News Archive

Some older topics and announcements

Thursday April 5th

Tendai Teachings in the World Today

This evening’s talk will go back to some of the foundational Tendai teachings and explore how these teachings can help us navigate the world today.

March 2018

Thursday March 8, 2008: Meditation Forms and Practices

This evening’s discussion will be an introduction or a re-introduction to meditation. We will briefly explore several different meditation theories and practices. Then we will review our style of meditation within this context.

The Three Treasures

In his translation and explication of The Heart Sutra, Buddhist scholar Red Pine writes, “Buddhists take refuge in the Three Treasures: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha….That is all that is urged of anyone who travels the Buddhist path. Taking refuge in the Buddha, we learn to transform anger into compassion; taking refuge in the Dharma, we learn to transform delusion into wisdom; and taking refuge in the Sangha, we learn to transform desire into generosity.” Over the next three meetings we will explore what it really means to take refuge in each of these three treasures.

Thursday March 15: The Buddha

Thursday March 22: The Dharma

Thursday March 29: The Sangha


Stopping and Looking: A Half-Day Retreat

Sunday, March 11, 2018

This half-day retreat is an opportunity to pause and reset from the busy nature of daily life. The morning will consist of practice and discussion periods as we explore some foundational teachings from Chih’i’s “Little Handbook for Meditation.”

The retreat will run from 8:30am (arrive at 8:00 to help set up) to 12:30pm. After the retreat there will be an optional group lunch at a local restaurant.

This retreat is open to beginners and to advanced practitioners. Contact Shingaku (shingaku@windingpath.org) to register and for information about location. Recommended donation is $35, and no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

January - February 2018

The Beautiful Way of Life: A Meditation on Shantideva’s Bodhisattva Path

We'll start the new year by continuing our discussion of Rene Feusi’s book, The Beautiful Way of Life - A meditation on Shantideva's Bodhisattva Path This book is a condensed translation of an important Mahayana Buddhist text written c. 700 AD in Sanskrit verse by Shantideva, a Buddhist monk at Nalanda Monastic University in India.

The Beautiful Way of Life is available for purchase online. You'll find several other versions of Shantideva’s text online for free, including Stephen Batchelor’s translation here. It is not necessary to buy the book; we'll have printed copies of the chapter we're discussing available as a handout.

We'll devote two weeks to each chapter. The first Thursday we'll read the text together as a group, and then incorporate the verses into our home meditation practices during the week. The next Thursday we'll continue sharing our thoughts and feelings about the text.

Thu Jan 11: Chapter 7 "Joyous Perseverance"

Thu Jan 18: Chapter 7 "Joyous Perseverance" (continued)

Thu Jan 25: Chapter 8 "Meditative Concentration"

Thu Feb 1: Chapter 8 "Meditative Concentration" (continued) CANCELLED

Thu Feb 8: Chapter 9 "Meditative Concentration" (rescheduled from Feb 1)

Thu Feb 15: Chapter 10 "Wisdom"

Thu Feb 22: Chapter 10 " Wisdom" (continued)

Thu Mar 1 : Chapter 10 "Dedication"


November - December 2017

The Beautiful Way of Life: A Meditation on Shantideva’s Bodhisattva Path

Over the next few months we'll continue our discussion of Rene Feusi’s book, The Beautiful Way of Life. This book is a translation of an important Mahayana Buddhist text written c. 700 AD in Sanskrit verse by Shantideva, a Buddhist monk at Nalanda Monastic University in India.

The Beautiful Way of Life is available for purchase online. You can also access several other versions of Shantideva’s text online for free, including Stephen Batchelor’s translation here. It is not necessary to buy the book; we'll have printed copies of the chapter we're discussing available as a handouts.

We'll devote two weeks to each chapter. The first Thursday we'll read the text together as a group, and then incorporate the verses into our home meditation practices during the week. The next Thursday we'll continue sharing our thoughts and feelings about the text.


