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Rock Blossom Sangha
A Brooklyn Community of Mindfulness
Church of Gethsemane
1012 Eighth Avenue,
between 10th and 11th Streets,
Park Slope,
Brooklyn, NY 11215
http://rockblossom.org/
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About Us

The Rock Blossom Sangha is inspired by the teachings and practice of Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh; we belong to the international Sangha which he founded: the Order of Interbeing, a "fourfold community" of lay women and men, nuns and monks. We are a grassroots Sangha, beginners and more experienced practitioners learning from and supporting one other on the path of awakening.

Our aspiration is to bring mindfulness, concentration, and insight to daily living. During our sessions, we apply the practice of conscious breathing to sitting and walking, as well as communicating with compassionate listening and loving speech. Our gatherings also reflect the values of openness. For example, many members continue to participate within other religious or ethical traditions. And, while we are determined to avoid an attachment to narrow or partisan doctrines, we do share a commitment to opposing oppression and social injustice. Other values one might see reflected are presented in the Five and Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, guidelines we often recite and discuss.

The larger community includes other practitioners in the city, as well as around the world. Members often participate in other events in New York, such as Days of Mindfulness, Dharma study, walking meditations in the park, or even travel to meditation centers in New York, California, or Plum Village in France.

Beginners are welcome.

Welcoming Diversity

The Rock Blossom Sangha recognizes that in our society, many people experience prejudice and feelings of exclusion. In following the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn, we practice with the strong intention of inclusiveness. We welcome individuals with any sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability*, and of any race, color, ethnicity, age, religion, class, or any other group identification. All who have an affinity with our practice are invited and encouraged to practice with us.

*Regrettably, our present space has limited accessibility due to two sets of stairs. However, we are happy to offer assistance to anyone needing it.

Logistics

We gather every Sunday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Church of Gethsemane in Park Slope. (Very close to the Park Slope/7th Ave. F-stop.) We begin promptly.

The Practice

Our weekly practice is composed of two one hour segments. In the first hour we sit silently for 20 minutes, then practice a short walking meditation, followed by another sitting meditation which might be guided. The second hour includes a Dharma reading, then Dharma discussion in which all participants are invited to share their experience and discuss the reading. We end with a time for announcements, a short sit, and taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Our practice is to conclude by affirming: "May the fruits of our practice benefit all beings."

Sitting Meditation

"Sit or lie down in a way that allows your body to rest. Sitting, your head and spine form a straight line. Relax all your muscles. Find a way of sitting that allows you to sit for at least 20 minutes without becoming too stiff or tired. As soon as you sit down, pay attention to your breath. Then notice your posture, a little bit everywhere. Relax the muscles in your face. If you are angry or worried, those muscles will be tense. Smile lightly, and you will relax hundreds of muscles in your face. Then notice your shoulders, and let go of the tension there. Don’t try too hard. Just breathe mindfully, and scan your whole body."

Thich Nhat Hanh, The Mindfulness Bell, Issue 23, pages 1,4.

Walking Meditation

"Walk more slowly than you usually do, but not too slowly, while breathing normally. Do not try to control your breathing. Walk along this way for a few minutes. Then notice how many steps you take as your lungs fill and how many steps you take as they empty. In this way, your attention includes both breath and steps. You are mindful of both.... Your half-smile brings calmness and delight to your steps and your breath.... After a few hours of serious practice, you will find that the four of them — the breath, the counting, the steps, and the half-smile — blend together in a marvelous balance of mindfulness. This is equanimity, created by the practice of walking meditation. The four elements of breathing, counting, stepping, and the half-smile become one."

Thich Nhat Hanh, A Guide to Walking Meditation.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Zen master, poet, peace activist, and the author of many books, including Peace Is Every Step and The Miracle of Mindfulness. He was born in Vietnam in 1926, and left home as a teen of 16 to become a Zen monk. He founded the School of Youth for Social Services, Van Hanh Buddhist University and the Tiep Hien Order (Order of Interbeing), in Vietnam. He has taught at Columbia University, Princeton University and the Sorbonne, was Chair of the Vietnamese Buddhist Peace Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks, and was nominated by Martin Luther King Jr. for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was exiled from Vietnam in 1966 and lives in a monastic community in southwestern France called Plum Village, where he teaches, writes, gardens, and works to help refugees worldwide.

"We must be aware of the real problems of the world. Then, with mindfulness, we will know what to do and what not to do." Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step

The Buddha's Teaching on Living in the Present Moment

Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is
in the very here and now,
the practitioner dwells
in stability and freedom

We must be diligent today.
To wait until tomorrow is too late,
Death comes unexpectedly.
How can we bargain with it?
The sage calls a person who knows
how to dwell in mindfulness night and day "one who knows the better way to live alone."

Thich Nhat Hanh, Our Appointment With Life: The Buddha's Teaching on Living in the Present.

(page last updated December 8, 2012)

Rock Blossom Sangha

Brooklyn Community of Mindfulness

About Us

Welcoming Diversity

Logistics

The Practice

Sitting Meditation

Walking Meditation

Thich Nhat Hanh

The Buddha's Teaching on Living in the Present Moment