JULY 20, 2020
On March 12, 2020, East Bay Meditation Center announced the online transition of all of our Practice Groups, Classes, Workshops, Deep Refuge Groups, Movement Classes and Retreats. Since then staff, practice group coordinators, teachers and Leadership Sangha (the EBMC board of directors) have put in many hours of trial and error to adjust to the new virtual formats for our programming. We bow deeply to our volunteers and the entire Sangha for patient practice, love, and support.
Although highly aware that online programming is not accessible to all for many reasons, including technology investments and Zoom fatigue, we have also been happy to hear that virtual gatherings have opened up space for some who could not otherwise come to the center. This includes people outside the Bay Area, some families with small children, and folks for whom EBMC is not physically accessible, including those with chronic illness and those who are immune compromised.
In May, members of EBMC staff and Leadership Sangha formed a group (our “Safety Squad”) to proactively plan for when we might start using our physical space again. We are balancing the recognition that many people are acutely missing being in physical community together with our core values of radical inclusivity and being accessible for all of our sangha regardless of health vulnerability.
Spiritual friendship and community are foundational to EBMC. We understand, and share, the need to be together in person in our beloved temple space, and we are also holding space for the needs for safety for our many Sangha members who are high risk when it comes to COVID-19, due to age and/or various health conditions. Given that Radical Inclusivity and Social Justice and Healing are two of the five elements that make up EBMC’s Strategic Plan, and with the understanding that access is experienced as an act of love for our entire community, the Safety Squad is mindful of the Dharma teachings on universal loving kindness (mettā): Wishing: In gladness and in safety, may all beings be at ease. Whatever living beings there may be; whether they are weak or strong, omitting none.
Given these guiding values, we do not envision reopening our physical space before Spring 2021, at the earliest. Our decisions going forward will continue to be based on public health advisories and information, and availability of vaccines and treatment. We will also continue to re-imagine our programming with the focus on inclusion and engagement of our entire Sangha.
Virtual Sangha Link
MARCH 12, 2020
As many of you know, circumstances are changing quickly regarding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation in the Bay Area.
To ensure our community’s health and well-being, EBMC is temporarily moving all of our Practice Groups, Classes, Workshops, Deep Refuge Groups, Movement Classes and Retreats to ONLINE ONLY, effective Wednesday, March 11th.
We are working with Practice Group Leaders to ensure that the safety and community of our groups is respected as we roll out online links for each of our EBMC practice groups. Our website will have the most up-to-date Zoom links.
Classes and Workshops
Classes and workshops that require registration will continue online. If you are registered for a class or workshop, you will receive a Zoom link and instructions via email.
Dana for Teachers and EBMC
As we come together in community in the virtual realm, we ask you to give as generously as you are able to our teachers in gratitude for their offerings and to EBMC to support our Sangha. Now more than ever we need the grounding of our practice and the support of our extended community, no matter where we are physically located. May the teachings of the Dharma and our wise effort to practice together tonight be a blessing to all beings.
We will share separate payment links for our teachers and the Center during each Practice Group or Class/Workshop.
Teachers’ PayPal or Venmo links will be given so that dana to our teachers can be offered.
To make a donation to EBMC, please click here. (This information will also be shared at each Zoom meeting.)
When you make your donation to EBMC, please indicate in the “Event/Program Designation” box at the bottom of the donate page which class/practice group you are attending. We thank you for your generosity!
Practicing Connecting through Loving Kindness, Mindfulness, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity
The Buddha taught that everything is subject to change. Our EBMC Sangha will go through this stressful period together, and at some point our center’s doors will once again be open to all.
We appreciate your spiritual practice of patience, understanding, compassion, joy, loving kindness and equanimity. Most of all, we appreciate your practice of mindful awareness during this time. Please take a moment as you read this to take a few breaths, and gaze at or bring to mind something that you find beautiful and refreshing: new leaves on a tree, a friend’s smile, a treasured photo on your home altar or in your smartphone’s photo gallery. And then, if you’d like to do so, reach out to at least one other person. Tell them something you appreciate about them; call or email or Zoom visit with them. Some members of our Sangha “meet” informally and regularly, morning and evening, by phone, for 5 minutes, to meditate and share spiritual texts and blessings. Ask your friend if they would like to do this with you.
Through simple and available practices of connecting with ourselves and with others in healing ways, we co-create the world in which we want to live. Let’s use this time to find creative ways to accompany one another until, as the teacher Thich Nhat Hanh says, “The long path turns to joy.” We can do this.