We have gathered these resources that we hope you will find useful:
- What happens at a SnowFlower Sangha gathering?
- Does this replace other spiritual paths?
- Email List
- Mentorship Program and Kalyana Mitta
If you have any questions, please e-mail us at email@example.com
What Happens at a SnowFlower Sangha Gathering?
A sangha gathering includes sitting and walking meditation, a short presentation by the person facilitating (a different volunteer each time), group discussion, announcements, and closing.
At the start of the gathering, the facilitator welcomes and calls the community to attention by inviting (ringing) the bell. After a brief introduction, people are asked to introduce themselves by stating their first name.
The facilitator then invites the bell three times to open the first 20–25 minute round of sitting meditation. The bell is invited once at the end of the period. Then, there is a walking meditation for 10-15 minutes of walking meditation (a short explanation of the walking meditation may be given if there are newcomers), followed by a second round of sitting of 20-25 minutes.
After the second sitting meditation, the facilitator offers a short talk, a guided meditation, a reading, poem, or other personal insights that are related to Buddhist teachings.
This is followed by an opportunity to share thoughts or feelings related to practice. Sangha members bow before and after speaking. This enables the person to speak without interruption and facilitates deep listening. Speakers should avoid responding to individuals and should try to share only once so others have time to speak.
Sharing is followed by announcements, and “Sharing the Merit.” We close by holding hands in a circle, where we offer well-being for others who are suffering.
A small basket is placed at the door for voluntary contributions (usually two dollars) towards the rental fee for the Meetinghouse and scholarships to make sure all our members can attend our retreats.
Does This Replace Other Spiritual Paths?
Mindfulness practice can be done in a secular manner, in a spiritual context, or as a complement to a religious practice. For many who attend, mindfulness practice is their major spiritual affiliation. For some, sangha supports other religious or spiritual practices.
You do not have to be a Buddhist to enjoy and benefit from attending SnowFlower.
SnowFlower uses a Yahoo! Group as our primary method of communicating with and within our community. There are weekly messages for all of our gatherings, as well as announcements for retreats and other practice opportunities that are sent out to the group. In addition to simply announcing things that are going on, it’s a community forum to explore practice related questions and also share other practice related items like Buddhist educational opportunities. To join the SnowFlower group to get all of the email notifications, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
At our meetings on Tuesdays and Fridays, SnowFlower offers a lending library of resources by Thich Nhat Hanh and other authors “on the path.” Feel free to check out these materials.
Growing with SnowFlower Sangha
Participants in SnowFlower Sangha seeking a mentor might be newcomers to meditation and/or the sangha, and they may have questions about the practice and our community. At the same time, more experienced participants in sangha may also have a desire to deepen their practice. A mentor can help ease a newcomer’s entry in the community and support others in their practice. Mentors are trusted, knowledgeable, and experienced friends on the path. They share their own stories, practices, challenges and joys. They serve as a sounding board, helping mentees find their own way by engaging in skillful dialog and inquiry. The mentorship always is practice based, with an aspiration for a more fully lived, embodied practice that could be transformative. It is important to note that while the mentoring relationship may be therapeutic, it is not therapy.
Kalyana Mitta means “spiritual friends.” At SnowFlower, Kalyana Mitta (KM) denotes a practice opportunity for groups of approximately 6-12 persons in size whose members meet monthly to offer and receive support in their practice. The intention is that these groups provide a safe container to share at a deeper level than may occur during a regular sangha meeting. A KM group typically develops its own format, which may involve selected readings on a particular topic such as compassion or reading and discussing a book of Thay’s. A meeting will generally include short sits at start and close, a check-in, and discussion of the material under study. The group sets its own rules and meeting times.
If you are interested in being paired up with a mentor or joining a Kalyana Mitta, please send an email to email@example.com.