Meditation Training ~ Seeing clearly changes things
Besides my work as a Licensed Professional Counselor, I've been an ordained contemplative minister since 2016. Below are links to some free resources from me, as well as others I want to share with you.
Deep South Dharma's Online Practice Group
This meditation and discussion group currently meets on Zoom Mondays at 7PM Central Time. Go here to pick up the Zoom link to join us. In the tradition of Early Buddhist practice, the group is completely free to attend, and we don't solicit donations. The last few minutes is an optional opportunity to participate in paritta chanting and make commitment to the Five Precepts.
There are a group of us hosting a mindfulness practice group for one hour in Classroom 108 at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Oxford, Wednesdays, 7PM Central Time. We begin with a few mindful movements, meditate for 15 minutes, read a brief selection and sit with that for 5 more minutes, then a time of sharing for those who wish to. Currently, our readings are from the book Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hahn.
For practice support anytime, check visit Deep South Dharma on Anchor, or subscribe on your favorite platform to access the archives of talks and meditations.
For articles on personal development, parenting, and Buddhism, visit acharyachristinebates.medium.com or medium.com/the-fifth-posture ~ If you don't subscribe, just ask me for a "friend link" to read an article of mine for free.
Regional Retreat Resources
Making time for retreat is one of the best things you can do for your spiritual practice
Flowering Lotus Meditation is a good-hearted group of meditation practitioners offering frequent weekend residential retreats, usually in south Mississippi, with many respected Western lay teachers. The retreats are doable - from Friday evening to Sunday morning - and deliberately affordable.
Magnolia Grove Monastery — If you're in north Mississippi, visit this practice center of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Tradition on one of their open days. It has both a monks’ residence and a nuns’ residence, one of the most beautiful meditation halls you’ll ever see, and a small bookstore with its own peculiar schedule.
Penuel Ridge Retreat Center is an interfaith contemplative retreat center in Ashland City, just outside of Nashville TN. They have accommodation for individual, couple or group retreats. They are supported by grants and donations, not owned by any one religion or denomination.
St. Mary's Sewanee in Tennessee holds the mission of offering "spiritual hospitality to persons of diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds in a place of natural beauty, and I can vouch for that!
Some Favorite Meditation Resources
Abhayagiri Monastery, of Redwood Valley, CA, is home to monks of the Thai Forest branch of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. You can hear also them via podcast and on YouTube.
Both Amaravati Buddhist Monastery and Chithurst Monastery in England have websites with extensive archives of audio and video talks, as well as links to full-length downloadable books by authors such as the monks Ajahn Summedho, Ajahn Sucitto, Ajahn Amaro, and nuns Ayya Sundara and Ayya Candasiri . Get the newletters offered at both these sites so that you can learn about online weekly gatherings or retreats when they occur.
Buddhist Global Relief was founded by Bhikkhu Bodhi, is a highly esteemed teacher and prolific translator of the suttas (scriptures) of the Pali Canon. Guided by Buddhist teachings, this volunteer run organization strives to relieve chronic hunger and malnutrition worldwide.
AND for a useful and clarifying explanation of the relationship between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, take a look at “Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi: Bridging the Two Vehicles” on YouTube.
Buddhist Society of Western Australia on YouTube gives you many penetrating and delightful talks by Ajahn Brahm, a much loved monk, advocate for nuns' ordination and student of Ajahn Chah.
Clear Mountain Monastery is a generous stream of Dhamma teaching from Ajahn Kovilo and Venerable Nisabho, as well as an aspiration for a new monastery in the Thai Forest tradition in the Pacific Northwest. Probably easiest to locate them on the CMM YouTube channel to begin.
Contemplative Outreach, Ltd provides training, support and resources for Christian Contemplative Prayer. You can join an online Centering Prayer group or search Contemplative Outreach Chapters to find an in-person prayer group in your area.
Dharmaseed ~ Not at all new, but worth mentioning if you are not familiar with their astounding library of audio teachings from hundreds of monastic and lay teachers, searchable by teacher or topic.
The Fourth Messenger website offers articles, art and interviews/a podcast from some of the master teachers of our time.
Peace Beyond Suffering is an incredible gift of resources for cultivating meditation by Ajahn Achalo, an Australian-born Bhikkhu who is the Abbott of Anandagiri Monastery is Thailand.
Thanissaro Bhikkhu is an extremely prolific monk/teacher of the Thai Forest tradition that manages to be both accessible and challenging at the same time.
Upavana is a new project, begun in May 2021. In addition to recorded material, you can join this community live via Zoom on Wednesday evenings. I discovered its founder, Tahn Pamutto, on the Fourth Messenger podcast mentioned above. That interview is one of the most inspiring explanations of what the role of the monk is and can be that I’ve ever heard. At the time of the interview, Tahn Pamutto was a wandering forest monk in New England; and how he got there from the Army is a story worth hearing.