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 & Hendersonville NC. 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 the RESCOURCES link at top or bottom of page for book recommendations, 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
WEDNESDAYS NOV 30, DEC 7, 14, & 21 5:30-6:30 PM ET
MEDITATION SERIES AT MIND BODY KNOX
This four-week series will offer support and guidance for those who wish to explore, establish, or deepen the practices of mindfulness and meditation. We will primarily focus on utilizing body and breath awareness to cultivate calmness and clarity. Attend all sessions to benefit from the cumululative effect, or just drop in as you can. Beginners welcome.
TO REGISTER: Click on the "FIND A CLASS" button at the bottom of the Mind Body Knox page linked HERE
SUN DEC 11 10:00 AM CENTRAL TIME
SERMON OFFERING AT UUCC
Abhaya will offer the in person sermon for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cookeville at 10am Central Time on Sunday Dec 11.
The sermon will be "The Power of Perspective" and will link together the 7th UU principle of interconnectedness with the Buddha's instructions from the early scriptures (Satipatthana Sutta) on mindfully contemplating as an integral part of one's "free and responsible search for truth and meaning" thus cultivating the 4th UU principle.
General info about UUCC here: https://uucookeville.org/
Login info for Zoom access here: https://uucookeville.org/2022/04/25/resuming-in-person-services/
MONDAY DEC 26, 2022 7:00 PM ET
KNOXVILLE INSIGHT SANGHA GUIDED MEDITATION ~ IN PERSON & ZOOM
Abhaya will be leading meditation for Knoxville Insight Sangha on Monday Dec 26 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 as well as the current masking policy which adjusts to Knox county's CDC risk status.
PRISON MINDFULNESS & MEDITATION MINISTRY
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 prison 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 approved to provide Buddhist religious services, secular mindfulness training, and individual mentoring via the state's Take One program. A $704 fundraising target was arrived at by calculating the cost to deliver The Lionheart Foundation's Houses of Healing 14 week mindfulness, meditation, and cognitive-behavioral skills program to 12 men as follows Travel 280 Materials per person 27 Facilitator materials 100. Any overage will go toward prison ministry general expenses.
Aug-Sept 2020 series offered as a follow up to a Bhikkhu Bodhi retreat attended by Abhaya at
Aug 30,2021 guest speaker at the interfaith series of Seminary Light UKirk (meaning “University Church”) ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA) at the University of Tennessee
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 and he is an affiliated teacher at HEARTWOOD REFUGE & RETREAT CENTER. His primary practices of Samadhi, Satipaṭṭhāna (4 Establishings of Mindfulness) in the style offered by Bhikkhu Anālayo, Ānāpānasati (Breath Based Mindfulness), 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 Vajrayāna 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 Full Gospel Protestant teachings, and later involvement with Unitarian Universalism. 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 also an affiliated teacher with Lotus Light Contemplative Community Center in Knoxville, TN and serves on their Board of Directors. Link to their website below
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"
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'