The Heart Sutra-wisdom tradition

In case you missed our sangha discussion this past Monday, 6/18/18, we recorded it. We were grateful for Lowell who facilitated an engaging Dharma talk covering the Prajnaparamita Sutras, specifically the Heart and Diamond Sutras. These wisdom sutras, particularly the Heart Sutra, are quite challenging to grasp. Over the past several weeks, we’ve had numerous teachings on the Heart Sutra and the 5 Skandas. In this discussion, Lowell started with a recap of the prior weeks, added quite a bit by sharing his experience and understanding of these sutras and managed to leave plenty of time for others to share their understanding and challenges with the Heart Sutra.

Enjoy this audio below!

06.18.18 Heart Sutra - Wisdom Tradition     
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Mindful Eating Practice

The practice of Mindful Eating gives us an opportunity to satisfy and nourish our  body, pay attention to our hunger cues, cravings, sensations, and bring a new dimension to just eating or drinking as it is.  With each meal, we take pleasure in eating and drinking. It’s an important practice. We practice stopping eating when feeling satisfied and this is easier when eating mindfully.

When we eat mindfully it’s a meditation practice in itself. We reflect and acknowledge the importance of eating meditation practice in our daily lives.  Once we do that reflection, it is helpful to write it down and remember why we wish to practice mindful eating.

For example you can write this down and put on your refrigerator or in your lunch bag or another place where you will be reminded of the intention

  • I take this opportunity to really enjoy and honor this food and drink.
  • I am grateful for all that was done in order for me to eat and drink this food.
  • I dedicate at least 5 minutes to mindful eating because this is how I feed my body and my spirit.
  • I become satisfied when eating mindfully, since I take the time to be with the present moment while eating.
  • Practices and methods that can be helpful in cultivating the practice of mindful eating.


        • Take 5 minutes and eat one raisin or one almond mindfully as a meditation practice. Increase the time to 10, 15, 30m
        • When eating, just eat. When cooking, just cook. Give it 100%
        • Schedule eating time during lunch or dinner and just eat without distractions.
        • Family dinner time is a time to socialize and to be present with our families.  We practice a careful balance of socializing only when not actively eating or drinking.
        • When we are eating, we are mindful of the food we are eating, not talking, but focusing on the food. After chewing and swallowing the food or drink we can shift our attention to the others and putting our utensils down while we chat and listen.
        • We practice eating with our full attention, noticing the food and surroundings
        • Make eating a special occasion, adding flowers or nice candles is a nice touch to note the importance of this activity, making it special for self


  • Practices before we start the meal


          • Say thank you for this food, everyone who made contributions, the earth and all causes and conditions for me to be alive to experience this food – this food is a blessing.
          • Recognize that having this food is a precious gift, and not all people have access to food today, especially this special unique food in front of us.
          • Have the Intention, that all beings have access to food like I am about to eat.
          • Bow to the food as a recognition and respect for all of the above.
          • Recognize that eating mindfully is a gift we give to ourselves. We deserve to eat this food with gratitude and in full awareness to honor it.
          • When we prepare the food, we take time to be grateful for ourselves – time put into food prep by making it special
          • Give ourselves permission to take the time to eat without distractions.
            • Be present /  Be grateful
            • If we are not taking this time to eat, we are taking the whole experience for granted, eating  the emails, the conversations, the news, etc…
          • Do not eat snacks while cooking – we can’t actually do both.  Tasting is ok.


  • Practice during meals


        • Notice texture, smell, color, taste, changing of taste, salivation, teeth, cheeks, tongue, breathing, muscles relaxed or tight, jaw, plate color, texture, material, temperature, desire for food arising, hunger cues, sensations of body, mouth.
        • When we reach for the next piece of food, does the tongue automatically push food down in preparation for the next bite? Notice it.
        • To help with mindful eating, put down the utensils until after all food is chewed and swallowed. Pick em back up mindfully.
        • Stop eating when feeling satisfied ( no longer feeling hunger )
        • Notice thoughts or ideas about the food we eat
          • Is there guilt? Do we need to finish the food because throwing it out is wasteful? Is that true?  If we do throw out food, it’s an opportunity to learn from the karma of taking too much. Were we being greedy when serving?
          • Let it go, accept, and bring kindness to self for whatever we are feeling.  
        • Do Not do other things during eating. That is honoring the food that we or another person just prepared for us, as well as honoring karma of this food.  
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Lama Gursam Retreat – June 30, 2018

Lama_Gursam_June_30_2018 (1)

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Taking Refuge – What does it mean to you?

What does Taking Refuge mean to you?

One way we can take refuge is:
– To appreciate and honor the original teacher, the one who awoke.
– To appreciate and honor the dharma teachings kept alive for thousands of years, and all the people who took great care to study and teach the dharma.
– To appreciate all the dedicated sanghas in past present and future who give guidance and support to each other, practicing and learning the dharma.

More about Taking Refuge

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Rebecca Li – the practice of Just Sitting

On April 23, 2018 Rebecca Li gave instructions and lead a guided meditation that settles into the practice of Just Sitting or Silent IlluminationThe practice of Silent Illumination is similar to the practice of Zen Shikantaza. The evening felt like a mini-retreat and instead of the usual break we all did walking meditation through the break followed by a period of Q&A.

Here is the audio recording:

Rebecca Li -Silent Illumination     

Download it here     
  • Introduction to the practice
  • 17m practice instructions ,
  • 31m the sitting practice period and walking
  • 1h 30m Q&A period
  • 1h 55 Closing readings

If you are interested in learning more about this practice, Rebecca recommends practicing on a retreat, where the teachers can guide you and you will have the benefit of a settled state of mind.

