Sunday, May 4, 2014: When someone else is angry

By “popular demand” we’ll continue our conversation on anger this coming Sunday. Last week focused on working with our own anger. This week will focus on how to engage with someone else’s anger and how to communicate your own anger – via the follow up talk by Donald Rothberg.  I recommend you check out Part 1 from last week if you can!

Recall, you had ‘homework’ from our discussion last week – to try applying the three tools for working with your own anger or irritations this week. I shared my experience last week of working with these tools – I’d like to hear from the group how it goes for all of you.

A retreat on social activisim

Just throwing this out there..





June 12-15, 2014, Villa St-Martin, Montreal, Quebec


This unique silent Vipassana retreat will include formal sitting meditation, walking meditation and daily yoga. The dharma talks and interview themes will address two directions that Buddhist teachings take: internal stability and sanity and social awakening. If we are all truly interconnected, than how can we be free if others are in pain? How can we transform our own wounds and habitual distractions into tools that serve others? Can Vipassana practice re-orient our internalized cultural values of greed, competitiveness and consumerism? If Buddhist practice is going to serve us in the next centuries it needs to address both our personal suffering and also the suffering of a world in need of repair. This retreat will explore these deep issues in the pulsing heart of the present moment.

The retreat is open for meditators of all levels and backgrounds.

This retreat is taught in English.


Pascal Auclair has been immersed in Buddhist practice and study since 1997, sitting retreats in Asia and America with revered monastics and lay teachers. He has been mentored by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Massachusetts and Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California, where he is now enjoying teaching retreats. Pascal also teaches in Quebec and in other Canadian provinces. His depth of insight, classical training, and creative expression all combine in a wise and compassionate presence. In addition, his warmth and humour make Pascal a much appreciated teacher.

 Michael Stone is a psychotherapist, yoga teacher and Buddhist teacher. He leads Centre of Gravity Sangha in Toronto, a thriving urban community integrating formal practice and social action. His studies are in Vipassana and Zen as well as Yoga, Sanskrit and Psychoanalysis. He has written numerous books on Buddhism, yoga and ethics with Shambhala Publications. He is a father and lives in Toronto while also teaching internationally.

 Information and registration forms are at  Our sliding scale fees for this retreat are $355, $405, or $455, and the deposit is $180. There are scholarships available for those who cannot afford the full cost Contact Janet at 613 422-4880 or

Sunday, April 27, 2014: Working with Anger

Hi Sangha,

I think we’d all agree that there are mixed messages about anger. This week, with the help of this talk by Donald Rothberg, we will discuss anger when it comes up in ourselves and how to engage with it.

As a complement to the talk, you can also read the brief article below!


Finding a middle path with anger
 ~ Sharon Salzberg

I sometimes get angry when I feel I’ve been treated unjustly or when I feel others have been treated that way. I will get angry if I have worked very hard to complete a project and someone blames me if it doesn’t work or assumes I didn’t try hard. I try to wait for the feeling to wash through me. As empowering as it can be to feel anger sometimes, I find that I invariably regret acting from that feeling. Anger is an incredibly deluding force. It tends to give one tunnel vision and a very limited sense of options.
I try hard to remember the possibility of speaking the truth about unpleasant things, of breaking through complicit silence or denial without getting lost in anger. Many of us are trained to use anger to make sure that things don’t remain unspoken or hidden, but there are other ways to maintain clarity without the personal stress and destructiveness of anger. One reason anger is so painful is that it constructs such a powerful sense of self and other. In this way, anger strongly resembles fear. In the Abhidhamma, anger and fear are considered the same mind state, one that involves a feeling of such intense separateness that the possibility for relief or change disappears.
The other thing in Buddhist psychology I find interesting is how anger transmutes into wisdom. Transmutation occurs because anger can involve the same kind of cutting through, not taking things for granted, being willing to speak unwelcome or unpleasant truths as wisdom. Mindfulness is taught as the key to that transmutation.
As a culture we swing from being afraid of anger to romanticizing it. I try to see anger for what it is, in myself, and neither fear it nor idealize it. We might romanticize the idea of being in touch with our anger, but in fact we don’t really enjoy the effects of anger. If we are lost in perpetual guilt, which is anger at ourselves, we don’t celebrate that. If we see someone hurting someone else, abusing them, beating them up, or screaming at them, we don’t rejoice in it; we don’t say, “Oh, wonderful, they’re in touch with their anger!”
There is great potential for us to find a middle path with anger through mindfulness, not adding to our brutal self-judgments because of it, and not acting it out in ways that ultimately leave us isolated and regretful.

