Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 20: Nourishing our Practice in Difficult Times as We Celebrate the Solstice in Beloved Community 10-4:30pm At the Riverside Church, 20-T, 91 Claremont Avenue, NY, NY

Nourishing our Practice in Difficult Times as We Celebrate the Solstice in Beloved Community  
At the Riverside Church, 20-T, 91 Claremont Avenue, NY, NY 
Recently the huge wounds around a racial divide in our society have painfully come to the forefront of the collective awareness.  More personally for us, our dear Teacher has become gravely ill.   In addition to the celebration of the Solstice at this Saturday's Day of Mindfulness, a Dharma talk will be offered in the morning by Dennis Bohn (True Mountain of Peace) on practicing with these difficulties and nourishing ourselves in difficult times.  Perhaps we can offer the merit of the day's practice to healing these deep wounds in our country and to Thay's recovery.    

Schedule of Day:
10am-1:00pm: Sitting and Walking Meditation. Dharma Talk and Dharma Sharing Practice.

1:00-2:00pm: Eating together in Mindfulness:  bring a Vegetarian or Vegan Lunch [Potluck welcome but not required].  

2:00-4:30pm  Eating followed by sharing our presence with music, poems, photos of ancestors, holiday memories, and intentions for the New Year.

RSVP appreciated, not required, to

Monday, November 10, 2014

Path of Practice: A Day of Mindfulness November 15, 10-4:30pm, Riverside Church, Room 20-T

Hello Friends,

This Saturday, November 15, we can enjoy our Day of Mindfulness together.  During the Day we practice sitting and walking meditations, eating in mindfulness, mindful movements and Dharma Sharing, in the spirit of 'nowhere to go, nothing to do.'

We will use Thay's teaching: "The Path of Practice" to guide us. 


10:00-10:20: Sitting Meditation
10:20-10:40: Walking Meditation, Mindful Movements
10:45-11:10:  Sitting Meditation
11:15-11:50 Dharma Sharing focused on 'The Path of Practice'
12:00-12:30: Walking outside [Weather permitting]

12:45-1:45  Lunch and rest

2:00-2:30:  Total Relaxation [Lying down body awareness meditation]
2:40-3:10: Walking Meditation, Mindful Movements
3:15-3:40  Sitting Meditation
3:40-3:55 Walking Meditation
4:00-4:30 Dharma Sharing/Close

Come for all or part of the Day.   
Bring a vegetarian lunch.  
Beginners welcome.  
Chairs and cushions available.  Please do not wear fragrances.

Saturday November 15: 10am-4:30pm [Arrive beginning 9:45]
In room 20-T, at Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Avenue.

Take care,
David Flint

The Path of Practice
Meditating on the nature of interdependence
Can transform delusion into enlightenment.
Samsara and suchness are not two.
They are one and the same.
Even while blooming, the flower is already in the compost,
And the compost is already in the flower.
Flower and compost are not two.
Delusion and enlightenment inter-are.
Don't run away from birth and death.
Just look deeply into your mental formations.
When the true nature of interdependence is seen,
The truth of interbeing is realized.
Practice conscious breathing
To Water the seeds of Awakening.
Right view is a flower
Blooming in the field of mind consciousness.
When sunlight shines,
It helps all vegetation grow.
When mindfulness shines,
It transforms all mental formations
We recognize internal knots and latent tendencies
So we can transform them.
When our habit energies dissipate,
Transformation at the base is there.
The present moment
Contains past and future.
The secret of transformation
Is in the way we handle this very moment.
Transformation takes place
In our daily life.
To make the work of transformation easy,
Practice with a Sangha
Nothing is born, nothing dies.
Nothing to hold onto, nothing to release.
Samsara is nirvana.
There is nothing to attain.
When we realize that afflictions are no other than enlightenment,
We can ride the waves of birth and death in peace,
Traveling in the boat of compassion on the ocean of delusion,
Smiling the smile of non-fear."
[From Transformation at the Base, Thich Nhat Hanh]

Friday, October 17, 2014

Nurturing the Teacher Within: The Teacher is in the Student
The Student is in the teacher

Join us in Celebrating  our dear teacher’s 88th Continuation Day

by also honoring our teacher within

SATURDAY October18, 2014 

10:00 am – 4:30 pm

The Riverside Church

91 Claremont Avenue, Manhattan

Room 20T

north of 120th Street and west of Broadway 

We will enjoy sitting, singing, walking and eating together in Mindfulness. Chairs and 

cushions are provided. Please bring a vegetarian lunch. Come for all or part of the Day. 