Thursday November 9: Chapter 4 "Attending to Bodhichitta"

Thursday November 16: Chapter 4 "Attending to Bodhichitta" continued

Thursday November 23: NO SERVICES - Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday November 30: Chapter 5 "Mindfulness"

Thursday December 7: Chapter 5 "Mindfulness" continued

Thursday December 14: Chapter 6 "Patience"

Thursday December 21: Chapter 6 "Patience" continued

Thursday December 28: Chapter 7 "Joyous Perseverance"

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Beautiful Way of Life: A Meditation on Shantideva’s Bodhisattva Path

Committing to Bodhichitta: Part 2

This week we'll continue our discussion of Chapter 3: Committing to Bodhichitta, from Rene Feusi’s book, The Beautiful Way of Life. This book is a translation of an important Mahayana Buddhist text written c. 700 AD in Sanskrit verse by Shantideva, a Buddhist monk at Nalanda Monastic University in India.

Rene Feusi’s book, The Beautiful Way of Life is available for purchase online. You can also access several other versions of Shantideva’s text online for free, including Stephen Batchelor’s translation here. It is not necessary to buy the book; we'll have printed copies of the chapter we're discussing available as a handouts.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

This week Tamarack Garlow (dharma name: Sancho) , will be leading our discussion, daily service, and meditation.

Sancho is an ordained Tendai priest, who lives in the Berkshire Mountain region of NY state not far from the main temple in Cannan. Sancho once led a Tendai sangha in Great Barrington, where he gave talks about “Life situations discussed from the Buddhist perspective” on a weekly radio program. Recordings of those talks done in 2006-7 are available at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-diamond-path/id169812864?mt=2­

Sancho is a friend of the sangha who regularly substitutes for Shingaku when she can’t be with us. Please join us to welcome him back, or to meet a very interesting teacher for the first time. The topic is unknown, but it’s sure to be great!

As always, our discussion starts at 5PM, and the Daily Service and mediation starts at about 5:30 PM. In case this is your first visit, you should know the big red front doors to the church are sometimes locked. If so, use the entrance at the rear of the building.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Beautiful Way of Life: A Meditation on Shantideva’s Bodhisattva Path

Confession: Part 1

Each evening we end our meditation service by reciting the Four Bodhisattva Vows. Yet, what does it actually mean to walk the path of a Bodhisattva? How do we practice in a way that creates conditions for peace, joy, and freedom from suffering? How do we live an awakened life?

Over the next few months, we will explore answers to these questions in The Bodhicaryavatara by 8th century Indian monk Shantideva. The teachings captured in Shantideva’s verses, though hundreds of years old, are relevant and timely as we work to navigate the challenges in our world today. While we will pull from several translations of Shantideva’s text, we will use Rene Feusi’s rendering of Shantideva’s work, The Beautiful Way of Life: A Meditation on Shantideva’s Bodhisattva Path, as our primary text. This evening’s discussion will be an introduction to Chapter 2: Confession. On October 12th we will revisit this chapter after people have had the opportunity to use these verses in practice.

Rene Feusi’s book, The Beautiful Way of Life is available for purchase online. You can also access several other versions of Shantideva’s text online for free, including Stephen Batchelor’s translation here.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Beautiful Way of Life: A Meditation on Shantideva’s Bodhisattva Path

The Excellence of Bodhichitta: Part 2

Each evening we end our meditation service by reciting the Four Bodhisattva Vows. Yet, what does it actually mean to walk the path of a Bodhisattva? How do we practice in a way that creates conditions for peace, joy, and freedom from suffering? How do we live an awakened life?

Over the next few months, we will explore answers to these questions in The Bodhicaryavatara by 8th century Indian monk Shantideva. The teachings captured in Shantideva’s verses, though hundreds of years old, are relevant and timely as we work to navigate the challenges in our world today. While we will pull from several translations of Shantideva’s text, we will use Rene Feusi’s rendering of Shantideva’s work, The Beautiful Way of Life: A Meditation on Shantideva’s Bodhisattva Path, as our primary text. This evening’s conversation will focus on our experiences with Chapter 1: The Excellence of Bodhichitta.

