A great start for our Fall Session of Free Meditation Classes in the Ironbound

New Location, New Time, New Day!

 Thursdays, September 13 – November 15 | 5:30-7:00pm | ICC Family Success Center, The Wellness Room, 317 Elm Street, Newark, NJ

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Above: On September 20th, we had three english-speaking students and one spanish-only and our meditation circle was ready to go. Mindful moments of students practicing walking and sitting meditation. But wait, where’s the men? Donde esta los hombres?! Oh, he’s taking the picture!

In these on-going weekly meditation classes with NCMC instructor J. Javier Cruz and assistant Jennifer Becher you will learn basic meditation and how to apply mindfulness in daily life to live with more ease, more joy, and less stress. Sessions include meditation, light yoga stretches, readings, and discussion. You are welcome to join in at any time. Translations to Spanish and Portuguese as needed.

Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org for more information.

A free community service program of NCMC in cooperation with Ironbound Community Corporation.

 

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REVIEW: NCMC People of Color Retreat with Bhante Kaboggoza Buddharakkhita

We wanted to share a few glowing comments and lessons learned through our people of color retreat that we held on Sunday, September 9th. The retreat packed a variety of methods in exploring how to cultivate wisdom and compassion to heal our community.

Naturally, Bhante took the lead in meditation and dharma talks, but he graciously stepped aside for some of our local instructors and presenters to share — An42158409_2317797014968138_1219361414565593088_o.jpgdrea led a yoga session, Kamilah led the dyads, Javier gave a dharma talk, Mesha did a reading, and Ihsaan emceed. Bhante also presented a 7-minute video of compassion in action showing his center’s local humanitarian projects in Uganda that will warm your heart — including constructing water bores, peace school for children, a women’s empowerment project, and an orphanage.

Attendee Jillian Faulks-Majuta of Majuta Wellness, especially was grateful for the discussion on how to cultivate compassion and wisdom and thought it was right on time for her. Here’s what she says she took away: 1) Start with ME. Be more compassionate with myself as I continue on this journey.; 2) Think of compassion as I continue to mother my youth and other living beings/things along my path.; 3) Practice, practice, practice as the wisdom will come as I continue to grow. Well said!

A few days later, she added that after the retreat she has been more mindful, especially with her children, doing 2 minute meditations before bed each night and even a little before school in the morning.

After attending our day-long, Mia Sikes, director of a meditation and yoga studio in Los Angeles posted, “I love Bhante! Filled my toolbox with teachings that a sista can work with!” She had plans to then attend a 6-week retreat that he would be co-teaching in Massachusetts that started last week.

We received a text (sign of the time) from Bhante saying that it was a “wonderful retreat” and “Bravo!” We’re so glad to hear that from the teacher!

We are as always grateful for the delicious fresh vegan meal catered as dana by Arelis Hernandez, farmer/founder of Rabbit Hole Farm. During the weekend, Kevin Porter, director of the Farm, attended to Bhante’s needs and served him at the retreat. The couple hosted him at their residence for the weekend.

Much thanks goes to our retreat volunteers Mary, Jennifer, Elvis, Venus, and David who quietly and efficiently got the job done before, during, and after the retreat and for the generous and patient support given to us by the Ironbound Community Corporation, especially that of Mayra Ramirez, COO there.

It was an exceptional weekend that began with the Farm Program on Saturday morning and the Book-Signing Event for his two books that evening. Planting Dhamma Seeds, Bhante’s spiritual journey, and Sowing Seeds of Peace, a meditation manual, are the first books published by NCMC. They were published in association with Uganda Buddhist Centre and though they were not the first editions, they are the first editions to be published in the United States! They can be purchased through Amazon at the links above. We hope to have Kindle versions available as well.

We feel very blessed that Bhante took the time to teach and spend the weekend with us during his busy U.S. teaching schedule.


