS? 

 
Send your inquiries or questions to:
info@valleyinsight.org
 
 

NEW EMAIL ADDRESS?

 
Send it to us here:
info@valleyinsight.org
 
 

WANT MORE INFO?

 

 

 

Greetings to the Valley Insight Community!

A Place of Refuge
in This World

 
A message from Doreen

“A Buddhist community––a Sangha––is not something one is merely born into or chooses to join, but something one is challenged to create. A Sangha provides a matrix of communal support for people to realize their commitment to a common vision or concern.”  

                 –– Stephen Batchelor

In September 2013, VIMS hosted an organizational workshop led by Maddie Klyne, a Dharma teacher and longtime administrator at Cambridge Insight Meditation Center. After a morning meditation time and a talk on sangha, twenty-five of us stayed to discuss our values and our ideas for future directions for VIMS. We shared in small and large groups. Maddie facilitated and helped us identify two main areas in which we wanted to develop as a community: 1) clarifying and growing our communications and organizational processes in ways that would more inclusively involve the whole sangha, and 2) developing a home of our own, a space where all our groups and retreats could take place and where we could realize and nurture ourselves as a culture of awakening. We all agreed both were of utmost importance, and it seemed we needed to begin with the first.

There has been much work and success in this effort to establish transparency and connectedness within the community. So much so that the Valley Insight teacher team and the advisory board feel that it is now time for us to look for a place of our own, and we turn to all of you, the sangha, for help in identifying what we need and locating a space. Please, if you have any ideas you want to share, and/or if you’d like to be directly involved in this effort, let us know by emailing the Contact Us page of the VIMS website. Funding, of course, will be one issue. The board in its role of fiduciary responsibility feels we must have enough money for six month’s worth of rent to start with. We have some ideas on how to accomplish this; if you have any such ideas or can help with this, again, please let us know.

Read more of Doreen’s message here.

 
New Location
for the Tuesday Sit
 
The Tuesday sitting group is now being held at St. Barnabas Church on Main Street in Norwich. The sit will be held in the St. Barnabas parish hall at the usual time, 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Find more information about the Tuesday meditation sit here.
 

Valley Insight News


New Support Group
for Practice Leaders 


The VIMS teacher team and the board are supporting the development of a skilled team of practice leaders, people who will be able to guide both meditation and Dharma discussions in a way that is in keeping with our Insight tradition. To this end, a study and practice group will be forming that is open to committed VIMS sangha members who might be interested, who have a strong meditation practice, and who already have a history of attending our sitting groups. Specifics regarding time, location, size of the group, and start date are under development. Please contact Landon Hall at elhall888@gmail.com if you might be interested.
The Eightfold Path –
Course Update


The teacher team has decided to hold off on the plan to offer an eight-month course focusing each month on one of the factors of the Eightfold Path. The Path teaching is related to the fourth of the Four Noble Truths. Since all three of our sitting groups are currently involved in the study and exploration of this fundamental aspect of the Dharma, we feel there may be a way to weave a focus on the Path factors into all the groups when we begin to look closely at the Fourth Noble Truth. The task associated with this teaching is to cultivate a way to stabilize and engage wisely with the lessening of reactivity and turmoil in our lives.

Look for more learning opportunities on this teaching in the fall.


News from the Board


We wish to extend a warm welcome to Doris Hampton as she joins the VIMS advisory board. Doris’s expertise, enthusiasm, and clarity of thought will serve the board well as it guides the sangha forward (please see the VIMS website for her bio).

And as she leaves the board after two years of committed guidance, Carol Westberg extended the following:  

I feel very privileged to have had the chance to serve as VIMS president for the past year. I've learned so much from our teachers and our sangha, especially about kindness and generosity. 

With deep gratitude, 
Carol

 
 

Change is Possible:
Notes from the
Climate Seminar

 
Changing Climate, Changing Minds, held April 8 & 9, was sponsored by eight local community organizations, of which Valley Insight was one. A full summary of the conference can be found on VIMS Engaged Buddhism web page. Below is a brief outline.
A primary question focused the discussions:  How do we face difficult truths about climate change without retreat to denial or despair, act in urgency without compromising wisdom and compassion, and align local interests with global necessity? 

