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About Marin Sangha
Marin Sangha is an insight meditation (vipassana) sitting group in Northern California. The group is led by Phillip Moffitt. The Sangha offers a mind-body orientation to vipassana with an emphasis on direct experience and a special focus on living the dharma in daily life. Marin Sangha was established in 1998 with just a dozen members; we now have more than 300 active members. Click this link if you would like to be on our e-mail list and receive announcements and news about the Marin Sangha.
Sangha means community. The Marin Sangha holds the intention of building community by creating a space where dharma students may gather to explore the unfolding of the teachings in their lives in a safe and welcoming environment. Everyone who attends is a valued member with a place in our community. This is an open sitting group. New students are welcome. People with all levels of meditation experience are invited to attend.
Sundays, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
St. Luke Presbyterian Church
10 Bayview Drive
San Rafael, CA 94901
Chairs are provided, but bring your own meditation cushions. Wheelchair accessible. The class begins with a 45-minute sitting meditation, followed by a short period of mindful movement, a 45-minute dharma talk, and a question and answer period. We close with a five-minute meditation that includes metta practice (see the explanation of metta practice below). Afterward, we have a tea social.
Metta (loving-kindness) Practice
Metta means unconditional loving-kindness. It is cultivated and practiced as one of the four sublime states known as the brahma-viharas. It is also one of the ten paramitas, or perfections of character. There are many versions of metta; here are the phrases we use:
May you be safe from internal and external harm.
May you have a calm, clear mind and a peaceful, loving heart.
May you be physically strong, healthy, and vital.
May you experience love, joy, wonder, and wisdom, in this life, just as it is.
Read more about metta.
Dana (generosity) Practice
In the Buddhist tradition, the teachings are given freely because they are considered priceless; therefore, there is no fee for attending the Marin Sangha weekly meditation class. However, in the Buddhist tradition we also practice dana, or generosity, by making monetary offerings for the teachings. Dana is not payment for goods or services rendered; it is given from the heart. Your generosity is a gift that supports not just the teachers, but also the Sangha, the larger dharma community, and your own practice. The Marin Sangha accepts dana for the teacher, the rental of our meeting space, and the monthly small group interviews. Read more about dana.
We tape Phillip's dharma talks and often post them on this Web site, as well as other dharma related Web sites. Please keep in mind that in some cases, the Q&A's that are part of the talk will be posted as well.
Small Group Interviews
Phillip offers small group interviews for 4-6 people once a month before Sangha at 4:30 p.m. in the St. Luke conference room. This is an opportunity to present your dharma questions to Phillip and receive guidance about your practice in daily life. If you have attended Sangha five times or more, you are eligible to come for an interview. Interview slots are filled on a “first come, first served” basis. Sangha member Linda Howerton, who maintains the list of yogis interested in having an interview, will contact yogis for interviews in the order in which she receives them. If you would like to have your name placed on this list, please email Linda. If you do not have access to email, please contact her at 415-459- 4976. When leaving a voicemail for Linda, please include your phone number. Directions and other specifics will be provided at the time of notification. Anyone participating in a small group interview is expected to attend Sangha that evening. The small group interviews are offered by Phillip on a dana basis; there will be a dana collection basket for small group interviews at Sangha. To allow Phillip to have access to as many yogis as possible, once you have had an interview, please do not re-submit your name to the list for six months.
The Small Group Interview dates for 2013 are: January 13, March 24, May 5, June 2, July 28, August 25, November 3, and December 15.
Marin Sangha Daylong Retreats
Once or twice a year Phillip teaches a daylong retreat exclusively for members of Marin Sangha. These are held at an off-site location for a modest fee to cover expenses. However, no one is turned away for lack of funds. Announcements about upcoming daylong retreats are made in the Sangha, via email, and on this website.
This informal book group meets on Sunday afternoons at 4:30 p.m. before class at another location. Members select a book and read sections during the week for discussion on Sundays. This is a wonderful way to meet other Sangha members, make dharma friends, and enrich your practice. New members are always welcome to join. Each week the book title, chapters to be studied, and location of the next meeting are announced at the end of Sangha.
A substantial amount of effort goes into ensuring that each class goes smoothly. Sangha members are encouraged to volunteer to help set up before class and straighten up afterwards. You may help on a regular or occasional basis. Jobs include setting up chairs, hanging Buddha’s portraits, greeting new sangha members, and more. This is another opportunity to practice dana and to serve and participate in the Sangha.
There is time set aside at the end of Sangha for socializing. Tea is provided and members bring snacks to share. Feel free to bring a snack, but it isn’t required.
An ever-changing contingent of Sangha members goes out for dinner after class. Anyone with an appetite for food and the company of dharma friends is welcome. If you are interested, please ask the newcomer greeters for more information.