“Of course we can buy a present from the market and we put a lot of love into it. But to tell you the truth, my hut in Upper Hamlet is not large enough to store all these kinds of presents.

 I would like to have a kind of present that I can enjoy every day – a present that can last for a long time, a present of the heart. I think that the best of kind of present you may like to offer is a promise that you are sure you can honor, like ”Dear Thay, I promise that from now on, every time I 
hold a cup of tea, I will see the cloud the tea and the cloud within myself. That kind of present will be wonderful 

Don’t make a big promise, like “Dear Thay, I promise that from now on every step I make will be in mindfulness” That may be a little bit too difficult! So, look deeply and make the kind of promise that you believe you can honor. Not too much, 

.... I suggest only one promise... the kind of promise you are sure you will do. Just a 
little promise that will last all your life. That would be the most wonderful birthday present for Thay.” 

 - Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, August 8, 2014

Day of Mindfulness August 16, Riverside Church, 20-T, 10:00am-4:30pm

Hello Friends,

We often use the phrase 'stopping, resting, calming, looking deeply.' What is stopping?  Who is it that  is 'resting and calming,' and how do we 'look deeply?.'

We will  do things a little differently at this Day of Mindfulness so that each of us can look into our questions and needs, as we practice 'stopping, calming, resting and looking deeply.'

Our schedule will include both morning and afternoon  periods of a lying down total relaxation exercise; a period of self-guided practice; the opportunity for individual interviews with David. 

And we continue with our basic practice of breath awareness as we have sitting and walking meditation; mindful movements; eating together in mindfulness and Dharma Sharing.

Schedule [Subject to Change]: 10:00am-4:30pm

10:00-10:45am:  Mindful Movements/Sitting Meditation/Walking Meditation

10:50: 11:20: Lying down body awareness/relaxation

11:30-12:30: Personal Practice: each person decides what mix of sitting, walking, movement he/she needs [in silence].

12-12:30: Brief Individual Consultations with David about your practice. [Optional]

12:45-1:15: Outdoor Walking [If bad weather, than Dharma Sharing]


2:15-2:55 -Lying down relaxation;  Walking Meditation

3:00-3:30pm  Personal Practice

3:40-4:15: Dharma Sharing

4:15-4:30  Sitting/Closing

David Flint will facilitate this Day.  David received Lamp Transmission from Thich Nhat Hanh in February 2011 [along with Dennis Bohn, Marjorie Markus and Jeanne Anselmo]

When: August 16 10-4:30pm
Where: In room 20-T, at Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Avenue, Manhattan.

Bring Vegetarian Lunch.  Lunch around 1:20-2:15.  Chairs and Cushions available.  Please do not wear fragrances.  Come for all or part of the Day.

Take care,
David Flint
True Good Nature

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Day of Mindfulness June 21: "This Silence is Called Great Joy." At Riverside Church, 20-T, 10-4.30pm

This Silence is Called Great Joy

All formations are impermanent. 

They are subject to birth and death.

But remove the notions of birth and death,

and this silence is called great joy.

Our Day of Mindfulness will explore the above Gatha: 'This Silence is Called Great Joy.' We will touch silence in different ways: by directing our attention to the space between the stream of thoughts; to the pause between an in-breath and out-breath; to the silence that emerges as we attend to sound.

We will also relax into this Silence with Thay's practice of: 
'The Mind is the Clear Blue Sky, thoughts come, thoughts go.'

