Introducing “Ashe Cafe”: Joining Work and Practice

Just another ordinary Tuesday afternoon at the Berkeley Shambhala Center: quiet, spacious, and a little dull. Core staff going about their business, a breeze blowing through the Community Room, and one person had stopped in to see if we had a dharma book for sale. Add to that a seemingly endless inbox to empty, flyers … Continue 

The Practice of Community

In Shambhala, we have recently begun to describe membership as the “practice of community.” As Director of the Berkeley Shambhala Center, I’ve been giving this phrase a lot of thought. At first it sounds quite pleasant; as though, “yes, please, sign me up for that.” But then questions arise. What makes a group of people … Continue 

Words for Love

Hello love, for you I have so many words.   -Ben Howard I have found that sitting practice has enhanced my love for the people, places, and things in my life. Some of my words for love: My wife Old friends New friends Wooly bear caterpillars Alfalfa fields Balancing rocks Listening Feeling heard My cats Guitar … Continue 

Eternal Itch

Our Eternal Itch

The butter melts out of habit You know, the toast isn’t even warm -Ani Difranco The left side of my nose itches as I type this sentence. I notice this. I’ve been wondering lately about the origins of itches, the origin of each itch. In my own observational experiments, itches seem to be triggered by … Continue 

A Pathless Land

Traveler, there is no path, The path is made by walking.  -Antonio Machado The words I type at this very moment are pathless. No one has ever composed these words in this sequence, not in this moment, not with this intention. These words are utterly fresh. The landscape they navigate is uncharted. This landscape is … Continue 

Anchors to Now

As one of our teachers has been emphasizing, the mind moves, and our posture and breath reroute us back to now. There are so many signposts to which we can refer that can reroute us back to now. Trees. The wind. The earth beneath our bare feet. Shimmering light. Shadow. As Zen teacher Cheri Huber … Continue 

Berkeley Shambhala I Ching casting for 2014, year of the Wood Horse

‘It takes a community to look up.’- from the Sakyong’s Shambhala Day address, 2014 Sunday afternoon, Shambhala Day, March 2, thirteen members of the BSC met at Inspiration Point in Tilden Park and trekked to Wildcat Peak for the annual consultation of the I-Ching. We made eighteen coin tosses in clusters of three, creating six … Continue