ACI LA
JUNE 2009


ACI LA Newsletter

amaste and welcome to the ACI-LA June newsletter.

Last month, we spoke of the holiest Buddhist holiday, Wesak or Saga Dawa, which takes place the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar. It usually begins in May and in Tibet, the celebration continues throughout the month of June. This celebration of Gautama Buddha is known in Tibet as 'bum gyur dawa', meaning the month which multiplies by 100,000 all the virtuous or non virtuous actions you perform. We better get busy!

This month there is a message from Lama Marut on "Pouring old wine into new bottles." Following that are some beautiful contributions, beginning with advices from Irma Gomes who recently completed a six month retreat.

At the Mahasukha Center, Rick Blue's teaching on Dharma 101: Books, Bowls and Sacred Scrolls, Vol. 2...the nuts and bolts of a daily dharma practice, was postponed last month. The date has been rescheduled for Saturday, June 20th .  

These special teachings as well as all the offerings at the Mahasukha Center are listed at the end of this newsletter, with details available on the ACI-LA website. Click here to see the events: www.aci-la.org

The Mahasukha Center has grown into a sanctuary of authentic dharma and yoga traditions for application in today's modern world. As a community we work together to be happy and to serve others, and gain the tools and resources to practice wisdom and compassion.

We continue our efforts to support the 3-year Great Retreat , scheduled to begin in October of 2010. (To see the full description, go to www.aci-la.org/great_retreat.html)

 

This Month
A Message from Brian (Venerable Marut)
Darin's Digital Funhouse
Contributions
Dharma Website of the Month
Dharma Flicks
Dharma Podcasts: Recent Audio Uploads
Upcoming ACI-LA Classes
How You Can Help
Thank You
ACI LA Home

ACI LA Newsletter

A Message From Brian (Venerable Marut)

Pouring Old Wine Into New Bottles

As students and practitioners of religion, it is interesting to observe the ways modern secular culture re-invents the wheel, discovering for itself -- often with the publicity and fanfare that accompanies such pioneering "breakthroughs" -- what religious traditions have been teaching for millennia. The old wine of religious truth is (mostly unconsciously and unknowingly) being poured into the new wineskins of secular, scientific discourse.

While it is amusing to witness this somewhat narcissistic and myopic process at work among our secular scientists, scholars, and intellectuals, the fact that it is happening can also be a powerful reinforcement of our spiritual practice. The ways in which secular culture in at least some respects corroborates the teachings of religion makes things a bit less complicated for the religious practitioner. It is easier to have support from the society in which we live than not. When the "news" issuing forth from the worldly experts conforms to the "olds" - the truth religions have always been teaching - it can serve to reinforce our belief in our spiritual path.  

And perhaps even more than this, the exercise can demonstrate to us that the methods and systems for happiness in the authentic religious traditions of humankind are far more comprehensive and effective than their more recent shadowy counterparts. Why settle for the new when you could have the old?

It's been twenty-five years since Fritjof Capra published his Tao of Physics, outlining to a general public the parallels between the findings of modern physics and the ancient metaphysical assumptions of many Eastern religions. Books like Gary Zukov's The Dancing Wu Li Masters and films like What the Bleep Do We Know further popularized the modern realization of a traditional understanding: that we are not just passive eyewitnesses to an independently existing world around us. We are, rather, active participants in the very creation of our world and the events occurring within it. Trends in other parts of the modern academy (sometimes lumped together as "post-modernism") reinforced the idea that we are (at the very least) subjective interpreters -- if not full-on projectors -- of reality, and not just objective observers of it.  

The things and events of our world are coming from us, not at us; nothing exists independently and objectively, but only interdependently. This is a profound and ancient truth -- rediscovered of late in a variety of departments within the modern, secular academy - and has radical implications for what happens when the subjective apparatus through which we interpret (or project) the world is changed, and how to manipulate that process through what we call "karma."

An even more recent example of this phenomenon of rediscovery of ancient truths by our modern researchers is in the burgeoning new field of "positive psychology" (a.k.a. "happiness studies"). The best-selling book lists are flooded with the popularized "news" issuing forth from the research of academics like Martin E. P. Seligman (Authentic Happiness), Tal Ben-Shahar (Happier), and Richard Layard (Happiness). But when a spiritual practitioner looks at the results of this research, he or she will find only echoes and restatements of what our religious traditions have been teaching all along. True happiness comes not from the selfish pursuit of more money or consumer goods, nor from working endless hours in order to get ahead at the job, nor from more and more holidays and entertainment experiences. It is also not obtained through seeking revenge from those who hurt us, nor from dominating and exploiting those weaker than ourselves. Rather, happiness comes from . . . wait for it . . . are you ready for the "news"? . . . forgiveness, compassion, an altruistic attitude towards others, and a sense of gratitude for the blessings of one's life.  

