Mindfulness meditation at the water's edge
Fog Signal Building,
Pt. Montara Lighthouse Hostel
16th Street and Highway 1
Montara, CA 94037
Wednesdays, 7:00-8:30 pm
Vipassana, or mindfulness meditation, was first taught by the Buddha 2,500 years ago. In this style of meditation, widespread today in Southeast Asia and increasingly popular in the West, one learns to watch what arises without judgment or reaction. In so doing, the mind can become clear and steady, and we begin to see things as they really are, without the distortion of our hopes, fears and confusion. Some apply mindfulness to reduce stress and control pain, and many find the practice a help with daily life, but the Buddha's purpose was clear: this way of seeing leads to freedom from suffering.
We gather on Wednesdays, and welcome others ... the merely curious, the earnest
beginner, the dedicated practitioner ... to join us. We generally begin with
30 minutes of silent meditation with enough guidance to introduce visitors
to the basics. Afterwards we hear a dhamma talk from a visiting teacher (most,
but not all of whom, are primarily grounded in the Theravada
tradition of Buddhist practice). There is usually time for Q&A
at the end of the evening, or for another short sitting. There is no charge
for the teachings, but we welcome
donations to support the teachers and our hosts at the hostel.
Teachers and Topics -- Sometimes we know the topic of a dhamma talk ... such as when we have arranged a series of talks on a specific topic ... but often a visiting teacher will talk on whatever is foremost in their life and practice at the moment.
Summer 2015 (meetings are at the Montara Lighthouse unless otherwise stated)
Misha Merrill was ordained a Zen priest in 1988 by Les Kaye Roshi in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi of the San Francisco Zen Center. She received Dharma Transmission from him in 1998 and has been leading a meditation group in Redwood City since 1993. She also teaches young children at the Peninsula School of Menlo Park. She lives in the hills above Stanford with her husband and joyfully cultivates a large garden.
Kaisa Puhakka, PhD, teaches psychotherapy and its integration with Buddhist practice as a core faculty member at California Institute of Integral Studies. She also works with clients and supervises students and interns in private practice. Her ongoing personal inquiry draws from Dzogchen texts, Krishnamurti, and vipassana and Zen practices, among others.
Renshin Bunce was a resident of Zen Center from 2001 to 2008, first for three years at Tassajara and then for four more years at City Center. She has helped hundreds of students sew their rakusus in the City Center sewing room, where she currently leads a class every other Saturday afternoon. She is also known for her photographs, and her page of photos has been called "The Zen Center Yearbook." Renshin was priest ordained with Zenkei Blanche Hartman in 2003; was Shuso (head monk) with Myogen-Roshi at Tassajara in 2008; and received dharma transmission from him in 2013. She lives on the Peninsula, where she works as a hospice chaplain. For more information you can see her website at Renshin Bunce.
Jill has been practising Zen since 1993 with Zen Heart Sangha in Woodside, CA and received Dharma Transmission from Misha Merrill in July 2013. She received priest ordination in 2001 and was Shuso (head monk) for the Sangha's first practice period in 2008. She is currently helping lead the evening and Saturday programs at the Sangha, as well as teaching the sewing of the Buddha's robes. Jill has a psychotherapy practice in San Jose, is a teaching member of Sandplay Therapists of America, and teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. She resides in Redwood City with her husband and has two grown sons.
Jennifer Block provides spiritual care to people in crisis, mentoring to caregivers and teaches people how to access their innate capacity for caring and healing. She is a longtime dharma practitioner and Buddhist chaplain. A nationally-recognized educator and consultant, Jennifer teaches the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training program with Paul Haller and Gil Fronsdal at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies.
Daniel Bowling is a mediator and mediation trainer for the US District Court for Northern California. He co-edited/co-authored Bringing Peace into the Room -- the first book on mediation to focus on the importance for resolving conflict of the mediator's personal qualities. He helped start mediation in South Carolina, where he practised law after graduating from Harvard Law School. He has practised meditation since 1976 and participated in Spirit Rock's Community Dharma Leaders Training. He currently is on the Spirit Rock Board of Directors and Ethics and Reconciliation Committee.
Rev. Tony Bernhard is a Buddhist chaplain and teacher. He maintains an active practice with inmates in Folsom Prison and hosts sitting groups in Davis. He sits on the board of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies and teaches regularly around the bay area and central valley. His practice is non-traditional, guided by his chaplaincy work in prison, his teaching and by his study of the early Pali scriptures.
Pt. Montara Lighthouse Hostel is located on Highway 1 at 16th Street in Montara. We meet in the Fog Signal building next to the lighthouse. (The building is heated by a wood fire, but can still be a bit chilly on cold, foggy days; dress appropriately. The floor is carpeted, but you might want a pad or folded blanket if you plan to sit on a cushion. There are also plenty of chairs available.)
Please see these directions for getting here safely!
The hostel is run by a non-profit organization with the intent of "helping all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people through hosteling." Guests of all ages stay at Pt. Montara and at hostels world-wide. We are grateful to the hostel staff for their support.
This page is usually updated at the end of the month.