Next Silent Illumination retreat is 5/26/18 (Sat, 6 pm) to 6/3/18 (Sun, 10 am) with Rebecca Li with one of Master Sheng Yen’s Dharma heirs, Dr. Simon Child.

Detailed instructions will be given on this subtle method of Chan to investigate the mind, to really get to know ourselves, and to cultivate wisdom and compassion. Participants will also receive individualized instructions in private interviews. $585 (scholarships available; 3-day retreat experience needed)

If you would like to send general feedback or share a reflection about your experience of Rebecca’s upcoming teaching on April 23rd,  you may email us at Your feedback is private and will not be shared publicly without your express written permission. Thank you. 

About Rebecca Li, PhD 

Rebecca LiRebecca began practicing in 1995, and attended her first seven-day intensive retreat with Chan Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Retreat Center (DDRC), in the following year. Since then she has attended numerous intensive Chan retreats. In 1999 after moving to New Jersey she began translating for Master Sheng Yen. In the same year, she began her training with the Master to become a Dharma and meditation instructor. Currently, she teaches meditation and Dharma classes and gives public lectures at the Chan Meditation Center (CMC) and leads 1- to 3-day retreats at CMC & DDRC. She has been training with Simon Child since 2008 to conduct retreat interviews and has been assisting in his intensive retreats since 2012. Along with her husband David Slaymaker, Rebecca leads Chan practice at Rutgers University and the New Jersey chapter of DDMBA and teaches on behalf of Dharma Drum in various community activities in the NJ-NY area. Rebecca is a board member of the Dharma Drum Retreat Center and professor of sociology at The College of New Jersey.

The Chan Meditation Center:
The Dharma Drum Retreat Center:
See Rebecca’s talk about why we meditate here
Hear her recording from other visits 

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Padma Dharini – Meditation Series Commencement

We were delighted to have Padma Dharini last night on Monday, April 16, 2018. Fortunately, we were able to record this final session (as part of a 6-week meditation series). The entire talk is excellent. Midway through (starting at 31 minute mark), Padhma Dharini led us through a guided meditation exploring awareness and self. It was quite an interesting experience and enlightening to hear others’ describe their experience. The Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County is so grateful to Padma Dharini for all the time and instruction she provided over the last 6 weeks. We certainly hope to continue to benefit from Padma Dharini’s teaching in the future. Enjoy this audio below!

The Audio from April 16, 2018 below:

04.16.18 Meditation Series Commencement     

Also we have audio for some of the previous weeks

04.02.18 Practice of loving kindness or metta     

Week 6 Visual Posterboard:



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Sangha visits Feasterville Library

On March 22nd the Feasterville Library welcomed our sangha members Eugene and Rika with a room with more than 40 people who wanted to learn about meditation despite the snow storm on the previous day.

The people who attended were really interested in mediation, add although some were completely new, some were familiar but did not know where or how to start.

Their sincere attitudes planted a seed of love and gratitude in our heart and inspired us to do our best.

We left them “How to Meditate” prints of sangha and we hope a glimpse of the benefits of meditation and the desire to pursue their interest.

To listen to the talk given please click here

Feasterville Library Meditation Intro     
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George Haas – The Meaning of Life, 3/12/18

We were delighted to have George Haas back to the Yardley Friends Meetinghouse on Monday, March 12th. One of our sangha member’s comment captures the visit quite well–“George, you make me feel smarter when you come here.”

The Audios from that evening are available below:

George Haas 3.12.18 Vipassana Meditation     
George Haas 10.30.17 Dharma Talk     

Mettagroup Founder George Haas

Mettagroup founder George Haas began his creative explorations in the fine arts, as a visual artist and poet associated with the late Seventies downtown New York City art scene that coalesced around the iconic Club 57 — a community that included Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Madonna, among others. (George’s work will be included in a Club 57 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art opening on October 31).

Following a relocation to Los Angeles to advance a career in the film industry George began to study meditation with Shinzen Young, which led to his pursing the path of meditation teacher and ultimately founding Mettagroup. George has brought his creative and synthetic skills to bear in a skillful wedding of Theravada Buddhist theory and practice and the modalities of western psychology, particularly Attachment Theory, with spectacular results. “George’s teachings are extraordinarily powerful,” says BSBC sangha member Philip Murphy. “Looking through the lens of attachment theory at the ways we form and maintain personal relationships, and utilizing Buddhist meditation practice to reimagine and implement affirming life strategies has had a profound impact on my way of being in the world.” states Philip. (To view a two-minute overview video on Mettagroup’s The Meaningful Life course, click here.)

To view a 2 minute video on Mettagroups “The Meaningful Life” course please visit:

To learn more:

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Lama Gursam visits Buddhist Sangha March 2018

Please join us at Makefield Friends Meeting House on March 2, 7pm-9pm, for an evening meditation and dharma talk and again on March 3, 9am-4pm, as Yogi Acharya Lama Gursam leads us in a silent retreat.

During the retreat we will enjoy a quiet lunch (bring your own lunch) with discussion afterwards.


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Dharma Voices for Animals film and discussion


Monday, January 15 and 25th, 2018, 8 PM (following meditation at 7)

Join us for a two-part screening of the Dharma Voices for Animals (DVA) film, Animals and the Buddha. This powerful film explores our relationship with animals in the context of the buddhadharma and was produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Keegan Kuhn (Cowspiracy, What The Health).

Buddhist luminary interviews are featured and a post-screening group discussion will be led by DVA Los Angeles Chapter Leader and BSBC Member Philip Murphy. Please join us for the film screenings and engaged conversation!

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