Saturday, June 1, 2019

SFTS Lodge Calendar of Events for June-July 2019


[NOTE: Remember our new start times, the Lodge Library opens at 6 p.m. and the weekly Lodge meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.]


Friday, June 7th

Extended Library Hours 6-8 P.M. No Formal Meeting.
Join Us. Browse the Collection. Sip Tea.


Friday, June 14th 
Honoring our Godparents Joe and Guin Miller
-- Hakim Sauluddin Barodofsky and the Dervish Healing Order

Friday, June 21st
Yoga Nidra
-- John Paul

Friday, June 28th
NO MEETING. Lodge Closed. Independence Day, May the Goddess of Liberty Bless Us, E Pluribus Unum

Friday, July 5th
NO MEETING. Lodge Closed. Independence Day, May the Goddess of Liberty Bless Us, E Pluribus Unum

Friday, July 12th
"Lights of Liberty" 
Vigil 
[NOTE: We will meet at Lodge at 6:00 pm. At 6:45, we will walk together to the cable car turnaround at Powell and Market, for a candlelight vigil in support of human rights for refugees. Of course, you can also just meet us there. Om Tara Tutare Ture Soha, Om Tara Tutare Ture Soha, Om Tara Tutare Ture Soha.]

Friday, July 19th
Autoenthography of An Eco-Sexual Priestess
(Part I: Journey to My Divine Self)
-- Dr. Megan Rose

Friday, July 26th
Yoga Nidra
-- John Paul

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

SFTS Lodge Dharma Message for May-June 2019: Pema Chödrön -- "The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times"


pemachodronfoundation.org

The teachings of Pema Chodron offer an authentically 21st Century articulation of the Buddha Dharma: fearless, female, eminently practical and imbued with psychological insights. Here are some excerpts from her "The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times" (Shambhala, 2002):

“When we touch the center of sorrow, when we sit with discomfort without trying to fix it, when we stay present to the pain of disapproval or betrayal and let it soften us, these are times that we connect with bodhichitta.”

“Each moment is an opportunity to make a fresh start.”

“The essence of bravery is being without self-deception.”

“Patience is the training in abiding with the restlessness of our energy and letting things evolve at their own speed.”

“Even when our neurosis feels far more basic than our wisdom, even when we’re feeling most confused and hopeless, bodhichitta—like the open sky—is always here, undiminished by the clouds that temporarily cover it.”

“A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty. This not knowing is part of the adventure, and it’s also what makes us afraid.”

“Transformation occurs only when we remember, breath by breath, year after year, to move toward our emotional distress without condemning or justifying our experience.”

“Interrupting our destructive habits and awakening our heart is the work of a lifetime.”

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

“A further sign of health is that we don't become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it's time to stop struggling and look directly at what's threatening us. ”

“Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior's world.”

“This is the path we take in cultivating joy: learning not to armor our basic goodness, learning to appreciate what we have. Most of the time we don’t do this. Rather than appreciate where we are, we continually struggle and nurture our dissatisfaction. It’s like trying to get the flowers to grow by pouring cement on the garden.”

“I feel gratitude to the Buddha for pointing out that what we struggle against all our lives can be acknowledged as ordinary experience. Life does continually go up and down. People and situations are unpredictable and so is everything else. Everybody knows the pain of getting what we don’t want: saints, sinners, winners, losers. I feel gratitude that someone saw the truth and pointed out that we don’t suffer this kind of pain because of our personal inability to get things right.”

“Strong determination is our commitment to use our lives to dissolve the indifference, aggression, and grasping that separate us from one another. It is a commitment to respect whatever life brings. As warriors-in-training we develop wholehearted determination to use discomfort as an opportunity for awakening, rather than trying to make it disappear. How do we abide with disagreeable emotions without retreating into our familiar strategies? How do we catch our thoughts before they become 100 percent believable and solidify into “us” against “them”? Where do we find the warmth that is essential to the transformative process? We are committed to exploring these questions. We are determined to find a way to realize our kinship with others, determined to keep training in opening our mind. This strong determination generates strength.”

“Throughout my life, until this very moment, whatever virtue I have accomplished, including any benefit that may come from this book, I dedicate to the welfare of all beings.
May the roots of suffering diminish. May warfare, violence, neglect, indifference, and addiction also decrease.
May the wisdom and compassion of all beings increase, now and in the future.
May we clearly see all the barriers we erect between ourselves and others to be as insubstantial as our dreams.
May we appreciate the great perfection of all phenomena.
May we continue to open our hearts and minds, in order to work ceaselessly for the benefit of all beings.
May we go to the places that scare us.
May we lead the life of a warrior.”

Pema Chodron - The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times

Friday, May 3, 2019

SFTS Lodge Calendar of Events for May 2019



NOTE: Remember our new start times, the Lodge Library opens at 6 p.m. and the weekly Lodge meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.]

