A Simple Meal Blessing to Test Out

By the grace of the

We call upon our
ancestors to form
a healing circle
around us.

And to bless this
meal that we may
receive its life,
strength, and




People of Color Full-Day Retreat with Bhante Buddharakkhita of Uganda

Cultivating Compassion & Wisdom to Heal Our Communities

$30 suggested or as you can, greater or smaller.*

Sunday, September 9, 2018
9:30 AM – 4:30 PM EDT
Early Learning Center | Atrium Room
1 New York Avenue | Second Floor
Newark, NJ

REGISTER NOW: ncmc-poc-retreat.eventbrite.com

Led by Ugandan Buddhist monk, Bhante Buddharakkhita (b. Steven Jemba Kaboggoza; bio below), this meditation retreat is specifically for those people from communities of color who are immigrant Americans or reside in America and who consider themselves as indigenous, enslaved, colonized, disenfranchised, and/or marginalized. People of Color retreats are especially intended to provide an affinity group for individuals who daily confront the effects of racism.

We ask that all participants attend the program in its entirety. The program is designed for all to feel comfortable, comprehend, and hold interest — whether you are a beginner, experienced, or committed meditator of any discipline. Consider inviting a meditation buddy to attend with you (it’s a nice supportive practice).

Included in the program will be guided meditation, Dharma Talks, walking meditation, yoga movement, Dyads, and Q&As. There will also be an Art As Insight Workshop. Assisting Bhante from the NCMC board community will be instructors Andrea Lee, Kamilah Crawley, and J. Javier Cruz, and announcer Ihsaan R. Muhammad. (Bios on the Leadership Page of our website.) A vegan meal will be served.

The venue is in a state-of-the-art LEED-certified green building with wheel-chair and elevator access. If the weather is nice we will also use the adjoining Outdoor Courtyard to the Atrium Room during some of the movement sessions. It is an easy and direct .6 mile/11 minute walk from Newark Penn Station. Street parking is available in the area.
Bhante Buddharakkhita’s most popular book, Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism in Africa and his most recent book on meditation, Sowing Seeds of Peace, will be available for purchase. All proceeds after costs will go to his center in Uganda for their projects such as the Peace School for Children, Orphan Project, and Women’s Livelihood Project.

*Donations go to cover program expenses and gifts to teacher and instructors.

REGISTER NOW: ncmc-poc-retreat.eventbrite.com

Tentative Schedule

8:30 Volunteer Arrival
9:00-9:15 Participant Arrival. Please arrive no later than 9:15.
9:30-12:30 Dharma Talk, Guided Meditation, Yoga Movement, Dyad, Q&A
LUNCH (1 hour)
12:30-1:30 Mindfulness of Eating Guidelines, Meal Blessing, Meal, Rest, Interviews with Teacher
1:30-4:30 Dharma Talk, Guided Meditation, Art Workshop, Walking Meditation, Dyad, Q&A

Teacher Bio-note

Bhante Buddharakkhita was born and raised in Uganda, Africa. He first encountered Buddhism in 1990 while living in India, and he began practicing meditation in 1993. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk by the late Venerable U Silananda in 2002 at the Tathagata Meditation Center in San Jose, California and then he spent eight years under the guidance of Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society, West Virginia. He is the founder of the Uganda Buddhist Center in Uganda. Besides spending time at his Center, he is the spiritual director of Flowering Lotus Meditation Center in Magnolia, Mississippi. Bhante has been teaching meditation in Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, and the U.S, since 2005. His book, Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism in Africa, tells the story of his religious and spiritual work in Africa. His most recent book is Sowing Seeds of Peace. He is a Visiting Monastic Teacher with Newark Center for Meditative Culture in New Jersey. He is on the council of advisers to Buddhist Global Relief in New York.

About NCMC

Newark Center for Meditative Culture is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving a diverse urban meditation community. Your tax deductible donations make it possible for us to deliver life-changing programs to the Greater Newark community.

All of our programs are offered as donation-based no-fee to the participant. Instead, we invite all participants to make voluntary gifts to the level of their ability, sometimes with suggested donation amounts. NCMC disperses the donations equitably between teachers and venue providers. We base this system on the practice of dana or generosity, which is inherent to many spiritual traditions.

Contact us with questions at info@newarkmeditation.org.