During this Day of Mindfulness, we will also have a total relaxation exercise, the opportunity to eat mindfully with each other, mindful movements and walking meditation and our Dharma Sharing Practice of Mindful Listening and Speaking.

There will be the chance to ask questions about your practice.

We will maintain noble silence* during the Day.

Chairs and cushions available. Bring a vegetarion lunch. Lunch is around 1-2pm.

Please do not wear fragrances.

In room 20-T, at Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Avenue in Manhattan.

David Flint will facilitate this Day. David is a Dharma Teacher in the Plum Village/Thich Nhat Hanh Lineage.

"This Silence is Called Great Joy
A teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh on the truth beyond our usual truths

There are two kinds of truth, conventional truth and absolute truth, but they are not opposites. They are part of a continuum. There is a classic Buddhist gatha: 

All formations are impermanent. 

They are subject to birth and death.

But remove the notions of birth and death,

and this silence is called great joy.

This beautiful poem has only twenty-six words, but it sums up all of the Buddha’s teaching. It is one of greatest poems of humanity. If you are a composer, please put it to music and make it into a song. The last two lines should sound like thundering silence, the silencing of all speculation, of all philosophies, of all notions and ideas.

The gatha begins in the realm of conventional truth and ends in the realm of absolute truth. The first line describes reality as we usually perceive it. “All formations are impermanent.” This is something concrete that we notice as soon as we start paying attention. The five elements that make up our sense of personhood—form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, consciousness—all are flowing and changing day and night. We can feel their impermanence and so we are tempted to say that the first two lines of this gatha are true.

But the danger of this statement is that we may believe that formations are real and impermanence is an absolute truth. And we may use that kind of truth as a weapon in order to fight against those who don’t agree with our ideas. “Formations” is a notion, an idea. “Impermanence” is another notion. Neither is more true than the other. When you say, “All formations are impermanent,” you are indirectly confirming their permanence. When you confirm the existence of something, you are also implying the existence of its opposite. When you say the right exists, you have to accept the existence of the left. When you confirm that something is “high,” you’re saying something else is “low.” Impermanence becomes a notion that opposes the notion of permanence. So though perhaps it tried to escape, the first two lines of the gatha are still in the realm of conventional, relative truth. 

To reach the absolute truth, the ultimate truth, you need to release the conventional truth found there. There’s a Chinese term that means halfway truths and another that means all-the-way, hitting-the-bottom truths. The first two lines are a halfway truth and the third and fourth lines try to remove what we learned in the first two. 

When the notions are removed, then the perfect silence, the extinction of all notions, the destruction of all pairs of opposites, is called great joy. That is the teaching of absolute truth, of nirvana. What does nirvana mean? It is absolute happiness. It’s not a place you can go; it’s a fruit that you can have wherever you are. It’s already inside us. The wave doesn’t have to seek out the water. Water is what the wave has to realize as her own foundation of being.

If you have come from a Jewish or Christian background, you may like to compare the idea of nirvana, great bliss, with the idea of God. Because our idea of God may be only that, an idea. We have to overcome the idea in order to really touch God as a reality. Nirvana can also be merely the idea of nirvana. Buddha also can be just an idea. But it’s not the idea that we need; we need the ultimate reality.

The first two lines of the gatha dwell in the realm of opposites: birth and death; permanence and impermanence; being and nonbeing. In God, in nirvana, opposites no longer exist. If you say God exists, that’s wrong. If you say God doesn’t exist, that’s equally wrong. Because God cannot be described in terms of being and nonbeing. To be or not to be, that is not the question. The notions of being and nonbeing are obstacles that you have to remove in order for ultimate reality to manifest.

In classical Chinese, the third line of the gatha literally says, “But when both birth and death die.” What does it mean by “death dying”? It means you have to kill your notions of birth and death. As someone who practices the way of the Buddha, you have the sword of the Bodhisattva Manjushri, which is sharp enough to remove wrong perceptions and cut through all notions, including those of birth and death.

