Sangha News 10/18/23

Thursday evening Info:

The current series of Thursday night talks are exploring topics related to meditation in more detail, with the current focus on meditations to help us to open to kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. The talks will be self-contained, and we’ll provide resources for the meditation approaches covered in the talks (see Updated Resources below).

Thursday evening, 10/19, there will be an open discussion after the 7:00 pm online meditation of the practice of finding joy in life and in meditation. The following Thursday, 10/26, Chris will give a talk after meditation on equanimity, finding balance in the midst of the chaos we can meet both in meditation and in daily life. The discussion and talks on 10/19 and 10/26 will be self-contained, and here are some resources if you’d like additional information on the topic.


Seeking Help with the Newsletter

The IMMC is looking for someone to help with the newsletter. This would include entering and editing the newsletter using the Constant Contact app, the web-based software we use to compose and send out the newsletter. The newsletter is sent out every two weeks. Anyone interested should be reasonably comfortable with computer technology and software. Initially, all of the content would be provided, but the ideal person would also be involved in the meditation group and its activities. They would have some interest and knowledge about meditation and Buddhist practice, so that they could eventually help generate the content for the newsletter. If you’re interested, please send an email to Chris Murray.


Event With Debra Seido Martin ~ November 4 and 5, 2023

A Zen retreat with Debra Seido Martin will be held on Saturday, November 4th from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. The retreat is now open for registration and will be hosted by the Walla Walla Dharma Sangha. See below for contact information to register. The retreat will be a hybrid retreat, with some people attending the in-person retreat at the Vista Hermosa Retreat House in Prescott, WA, and others joining online via Zoom. 

During the retreat, Seido will discuss an important Zen text, the Hsin Hsin Ming, Verses on the Faith Mind. In this ancient poem about the nature of awakening, it says, “The Great Way is not difficult for those who do not pick and choose. When preferences are cast aside, The Way stands clear and undisguised.” How do we meet this moment in our world full of loud opinions and contentious divide from a heart-mind rooted in wisdom and compassion? Join us for a day of Zen practice and ritual intended to walk us directly into the answer to this question.

The schedule includes traditional Zen forms including silent meditation while sitting and walking, chanting, mindful lunch, dharma teaching, and group inquiry. It is suitable for beginners and experienced meditators. 

Fee for the retreat will be $20 for in-person and $10 for online. Registration is now open. To register,

Please indicate which type of retreat you wish to attend – in-person or on Zoom – and write to Ruth Russo at [email protected]. Her phone number is 509-301-6410.

Ruth can accept the following payment methods:

1.   Send a physical check to 1401 Home Ave, Walla Walla, WA 99362

2.   Venmo: search for @Ruth-Russo-6 and put Seido Retreat in the What’s this for? line. Email is [email protected].

3.   Give her cash at the in-person retreat.

Scholarships are available for those who can’t afford it. Those who are registered for the online retreat will receive an email a day or two before the retreat with the Zoom link for the retreat.

Seido will also be speaking at Whitman College on Sunday, November 5th at 10:30 am at the Reid Campus Ballroom.  No fee for this event and registration is not required. All are welcome!

Seido Martin is the guiding teacher of Empty Field Zen, Eugene,

She is a Zen teacher, practicing psychotherapist, and organic farmer. Seido has led retreats in our area several times and is a caring, clear and insightful teacher. In addition to meditation, there will be breakout sessions and a dharma talk.


Weekly Meditation Schedule:

In-Person Meetings:

Our in-person meetings take place outside, behind All Saints Episcopal Church, 1322 Kimball Avenue in Richland. Our in-person meditation meetings are offered on Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. and Saturdays at 8:00 a.m. We meditate for half an hour, followed by an optional time for sharing and conversation after meditation. No problem if you just want to meditate and then leave. 

Chairs are available in the meeting hall. However, if you prefer to use your own chair, blanket, cushion or bench, you are welcome to bring it. The meetings have recently moved indoors and meet in the Parish Hall at the rear of the church.

Those who regularly attend the in-person meetings have developed a masking policy for the times we meet indoors. The community levels of Covid will be checked each time we publish a newsletter. When community levels are low; masks will be optional. When community levels are medium or high, masks will be required. If there is any attending member that feels more comfortable with everyone masking, we will all mask in support of the most vulnerable among us.

Currently, the Covid community levels are low in Benton County; masks are optional on Saturday and Wednesday morning unless any participant feels more comfortable with everyone masking. Please bring a mask to all of the in-person sessions in case the meeting is moved indoors and there is an attending member with greater vulnerability.

We’re looking forward to welcoming some of you in person and being there online for others.

Online Meetings:

In addition to our in-person meetings we have three online meditations a week, on Wednesday morning, Thursday evening, and Saturday morning. The Zoom links for those meetings can be found on the Events Calendar. You’re welcome to join us online for any of the 3 meetings each week.

During the Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday online meetings, we “sit together” for meditation for half an hour. Meditations include guided meditations, meditations with some initial guidance and instruction, and silent meditations. The Wednesday morning meditation starts at 9:30 am, with half an hour of meditation, followed by half an hour of sharing. On Thursday evenings there is a talk or discussion and sharing following meditation. Meditation is from 7:30 until 8:00 pm, with the talk and discussion ending at about 9:00 pm. The Saturday morning meditation starts at 8:00 am, with half an hour of meditation followed by half an hour of sharing.

If you can’t or don’t wish to join the online sessions you can just meditate at the same time as we’re meeting and know that there are others from the group who are meditating with you. 

We’re looking forward to welcoming some of you in person and being there online for others.


Meditation Support Group Meets at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center

This week we’ll continue our monthly mindfulness meditation support group meeting at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center, 7350 West Deschutes Avenue, Kennewick. The meeting will be on Thursday, 10/19/2023. The sessions, which are held on the third Thursday of each month, are meant for cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their caregivers. The session will begin at 12:00 pm at the Cancer Center in the Wellness Center. If you have a serious illness other than cancer, or are a caregiver for someone who is ill, you’re welcome to attend the sessions. Each session includes a brief review of mindfulness and mindful self-compassion meditations and the role they can play in reducing the anxiety arising from diagnosis and treatment, an opportunity to ask questions, and the chance to practice meditation with others.


Volunteers at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center

The Insight Meditation group has supported Buddhist meditation groups at the state prison in Connell, WA since 2003. Those visits were on hold during the height of the pandemic but resumed last year. Currently we have two volunteers visiting the medium-security prison on Monday afternoons and we are seeking additional volunteers to support that effort, especially when our lead volunteer isn’t available.

There are several requirements for those volunteering at the prison.  Orientation and training are required. Applicants also need to undergo a background investigation. Applicants with a criminal background need to be off of supervision or parole for a year before applying. 

Those applying to volunteer should have a regular meditation practice and at least some knowledge of Buddhist teachings and be willing to learn more so that you can discuss Buddhist practice with the inmates. If you’re interested, please contact Chris Murray for more information about volunteering at Coyote Ridge.

Warm regards,

Insight Meditation of the Mid-Columbia