It's déjà vu all over again -- the old repositioned as the "new and improved," spiritual truisms redeployed as scientific discoveries, old wine poured into new bottles.

Here's another example. A new disease has been recently diagnosed. It's called "affluenza" and is defined by PBS (who also broadcasted a one hour documentary on the topic; see http://www.pbs.org/kcts/affluenza/) in the following manner:

Af-flu-en-za n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth. 4. A television program that could change your life.

According to the Wikipedia article on the subject, affluenza is a malaise that afflicts us beneficiaries of consumer capitalism. We got the products but not the happiness we thought would accompany this material prosperity. Australian researchers Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss (Affluenza: When Too Much is Never Enough) argue that affluenza is bound up in over-consumption, "luxury fever," consumer debt, overwork, waste, and harm to the environment. These pressures lead to "psychological disorders, alienation and distress" - i.e., unhappiness.

Hamilton and Denniss also note that a number of their Australian research subjects have responded to affluenza by what the researchers have called "downshifting." In the attempt to be happy, some people have made a conscious decision to "reduce their incomes and place family, friends and contentment above money in determining their life goals."  

Indeed, a new post-consumerist trend toward "voluntary simplicity" or "simple living" is all over the internet and bookstores. It is defined by Wikipedia as "a lifestyle characterized by minimizing the 'more is better' pursuit of wealth and consumption. Adherents may choose simple living for a variety of personal reasons, such as spirituality, health, increase in 'quality time' for family and friends, stress reduction, personal taste or frugality." On one of the many websites dedicated to the voluntary simplicity movement (www.choosingvoluntarysimplicity.com), we learn that "Choosing voluntary simplicity does not have to be a complete lifestyle change all at once," but that "Making just a few small changes in your life can make a major difference." The site goes on to give a list of ways we could start living more simply, and therefore more happily:

  • Start by limiting unnecessary purchases. Ask yourself if the item you're considering is something you will still want a few years down the road... or if it really is something you want or need. If it's just an impulse purchase, or you were going to buy it because it is the latest trend, maybe you would rather save the money or use it for something else that is more important to you.
  • Think carefully about how you are spending your time. Is your life full of activities or scheduled events that are meaningless to you? Frugality of time is sometimes more important than frugality of money. Start doing things that bring you joy and stop doing some of those things that cause you to feel stressed and unhappy.
  • Appreciate your family life and enjoy the people you love. Spend time with each member of your family and build strong relationships... make the effort to become a genuine part of each other's lives.
  • Do it yourself and become more self-reliant. Learn skills and teach yourself to fix things.
  • Make a connection with nature. A short walk, time spent working in the garden, outdoor activities, or just being outdoors and enjoying the beautiful day that has been given to you can all bring amazing amounts of relaxation and peace of mind.
  • Re-think the way you shop for groceries and the foods you eat. The old adage of "you are what you eat" is even more true today. Good nutrition... eating REAL food and a diet as free of preservatives and additives as is possible will help make you healthier and happier.
  • Try to find a balance between work and relaxation. Everyone needs some downtime, both physically and emotionally.

These are all fine suggestions for leading a happier life, but do not begin to approach the techniques for obtaining the more pervasive changes a true spiritual life can effect. They are "lite" versions of the real thing. If the genuine article is available to you, why would you choose the knock-off?

The idea of living simply and curbing one's desires is, again, not "news" for many of us; it has been a part of many, if not all, authentic religious traditions for centuries.   The genuine religions of humankind have always urged us to live a simple, unencumbered existence. They have always urged us to lives in which our priorities are in order. They have always called upon us to curb our greedy tendencies to always want more and more, and to cultivate the opposite virtue of contentment and satisfaction with what we have.  

And, arguably, since they've had millennia to work on it, they have done so in a much more comprehensive manner than recent secular movements can achieve over a period of a few years. If we are interested in a more venerable, time-tested approach to the happy life, we'd do better to pay attention to the advice religion has always been giving in this regard.

