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Medical Supplies Desperately Needed in Palestine: Please consider donating

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is helping to respond to a large number of casualties in Gaza. Hospitals there have been overwhelmed by those injured during recent protests. Supplies of many medical items and medicines are desperately low — and others have run out completely. Palestinians urgently need funds for trauma supplies, essential supplies for surgery, disposables for Gaza’s Central Blood Bank, limb reconstruction equipment, and more. 
If you wish to donate, you can do so through Facebook, which passes on 100% of donations to MAP, by clicking on this link:
or by clicking on the “Donate” button on MAP’s website, here:
Thank you, EBMC Sangha! 
[photo credit:  Medical Aid for Palestinians] 

EBMC’s Strategic Plan: A look at the next two, five and ten years of EBMC!

For the past nine months, the EBMC community has been engaged in a dynamic process to develop a strategic plan that articulates our vision and outlines strategic actions for EBMC over the next two, five and ten years.

EBMC staff and Leadership Sangha (Board of Directors) have been working diligently to craft our strategic plan based on input from the Sangha.

With the invaluable help of our organizational consultants and the contributions from our community, we are pleased to be able to share this final document with you!

To read online or download, please click below:

EBMC SP Final Draft 4.15.18

Naturally, we’ll be celebrating this incredible milestone! Please save the date of Saturday, June 2nd 2018; all are welcome!

EBMC Announces 8th Annual Dharmathon on Saturday, May 12th!

EBMC’s Eighth Annual Dharma-thon will feature some of the Bay Area’s most inspiring artists on May 12! Dharma-thoners will enjoy an intimate dinner with performances by Melanie DeMore, Naima Shalhoub, and Michelle “Mush” Lee, with a delicious multi-course meal cooked by local vegan Filipino caterer No Worries.  This event will take place at Betti Ono Gallery in downtown Oakland, an experimentally minded space for arts, culture and community.

To register, visit:


Seeking volunteers: Registration email management and Backup Temple Keeper (cleaning)

EBMC is seeking volunteers for the following volunteer positions:
Registration email management
Volunteer needs to have their own computer; they can do the tasks anywhere there is an Internet connection. The volunteer in this position is part of a team that is responsible for managing the EBMC registration email one week per month. It entails processing cancellation requests for EBMC events through the Eventbrite online system, archiving emails, and forwarding emails to relevant EBMC staff members. Training is provided.
Time Commitment & Schedule:
One week per month (2-3 hours that week). The volunteer is expected to log-in to the registration email twice per week. We ask for a six-month commitment, renewable if mutually agreeable.
Please contact: Xiaojing Wang, EBMC Programs and Finance Director, Xiaojing at eastbaymeditation dot org
Backup Temple Keeper (cleaning EBMC), available Fridays before 5 pm
We need a volunteer available on Fridays before 5 pm, to sub when needed for our regular Temple Keeper volunteers. One regular volunteer does a one-hour shift on Fridays, cleaning the bathrooms and the kitchen. A second regular volunteer does a one-hour shift on Fridays, cleaning the entryway, office, and breakout rooms. Training is provided.
Please contact:  Mushim Ikeda, EBMC Community Coordinator, Mushim at eastbaymeditation dot org
Thank you!

Read DeNNiSOmeRa’s #SeasonOfGratitude Story

To wrap up a beautiful series of Gratitude Stories, longtime Sangha member Dennis Somera shares his experience with cultivating beloved community through sangha:
For the past decade, arriving on my cushion at the East Bay Meditation Center’s People of Color Sangha has alloWEd me a deep sense of gratitude, especially surrounded by (as well as supporting) others seeking refuge from HEgemonic patriarchal white supremacist culture.
Practicing with the POC Sangha and then with the Men of Color Deep Refuge Group has deeply supported the reconnection of my Buddha nature to Sangha. The weekly and daylong affinity group meditation sessions embody EBMC’s commitment to Radical Inclusion, which structures care (from john powell) into its daily practice as an organization.
Where politicized Sangha might falter in other spaces, at EBMC, we work with each other at the nexus of power and privilege. It is currently happening with groups like White and Awakening in Sangha and the Men of Color Deep Refuge Group.
Through EBMC’s relentless efforts to create an accessible space – in terms of location, physical accessibility, the Gift Economics model, and radical inclusion – EBMC is institutionalizing a structure of care for all people. In another EBMC deep refuge group, the Restorative Practices for Dharma Practitioners, we are attempting to structure even more Sangha care by integrating restorative practices/ talking stick circles/ council structures (respectfully drawn from Restorative Justice and indigenous wisdom) into more regular practices at EBMC.
When meditation is not only radical acceptance and attendance to the 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows of our own individual lives, but is also extended outward to our communities, we can practice radically attending to each other and building a structure of care in BEloved community through a more inteRElational sangha practice.
EBMC’s radically inclusive care for all is the essential foundation for building beloved community and sacred sangha. It’s the way to open the door to everyone, allow our communities to learn and heal together, and bring this transformational practice into all of our daily lives.
In gratitude,

This week, Jess Dene Schlesinger continues our series of #GratitudeStories

This week, Jess Dene Schlesinger continues our series of #GratitudeStories:

I have had chronic pain for most of my life. It is hard to believe that I feel serene these days, as there were many years when I did not think life was worth living with this degree of unrelenting discomfort.

