MOUNTAIN MINDFULNESS SOCIETY
Offering support and guidance for those who wish to explore, establish, or deepen the practices of mindfulness and meditation with either a secular or Buddhist approach. In person individual consultations or group sessions can be scheduled in Crossville or Knoxville TN. Zoom sessions also offered.
What to expect
Guiding theme- Earnestly cultivating embodied presence with a balanced union of penetrating honesty and well developed benevolence
Central principle - Exploring core teachings & practices of the Eightfold Path
Foundational practices - create a good base for personal exploration
Pragmatic approach - where to start and how to proceed
Accessible format -appropriate for those of any spiritual tradition, or none
Inclusive atmosphere- fosters a culture of appreciation for diversity
Growth opportunity -support for expanding/deepening practice available
Healthy community - real people exploring the path together in the spirit of true friendship
-Follow the facebook link at top or bottom of page for recent announcements-
***Follow this RESCOURCES link, or the links at top or bottom of page for book recommendations, Dharma recordings, meditation groups, etc***
NATURAL & GRADUAL
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted -Ecclesiastes 3
Just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual slope, a gradual inclination, with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch, in the same way this Doctrine and Discipline (dhamma-vinaya) has a gradual training, a gradual performance, a gradual progression, with a penetration to gnosis only after a long stretch.
— Ud 5.5
MONDAY DEC 25, 2023 7:00 PM ET
KNOXVILLE INSIGHT SANGHA GUIDED MEDITATION
~ IN PERSON & ZOOM
Abhaya will be leading meditation for Knoxville Insight Sangha on Monday Dec 25, 2023 from 7-8:30pm Eastern Time. All are welcome to join in person or via the Knox Sangha website's zoom link.
This is free of charge & donations to our host Lotus Light Contemplative Community Center are accepted HERE.
Please follow THIS LINK for more info on Knoxville Sangha and the Zoom link.
3RD THURSDAY OF EACH MONTH 6-7PM ET
Please join us on the 3rd Thursday of each month for Buddhist Basics from 6-7pm ET at Lotus Light Contemplative Community Center. These sessions will consist of a short guided foundational meditation, Dharma talk on core Buddhist teachings and principles including Refuge, 4 Noble Truths, 8 Fold Path, Compassion, Cultivation and others. We will include plenty of time for Q&A / discussion.
Abhaya will be guiding, at times assisted by other seasoned practitioners in the Sangha in order to offer a view of various approaches.
These sessions will be geared toward those who are beginning to explore Buddhism but are wondering where to start and are unclear about its structure, practices, and terminology as it relates to personal experience. It would be an excellent refresher for long term practitioners as well.
In accordance with tradition and in the service of keeping the Dharma accessible to all, these sessions are offered freely, made possible and sustained by your generous donations.
PRISON MENTORING, MINDFULNESS & MEDITATION MINISTRY
$15 SPONSORS TRAVEL COST FOR ONE PRISON VISIT
After many months of government red tape navigation Abhaya is now the first Buddhist Minister to be on volunteer staff at Morgan County Correctional Complex, a state prison in a remote location with approx. 2500 men incarcerated at all levels of security from minimun to max serving sentences from months long to some who will live out the remainder of their lives in custody. He is now spending the day most Fridays providing Buddhist religious services, secular mindfulness training, and individual mentoring via the state's Take One program. In addition, logistics are being worked on to offer The Lionheart Foundation's Houses of Healing 14 week mindfulness, meditation, and cognitive-behavioral skills program.
Though in principle the Buddhist path leads straight and unerringly from bondage to freedom, when we apply it to ourselves it often seems to take a tortuous route as imposed by the twists and turns of our own contorted mental topography. Unless we have exceptionally mature wholesome roots, we cannot expect to approach the goal "as the crow flies," soaring unhindered through the quick and blissful skyways... Instead we must be prepared to tread the path at ground level, moving slowly, steadily and cautiously through the winding mountain roads of our own minds.