To take just one example, in Je Tsongkapa's Great Book on the Steps of the Path (Lam Rim Chenmo) we are presented with six guidelines for living a lifestyle conducive to a peaceful, meditative mindset and to attaining the transformative realizations such a mindset brings about. If you're looking for the principles for truly leading a simple, happy life, you could start with these.

First off, Je Tsongkapa advises us "to do your meditation staying in a place which is conducive for it." Our homes should not be too big or too cluttered with too many possessions. We should establish and reside in an environment that is zen-like in its elegant spareness. Too much external clutter both reflects and reinforces a messy, muddled mind.

Second, our author recommends that we "keep our wants few." The perpetual desire for what we don't have - aggravated greatly nowadays by the daily bombardment of advertising we endure - keeps our minds in a constant state of turmoil. And the third piece of lifestyle advice is correlative with the second: be satisfied with what you have and what you get. This, in a word, is contentment - or what I call "entry level happiness," one of those spiritual qualities that is its own reward.

The fourth suggestion for living a good, peaceful life conducive to deep meditation and the insights it can bring is "that you give up trying to do too many things." As those attracted to the voluntary simplicity movement have also recognized in their own way, there is virtue in being "unbusy." Busyness is, of course, not about how many things one does in the course of the day, but about the mental attitude one has as one acts and what, exactly, one is busy doing. A spiritual practitioner should be fully occupied in training him- or herself and in helping others - but never with the stress and anxiety of the busyness that ordinarily afflicts many of us. If you're feeling stressed out in your spiritual practice, you're not doing a spiritual practice.

Je Tsongkapa's fifth guideline is again one that all religious traditions have always underlined -- the absolute importance of living a good ethical life if one wishes to be happy. This, unfortunately, is not usually emphasized in the modern, secular facsimiles of the older religious verities -- including positive psychology and the voluntary simplicity movement, where there is shockingly little attention given to morality as the key to a good life.

Finally, Je Tsongkapa cuts to the bone and says "you should totally rid yourself of the stupid thoughts of desire and the rest":

You meditate on the problems of desire in this life -- how it can bring you to death, and to bondage; and you meditate on the problems it brings you in the life after -- a birth in the realms of misery, or the like. Or else you can meditate on how each and every one of these pretty things in the suffering cycle of life is going to end; how quickly it disappears; how surely it will be torn from me before very long. Try then to get accustomed to thoughts like this: So why do I find myself caring at all about these things? What use are they for me? Use these to rid yourself of every stupid thought of desire.

Now that's what I call REAL "voluntary simplicity!" It is the full-on renunciation religions have been teaching for centuries. Just as the traditional teachings on emptiness are deeper and way more useful to our practice than the speculations of modern physics; and just as the all-encompassing religious program of cultivating selflessness and compassion is far more radical and effective than the underdeveloped, shallow, and piecemeal approach of positive psychology; so too are the teachings on renunciation we find in the world's religions (for it is certainly not just Buddhism that teaches it!) the genuine article when it comes to a real cure for "affluenza."

The new, secular repackaging of religious truth may help some who are, for one reason or another, unable to hear and digest the undiluted version. But Jesus said we shouldn't try to pour new wine into old bottles -- we shouldn't try to shoehorn the new into the old. And in both the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Thomas, the verse concludes like this:

And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, 'The old is good enough.'

With all good wishes,

Marut

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ACI LA Newsletter

ontributions

Some Advises From A Six Month Retreat
by Irma Gomés

I bow down to my Supreme Unsurpassed Lamas who have requested me to describe my experience in retreat, which is a key component of every spiritual practice.

It's easy to think of going on retreat but to actually make it happen it takes a lot of karmic gardening. Furthermore, planning a long-term retreat requires many more logistics. And just like in the Lam Rim, it all starts with the Blessings of the Lama.

The key is to start small and if possible go to group retreats those are very helpful; the Retreat Master organizes schedules, teachings, food, sleeping and leisure times... so my first advice to those who want to do retreat is to find small guided weekend retreats. Watch and observe times and activities, readings, talks and so forth. Be in a group you trust and keep silence if possible. I've been in group retreats where I wear a little badge that says "in silence". Do the "Muka Bundha Asana" Lama Marut talks about: don't say anything. It is very powerful. The Sanskrit "muni" in Shakyamuni Buddha means quiet, silent; sages are associated with silence as they only speak when it is of benefit to others. And really, there are so many things we don't need to say. Most of our speech feeds the self-existent "me" we think we are.