The most frequent suggestion from presenters and audience members was that action is the antidote to despair. David Loy, Buddhist teacher and activist, reminded us that when we act, we must do so without attachment to the result.

Keynote speaker Terry Tempest Williams described her new company, which just purchased oil and gas leases––planning not to pump, but to keep the oil in the ground. Williams urged us to hold public lands as sacred spaces, saying, “We lose nothing by loving.”

Dr. James McCarthy stated that there are many causes for optimism: College students are dedicated to making a difference; China leads the world in new solar and wind capacity; Iowa is 30 percent dependent on wind for its electricity; Finland is a leader in new turbine technology.  

The Reverend Sally Bingham focused on global warming as the moral issue of our time, echoing Pope Francis in saying that we are the gardeners of the planet. We have an important role in stewardship of creation. 
 
Read more about the Reverend Bingham’s impassioned speech and other fascinating speakers at the conference here.
 
Learn more about activism in the local Buddhist community and worldwide on the Valley Insight Engaged Buddhism webpage.

In the Sitting Groups
Exploring the Four Noble Truths  

 

This month, the Monday group continues an examination of the Four Noble Truths, using as a guide Phillip Moffitt's Dancing With Life (now out in paperback), and Ajanh Sumedho’s The Four Noble Truths (a short book available as a PDF). As always, it will not be necessary to be reading the text in order to participate in the course of 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 on the second and fourth Monday of each month. VIMS teacher Peg Meyer facilitates on the first and third Mondays. 


The Tuesday Meditation and Sit, lead by VIMS instructor Peg Meyer. Peg notes that to begin their exploration in the Four Noble Truths the group started their time together with mindful movement––finding the peaceful center in the mind and body and noticing what it felt like to be off center. Peg recounted the Buddha's first discourse after his awakening, Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion. As with the other groups, the Tuesday sangha will use texts by Phillip Moffitt and Ajahn Sumedho as a guide, though it is not necessary read along in order to join the discussion. The group is open all on a drop-in or continuing basis.
 

This month the Thursday group continues an investigation of the Four Noble Truths, which can be seen as an extension of the mindfulness teachings and as an expression of compassion. Two books we will be using as resources for this exploration will be Ajanh Sumedho’s The Four Noble Truths (a short book available as a PDF) and Phillip Moffit’s Dancing With Life, a very accessible exposition, which uses Vn. Sumedho’s book as a starting point. Chapter 2 of Moffitt's text speaks to the connection we are making, “Mindfulness and Compassion; Transforming Suffering into Joy.” As always, it will not be necessary to be reading the book to follow the teachings and to take part in the discussion. Please contact info@valleyinsight.org for more information, or before attending for the first time. 

The Texts
Dancing with Life
The Four Noble Truths

All three of the Valley Insight sitting groups will be using two books as resources for this exploration into the Four Noble Truths, Ajanh Sumedho’s The Four Noble Truths (a short book available as a PDF) and Phillip Moffit’s Dancing With Life, a very accessible exposition, which uses Vn. Sumedho’s book as a starting point. It is not necessary to be reading the text to participate in discussion
Dinner (and Lunch) and Dharma
Informal Conversation After Valley Insight Sits

Are there times you wish the discussion following the time of shared silence could continue? Both the Monday and Thursday sits have decided to offer that opportunity. The Monday evening sit will gather at Thai Orchid in Hanover the first Monday of the month following the sit for Dinner and Dharma. Contact Gina Sonne (waltzlover@gmail.com) for more information. The Thursday morning sit will gather for lunch at Salt Hill Pub in Lebanon on the third Thursday of the month after the sit. Everyone is welcome to join the group for lunch. Suzanne Serat (603-643-5760) is the contact person.
Detail, painting of the Buddha's first discourse, turning the Dharmacakra.  Nalanda, Bihar, India. Circa 700-1100 CE.

Painting of the Buddha's first discourse, turning the Dharmacakra. Sanskrit Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra manuscript written in the Ranjana script. Nalanda, Bihar, India. Circa 700-1100 CE.
 
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