We meet every Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30 pm to meditate, connect, and to hear and discuss the dharma at:
Berkeley Buddhist Monastery
2304 McKinley Ave (at Bancroft)
Berkeley, CA 94703
Note that the doors to the monastery open at 7:15 pm and are locked again around 8:30 pm when the dharma talk begins. If you need to re-enter the monastery after this time, please knock lightly on the door to be admitted.
- At 7:15 pm, the doors of the Monastery open. If you’re inclined to help, this is when we setup and arrange rows of chairs, sitting pads, the PA system, assisted hearing devices, our free lending library, the greeters table and other tasks. Please join us if you’re able.
- At 7:30 pm we begin with forty minutes of silent meditation. There is no introduction; so once you are settled, sit quietly and begin your meditation. Brief meditation instructions are given on the first Thursday of each month.
- Next, a brief chant in the Pali language. Feel free to join in or to continue sitting silently.
- Community announcements.
- Ten minute break to stretch, socialize, or pick up information at the greeter’s table. A bell ends the break.
- The teacher’s Dharma talk, which is usually followed by discussion and questions.
- We end at 9:30 with a loving kindness meditation or dedication of merit.
- If so inclined, please help us return the area to it’s original state…by stacking chairs neatly, etc.
See our FAQ page for advice on parking, public transportation, and carpooling.
We end our meditation period with two brief chants in Pali, the language in which the Buddha taught. The first chant expresses respect for the Buddha; the second chant, known as the ‘three refuges,’ expresses a commitment to awakening. Together they serve as reminders of our intention to awaken to the way things are by applying the Buddha’s teachings in our lives and by associating with others who share this intention. Please join us if you feel comfortable doing so, or continue to meditate or simply listen.
To hear the chant while you read it, hit the PLAY button below.
|Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato
(Repeat three times)
|Homage to the Blessed, Noble, and Perfectly Enlightened One|
|Buddham Saranam Gacchami
Dhammam Saranam Gacchami
Sangham Saranam Gacchami
|I take refuge in the Buddha
I take refuge in the Dharma
I take refuge in the Sangha
|Dutiyampi Buddham Saranam Gacchami
Dutiyampi Dhammam Saranam Gacchami
Dutiyampi Sangham Saranam Gacchami
|For the second time, I take refuge …|
|Tatiyampi Buddham Saranam Gacchami
Tatiyampi Dhammam Saranam Gacchami
Tatiyampi Sangham Saranam Gacchami
|For the third time, I take refuge …|
Useful terms to know: Buddha refers both to the historical being who lived and taught 2500 years ago and to our true nature of wisdom and compassion. The word literally means “one who is awake.”Dharma or dhamma refers both to the way things are (ultimate truth) and the Buddha’s teachings that reveal this truth.Sangha means ‘community.’ It traditionally refers to the community of monks and nuns, but we extend the definition to include all those who share our meditation practice.
Dana is the Pali word for ‘generosity.’ The teachings are priceless and are freely given in a spirit of generosity. Offering dana gives us an opportunity to express our gratitude for the teachings and to cultivate the joy of sharing. According to the Buddha, generosity, or sharing what we have, is one of the central pillars of a spiritual life. In the act of giving we develop our ability to let go, cultivate a spirit of caring, and acknowledge the inter-connectedness that we all share. The Buddha created a system to develop this quality of open-handedness whereby those who share the teachings are dependent on those who receive them.
You will find two dana baskets on the greeter’s table near the door of the meditation hall. One is for the teacher, the other is for Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, which provides this beautiful hall to us free of charge. Write checks for the teacher to Spirit Rock (SRMC); write checks for the monastery to Dharma Realm Buddhist University (DRBU).All donations are tax deductible.
Service to the Sangha is another opportunity to serve and participate in the Sangha.