I discovered silence is also the first step to listen to my nonsense inner dialogue. Only when I stopped talking did I notice what I was telling myself all day long. During meditations we try to control this feature with single pointed or analytical practices, but 'in between' sessions are very important, too. So be in silence as much as you can.

Other karmic tricks that seem to have worked for me was to rejoice for others when they are in retreat, encourage and support them as much as possible offering to do things for when they are away (pick up their mail, pay their bills, watch their pet, send them candles/incense, prepare meals, send care packages and notes of encouragement). Giving up a family holiday and dedicating the merit or actually supporting retreat of our mother, father, Lama or partner is really, really good. And even just imagining yourself supporting others' and your own retreat is very powerful.

There are some retreat basics that I can't cover on this newsletter but can be found in a great book FPMT has published on "Heart Advice for Retreat" by Pabonka Rinpoche and Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

Just like we start meditating for 5 minutes and then add more and more, before doing a 6-month retreat I started with weekends, then moved on to weeks, 1 and 3 months and finally 6 months. It is very important to build time up. Nobody can sit for 2 hours if they don't start with 5 minutes! Train your body to sit for an hour or two, and build up the days you are in retreat as well.

I started planning a 6-month retreat about 2 years ago. I had to arrange the financials with my husband, talk to my boss at work, find a place... there are many things that need to be taken care of; and we must have a feeling of complete freedom if we are to have a successful retreat. The mind will obsess with any unfinished business. Talk to your close friends and family and explain to them why it is important to you and make guidelines in anticipation of events. Think of what you want to know of and ask your loved ones to respect and follow your decision. I told my mom I would not come in case of a family death but that I would like to know to say prayers for them.

It's also important to set a date and stick to it. Demons can come in forms of "things we need to take care of" and it's very important to not get distracted. There will be a wedding, a birthday or an important event you will miss and you have to be OK with it. What is more important than saving all sentient beings?

My last advice is to not expect anything from Retreat. You need a plan, a schedule to start with, but these will change. I could not sleep at nights so I changed my meditation hours, and then I pulled a tendon, which eliminated my yoga routine. And that was OK. When you are in retreat you are putting yourself in the hands of enlightened beings and everything that happens is a teaching or a test. And it's definitely a blessing. So no matter what happens, rejoice and be grateful. Make the most out of it because yes, this precious human life is more fragile than a bubble in a stream, and we must get enlightened whilst we are living still!

 

 

"We should work to think more of money as something that is given away, rather than something that is saved."

Stéphane Dreyfus

 

 

The Niyamas
Saucha
A continuing series by Rene Miranda

The second limb of yoga, the niyamas, are commitments. First we learned to restrain ourselves from bad deeds with the yamas. We are slowing down the planting of negative seeds. The commitments plant good seeds to gain merit. The next six limbs will happen because of practicing the first two.

According to the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, there are five yamas. The first of these is saucha meaning purity or keeping clean. The highest form of saucha is seeing the world around you and the people in it as sacred. There are two ways to see the world: as ordinary or as divine. What if all the people and things in our world are actually a form of divine being placed in our world in exactly the way we need to help us reach enlightenment as quickly as possible. How do we know this is not the case?   The best way to start this practice is to focus on something good in everyone we see and everything that happens. Try it!  

Saucha also means not cluttering our lives with lots of busyness; countless shallow activities and interactions to fill the day. Is also refers to not cluttering our homes with lots of stuff we do not need. I once heard these kinds of actions as being temporary relief for minor existential pain. Maybe a new job or person, or toy will keep my mind occupied so I don't have to think about why I am actually doing it all!  

So, keep a clean house, a nice schedule and a clean, untroubled mind in order to be the kind of yogi who will build a wonderful world of happiness and freedom. Let go of   the need to always "do" and "have" the next thing. When you pare all the stuff away, you are left with purity. Revel in that space that words cannot express

 

 

 

The Three Yogas Of The Bhagavad Gita
As Taught By Lama Marut

The Yoga Of Wisdom (Jnyana Yoga)

There is no truth, no Lord, only desire that brings things into being, so thinks the deluded mind, so it says in The Three Yogas of the Bhagavad Gita. In it we are introduced to two very different warriors: Arjuna and Krishna. Arjuna has been called upon to put a stop to a war while Krishna, his charioteer, is a deity disguised as Arjuna's boyhood friend.  