Rene Feusi’s book, The Beautiful Way of Life is available for purchase online. You can also access several other versions of Shantideva’s text online for free, including Stephen Batchelor’s translation here.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Beautiful Way of Life: A Meditation on Shantideva’s Bodhisattva Path

The Excellence of Bodhichitta: Part 1

Each evening we end our meditation service by reciting the Four Bodhisattva Vows. Yet, what does it actually mean to walk the path of a Bodhisattva? How do we practice in a way that creates conditions for peace, joy, and freedom from suffering? How do we live an awakened life?

Over the next few months, we will explore answers to these questions in The Bodhicaryavatara by 8th century Indian monk Shantideva. The teachings captured in Shantideva’s verses, though hundreds of years old, are relevant and timely as we work to navigate the challenges in our world today. While we will pull from several translations of Shantideva’s text, we will use Rene Feusi’s rendering of Shantideva’s work, The Beautiful Way of Life: A Meditation on Shantideva’s Bodhisattva Path, as our primary text. This evening’s discussion will be an introduction to Chapter 1: The Excellence of Bodhichitta. On September 21st we will revisit this chapter after people have had the opportunity to use the verses in practice.

Rene Feusi’s book, The Beautiful Way of Life is available for purchase online. You can also access several other versions of Shantideva’s text online for free, including Stephen Batchelor’s translation here.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Sticking With It

This summer our conversations will focus on meditation practice: on the basic forms of meditation, the purpose of meditation, and on how to recognize and overcome obstacles that arise during meditation. Each week we will start our conversation from one chapter in Tricycle Magazine’s Meditation: Volume 2, a collection of articles by various meditation teachers. Will will use the reading as a way to generate insights and questions for further exploration, and we will connect our discussions to Tendai Buddhist meditation practice.

This week we will be discussing “Sticking With It” by Sharon Salzburg. Please come ready to share an idea from the article that resonated with you or that confused you.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jizo Day

The wooden image on the altar at Winding Path Tendai Sangha is Jizo Bodhisattva. Jizo is a manifestation of compassion who shows up to support those who are experiencing the most difficult kinds of suffering. In Japan the 24th of each month is Jizo’s related day, and on August 24 there are often festivals dedicated to Jizo. Since this evening’s gathering falls on this date, we will investigate the symbolism and traditions connected to Jizo Bodhisattva.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Meditation, Mental Habits, and Creative Imagination

This summer our conversations will focus on meditation practice: on the basic forms of meditation, the purpose of meditation, and on how to recognize and overcome obstacles that arise during meditation. Each week we will start our conversation from one chapter in Tricycle Magazine’s Meditation: Volume 2, a collection of articles by various meditation teachers. Will will use the reading as a way to generate insights and questions for further exploration, and we will connect our discussions to Tendai Buddhist meditation practice.

This week we will be discussing “Meditation, Mental Habits and Creative Imagination” by Martine Batchelor. Please come ready to share an idea from the article that resonated with you or that confused you.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Fruitless Labor

This summer our conversations will focus on meditation practice: on the basic forms of meditation, the purpose of meditation, and on how to recognize and overcome obstacles that arise during meditation. Each week we will start our conversation from one chapter in Tricycle Magazine’s Meditation: Volume 2, a collection of articles by various meditation teachers. Will will use the reading as a way to generate insights and questions for further exploration, and we will connect our discussions to Tendai Buddhist meditation practice.