Friday, May 3rd
White Lotus Day -- Celebrating the Life, Work and Abiding Spirit of HP Blavatsky

Friday, May 10th

Intersections of Spiritualism, Theosophy, Yoga and Progressive Social Movements -- Ankke Orryn

Friday, May 17th

Extended Library Hours 6-8 P.M. No Formal Meeting. 
Join Us. Browse the Collection. Sip Tea.

Friday, May 24th

NO MEETING -- Lodge Closed In Honor of the Fallen for Memorial Day Weekend

Friday, May 31st 
Lodge Video Night: Our Planet (Episode 2: Frozen Worlds)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

SFTS Lodge Dharma Message for March-April 2019: "Thatness! Is-ness! Be-ness! It's something that you have to experience. You have to function from there and BE THAT!"

Meditation Room Altar, SFTS Lodge
[NOTE: Here is a brief excerpt from "Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation" with commentary by the legendary American sage Joe Miller. The full text of Miller's Great Liberation commentary can be found in "Great Song: Life and Teaching of Joe Miller."  In "Great Song" you will also find the story of his remarkable friendship with W.Y. Evans-Wentz, the great scholar and mystic who first brought the Great Liberation to the West, and of the text's profound importance in Miller's own journey of spiritual realization.  In the 8th Century, the Vajra-yogini Yeshe Tsogyal wrote down the Great Liberation teachings of her consort, the Vajra-guru Padma Samhava. She hid it away "amidst a cache of precious things" and praying "may it be read by those blessed devotees of the future." For many decades now, at the Theosophical Society of San Francisco, the Great Liberation and the Diamond Sutra (Guin Miller's favorite text) have been read aloud from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday. Initiated by the Millers in the 1970s, this annual rededication and immersion IN the deepest, most powerful teachings has continued uninterruptedly since their death in 1992. For many years, we kept up the Millers' original model of reading the Great Liberation at 6:30 a.m. and the Diamond Sutra 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during Lent; but recently, adapting to the ever-accelerating pace of life and the ever-increasing demands on all, we have shifted to public reading of the two texts on Friday evenings, alternating between them.]

GREAT LIBERATION: The error of doing otherwise than this arises not from Ignorance in the mind itself, but from not having sought to know the Thatness. Seek within thine own self-illuminated, self-originated mind whence, firstly, all such concepts arise, secondly, where they exist, and lastly, whither they vanish. This realization is likened to that of a crow which, although already in possession of a pond, flies off elsewhere to quench its thirst, and finding no other drinking-place returns to the one pond.

JOE MILLER: I would figure it's an awfully hip crow or else it got awful thirsty. We've got to do the same thing, get back inside ourselves and draw from that eternal fountain that never stops.
Similarly, the radiance which emanates from the One Mind, by emanating from one's own mind, emancipates the mind.  LET GO! LET GO! LET GO and LET GOD!

GREAT LIBERATION: The One Mind, omniscient, vacuous, immaculate, eternally, the unobscured voidness, void of quality as the sky, self-originated wisdom, shining, clearly, imperishable, is Itself the Thatness. 

JOE MILLER: That is the mind you're using, the ordinary mind is itself the One Mind. But you've got it caged in the little coop it's in because of what you've lived in former incarnations. Your subconscious part is telling you this is this and that is that. But right now, you're using that very thing that is the Oneness, that is the universality itself. Same as your breathing, you don't breathe yourself, you're in-breathed by the reality. You do it automatically. If you had to remember 21,600 times day to take a breath, what else would you have any time to do? But you can't put your finger on it. You can't put it into a concept. Thatness! Is-ness! Be-ness! It's something that you have to experience. You have to function from there and BE THAT! You are That anyway, why not have the experience of doing it consciously? Thatness. Clear Light. Voidness. This is something that you have to experience by being it and you can only be it by going to that center inside yourself and being IT!

GREAT LIBERATION: The whole visible universe also symbolizes the One Mind. By knowing the all-consciousness in one's mind, one knows it to be as void of quality as the sky. Although the sky may be taken, provisionally as an illustration of the unpredictable Thatness, it is only symbolically so. Inasmuch as the vacuity of all visible things is to be recognized as merely analogous to the apparent vacuity of the sky, devoid of mind, content, and form, the knowing of the mind does not depend on the sky-symbol. Therefore, not straying from the path, remain in that very state of the voidness.

JOE MILLER: Voidness or Thatness or Clear Light or Awareness. These are all synonymous terms.

Monday, April 1, 2019

SFTS Lodge Calendar of Events for April 2019

Harriet Tubman and Tara, Goddess of Mercy, An Altar at SFTS Lodge

NOTE: Remember our new start times, the Lodge Library opens at 6 p.m. and the weekly Lodge meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.]

Friday, April 5th

Extended Library Hours 6-8 P.M. No Formal Meeting. 
Join Us. Browse the Collection. Sip Tea.