After Krishna revealed himself as an Enlightened Being, Arjuna was left wondering why Krishna came to him disguised. Krishna explains that the disguise was to get Arjuna's attention without frightening him. Lama Marut says, "We have prejudices of how the Divine should look....We think we know others but we do not know who people really are. God could be right in front of us but how would we know?  Entertain that the Divine can come to us."  

In the text Krishna emphasizes to Arjuna that people are deluded and don't know what to believe. We cling to wrong views and do not know which way to turn. Similarly, in our own lives we continually grasp for more and more material things we do not need, and seemingly will do anything to get them. Krishna further tells Arjuna that actions have proven that many hate the Divinity in themselves and others, because they act without wisdom.

As a way out of this delusion and an antidote to stop the suffering, we are encouraged to develop a strong Yoga practice. Yoga is about renunciation, giving up those obstacles to our enlightenment. Lama Marut says, "Let go of things that cause us pain and dedicate our lives to the sacred." And what is the sacred? Is it an illusion? Is it who we really are when stripped of all projections?

For us, for now, it is a guiding force, a goal. Even if we don't see it or feel it, we must pretend, "fake it 'til we make it". As Lama Marut says, "the payoff for when we practice 'Make Believe Yoga' is that we become that happy person we are impersonating. We must have the illusion first, and then we lose it in service to others with wisdom. What you do to others will come back to you."

Lama Marut reminded us not to abandon the world but to take time away from it to wrestle with our own demons, then come back to help others. "When we turn the focus from how bad we think things are for us to how worse off others are, then the actions we practice for our own happiness will make others happy."

Hard work, but ultimately rewarding beyond compare. As Lama Marut tells us, "Having a higher power in our life will help us realize that we all can become divine".  

Part two of a three part series by Marie Tolbert

 

 

The Truth Will Set You Free
by Leigh Spencer

The latest "Marutism" about emptiness? More like the New Testament, John 8.32.

Do unto others as you would have done to you.

A quote from the Dharma Essentials class on karma? Nope. The book of Luke.

Lama Marut taught at the Mahasukha Center, late this May, paralleling dharma and the Bible. Focusing on three subjects--renunciation, compassion and wisdom--he showed us how religion, practiced authentically, no matter which, should bring people together, as opposed to dividing them. All religions promise the same thing, happiness. The requirement is an ethical life.

Okay, the creator god part is harder to reconcile as quickly as the "don't kill" part, but even that part, contemplate it, or put it on the shelf. There is a logic there too.

Lama Marut grew up in an observant Christian family and offers that to practice the dharma, does not equate turning one's back on another authentic religion. Obviously from diverse backgrounds, the entire audience recited "As I lay me down to sleep..." without a moments hesitation. A prayer, that Lamaji pointed out, is a sweet and condensed death meditation.

Who said you can't practice both? Maybe you already are.

 

 

Don't forget Dharma Flicks Night!
with Eric Smith

Movie: "Stranger Than Fiction"
Time: 7 PM
Location: Mahasukha Center
Date: Saturday, June 13th

Bring some potluck, enjoy a movie, and discuss the Dharma!

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Darrin's Digital Funhouse

LIVE VIDEO BROADCASTS of MAHASUKHA TEACHINGS and ACI Formal Study Course

Visit the new Live Video page on the ACI-LA site to see all the current and archived broadcasts on Ustream.TV, including Lama Marut's 3 Yogas of the Bhagavad Gita and Geshe Michael and Lama Christie's Spiritual Partner Teachings:

/live_video.html

Email darin@aci-la.org if you want in on the Digital Sangha list to get reminders about what's coming up or need help to view the archived teachings.

Twitter into Happiness!

Get little pearls of Lama wisdom sent straight to your cell phone every day via text message!

Lama Marut gives us another way to keep ourselves mindful of how to be happy by sending out "Dharma Twitters" via www.twitter.com. Just create a profile at www.twitter.com (it takes 10 minutes max) and then text " follow Lama Marut" to 40404 from your cell phone.

Get a little Lama love in the middle of your busy day!