I had been told to meditate in order to help with my physical and emotional distress and tried to begin a practice for years. The problem that I was experiencing was that I could not find a meditation group that was accessible for my needs.

Often, I could not even access the space because of financial limitations (I live off of SSI), fragrance (I have multiple chemical sensitivity) or because I was not allowed to lie down when I meditated (I have severe pain in my spine and am not able to sit for extended periods). If I did access the space, the ableism that I experienced within the group felt so alienating that I would leave. I do not remember how I found out about EBMC, but in 2012, I walked into the East Bay Meditation Center’s Every Body Every Mind Sangha: a practice group for folks with disabilities, chronic illness, and/or limitations that was donation based with no one turned away for lack of funds.

While I had experience with identity-based community as a radical, queer Jew, I had never come out as a person with disabilities nor sought community within this identity. I was astounded: I was surrounded by people that I could relate to, my access needs were met, and I felt held for the first time in years.

I remember going back to the Every Body Every Mind Sangha and hearing Jim Willems speak for the first time. Here was an individual who experienced the degree of chronic pain that I was experiencing, yet he did not seem to be suffering. How was this possible? I could not fathom having that degree of acceptance and peace around my pain.

The East Bay Meditation Center, along with the incredible teachers of the Every Body Every Mind Sangha, patiently taught me the Dharma and how to develop a meditation practice within my abilities. I learned the difference between pain and suffering and use this tool to this day. I learned that I can have a life with a lot of pain and also be truly content.

I do not exaggerate when I say that EBMC saved my life. I do not know what I would have done if I had not been able to access an affordable, justice oriented spiritual community that recognized my needs as a person with disabilities and never said that my access needs were “too much.” I am deeply grateful to the center and everything that it has given me.

Jess Dene Schlesinger
With four days left until the end of the year, we have just $3,750 left to raise to make our year-end Match!!

Please support #EBMC in continuing to be an accessible space for all by helping us reach our goal today:

Thank you for your generosity!

Read Raúl Cornado’s #SeasonOfGratitude Story

In this week’s #SeasonOfGratitude post, we are inspired by this powerful story of dharmic practice, righteous rage, and collective healing from EBMC sangha and board member, Raúl Coronado:
I imagine many, if not all of us, at EBMC are on a path seeking spiritual serenity, a path that is grounded in our realities and lived experiences but that also seeks awareness of the true nature of things via the dharma.
I’m searching for a path where I can feel and come to terms with the specificities of the pain and racial debasement I experienced growing up in racist Texas, a place where the word “Mexican” always felt like a horrible racial slur when spoken in English.
I’ve spent years of rage, shame, frustration, anger, seething, simmering, boiling. I’ve spent many years in therapy, in the dharma trying to get rid of that “‘excuse me’ tongue and this nagging preoccupation with the feeling of not being good enough” that Lorna Dee Cervantes writes about in her poem “Poem for the Young White Man Who Asked Me How I, an Intelligent Well-Read Person Could Believe in the War Between the Races.
That rage, even when bottled up (maybe perhaps because it was bottled up) has often taken control of me, shaped my path, my vision of the world. It’s driven me, and rightly so, to fight for spaces for people of color, for queers of color. But I have to acknowledge that it has also warped my sense of reality for sure. At times, I reacted to that racism by turning it its mirror opposite, a kind of ethno-POC nationalism, one that eschewed white people in the name of our liberation.
Buddhism, time, studying women of color feminism in college, returning to my dad’s homeland, Mexico, a place I spent much of my childhood, radically altered my world. It made me realize that my racialized condition as a Mexican from working class origins was contingent, that my being “other” was not universal and that I most definitely also had privileges that I had not acknowledged. I may have been a victim of homophobic, racist, class-based oppression, but I too was not without privileges. The problem, as the queer Chicana feminist Cherríe Moraga taught me, was in ranking our oppressions. As she wrote in Loving in the War Years: “Without an emotional, heartfelt grappling with the source of our own oppression, without naming the enemy within ourselves and outside of us, no authentic, non-hierarchical connection among oppressed groups can take place”.
The dharma has helped me see how that rage and internalized racism has warped my sense of the world and our place in it. I’m sure we each all have our very unique versions of wrestling with what I call demons: racism, classism, homophobia, sexism. In my dharma practice, I want to learn how to use the dharma to be mindful about these mind states, these feelings that percolate throughout the day triggered by interactions with media, work, life.
The East Bay Meditation Center is my sangha. It’s where we are collectively learning how to use the dharma to heal, grow, and flourish. Our EBMC is radically innovative, and every time we sit together, appreciating the present for all its pain and beauty, we actively create a vibrant, inclusive, beautiful spiritual community.

Raúl Coronado

EBMC is hiring for an Event Associate!