Urban Nature Bathing

Re-Naturing Ourselves and Our Children:
The Tree vs. The Screen



Some of our current and past nature programs, left to right, top to bottom: Child sits quietly near meditation circle at Military Park; our new meditation circle in Independence Park; children play at the trees; a child tries a few minutes of meditation, a boys/men mindful nature hike in South Mountain Reservation, an Earth Month pond clean-up and mindfulness in motion in Branch Brook Park with teenagers.


The japanese have a practice called shinrin-yoku, translated to forest-bathing, that simply put means taking the forest in through our senses. To just be in nature, with no particular aim, can bridge the gap beween us and the natural world that we are intrinsically a part of, but too often we have lost touch with.

We use all our senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching to forest bath. Along with awakening the five senses to nature, we can elevate our sixth sense base of consciousness (present with all of these other senses) to a mind state of joy, kindness, and wholeness.

Many of us have become so separate from nature as now the majority of the world’s population lives in cities. Though we might not often be able to go “into the woods”, we have our urban green spaces as little oases.

If not for our own good, we need to consider exposing our urban-bred children to natural settings. There are significant and diverse studies that indicate that being in nature is important to children in their cognitive, emotional, social, and educational development.1 In a more natural way of putting it, we can say that children who experience natural settings are able to stay in touch with themselves and be more peaceful, which helps them to stay more focused and less fragmented.

There too are clear class- and race-based inequalities in urban children’s exposure to the natural world as well as industrial environmental hazards1, but we as a community and as parents and caregivers can make informed choices as to how we use our precious time.

At Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC), being in nature has an important role in our teacher’s practices. Those in the community who keep up with us recognize that bringing nature programs and sessions to the community is a priority.

This summer through the end of August, NCMC is offering two free opportunities to bath in urban nature with us and learn to meditate while you are at it. Each Tuesday we are running Meditation Classes in Independence Park in the Ironbound (translation into spanish and portuguese as requested). Downtown each Wednesday we are running Meditation Classes in Military Park. Weather providing, both start at 7:00pm and go to 8:00pm.

These are Family Friendly programs, so we invite you to bring children who can sit quietly with us or play near us to get their first taste of mindfulness practice in nature.

If you can’t sit with us, perhaps this information will inspire you to commit to engage with nature through local hikes and nature outings or as much as possible get out at lunch to sit at a tree, lay in the grass and look at the sky, or instead of gazing at a television screen or phone screen, step out at night to gaze up at the stars.

1Reference Article: Childhood Development and Access to Nature: A New Direction for Environmental Inequality Research; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3162362/

For further information, contact Newark Center for Meditative Culture at info@newarkmeditation.org.

The Art of Kindful Mindfulness in the Family


Pictured left to right: Kamilah Crawley, Cornelia Santschi, Venus Banks, David Venezia, Orlene Cummings, Mercedes Valle.

A Report on our Museum Workshop


In the late afternoon of June 8th, Newark Center for Meditative Culture gave Family Mindfulness Workshops during the Early Childhood Night at the Newark Museum. We were delighted to have been invited to share our expertise.

Our Family Kindful-Mindful Team included Cornelia Santschi PhD, a neuropsychologist, who led the team of instructors, Kamilah Crawley and Venus Banks who planned and organized as well as instructed, instructor David Venezia who with Andrea Lee helped in session development, and Orlene Cummings and Mercedes Valle PhD, who assisted in facillitating the workshops.

Corresponding with Venus, an educator in Newark NJ and area, she feels that workshops like these provide tools to help young people establish lifelong healthy behavior patterns. She further emphasizes that establishing healthy behaviors during (early) childhood is easier and more effective than trying to change unhealthy behaviors during adulthood.

Working in the Newark Public School System for most of her career as a child psychologist, Mercedes has been engaged in working intimately with children and parents. She says she practices kindness because she feels the earth belongs to all and that caring and loving each other makes a better world.

Though we issued a limited amount of surveys, most surveyed indicated that they were now likely to practice mindfulness with their family. Most of the caregivers surveyed also thought that their children enjoyed the mindfulness workshop “quite a bit” to “a lot”.

Our instructors were enthusiastic about the results of the workshops, and felt that they learned from the experience as well. They anticipate developing the workshops even further for different occasions.

We are grateful to the Newark Museum, United Way, Newark Public Schools, and the Nicholson Foundation for the opportunity to be of service to the community with our Family Mindfulness Workshops.

You can also stay up to date with NCMC’s programs by subscribing to the newsletter and following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.