This week we will be discussing “Fruitless Labor” by Gaylon Ferguson. Please come ready to share an idea from the article that resonated with you or that confused you.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Observing Hiroshima Remembrance Day

It is important for us to remember tragic historical events and to reflect on the conditions that gave rise to those events. If we can better understand those conditions, to recognize where suffering exists for everyone involved in a conflict, we can shape our own actions to help foster conditions that will lead to ease the suffering of all sentient beings. This evening we will remember the August 6, 1945 dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

Our conversation will focus on conditioned arising on a socio-political level. We will consider the question: How does personal transformation relate to social transformation? Then, instead of our standard shikan meditation practice, we will engage in a practice of folding paper cranes as a way of developing understanding within ourselves and generating peace toward our fellow humans.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Evaluate your Meditation

This summer our conversations will focus on meditation practice: on the basic forms of meditation, the purpose of meditation, and on how to recognize and overcome obstacles that arise during meditation. Each week we will start our conversation from one chapter in Tricycle Magazine’s Meditation: Volume 2, a collection of articles by various meditation teachers. We will use the reading as a way to generate insights and questions for further exploration, and we will connect our discussions to Tendai Buddhist meditation practice.

This week we will be discussing “Evaluate your Meditation” by Gil Fronsdal. Please come ready to share an idea from the article that resonated with you or that confused you.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Like a Dragon in Water

This summer our conversations will focus on meditation practice: on the basic forms of meditation, the purpose of meditation, and on how to recognize and overcome obstacles that arise during meditation. Each week we will start our conversation from one chapter in Tricycle Magazine’s Meditation: Volume 2, a collection of articles by various meditation teachers. We will use the reading as a way to generate insights and questions for further exploration, and we will connect our discussions to Tendai Buddhist meditation practice.

This week we will be discussing “Like a Dragon in Water” by Pat Enkyo O’hara. Please come ready to share an idea from the article that resonated with you or that confused you.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sitting Still

This summer our conversations will focus on meditation practice: on the basic forms of meditation, the purpose of meditation, and on how to recognize and overcome obstacles that arise during meditation. Each week we will start our conversation from one chapter in Tricycle Magazine’s Meditation: Volume 2, a collection of articles by various meditation teachers. We will use the reading as a way to generate insights and questions for further exploration, and we will connect our discussions to Tendai Buddhist meditation practice.

This week we will be discussing “Sitting Still” by Henepola Gunaratana. Please come ready to share an idea from the article that resonated with you or that confused you.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Take the One Seat

This summer our conversations will focus on meditation practice: on the basic forms of meditation, the purpose of meditation, and on how to recognize and overcome obstacles that arise during meditation. Each week we will start our conversation from one chapter in Tricycle Magazine’s Meditation: Volume 2, a collection of articles by various meditation teachers. We will use the reading as a way to generate insights and questions for further exploration, and we will connect our discussions to Tendai Buddhist meditation practice.

This week we will be discussing “Take the One Seat” by Jack Kornfield. Please come ready to share an idea from the article that resonated with you or that confused you.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Your Life is Your Practice

This summer our conversations will focus on meditation practice: on the basic forms of meditation, the purpose of meditation, and on how to recognize and overcome obstacles that arise during meditation. Each week we will start our conversation from one chapter in Tricycle Magazine’s Meditation: Volume 2, a collection of articles by various meditation teachers. We will use the reading as a way to generate insights and questions for further exploration, and we will connect our discussions to Tendai Buddhist meditation practice.

This week we will be discussing “Your Life is Your Practice,” by Glenna Olmstead. Please come ready to share an idea from the article that resonated with you or that confused you.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Morality from a Buddhist Perspective

“In Buddhism morality is not a matter of obeying commandments handed down from on high, but of acting skillfully rather than unskillfully. To act skillfully is to act free of greed, hatred, and mental confusion, and you cannot be skillful unless you can understand things, unless you can see possibilities and explore them.” A Guide to the Buddhist Path by Sangharakshita.

This excerpt and the entire chapter focused on Morality will fuel our discussion on May 18 and May 25. Please come ready to share a few sentences from pages 139-161 of the book. Consider these angles when you identify what part of the text you want to share: What’s an idea you agree with? An idea you argue with? An idea you aspire to?

If you don’t have the book, no problem. You’re still welcome to join the discussion. And, you can email Shingaku (tendaispringfield@gmail.com) to get a copy of the section we’ll be reading together.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Morality from a Buddhist Perspective

“In Buddhism morality is not a matter of obeying commandments handed down from on high, but of acting skillfully rather than unskillfully. To act skillfully is to act free of greed, hatred, and mental confusion, and you cannot be skillful unless you can understand things, unless you can see possibilities and explore them.” A Guide to the Buddhist Path by Sangharakshita.

