New May Schedule of Topics, retreat and more News

Upcoming Schedule

Sunday May 1  Sangha Road Cleanup CANCELLED  due to the weather – new date is May 22

May discussion topics
May 2 – Taking Refuge in the Buddha
May 9 – Taking Refuge in the Dharma
May 13th – 14th Meditation retreat and lectures with John Orr  (details below)
May 16 – The Generosity of Presence
May 23 – Taking Refuge in the Sangha
May 30 – Open Discussion
June 6 – John Wenz will continue our teachings on Mind Training
July 8,9  Lama Gursam will be with us for a  Friday night, Saturday retreat on July 8 and 9.

Please bring either new twin sheet sets or new blankets as donations to Family Promise
Guest Teachers and Our Retreat Info

John Orr is joining us for a Meditation Retreat on May 13-14, Friday night- Saturday all day or partial day Retreat.  We will be using Yardley Friends Meeting , 65 North Main St, Yardley   Friday night, 7:00-9:00, and Saturday, 10:00-5:00  John will be lecturing on  various aspects of the Tibetan 7 Point Mind Training and their value to us as we attempt to deepen our meditation practice. as well as The foundation of a Skilled Dharma Practice , Kindness and WIsdom.
Saturday will consist of periods of Meditation, lectures, Q&A, and lunch. Bring your own lunch, we will have snacks and tea for all.

About John Orr
John received Theravada Buddhist ordination and training for a period of eight years while living in Thailand and India. He has been teaching meditation and leading retreats around the country since 1980. John is an Interfaith minister and teaches at Duke University. Follow this link to read an interview with John

Sangha Road Cleanup Sunday May 22st from 1:30 PM until 3:30 PM is our annual Spring Road Clean Up. Take part in our community service project and enjoy time with Sangha friends. The Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County has been responsible for cleaning this stretch of road for more than 10 years.
We will meet at the Golden Dawn Diner, 7115 New Falls Rd., Levittown, PA 19055. Pick up tools and safety vests are provided, bring some water to drink and a pair of gloves.
You can sign up on SignUp Genius now!


Our first week with Family Promise will be May1st to May 8th. We will be spending evenings & nights with the families at the Lutheran Church of God’s Love in Newtown.

Thank you for… your support!

Area Retreats
Philadelphia Buddhist Association  Retreat following Construction of a Sand Mandala

“Meditating on the SAND MANDALA of the Wheel of Life”
When: Saturday, May 7th, from 9:30am to 4pm
Pre-Registration for this day required – (See below)
No Registration needed for viewing the construction of the sand mandala by Geshe Samten
Weekly Visiting Limited to the Following Times
Wed to Fri.. May 4, 5, & 6, between 4 pm and 6 pm. each day
Where:   Plymouth Meeting Friends, 2150 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA

The Saturday Retreat
This will be a very special retreat with Venerable Geshe Losang Samten, Director of the Philadelphia Tibetan Buddhist Center, who will lead us as we meditate on and understand the meaning of the Wheel of Life.
He will personally create, over three days, a sand mandala, such as depicted
above, just for this retreat.

The Buddha taught many different  ways to train the mind and we will be introduced to some of these methods. We will learn how to meditate on an image and how to use meditations to analyze situations and to better
understand the nature of our human life.

The retreat will end with the traditional dismantling of the sand mandala at 3:30 pm on Saturday, May 7th,
(Public are invited to this late day event).

The dismantling symbolizes the impermanence of all things.
Public Access to the Mandala: All welcome to watch the mandala creation.
during the week, The doors to the Plymouth Meeting Friends’
Annie H. Wilson  Room, will be open for watching Geshe Samten and asking him questions on
Wed – Fri, May 4, 5, 6  from 4 pm to 6 pm each day.
Note: Pre-registration for the Saturday retreat is necessary.
Please register at
NOTE: :We will be sitting  on chairs; you may want to bring a pillow for extra comfort..
Please bring a bag lunch.

For questions email us at
****************************** ***************
Soji Zen Center Meditation and Mindfulness in the Garden
May 21  10-5
“Life in the Present Moment.
West Marshall Rd, Landsdowne, PA
To Register Email: or Call Shoki @  215-242-1750
Members: $30
Non-members $35
On-site registration $40
(includes admission to Morris Arboretum)
The False Comfort of the Familiar

by Jules Shuzen Harris| April 25, 2016
Being with people like us feels comfortable and secure—and it’s a big reason why communities aren’t more diverse, says Zen teacher Jules Shuzen Harris. From the May 2016 Lion’s Roar magazine.
I recall the early days of my Buddhist practice when, either on retreat or attending a Sunday morning program, I was the only person of color in attendance. Over the years I’ve raised the question in various Buddhist settings: “Why aren’t people of color present? Why isn’t there a wider representation of people of different educational backgrounds?” My fellow teachers would nod and agree that, as Buddhists, we need to reach out to people of color and different socioeconomic classes. But that’s as far as it went.

There is a basic human tendency to seek comfort in the known, in a familiar world that mirrors our prior experiences. Because of this, people naturally tend to self-segregate and align themselves with others with whom they find similarity, familiarity, and comfort. As a result, we find a notable lack of significant racial, ethnic, and economic diversity in many communities—including Buddhist communities.

This powerful desire to align ourselves more closely with what we already know, rather than that which feels uncertain and insecure, gives rise to a willful, if somewhat unconscious, inability to see and experience the truth. We are locked into a narrower perspective and miss out on an array of possibilities in every area of life, including Buddhist practice.

As Buddhists, we would do well to ask ourselves, where is no-self when we surround ourselves with people we feel most comfortable and aligned with, consciously or not? How genuine is our bodhisattva vow to save all sentient beings when we seek out the company of certain beings and avoid others?

Opening ourselves up to feelings of discomfort is not easy at first. We need to be ready and willing to enter into mental spaces where we are not necessarily at ease. We need to face our fear of letting go. The Buddhist path requires it.

It would be too deterministic to believe there is some set of simple instructions or protocols that can lead us to a place of harmony. If you have a strategy or tactic or some kind of fix that you think will have a particular result, you’re coming from a place of knowing rather than not knowing. Coming from a place of not knowing is more likely to lead us to greater harmony and openness. So we begin with simply not knowing.

Not knowing is derived from the fourth noble truth, the noble eightfold path. It is a way of expressing right view in all of our relationships. As a central aspect of the eightfold path, right view means no view. If we eliminate all concepts and views, we have not knowing, and this allows us to expand beyond the notion of self.

So examine your ideas and beliefs and be ready to drop them. Embrace the practice and the dharma as the way to approach diversity and inclusivity. Everything we need is already immediately before us—we simply need to move past any fixed perspective.

About Jules Shuzen Harris
A psychotherapist and Soto Zen priest, Jules Shuzen Harris is the founder of the Soji Zen Center in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania

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