Acharya Abhaya Darpana
Rev. Dustin Davis
Abhaya is ordained as a Dharmacharya (Buddhist Lay Minister) in the Embracing Simplicity Contemplative Order under Venerable Pannavati and the late Venerable Pannadipa. His primary practices of Samadhi, Satipaṭṭhāna (4 Establishings of Mindfulness) in the style offered by Bhikkhu Anālayo, Ānāpānasati (Mindfulness with Breathing), and the Brahma Vihāras (Heavenly Abidings) spring from an affinity for the approaches offered in Early Buddhism. He also has an appreciation for the later traditions, having undertaken Mahāmudrā, Dzogchen, and Zen retreats including formally receiving the 5 Mindfulness Trainings from Thích Nhất Hạnh in 2013.
Having worked over 25 years in the hospital critical care setting, he brings his intimacy with the illness, death, and dying processes to bear in Dharma sharing. He is also passionate about Dharma as a central support for dealing with addictions of all kinds.
Abhaya's spiritual journey includes being raised Catholic and attending elementary parochial school with Nuns as teachers, then diving deeply into Pentecostal Protestantism, followed by a departure from spirituality, with later membership in Unitarian Universalist churches. He committed to the path of Dharma in 2010, subsequently spending several months of cumulative time in silent meditation retreats and thousands of hours in personal practice and study.
He has two lovely grown daughters, and an amazing canine companion named Bodhi who has served as a therapy dog in hospitals, nursing homes & addiction treatment facilities through the University of Tennessee's Human Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT) program.
Abhaya is an affiliated teacher with Lotus Light Contemplative Community Center in Knoxville, TN and serves on their Board of Directors.
Links to some of Abhaya's talks below
I am personally committed to exceptional integrity in my Dharma relationships regarding everything from financial matters to personal interactions and I have found the IMS Teacher Ethics Guidelines to closely mirror my position and approach.
Proper interaction between spiritual guides and students aligns with the traditional 5 PRECEPTS (honor life, don't steal, refrain from sexual misconduct, communicate properly, be sober). It is not only the right, but the duty of each participant in the teacher - student dynamic to maintain the boundaries set by these precepts personally and to hold the other accountable for the same.
The precept regarding sexual conduct is particularly important in spiritual relationships. I am personally committed to refraining from creating harm through sexuality and sexual exploitation. I am mindful of not exploiting my authority and position in order to assume a sexual relationship with a student. I very strictly maintain student-teacher relationships and sexual or romantic relationships as mutually exclusive and incompatible. Their blending is completely inappropriate.
While I am not a celibate monastic (but do regularly undertake periods of practicing brahmacharya / purposeful celibacy), the monastic rule which I summarize below reflects how seriously I take this issue.
Monastics have a rule that if they even suggests to a student—or anyone at all, for that matter—that it would be beneficial to have sex with them, they must undergo a penance for six days. During the penance, they are stripped of seniority and have to confess the offense to all fellow monastics daily. If they hide the offense, then when they're found out they undergo an added probation for as many days as the offense was hidden. If they actually have sex with anyone, they're out—automatically stripped of status as a monastic and prohibited from re-ordaining for the rest of this lifetime.
That all may receive the benefits of seeing ever more clearly, may I continue to diligently polish this mirror called "my presence"
$15 SPONSORS TRANSPORTATION FOR ONE PRISON VISIT
$25 SPONSORS TRANSPORTATION FOR ONE PRISON VISIT PLUS A MEAL ON THE RETURN TRIP
Abhaya has relinquished full time employment in order to dedicate more time and energy to Dharma study, practice, and service work. All Dharma offerings are supported solely by and only continue to be possible through the generous donations of others. In accordance with Buddhist tradition, all teachings are offered freely. If you wish to support the teachings and community through the spiritual practices of Giving & Generosity (Dana & Caga) secure donations can be made with no surcharge via Paypal or Venmo using the links below.
“You give what is appropriate to the occasion and to your means, when and where your heart feels inspired. For the monastics, this means that you teach, out of compassion, what should be taught, regardless of whether it will sell. For the laity, this means that you give what you have to spare and feel inclined to share. There is no price for the teachings, nor even a ‘suggested donation.’ Anyone who regards the act of teaching or the act of giving requisites as a repayment for a particular favor is ridiculed as mercenary. Instead, you give because giving is good for the heart and because the survival of the Dhamma as living principle depends on daily acts of generosity.”
~Ajahn Thānissaro, from 'Refuge'