The true practitioner understands real rebirth, real continuation. There are two views concerning life after death. Quite a number of people, including scientists, believe that after we die, there’ll be nothing left. From being we become non-being. They don’t believe that there is something that continues after you die. That view is called nihilism. In this view, either there is no soul or the soul completely dies. After death, our body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness are completely gone. The opposite view, eternalism, is that after we die, we are still here and we will continue forever. Our soul is immortal. While our physical body may die, our soul continues forever, whether in paradise or in hell. The Buddha called these two views just another pair of opposites. 

Before you can answer the question, “What will happen to me after I die?” you need to answer another question, “What is happening to me in the present moment?” Examining this question is the essence of meditation. If we don’t know how to look deeply to what is happening to us in the here and the now, how can we know what will happen to us when we are dead?

When we look at a candle, we say that the candle is radiating light, heat, and fragrance. The light is one kind of energy it emits, the heat is another, and the fragrance is a third kind of energy it can offer us in the here and the now. If we are truly alive, we can see that we aren’t very different from the candle. We are offering our insight, our breath, our views right now. Every moment you have a view, whether about yourself, the world, or how to be happy, and you emit that view. You produce thought and your thought carries your views. You are continued by your views and your thinking. Those are the children you give birth to every moment. And that is your true continuation. 

So it is crucial to look deeply at your thoughts and your views. What are you holding on to? Whether you are an artist or a businessperson, a parent or a teacher, you have your views about how to live your life, how to help other people, how to make your country prosperous, and so on. When you are attached to these views, to the idea of right and wrong, then you may get caught. When your thinking is caught in these views, then you create misunderstanding, anger, and violence. That is what you are becoming in this very moment. When you are mindful of this and can look deeply, you can produce thoughts that are full of love and understanding. You can make yourself and the world around you suffer less. 

You are not static. You are the life that you are becoming. Because “to be” means to be something: happy, unhappy, light or heavy, sky or earth. We have to learn to see being as becoming. The quality of your being depends on the object of your being. That is why when you hear Rene Descartes’ famous statement “I think, therefore I am,” you have to ask, “You are what?” Of course you are your own thinking—and your happiness or your sorrow depends very much on the quality of your thinking. So you are your view, you are your thinking, you are your speech, you are your action, and these things are your continuation. You are becoming now, you are being reborn now in every second. You don’t need to come to death in order to be reborn. You are reborn in every moment; you have to see your continuation in the here and the now. 

I don’t care at all what happens to me when I die. That’s why I have a lot of time to care about what is happening to me in the here and the now. When I walk, I want to enjoy every step I take. I want freedom and peace and joy in every step. So joy and peace and lightness are what I produce in that moment. I have inherited it and I pass it on to other people. If someone sees me walking this way and decides to walk mindfully for him or herself, then I am reborn in him or in her right away—that’s my continuation. That’s what is happening to me in the here and the now. And if I know what is happening to me in the here and the now, I don’t need to ask the question, “What will happen to me after this body disintegrates?” There is no “before” and “after,” just as there is no birth and death. We can be free of these notions in this very moment, filled with the great joyful silence of all that is."
© As published in the September 2007 Shambhala Sun magazine.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

How To Be Fearless: Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams speaks May 13, Riverside Sangha, 7-9pm, 13-T in Riverside Church

Hello Friends,
The Riverside Sangha is happy to announce that Reverend Angel Kyodo Williams, Sensei, will lead our Tuesday May 13 Sangha meeting, 7-9pm, 
91 Claremont Avenue, at Riverside Church, 13-T

How To Be Fearless

Even though we don't like to admit it, fear governs much of our lives.
From major decisions about life and love to whom we make eye contact
with on the street, fear holds us captive to events of the past and wary
of the unknown future. Instigated by everything from old wounds and
traumas, to unfounded prejudices and hidden beliefs, we bring our fears
to situations like a familiar companion. Insidious and elusive, it's
everywhere and hard to put our finger on. 