Contract Position Title: Event Associate

Download Job Description HERE

Purpose of Contract Position

The Event Associate manages East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) classes and retreats.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Manage classes and assist teachers
    • Coordinate openings and closing of the center on the day of registered classes
    • Oversee volunteers during classes
    • Manages audio recording of teachers’ talks when appropriate
    • Assist teachers during classes as needed, including giving center announcements and Gift Economics talks to the class
    • Process donations to EBMC and to the teacher(s) at the end of each class
    • Manages feedback surveys for each class and carries out data management tasks related to classes as needed

The Event Associate may do other EBMC tasks as agreed upon with other staff (e.g., trainings for volunteers and practice group leaders).

Overall Qualifications

The Event Associate should demonstrate competence in the following:

  • Familiarity and experience with the East Bay Meditation Center, through participation in practice groups and/or attendance at EBMC retreats or classes
  • History of meditation practice and familiarity with the Dharma, especially as it applies to generosity, including the generosity of service
  • Multicultural awareness, sensitivity, and competence in working and communicating effectively with people across lines of cultural difference and ability
  • Experience volunteering at EBMC events a plus
  • Able to work evenings and weekends. Commitment to an assigned schedule.
  • Reliable, punctual, good follow-through on tasks
  • Friendly, personable and patient
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to work with close attention to detail for data management and accounting tasks
  • Comfortable receiving feedback and responding quickly to changing conditions and situations
  • Sensitivity to creating a supportive teaching and learning environment for all

Proficiency in the use of:

  • Word processing, specifically Microsoft Office Suite
  • Online event management

Working conditions:

  • EBMC Event Associate will work in a Buddhist center environment
  • Required to attend a Monday afternoon staff meeting once a month, 12 – 2 pm.
  • Will be required to work evenings and weekends
  • Event Associate will expected to manage at least two classes per month.
  • Must be able to physically lift 25 – 30 lbs and set up event space as needed for programs
  • Compensation: $20/hour

Application Deadline: The position is open until filled. Please send your resume and cover letter to the contact person listed below.

EBMC Contact Person(s) and Contact Information:

Candi Martinez Carthen, Event Coordinator

candi (AT) eastbaymeditation (DOT) org

Read Francisco Del Toro’s #SeasonOfGratitude Story

Dear Sangha,
To celebrate 10 years of the East Bay Meditation Center, a generous group of Sangha members have pooled their resources to offer us a $20,000 match! Between now and the end of the year, you can double the impact of your gifts to EBMC- dollar for dollar – by clicking here.
As we enter a Season of Gratitude at EBMC, community members are sharing powerful stories of the transformative power of Sangha. The following piece is from Francisco Del Toro:
One Thursday about 4 years ago, I was sitting in the doctor’s office for a physical. The nurse handed me a questionnaire and asked me to fill it out, so I completed and submitted the survey. Twenty minutes later, the Doctor walked in, approached me and said, “According the questionnaire, you’re clinically depressed. Is everything ok?”
I immediately broke into tears, telling the Dr. about my parents passing away, my break up with my ex, how I felt alone, and mostly, how I was tired of life’s tough turns. She hugged me, and assured me that everything would be ok.
She presented two options. I could take medication to help ease the stress of the world, or she could give me the address to EBMC where I could try meditation instead. I rejected the medication. For the next several years, every Thursday is what I looked forward to.
EBMC’s practice groups taught me how to settle the mind when caught in the cyclone of anxieties, insecurities, and fears I created with my perception. Dharma talks were life lessons to help me understand myself and others.
I never experienced anything like that before. After two months of attending EBMC yoga classes and Dharma talks, I decided to get more involved. I signed up as a volunteer, and have been lending a helping hand ever since. Being a part of the EBMC community helped keep me on the right path when I was ready to give up. 
One Friday evening not long ago, some friends and I were at a packed pool house. I remember lining up my pool shot, when suddenly my anxiety started kicking in. My heart was thumping, palms charged with sweat, and my nerves rattled my confidence; I wanted to run and hide. As I tried to remain calm, I looked over to my friends who were focused on their conversation. I closed my eyes with the shot lined up and focused on my breath. Slowly, my mind settled. I continued the night calmly, amazed at what had happened. Through my practice at EBMC, I have found a way to work with issues I have long faced.
My journey in life is still going, I’m glad to say! I’ve recently become a yoga teacher, and it was EBMC’s yoga program that inspired me to teach others what I’ve learned. The love that the EBMC community shares gives me faith for a brighter future for all.
Thank you,
Francisco Del Toro

During our Season of Gratitude, Francisco is one of many Sangha members who have shared the ways that EBMC has changed their lives.
For 10 years, EBMC has run on a radical Gift Economics model which makes our programs accessible to all. Gift Economics means that we rely on the generous support of the community to keep us going. 

Thank you for supporting this diverse meditation center that is changing lives every day.

Awakening Together: Community Blessings for Larry Yang’s Newest Book

On Saturday, November 18th we gathered to celebrate EBMC Co-Founder and Teacher, Larry Yang’s new book, Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity & Community (Wisdom Publishing). Upon arrival, participants were invited to write a community blessing. We’ve gathered these blessings to share with our Sangha and beyond. Click on the link to read and enjoy.

Deep Bows, EBMC

Blessings from the communities of EBMC.2