by Carole Maurer
First meeting in the new White Heron Sangha Meditation Center
After months of negotiations and preparations, White Heron Sangha finally held its first Sunday Sangha meeting on May 29 in our new White Heron Sangha Meditation Center in Avila Village (see the maps and photos). What a treat it was to meditate with 72 of you in our own place! So many people have commented on how light and spacious and supportive our new center feels. It’s a wonderful place for practicing in a group and I hope you take advantage of our meditation and class offerings and sit with us in the near future. You might want to join us on July 16 when Zen Priest Mark Shōgen Bloodgood will lead us in a special dedication ceremony.
Of course, in any new place, there are many details to work out as we learn how to best utilize and manage the space. We have committees working on enhancing the overall décor and improving our audio/video capabilities. In the near future, we’ll have a beautiful sign above the entrance to our building. We welcome your comments and suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to email us (email@example.com), use our suggestion box (on the table near the dana basket at the Center), or talk to any of the Board members.
It is the hope of the White Heron Sangha Board that our new meditation center will be a place of refuge for all those who wish to find support for mindfulness, kindness, wisdom, and ease in these turbulent times. We are already offering meditation sittings on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in addition to our Sunday programs and hope to add other opportunities to meditate together in the future. We’ll be offering new classes and some shorter retreats in addition to holding full weekend retreats at the new center. The first of these will be with Donald Rothberg on July 29-30 (more info).
Many volunteers have helped to create this sacred space and we’ll need many more to keep it vital and functioning smoothly. Serving our Sangha can be an integral part of our practice – it certainly is for me. We will be creating a new Volunteer Opportunities webpage soon where we’ll list our current needs. We’re always looking for volunteers who can open and close or help with tea setup and cleanup for our regular Sunday meetings. The need for these jobs will expand as we add new offerings. Please contact Marianne Palmer, our volunteer coordinator, if you’re interested in helping in this way. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you can imagine, it costs a lot more to have our own center than it did to rent space just for meditation sittings. We now have the real opportunity to be the Buddhist meditation and mindfulness practice and instructional center for San Luis Obispo County. If you have participated in our sittings and events in the past, you have hopefully benefited from our offerings. As you know, we operate totally on a donation basis, with no membership fees. Perhaps you can consider helping with the smooth operation of our Sangha by contributing what you are able to afford on a regular basis monthly, as several people are already doing through our PayPal account or through an ongoing automatic donation through their bank. All gifts are welcome, of course, not just monthly giving, so please consider a gift of any amount in support of what we do now and hope to offer in the near future. You can continue to donate at each of our meditation sittings or check out our donation webpage for more information about donating online.
Again, thank you to all who have made the dream of a home for White Heron Sangha possible. May the fruit of your generosity and practice spread goodness to you and all beings. I hope to see you at the White Heron Sangha Meditation Center soon.