Thankfully, the Heart Sutra, a
profound and much-loved text offers simple instructions on how to
release ourselves from the rule of fear. Now it's time to apply it.

Join Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei for a personal and intimate look
at the role fear plays throughout our lives. and how establishing right
relationship with it liberates its powerful energy so we can truly be of
service to our selves, loved ones and the world.

Rev. Angel will give the talk and then respond to questions.

There is no fee: we will collect Dana for our Teacher this evening.

Rev. Angel gave a well received and well attended talk at our Rock Blossom Sangha several months ago, around 'diversity' and 'why American Buddhism is so white,' through the lens of her personal experience.  Go to  to listen to the that talk. 

Please circulate this information to anyone you think would be interested [whether or not they practice with our Sanghas [and please do not just forward onto other non-sangha email lists.]

Everyone is invited and welcome.

At 91 Claremont Avenue, Room 13-T, The Riverside Church in Manhattan [120-122nd St, one block west of Broadway.
Take care,
David Flint

About Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams

"Once called “the most intriguing African-American Buddhist” by Library Journal, Rev. angel Kyodowilliams Sensei has been bridging the worlds of spirit and justice since her critically-acclaimed book,Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace. Ordained as a Zen priest, she returned to her activist roots and began applying wisdom teaching to social issues to become a leading voice in the ever-emerging field of Transformative Social Change. Recently becoming only the second black woman to be recognized as a Zen teacher, she is known for her unflinching willingness to both sit with and speak uncomfortable truths. angel notes, “Without inner change, there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters.”  Whether in writing, teaching or speaking, her voice is unique.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Joyfully Together: A Day of Mindfulness for Adults, Teens and Children Saturday March 29, 2014 10AM to 4PM

Mindfulness Teachers Fern Dorresteyn & Michael Ciborski
&  Morning Sun Mindfulness Community
Joyfully Together: A Day of
 Mindfulness for Adults, Teens and Children
Saturday March 29, 2014
10AM to 4PM
9:30 Registration Starts/preregistration recommended
Please RSVP & reserve train Shuttle 
see info for train & travel below
Veatch Ballroom @ Veatch House (directions below)
Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock
48 Shelter Rock Rd, Manhasset, NY 11030
Donation/Dana*: We invite the Practice of Dana - Generosity practice – to   help cover expenses & support these Teachers who rely on donations to support their teaching & their center.
·         Please BRING your own cushion (Chairs will be provided)
·         BRING your own Veggie Lunch (HerbalTea, water & children’s snacks provided)
Join us and the Teachers from Morning Sun Mindfulness Center in New Hampshire for a daylong program for all generations. There will be a lovely balance of adults and children practicing mindfulness together and practicing separately. The children's program will be a chance for children to learn basic age-appropriate mindfulness practices and games. The theme for the day will be enjoying and appreciating the people in our lives.
See this video from our last day of mindfulness together

Fern Dorresteyn and Michael Ciborski lived at Plum Village monastery in France for nine years, training in the meditative arts as monk and nun for seven. They were fortunate to live and work intimately with Thich Nhat Hanh and the monastic community to organize, support, and offer meditation retreats around the world. They are both members of the Order of Interbeing as well as ordained Dharma teachers in the Plum Village tradition. In 2003, each of them departed Plum Village and, when they encountered each other, returned to lay life. Now they are married and have a son, Laurian, and two daughters, Seriena and Fiana. In 2011, they were joined byTim Ambrose Desmond and Annie Millar Desmond, whose experience directing nonprofits and working as a therapist (Ambrose) and with children’s programs around sustainability (Annie)  was a perfect complement to Fern and Michael’s experience as monastics. Ambrose and Annie have a new baby boy, Finn born last year.  All four teachers combine their experience with mindfulness with real life knowing about parenting, relationships and caring for their lives and their families.
Train: Take the LIRR Port Washington line to Manhasset. There will be a Shuttle to Veatch House only for the 8:48 AM from Penn arriving 9:28 Manhasset (Port Washington line)
PLEASE  email to reserve a space on the sangha shuttle.
Please also Car pool from your Local Sanghas follow directions below once on UUC grounds
By Car: Directions to UUC Shelter Rock: See
Then follow directions below once on UUC grounds
Getting to Veatch House and the Veatch Ballroom
When entering into the UUC off Shelter Rock Rd you will then travel a long drive to the main parking lot, Do not go into the main parking lot just as you get to the main parking lot make a right. Veatch House is a separate building from the main UUC building and is  on the far right of the property and has its own parking. Look for Mindfulness signs
Park in the Veatch Parking lot and then go up the stairs and go to the door on the left to get into the ballroom (it is on the first floor which is above the basement level). We will post signs

