What is it like to give and receive the Dhamma in this time of the coronavirus global pandemic? It’s like this. We Zoom. We make videos for the children. We receive words of encouragement. We receive support from our renters and from our virtual dana bowl.
We Zoom Our Programs
Sunday Sila – 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. is now given interactively as a large online group. The morning includes silent meditations, reflections, and a video chat. Attendance is at or above usual numbers. An audio of the Dhamma Reflections is recorded and will soon be posted to our website and listed under Teachings. Kristen and her daughter have been avid Friends of Dhamma zoomers on Sunday Sila.
“Not being good with technology, for me it’s amazingly easy to click a link and with no effort be taken right into it,” said Kristen. ” I appreciate all the behind-the-scenes work to set up the equipment and send the emails with the link. It means I get to see live people, my friends, my community. Being with everyone is so heartwarming. Also, I like seeing everyone at home with their comfy chairs, cushions, and altars. It feels like we’re all together in this practice. Seeing the names with the faces is like meeting new people.” She added, “I’m glad that people at a distance and those who can’t leave home can also join in.”
Tuesday Reflections – 8:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. is also now online and like always, begins with a guided meditation, a reflection on a practice topic, and, time willing, a group chat to reflect on practice, share our joys and challenges, and or ask questions — all while enjoying each other’s company while snug in our individual homes.
“I am so grateful to Jessica for her support of the Tuesday Reflections folks. Many people have shared with me how happy they feel after having spending their time in contact with this group.”
Friday Investigations – 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. can also be joined online. As with Sunday Sila, these groups begin with a meditation followed by reflections and interactive participation. An added benefit is that Sunday Sila sessions Dhamma reflections are recorded for the Friends of Dhamma Podcast and remain available there for later listening. We are so grateful that members of the community have whole-heartedly stepped forward to help with financial and in-kind support for sound and video equipment and Zoom subscriptions.
“With the onset of the quarantine and PFOD programs being moved online, we have the joy of attending Investigations again, from Bend, OR…sitting together in silence and then sharing Dhamma with our Portland friends has been delightful. Anumodana!Joan and Scott Benge
We Make Video’s for Our Children
The children in our community have a new treat to look forward to. videos on our YouTube channel from Jessica and her family. “Star Meditation” and “I Know You Are But What Am I?” teach activities that children and parents can do together learning skills and values.
And there’s more, for a complete list click here.
We Receive Words of Encouragement
As our community members and teachers step forward to find novel ways of sharing Dhamma with one another during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, perhaps one of the most heartening gifts are the messages of encouragement from our monastic and lay teachers at a distance. Luang Por Pasanno (กำลังใจจากหลวงพ่อปสันโน) Ajahn Sudanto, Ayya Santussikā, and several others have sent video, audio, or written messages made specifically for Portland Friends of the Dhamma. We are so grateful for such support from these wonderful teachers.
We Recieve Support from Each Other
We are all one community and our care and compassion for each other is connected and felt. During this unusual time, I would like to share with you a new PFOD program called Hand to Heart. This is available to anyone in our community who may need assistance. This assistance may be for food or staples such as TP, medicines, fluids, including covering the cost and delivery. We want to help and we have a generous donation strictly directed to support those in need.
“Being able to share with the community in need from PFOD is perfect, so thank you for this opportunity.” Donor
Contact: Jane Meskill
We Recieve Support from Our Renters
Portland Friends of the Dhamma leases space in our Center to three Buddhist organizations and one professional counselor. Knowing our renters would not be able to access the building for two or more months, the Board offered discounts to each. What a lovely surprise we received when some renters chose to pay in full and none requested to break their lease! Bonnie Wilson, our Treasurer, remembers receiving notes, with one of them reading,
This pandemic has made us rethink everything. All our assumptions about the year have been changed.”
She went on to share,
Because our cash flow is so close to the bone, we were thrilled our renters were able to maintain this level of commitment to us when their income is also at risk. I can’t tell you how humbling and heartwarming is was to see those checks come in. It means we are closer to knowing we will be fine.”
And From Our Virtual Dana Bowl
The dana bowl has been part of PFOD since the beginning. Many community members have enjoyed leaving dana after a meditation, class, or workshop. For years PFOD had a simple woven bowl, eventually replaced by a wooden box. Between $500 to $700 a month has been consistently given this way, providing much-needed and deeply appreciated support. Now that all our gatherings are online, our dana bowl has gone online too. You can help us maintain our urban refuge so one day, we can reunite, in the city, in a BIG IN-PERSON Celebration!
The Pah Bah is just around the corner and I’m inspired to share with you the joyful stirrings that this celebration brings up for me. Maybe you can relate?
The deep relationship of a community sponsoring and supporting the source of its spiritual well-being goes all the way back to the time of the Buddha. Indeed, we at Portland Friends of the Dhamma are incredibly fortunate that this tradition of Alms, established over 2,500 years ago, has now spread from Asia to the small (and very close at hand) town of White Salmon.
The Dhamma’s Path treads just the same through peaks as it does through valleys.
PFoD has been in existence now for nearly thirteen years, incredible don’t you think? This past year has been especially sweet for me with the establishing of Matthew Grad as the second Dhamma teacher. I’m sure I’m joined by many when I say to Matthew, Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu.
And to know that we continue to live, breath and exist on an all Dana basis is truly uplifting to the heart. I love this aspect of our practice, just recalling the abundant goodwill that flows in, around and out of this center lifts my heart with appreciative joy.
Being an all Dana facility guarantees we only offer events and teachings that folks are inspired to support. In this way the community has a big say on what takes place. Our administration merely takes the donations and organizes the events that receive support.
In the autumn it is common for donations to the center to slump, this autumn is no different. So it is responsible to share with you that (with the exception of our close-down fund) our coffers are dry. Not a problem, the Dhamma’s Path treads just the same through peaks as it does through valleys. Three years ago we were in our highest peak finacially and we used our money well and help establish the Pacific Hermitage. Currently we’re walking through a valley, not a problem, just a reality that I thought you all would like to know.