This excerpt and the entire chapter focused on Morality will fuel our discussion on May 18 and May 25. Please come ready to share a few sentences from pages 139-161 of the book. Consider these angles when you identify what part of the text you want to share: What’s an idea you agree with? An idea you argue with? An idea you aspire to?

If you don’t have the book, no problem. You’re still welcome to join the discussion. And, you can email Shingaku (tendaispringfield@gmail.com) to get a copy of the section we’ll be reading together.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Path of Regular Steps and The Path of Irregular Steps

We’ve been reading A Guide to the Buddhist Path by Sangharakshita. This evening we will be discussing “The Path of Regular Steps and the Path of Irregular Steps” pages 129-137. Please come ready to share a few sentences from the text. Consider these angles when you identify what part of the text you want to share: What’s an idea you agree with? An idea you argue with? An idea you aspire to?

If you don’t have the book, no problem. You’re still welcome to join the discussion.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Buddhism and Martial Arts

There is some significant overlap between the philosophy and practices in Buddhism and in martial arts in Japan. This evening’s talk will offer an overview of how Buddhism and martial arts are intertwined.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Benefits and Dangers of Mikkyo

Mikkyo (literally “secret teachings”) refers to esoteric Buddhist practices, combining powerful mudra, mantra and visualizations to develop wisdom and compassion. These practices are often seen as a way to achieve awakening more quickly, and yet they can also be dangerous when misused. This evening’s talk will offer an overview of some of the basic mikkyo practices in Tendai Buddhism and will provide some examples of how the practices can be both helpful and harmful.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Shakyamuni’s Birthday Celebration

The birthday of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, is celebrated in Japan on April 8. We will take this evening to explore some of the mythology surrounding the Buddha’s life and consider how those stories can inspire us in our practice today. People often bring flowers to offer during this ceremony, and you are welcome to bring some flowers to place on or near the altar.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Unfailing Mutual Kindness

We’ve been reading A Guide to the Buddhist Path by Sangharakshita. This evening we will be discussing “Unfailing Mutual Kindness,” pages 123-125, the final piece in the section on Sangha. Please come ready to share a few sentences from the text. Consider these angles when you identify what part of the text you want to share: What’s an idea you agree with? An idea you argue with? An idea you aspire to?

If you don’t have the book, no problem. You’re still welcome to join the discussion.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Buddhism and Addiction

Buddhist teachings and practices provide a framework that help us understand the root of our suffering and how to transform the way we experience our lives. The second noble truth identifies craving and aversion, which can give rise to addiction, as one cause of suffering. The eightfold path offers a way to live life so that craving and aversion don’t control your actions. In this evening’s discussion we will focus on Noah Levine’s Refuge Recovery, an interpretation of Buddhist teachings specifically supporting those who are recovering from various forms of substance or process addiction. The teachings that are part of Refuge Recovery can be useful for anyone who experiences craving or aversion.

At the end of this evening’s conversation, we will explore whether a group is interested in starting up a weekly Refuge Recovery meeting in Springfield

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Unfair

A Buddhist reading of Adam Benforado’s book Unfair: the New Science of Criminal Injustice. We will delve into the challenges Benforado identifies in the criminal justice system and consider those challenges through the lens of Buddhist teachings. We looked at one chapter from this text together a couple years ago. This evening will outline the book’s primary claims and then analyze those claims through the lens of dharma.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Back to the Breath

Over a series of weeks we will be discussing and engaging in practices from the Anapanasati Sutta or the Sutra on Awareness of Breathing. We will explore the content of this sutra as a tool for living more deeply in the moment and for developing wisdom about the nature of existence.