Weathering Our Mind Storms

By Marcie Barth

As we watch the weather storms Tropical Storm Isaac, Hurricane Helene, and the incredibly threatening Hurricane Florence, we can use the parallels of our mind storms.

If we’re mindful-and-aware, these mind storms clue us in to their coming. When we catch ourselves in the middle of a mind storm we realize we weren’t attentive to the warning signs. These signs usually come in the small voice of self-talk, either mental or verbalized, that is negative or irrational. On the other hand, we need to be kind to ourselves, even amused at some of our sillier mind storms.

A humorous example comes from an excerpt of a book by meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein where she describes The Broccoli Phenomenon that occurs at retreats. She based it on the many meditators who become agitated at being served ubiquitous and often unappreciated broccoli and their ensuing mind quotes such as, “When I get home, I’m sending them a collection of good cookbooks!”, “If they are determined to serve so much broccoli, they could at least cook it separately, as a side dish!”, and “I guess I’ll put the stew over the rice and pick out the broccoli. I hope they don’t do this to me again!”.

She continues: “Days pass, meals pass, and between bouts of culinary criticism that temporarily cause mind storms, you continue to develop composure. Sitting, walking, breathing, stepping — hour by hour, gradually, while you are busy concentrating, your mind smooths itself out.”

With mind storms, we can choose to distract our minds with positive thoughts until it calms down or we can choose to watch the mind storms objectively from a mental distance, watching them come and go. We use right effort to not react by feeding them more energy caused by habitual negative thinking, impulsive reactions, and even liking them as your act.

Similarly, different people choose different ways to prepare for weather storms. Some leave the area while others stay in the area, safeguard their belongings, hunker down in a shelter, and watch and wait. Each of us approach our storms based on our conditions and relative perceptions.

Given the right conditions a mind storm thunders in and takes over before you know it. When it clouds your whole mind it can sometimes be hard to get out of. Both the cause of the mind state and the mind state itself have become unrecognizable. But, we can develop many mindfulness and meditation skills to get out of them and prevent them from gaining strength.

Given the right conditions a weather storm thunders in. We may not seem to be able to do much about them, but perhaps we can help as much as we can to gradually weaken their effects through our consumer habits, climate change advocacy, praying for those in danger, and making repairs.

Hurricane Photo Credit: NOAA/NWS/Facebook.


Marcie Barth is chairperson and co-founder of Newark Center for Meditative Culture currently teaching there and at Centro La Paz in Puerto Rico where she resides.


 


September 8-9: Farm Meditation, Book Signing, and People of Color Retreat

With Bhante Kaboggoza Buddharakkhita of Uganda

SOWING SEEDS OF PEACE
Farm Meditation • Dharma Talk • Farm-to-Table Lunch
Saturday Sep. 8 | 11:30am to 1:30pm
Free: Donations welcome
Rabbit Hole Farm Newark
RSVP | Details: Keven/Arelis at rabbitholefarmnewark@gmail.com

PLANTING SEEDS OF DHAMMA
Book-Signing • Meditation • Talk • Vendors
Saturday Sep. 8 | 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Fee: $15
Source of Knowledge Bookstore
RSVP | Details: Greg 973-388-4900 or Ayanna 862-944-8860

CULTIVATING WISDOM & COMPASSION TO HEAL THE COMMUNITY
People of Color Full-Day Meditation Retreat
Sunday Sep. 9 | 9:30am to 4:30pm
Meditation • Talks • Movement • Art • Healing • Affinity
Suggested Donation: $30
Atrium Room at the Early Learning Center
Register | Details: ncmc-poc-retreat.eventbrite.com


First Books to be Published by NCMC

Planting Dhamma Seeds and Sowing Seeds of Peace

We’re excited to announce that Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC) is now a book publisher. We are publishing two books by Bhante Kaboggoza Buddharakkhita who will be teachingPDS Graphic.png with NCMC on Saturday and Sunday, September 8th and 9th. The books to be published are Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism in Africa and Sowing Seeds of Peace: Mindfulness Meditation for Finding Peace Within.

