Open House: the four reminders

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Date: Monday 16 October 2017 (19:00 -21:30)
The four reminders

Open House is a gathering that provides a gentle introduction to mindfulness meditation, the Shambhala Buddhist teachings and our community.

It is an opportunity to learn sitting and walking meditation and engage in discussions about the application of teachings to everyday life from fabulous Shambhala teachers including Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Pema Chodron. 

If you are planning to visit Open House for the first time you are invited to arrive 15 minutes early at around 6.45pm to spend time with our meditation guide who will introduce you to meditation practice and Shambhala before the program commences at 7.00pm. 

During 2017 we will be focusing on Shambhala teacher Pema Chodron's book "Comfortable with Uncertainty" using a range of methods including contemplative readings, audio and video. This book offers short, stand-alone readings designed to help us cultivate compassion and awareness amid the challenges of daily living. It does not assume prior knowledge and features the most essential and stirring passages from Pema's previous books, exploring topics such as lovingkindness, meditation, mindfulness, "nowness," letting go, and working with fear and other painful emotions. Through the course of this book, we will also explore practical methods for heightening awareness and overcoming habitual patterns that block compassion.

The first Monday evening of every month features a talk by our resident senior teacher Shastri Loretta Geuenich followed by reflection and the sharing of our collective wisdom through discussion. Every Open House concludes with light refreshments and the opportunity to continue discussions and/or catch up with fellow meditators.  A typical Monday evening program includes:

  • Brief welcome followed by sitting meditation (7:00pm)

  • Walking meditation

  • Sitting meditation

  • Reading or video teaching...followed by contemplation, response and discussion

  • Pack-up (8:15pm)

  • Catch-up time including light refreshments and close around 9:00pm

Tonight's reading: the four reminders

(from Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron) 

THE FOUR REMINDERS are four good reasons why the warrior-bodhisattva makes a continual effort to return to the present moment. They are:

  1. Our precious human birth. Just like the weather, all sorts of feelings, emotions, and thoughts come and go, but that’s no reason to forget how precious the situation is. Our human birth allows us to hear these teachings, to practice, to extend our open hearts to others.

  1. The truth of impermanence. The essence of life is fleeting. Life might be over in the next instant! Remembering impermanence can teach you a lot about how to cheer up. It’s okay to let it scare you. Seeing your fear can heighten the sense of gratitude for the preciousness of human birth and the opportunity to practice.

  1. The law of karma. Every action has a result. Every time you’re willing to acknowledge your thoughts and come back to the freshness of the present moment, you’re sowing seeds of wakefulness for your own future. You’re cultivating innate fundamental wakefulness by aspiring to let go of the habitual way you proceed and doing something different. You’re the only one who can do this. Life is precious and it’s brief and you can use it well.

  1. The futility of samsara. Samsara is preferring death to life. It comes from always trying to create safety zones. We get stuck here because we cling to a funny little identity that gives us some kind of security, painful though it may be. The fourth reminder is to remember the futility of this strategy.