Wheelchair Access/Elevator Access There is a handicap parking lot but you must have a handicap sign to park in this lot. To get there take the same directions going toward the Veatch House Parking and just before entering the VH parking lot there is a turn to the left which will take you to  another parking lot in a courtyard with handicap parking as well as an entrance to the basement level with an elevator which will take you to the first floor where the Veatch ballroom is located.
This InterSangha Day of Mindfulness is cosponsored  by
 Community of Mindful Living Long Island: Green Island Sangha , Stony Brook Sangha, Kaeli Kramer Foundation , MorningSun,  Rock Blossom , Community of Mindfulness NY Metro , Riverside Sangha, Morning Star Sangha, Quiet Harbor, St. Marks Sangha, and WakeUP NY

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Day of Mindfulness March 15, 2014

The Path to True Freedom, with Dharma Teacher Dennis Bohn

Room 20-T, at Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Avenue
Come for all or part of the Day

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Reverend Angel Kyodo Williams Sunday February 16, at Rock Blossom Sangha

Dharma Teacher Dennis Bohn shares this invitation from the Rock Blossom Sangha***
"Dear New York Sanghas,
It gives me joy to let you know that Reverend Angel Kyodo Williams will be joining us for our gathering on Sunday, February 16, 2014 at our normal time of 6:30 PM.  We first became aware of Rev. Angel in an article in BuddhaDharma Magazine titled "Why is American Buddhism So White?"  Rev. Angel's insights were jaw-droppingly incisive to this person.  As a sangha we have spoken with one another around this issue, and look forward to hearing Rev. Angel.

Here is a bit of her biography:

Once called “the most intriguing African-American Buddhist” by Library Journal, angel Kyodo williams has been bridging the worlds of spirit and justice since her critically-acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace, signaled a shift in the perception of American Buddhism as all white and upper middle class.  She lead the way for an explosion of interest in people of color practicing Buddhism and meditation. Ordained as a Zen priest, she returned to her activist roots and began applying wisdom teaching to social issues to become a leading voice in the ever-emerging field of Transformative Social Change.

For over 15 years, angel has deeply invested her time and energy to putting into practice her unwavering belief that the key to transforming society is transforming our very own inner lives.  She recently became only the second Black woman to receive transmission as a Zen teacher. Both fierce and grounded, she is known for her unflinching willingness to both sit with and speak uncomfortable truths. She notes, “Without inner change, there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters.”  Whether in writing, teaching or speaking, her voice is unique.

*** Rock Blossom Sangha meets at 1012 8th Avenue, Brooklyn, Sundays, 6:30pm-8:30pm

Monday, January 6, 2014

Beginning Anew: A Day of Mindfulness January 18 2014

A Day of Mindfulness

Beginning Anew

Saturday January 18, 2014
 10 am - 4:30 pm

The Wellness Center
The Riverside Church
91 Claremont Avenue, Manhattan
north of 120th Street and west of Broadway

We will enjoy sitting, walking, singing, and eating meditations
as well as mindful movements and Dharma sharing.

 No experience necessary. Chairs and cushions are provided.
Please bring a brown bag vegetarian lunch.
Please help us create a fragrance-free environment.