They will only be available for a special sale price of $10 and at a limited quantity to participants at the programs — first come first serve! They will soon also be online with Amazon for purchase at $13.95.

This is the first time that these books will be published in the United States and the first books to be published by NCMC!

We have a short term agreement to publish these books online as a trial project in order to see if publishing spiritual and meditation books could provide a slow and steady stream of income for NCMC in order to fulfill our mission and support our programming.

Author of “Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist and Buddhist”, Jan Willis, wrote of the book Planting Dhamma Seeds:  “… Venerable Buddharakkhita offers us the rare and fascinating story of his spiritual journey with heart and humor. He skillfully weaves into his personal narrative well-chosen passages from the Pali Buddhist Canon and describes for us the challenges and triumphs of establishing the first Buddhist Centre in Uganda. When I finished reading this engaging account, I was left wishing for more!”
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As for Sowing Seeds of Peace, Ib’nallah S. Kazi, Spirit Life Coach at The Spirit Centered Life, describes the book as: “… a breath of fresh air in an age of information overload. Bhante presents the essential elements of meditation practice in a concise and simple language, minus the common filler of metaphysical jargon and scientific theory sandwiched between mounds of case studies. If you want to begin a meditation practice today and progress from the general to more specific techniques for healing and self-development, this book is written for you. Just add consistency.”

All of the proceeds (after costs) from the sale of the books sold at these programs will go to Bhante’s meditation center, Uganda Buddhist Centre, to help support programs such as their Peace School for Children, their Orphan Project, and their Women’s Livelihood Program.

See our newsletter for descriptions of the programs you can attend to purchase these books.

 


A Moment of Grace

By Ib’nallah S. Kazi

savingPNG.jpegThe act of saying grace over a meal and of blessing the dinner table are sacred rituals practiced for millennia across the globe.

From Ghana to Burma and all the way to the Netherlands, human beings incorporate the daily act of eating into their personal and collective spiritual lives.

The blessing of the meal is a time for giving thanks.

Prayers may be directed to a supreme being, to ancestors, the earth or whatever spiritual agency is believed to be of assistance in securing sustenance. Sometimes family members, employees and employers are thanked for the part they play in sustaining an individual or household.

Still a concern for many to this day is the healthiness of a meal they’re about to eat. Invasion of the body by food-born pathogens is a threat that challenges human beings daily. Therefore, some cultures may include request that the meal be allowed to provide strength and vitality — or at least be rendered free of harm.

Not to be overlooked is the impact upon the psyche of that moment of silence when one’s head is bowed and gaze lowered in recognition of our mutual dependence upon all we consider powerful, holy and beneficent.

The few seconds taken to reconnect to the part of us that remains in constant connection with the Unseen Real opens a “spiritual moment.” And in that moment, we invoke the soul elixir that releases the strengthening, healing, beautifying properties of the meal.

We can use the tradition of saying grace as a “conscious opportunity” to create more of those spiritual moments in our day. We don’t have to limit our spiritual practice to being locked away in a specially outfitted room with dimmed lighting, lots of plump pillows and scented candles.

Let’s bring our practice into our “common spaces” — with their sounds and scents of life at its core. First we take back the kitchen, then the toilet, then the garden.

It all adds up.


Ib’nallah S. Kazi is the Spiritual Director of Newark Center for Meditative Culture and a Spiritual Health & Wellness Coach at The Spirit Centered Life.


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

Cultivating Compassion & Wisdom to Heal Our Communities

A DONATION-BASED MEDITATION PROGRAM.
$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

ARRIVAL
8:30 Volunteer Arrival
9:00-9:15 Participant Arrival. Please arrive no later than 9:15.
MORNING SESSION (3 hours)
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
AFTERNOON SESSION (3 hours)
1:30-4:30 Dharma Talk, Guided Meditation, Art Workshop, Walking Meditation, Dyad, Q&A
DEPARTURE


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.