Friday, April 12th
Kumbh Mela, A Photographer/Filmmaker's Journey -- Philip Safarik

Friday, April 19th
Lodge Video Night: Our Planet (Episode 1)

Friday, April 26th
Yoga Nidra -- John Paul Gaur


Lenten Sutra Readings: From Ash Wednesday to Good Friday, we will read aloud the Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation and the Diamond Sutra on alternating Friday evenings at 6:00 p.m., starting with the Great Liberation on 3/8/19 and ending with the Diamond Sutra on 4/19/19. This powerful practice was passed down to us from by the legendary American sages Joe and Guin Miller. We have adapted it and carried it on for decades now. Join us as all we set deep mystical intentions for the rest of the calendar year.

Friday, February 22, 2019

SFTS Lodge Calendar of Events for March 2019

Meditation Room Alter, SFTS Lodge, January 2019
NOTE: Remember our new start times, the Lodge Library opens at 6 p.m. and the weekly Lodge meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.] 

Friday, March 1st
Conversations in Theosophy


Friday, March 8th

The Law of Ambivalation, What the Real Golden Rule Would Say and Other Ramblings -- Jennie DunKley

Friday, March 15th
Dead Paradigms Walking -- Dr. Jeff Curtis

Friday, March 22th
Esoteric Spirituality and the Science of PsychoEnergetic -- Amin Abdi


Friday, March 29th
Yoga Nidra -- John Paul Gaur

Special Event: In memory of our friend and distinguished SFTS member Barry R. DunKley, we will join Jennie DunKley and her traveling companions for a Thursday Walk through the Arboretum to the Duck Pond. Meet us at 11 a.m. on 3/7/19, in front of the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park near Lincoln and 9th Avenue.

Lenten Sutra Readings: From Ash Wednesday to Good Friday, we will read aloud the Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation and the Diamond Sutra on alternating Friday evenings at 6:00 p.m., starting with the Great Liberation on 3/8/19 and ending with the Diamond Sutra on 4/1919. This powerful practice was passed down to us from by the legendary American sages Joe and Guin Miller. We have adapted it and carried it on for decades now. Join us as all we set deep mystical intentions for the rest of the calendar year.

Monday, February 11, 2019

SFTS Lodge Dharma Message for February 2019: "This is What I Call Nisarga Yoga, the Natural Yoga ..."

Nisargadatta Maharaj (1973)
 Photo Credit: Jitendra Arya (http://www.acornpressonline.com/)

 SFTS Lodge Dharma Message for February 2019

Excerpts from "I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj"

"Awareness is primordial; it is the original state, beginning-less, endless, uncaused, unsupported, without parts, without change. Consciousness is on contact, a reflection against a surface, a state of duality. There can be no consciousness without awareness, but there can be awareness without consciousness, as in deep sleep. Awareness is absolute, consciousness is relative to its content; consciousness is always of something. (…)."

"When you see the world you see God. There is no seeing God, apart from the world. Beyond the world to see God is to be God. The light by which you see the world, which is God, is the tiny little spark: ‘I am,’ apparently so small, yet the first and the last in every act of knowing and loving."

"What is religion? A cloud in the sky. I live in the sky, not in the clouds, which are so many words held together. Remove the verbiage and what remains? Truth remains.”

"God is only an idea in your mind. The fact is you. The only thing you know for sure is: ‘here and now I am.’ Remove the ’here and now’ the ‘I am’ remains, unassailable. (…). All I can say truly is: ‘I am,’ all else is inference (…). The sense ‘I am’ is the manifestation of a deeper cause, which you may call self, God, Reality or by any other name. (…)."

"'I am' itself is God. The seeking itself is God. In seeking you discover that you are neither the body nor the mind, and the love of the self in you is for the self in all. The two are one. The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity and that is love."

"A weak mind cannot control its own projections. Be aware, therefore, of your mind and its projections. You cannot control what you do not know. On the other hand, knowledge gives power. In practice it is very simple. To control yourself – know yourself."

"Meet your own self. Be with your own self, listen to it, obey it, cherish it, keep it in mind ceaselessly. You need no other guide. As long as your urge for truth affects your daily life, all is well with you. Live your life without hurting anybody. Harmlessness is a most powerful form of Yoga and will take you speedily to your goal. This is what I call nisarga yoga, the Natural Yoga. It is the art of living in peace and harmony, in friendliness and love. The fruit of it is happiness, uncaused and endless."

"I am all and all is me. Being the world I am not afraid of the world. Being all, what am I to be afraid of? Water is not afraid of water, nor fire of fire. (…) It is attachment to a name and shape that breeds fear. I am not attached. I am nothing, and nothing is not afraid of no thing. On the contrary, everything is afraid of the Nothing, for when a thing touches Nothing, it becomes nothing."