Sharon Salzberg is a founding teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. 

Excerpt From: “Anger.” Tricycle, 2012-04-24.

The next book club

Hello sangha,

Annamarie and I have chosen the next book for us to read and discuss together. It’s entitled Three Steps to Awakening. We think this is going to be a very practical book that squares well with the two major emphases of our sangha’s practice: 1) mindfulness of breathing 2) mindfulness in everyday life. Take a look and decide if you want to take part. We really hope you will consider joining us in reading this book. With the tax, it will be about $20.

If you are interested, could you please respond to this post and let us know?


Annamarie & Ian

ps. It’s been a while since we did “book club”. The usual ‘rules’ for ordering apply- Ian/Annamarie will do a group order to get us a 10% discount from Mandala Book Store. You can pay us back when you can .. the only thing we ask is that you do so before we finish the book!
(ie within a few/several months)
If you’re looking to purchase a book, please do so with the group so we can all get the discount (we need an order of 10 books).

We’ve also requested the public library purchase a copy to keep on circulation.

Sunday Sangha, April 13, 2014

Since the turnout was low last week, we didn’t discuss the talk. Hopefully this week turnout will be greater!

The plan is to discuss a section of this talk on a way of practicing mindfulness that is a bit different than what we’ve discussed before.  We hope you’ll find it interesting. Please listen to it from 38:53 to 58:46.  As always, we encourage you to jot down some thoughts and come ready to discuss!

Day Long Workshop in Toronto: ‘Love in Full Bloom’, May 24th, 2014

Hi Sangha,

Aptly for our previous conversations, Frank Jude Boccio will be leading a one day ‘retreat’/workshop on the Four Immeasurables (the four brahmaviharas) in Toronto on May 24th, 2014.

The workshop is being held with all proceeds going to New Leaf Yoga Foundation, an awesome charity that works via yoga with at risk youth.

For more details check out:

We’d be happy to carpool or help people coordinate rides.
If finances are a constraint, I encourage you to contact them and see if New Leaf is able to accommodate you.



Friendliness aka Loving Kindness aka Goodwill ‘n such

Hi Friends,

As was requested last Sunday, I’m posting some additional resources for practicing and learning about “metta”, and the “four brahmaviharas”. Recall that this was the topic of the materials posted for both March 30th and March 23rd!

On our Links page, the first entry is for DharmaSeed. This is the website where we most often access the audio we use for Sunday discussions. DharmaSeed has a great search capability – you can search by keyword or by teacher. 

Keywords to use:

  • Loving Kindness     — as Sharon discusses on the March 23rd talk this is the most common term used in translation of the Pali word..
  • Metta                         — this is the Pali word. Note, two t’s
  • Friendliness             — or unconditional friendliness

Metta, translated most often as Loving Kindness, is one of the Four Brahmaviharas. Brahmavihara means ‘heavily abode’ or ‘divine abode’. ie if you can live from these four characteristics, you’re gonna be divine! The other three are: Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity.  You can find talks that relate to all four or even mini part series that covers all four in progression.

To narrow down your search results, I recommend Sharon Salzberg, and Tara Brach for some solid entry level talks on this topic.

Jon Kabat-Zinn’s CD series called Guided Mindfulness Meditations (Series 1 – 3) were my starting place in meditation. On Series 3 he does ‘heartscape’ which is loving kindness. The CD recording isn’t online free, but can be bought on iTunes. The Library has Series 1 already, if you’re looking for other guided meditations.

The Series (Including Series 3) is available as an App!   (I’m stunned.)

The library does offer a set of guided meditations from another ‘big name’: Jack Kornfield – this cd set includes a  loving kindness meditation.

Let us know how it goes, and please share with everyone what meditations you found helpful!