As we’re studying the sutra, check out this interpretation by the Hoodie Monks, a group of Buddhist Monks, MC's, DJs, B-Boys and Street Artists dedicated to sharing Buddhist thought and practice through hip hop culture.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Beginner’s Mind Night--Right Livelihood

The first Thursday of each month is beginner’s mind night in our sangha. The evening’s discussion has two purposes. For those who are attending for this first time, we will introduce ourselves and explain some of the basic practices and teachings of Tendai Buddhism. This is a great chance to orient yourself to our group and to our particular style of meditation. For those who are regular attendees of our services, beginner’s mind night is a chance to reflect on how we are living mindfully in daily life. Each month we will review one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings as a way to consider our daily practice. This month we will focus on Right Livelihood.

All are welcome to join us. No need to register in advance. There is no fee for attendance, but we recommend a free-will donation as a way to practice generosity.

Thursday, Feb 2, 2017

Beginner’s Mind Night--Protecting and Nourishing the Sangha

The first Thursday of each month is beginner’s mind night in our sangha. The evening’s discussion has two purposes. For those who are attending for this first time, we will introduce ourselves and explain some of the basic practices and teachings of Tendai Buddhism. This is a great chance to orient yourself to our group and to our particular style of meditation. For those who are regular attendees of our services, beginner’s mind night is a chance to reflect on how we are living mindfully in daily life. Each month we will review one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings as a way to consider our daily practice. This month we will focus on Protecting and Nourishing the Sangha .

All are welcome to join us. No need to register in advance. There is no fee for attendance, but we recommend a free-will donation as a way to practice generosity.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Communication

Continuing on with our study of A Guide to the Buddhist Path by Sangharakshita, this evening we will be discussing “Communication,” pages 119-121. Please come ready to share a few sentences from the text. Consider these angles when you identify what part of the text you want to share: What’s an idea you agree with? An idea you argue with? An idea you aspire to?

The section we'll be discussing is available online here, but if you don’t get around to doing the reading, no problem. You’re still welcome to join the discussion.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Habits and Vows

The New Year is often a time when we are inspired to make a fresh start. We are hopeful about our potential to replace bad habits with good ones, and we set New Year’s Resolutions to try to hold ourselves accountable for change. And, for many people, by February we have forgotten about these resolutions. This evening we will investigate why the typical format of a New Year’s Resolution is often ineffective and how examining and reconnecting with vows can be a more effective way to reset at the New Year and throughout the year.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Service of Lights

This evening’s service marks the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. In Japan this is a time that marks the turning point from yin to yang and a move toward balance. We will observe this evening with stories and a celebration of light.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Primacy of Going for Refuge

We’ve been reading A Guide to the Buddhist Path by Sangharakshita. This evening we will be discussing “The Primacy of Going for Refuge,” pages 112-119. Please come ready to share a few sentences from the text. Consider these angles when you identify what part of the text you want to share: What’s an idea you agree with? An idea you argue with? An idea you aspire to?

If you don’t have the book, no problem. You’re still welcome to join the discussion.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Family Life and Early Buddhist Monastics

Typically we think about early Buddhist monks and nuns as completely leaving behind family when they took their monastic vows. Shayne Clarke’s scholarship in his Family Matters in Indian Buddhist Monasticisms, provides evidence of a different version of early monasticism. This evening’s talk will be a summary of some of the key ideas from Clarke’s analysis.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Bodhi Day

Bodhi Day commemorates the day that the historical Buddha reached enlightenment. In honor of this day, tonight’s talk will have two focuses. First we will review the concept of enlightenment--considering what this meant for the historical Buddha and what it means for us today. Then we will review the purpose behind some of the elements of the Bodhi Day service.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Beginner’s Mind Night--True Community and Communication

The first Thursday of each month is beginner’s mind night in our sangha. The evening’s discussion has two purposes. For those who are attending for this first time, we will introduce ourselves and explain some of the basic practices and teachings of Tendai Buddhism. This is a great chance to orient yourself to our group and to our particular style of meditation. For those who are regular attendees of our services, beginner’s mind night is a chance to reflect on how we are living mindfully in daily life. Each month we will review one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings as a way to consider our daily practice. This month we will focus on True Community and Communication.