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ACI LA Newsletter

Dharma Website of the Month

Environmental Working Group

At EWG, their team of scientists, engineers, policy experts, lawyers and computer programmers pores over government data, legal documents, scientific studies and their own laboratory tests to expose threats to your health and the environment, and to find solutions. Their research brings to light unsettling facts that you have a right to know.

http://www.ewg.org/

If you come across a site that you'd like others to know about, please notify Catherine at eatoncat@verizon.net and contribute to this part of the newsletter.

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ACI LA Newsletter

Dharma Flicks

Implicit Dharma:
American Beauty

If American Beauty had a subtitle to describe its Dharma related theme, it would be called American Beauty: How NOT to have a Spiritual Partnership. The film, which is the wonderful first collaboration between director Sam Mendes and Cinematographer Conrad Hall (their following collaboration, Road to Perdition, was Hall's final film project before his death in 2003), is also a tour de force by actors Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening. In the film, Spacey and Bening play Lester and Carolyn Burnham, a married but deeply estranged suburban couple in their mid-forties. They are successful professionals with a nice home and a bright and beautiful daughter. All seems well. However, what stirs below the surface is a different story. Lester is so profoundly dissatisfied with his life that he quits his job, begins to pursue the friend of his young daughter and is unaffected by the infidelity of his wife. Although few of us unravel to the extent that Lester does, the dissatisfaction that he feels is not hard to imagine. What is particularly interesting to the Dharma seeker is that we get to see a character who understands that life as he is currently living it will never in a million years bring him happiness. In this respect, Lester is way ahead of the crowd. Sadly, the perverse form of "renunciation" that follows only leads Lester further into the mire of samsara. If Lester had only had the good fortune of a Spiritual Partners teaching, he would have realized that his dissatisfaction was not based on the world changing around him but rather, the changes forced on him by his own karma.  Lamenting the dull predictability that now governing his life, he asks his wife, now a straight-laced real estate broker, "What ever happened to the girl who used to feign seizures at Frat parties?" How much better it would it have been Lester, my friend, to realize that there was no entertainment and no satisfaction outside yourself. There was no wife feigning seizures, there was no laughter and no loving mother of your daughter that did not come from own karma. So take heart and take responsibility for your own happiness by making the happiness of others your first priority!

Explicit Dharma:
Dalai Lama Renaissance

At the cusp of the new Millennium, forty visionaries and innovative thinkers left the United States with high expectations of changing the world. They set off for India to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his residence at the mystical foothills of the Himalayas. Expectations were very high for this five-day series of discussions about how to change the world and solve some of its most crucial problems by creating solutions from a "synthesis" of their varied disciplines. Artists, scholars, physicists, astronomers, business leaders, doctors and authors all longed to meet and speak directly with the Dalai Lama. His Holiness became a mythic figure who could and would transform each person and bring about the kind of alchemy and action that all expected to occur. All participants, including the Dalai Lama, were taking the gathering very seriously and holding high hopes of affecting real positive change in the world on a profound level.

What happened surprised them all.

Dharma Flicks submitted by Mike Parry

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Dharma Podcasts: Recent Audio Uploads

Dharma Podcasts: Recent Audio Uploads

Dharma podcasts are becoming an increasingly popular and convenient way to get exposure to enlightening Dharma teachings at the touch of a computer key. Don't miss Lama Marut's weekly podcasts at www.aci-la.org

This Month's Dharma Podcasts:
"Sticking With your Tradition And Teacher," The Four White Deeds," "How To Keep Your Vows Well," and "Rediscovering The Miraculous Nature Of Everyday Life."

Weekly videocasts: /mg-video.html

Audio podcasts : /mg-podcsts.html

Audio Downloads: The "Recent Teachings" section on www.aci-la.org is replete with new public talks on yoga, Guru yoga and meditation at: /teach_marut_recent.html

Be sure to subscribe to keep up to date on the digital downloads! Click on the subscription button at www.aci-la.org and/or www.lamamarut.org and enter your email address to receive podcast updates. You'll receive an email announcement when new podcasts of teachings are uploaded to either site.

If you enjoy having access to these wonderful Dharma podcasts, please make sure to comment in the comments section on iTunes.

To subscribe to Lama Marut's video podcasts please go to: /mg-video.html

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ACI LA Newsletter

Current and Upcoming ACI-LA Classes

ACI-LA classes are donation-based and open to the public.
(Please see the calendar for full descriptions.)