Introduction to Meditation Medicine 1.0


A Free Online Course • Practice at Your Own Pace

One of the very first practices of meditation, if not the first, is Attention to the Breath.

Learn how and why.

OVERVIEW: The purpose of this course taught by Ib’nallah S. Kazi is to help you move beyond settling for the explanation of meditation, into the experience of meditation and a consistent practice. Meditation is something that you have to practice and make a part of your life. You will come to understand what Meditation Medicine means and why meditation is medicine.
COURSE INCLUDES: Prerecorded Web Talks and Guided Meditations; Optional Discussion and Consultation; Infographics.

A Course of The Spirit-Centered Life held in conjunction with Newark Center for Meditative Culture.

We’re Out in the Community!

Recent Appearances

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April 10
Presenters Javier Cruz and Jennifer Becher led a Pre-lunch Parent/Teachers Meditation & Mindfulness Session at Technology High School. It turned out to be a small group, but sometimes that’s good for the students as they get more direct and personal attention.

May 9
Presenter Kamilah Crawley led a pre-program guided micro-meditation at the Technology High School Mother’s Day Dinner to a group of about 30 people to start the program off with a zen moment!  She reported that the buffet and decorations were lovely — quite accurate from the photo pictured below.

May 21
A Meditation & Mindfulness Workshop for the Mujeres Activas of Ironbound Community Corporation was taught by Marcie Barth. It was a two-hour workshop engaging the women in various means of meditation, mindfulness, and contemplative critical thinking.

Upcoming Appearances


June 14th
Join NCMC at this Wellness Event with The Sis and Bro Initiative
Thursday, June 14 | 6:00 to 9:00pm
LaunchPad, 625 Broad St., Newark, NJ

NCMC has been invited to give a short presentation and guided meditation that will be provided by Andrea Lee shortly after the start of the event. We’re happy to be included to support this program!

June 18
Presenters Ihsaan Muhammad and J. Javier Cruz will be sharing two brief guided meditations at NJPAC’s Wellness Fair to be held for their staff only. We think their can be more contentment and even happines at work and we understand the medicinal healing values of meditation.

4c252a3c-a198-418e-825d-c057960be778.pngJune 21
Join NCMC at the 4th Annual
Brick City Solstice on International Yoga Day
Thursday, June 21
8:00 to 5:00pm
Military Park (Rain venue: Hahne’s Grand Court)

We are grateful to be invited to participate in this free annual event for the third year in a row, planned by our friends at Newark Yoga Movement. NCMC will provide two meditation sessions, a Morning Meditation with J. Javier Cruz and then Kamilah Crawley leading a Wind-Down Meditation toward the end of the day. Join us for a day with a Sizzling Soul Group on Summer Solstice!



Part 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

Introduction to Meditation Medicine Course

Part 4 of 4 Lessons

The purpose of this course is to help you move beyond settling for the explanation of meditation, into the experience of meditation and a consistent practice. Meditation is something that you have to practice and make a part of your life. You will come to understand what Meditation Medicine means and why meditation is medicine. (See blog post Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine—Course Description that gives the entire overview.)


Step 1: Watch Intro to Meditation Medicine Talk 1.4

Short talk about developing a sacred approach to your practice, space, and time in order to focus internally on yourself for power, wellness, and wisdom. (9 min)


Step 2: Listen and practice Guided Meditation 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

Short talk on meditation as a self-healing modality within a specialized society and the ensueing fragmention of ourselves that we can heal through meditation. Includes brief body scan and breath meditation and a new practice of Inner Smile meditation. (24 min)


Step 3: Practice what you’ve learned in these videos for a week. Then continue on with your own practice.


Optional: Would you mind completing a short survey to let us know what you liked and what we can improve on in our online courses? [SURVEY LINK TO COME]

We also would love for you to join us if you haven’t already on the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook where we can support each other’s practice through online discussions, sharing relevant posts, and asking questions to the teacher.


Additional Resource: Infographic 1.4: A Consistent Sacred Meditation Practice.
Feel free to print this out and use it as a reference.

Infographic_Consistent Sacred Meditation Practice.png

Consultation: Optional twenty-minute consultation with Kazi concerning your meditation experiences, insights, challenges, etc. via email, phone, or skype. Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org to request.

Ongoing online group discussions and teachings with Kazi: You can join the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook to engage with a group of kindred spirits to share your meditation medicine journey with.

Go to Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine: Course Description

Go to Lesson 1.1: Meditation is Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine


Peace. Kazi