Many of the classes are given weekly so please check the ACI website calendar for full descriptions and times:
//medialib/index.php/calendar

June 1st, 8th and 15th (Mon)
ACI Formal Study Course 5: How Karma Works, with Cliff Spencer
Date: Monday nights, Beginning April 13
Time: 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Location: Mahasukha Center
Admission: Free and open to the public; donation only
Contact: lauren.benjamin@aci-la.org

June 5th (Fri)
Dharma Essentials I: The Principal Teachings of Buddhism, with Rick Blue
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Location: Mahasukha Center
Admission: donation-based community class
Contact: rick.blue@aci-la.org

June 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th (Fri)
Mahasukha Lunchtime Yoga - all levels - with Sarah Canfield
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Location: Mahasukha Center
Admission: $8 suggested donation. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.
Contact: Claire.Thompson@aci-la.org

June 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th (Sun)
Guided Meditation
Teacher: Rick Blue
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Location: Mahasukha Center
Admission: Free and open to the public; donation only
Contact: Rick Blue

June 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th (Mon)
Mahasukha Yoga - All levels - with Jessica Larsen
Time: 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location: Mahasukha Center
Admission: donation-based community class
Contact: Claire.Thompson@aci-la.org

June 3rd, 10th and 17th and 24th (Wed)
Mahasukha Yoga - All levels - with Mira Kingsley
Time: 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Location: Mahasukha Center
Admission: $12 suggested donation. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.
Contact: Claire.Thompson@aci-la.org

June 3rd, 10th and 17th and 24th (Wed)
Mahasukha Yoga - Beginners - with Sarah Canfield
Time: 6:45 pm - 7:45 pm
Location: Mahasukha Center
Admission: $12 suggested donation. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.
Contact: Claire.Thompson@aci-la.org

June 4th, 11th, and 18th 2009 (Thu)
Bok Jinpa II -Set Your Meditation on Fire 1
Teacher: Lauren Benjamin
Date: Ten Thursdays beginning April 16
Time: 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Location: Mahasukha Center
Admission: Free and open to the public; donation only
Contact: lauren.benjamin@aci-la.org

June 6th and 13th (Sat)
Mahasukha Yoga - Beginners with Sarah Canfield
Time: 9:15 am - 10:15 am
Location: Mahasukha Center
Admission: $8 per class - No one will be turned away due to lack of funds
Contact: Claire.Thompson@aci.la.org

June 6th and 13th (Sat)
Mahasukha Yoga all levels - with Sarah Canfield
Time: 10:30 am - 12:00 noon
Location: Mahasukha Center
Admission: $12 per class - No one will be turned away due to lack of funds
Contact: Claire.Thompson@aci-la.org

June 20th, 2009 (Sat)
Dharma 101: Books, Bowls and Sacred Scrolls, Vol. 2 ... The nuts and bolts of a daily dharma practice
Teacher: Rick Blue
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Location: Mahasukha Center
Admission: Supported by Donations. Open to the Public
To register: email Rick Blue or call 310.454.6168.         

June 13th ( Sat)
Stranger Than Fiction - Potluck Dinner and Dharma Flick, with Eric Smith
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Mahasukha Center
Admission:Bring potluck
Contact: Eric Smith

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ow You Can Help

Thank you to all of the ACI-LA volunteers who help with our various Dharma projects! We are currently looking for people who have specific skills in certain areas so please email us at lauren.benjamin@aci-la.org if you:

* Would like to help transcribe full-length audio teachings
* Have document formatting / layout skills to help format our Dharma Essentials handouts
* If you have some time to look through aci-la.org and find broken weblinks and audio that doesn't download.
* Have accounting skills and/or are familiar with Quik-Books
* Add a link to ACI-LA website on your blog.

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ACI LA Newsletter

Thank You

Thank you to Venerable Marut for his kindness in coming to teach the Dharma here in Los Angeles and around the world. Thank you to Lauren Benjamin, Cliff Spencer, Rick Blue, Lindsay Crouse and Sal Gallina for their kindness in teaching here in Los Angeles.

Thank you to Stephane Dreyfus for maintaining the ACI-LA website, and to all our marvelous students who help make it possible to spread the Dharma.

All suggestions and updates for the website can be sent to Stephane at floatingrock@gmail.com. Catherine Eaton produces the newsletters and would joyfully appreciate submissions. Please email your contributions to Catherine at eatoncat@verizon.net by the 20th of the month.

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