Stillness is important. Meditation and mindfulness practice are significant tools for working towards a sane life and a sane
world. They give tremendous insight into the self, coping and into the texts of Buddhism.
My ancestors crossed over to America in Middle Passage from both coasts of the African continent. They worked in the
fields of the Carolinas, Virginia, Alabama and Mississippi, working cotton and tobacco. They must have had various ways to
release the spirit in daily life, not just on Sunday. Buddhist practice allows me to learn from 200 year old experience and
from practices developed 1500 years ago in the other half of the world-- India, China, Japan and South East Asia.
In 1981 I became a student of the late Reverend Gyoko Saito and also started training in Zazen (sitting meditation) under
Karate master Zenko Heshiki, now a Zen priest and Shihan of Chozen-ji Ryu Kempo in Honolulu. In 1990 I was ordained as a Buddhist
priest of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Church at the Higashi Honganji, Kyoto, Japan. That year, Rev. Shaku Joseph Jarman and
I founded the Brooklyn Buddhist Association, a dharma discussion group that became a temple.
In 1999 I started the 96th Street Sangha in Manhattan. As an extension of our practice, I began sending weekly emails
of information, thoughts, and mindfulness practices for the week. The events of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath made
it difficult for our group to continue. In 2002, the BBA began the New Dharma initiative with Zen teacher Angel Kyodo Williams
to encourage more people of color to practice.
All of these sanghas have explored teachings from various schools in addition to Shin Buddhism, and encourage the incorporation
of zazen and mindfulness into our daily lives. In discussions, we hit all the facets of life that cause us to carry so much
rage, including racism, sexism, and discrimination of all kinds. We have always had very diverse sanghas and believe openness
and frankness go hand-in-hand with an inclusive Buddhist practice.
Since that time, the on-line mindfulness group has become a sangha of its own, including people from all over the country.
In fact, I no long have any idea where everyone on the list actually lives. As of 2006 we are now called the Three Refuges
Gimme Dharma digital guides and websites are a project of the Three Refuges Sangha. Please feel welcome and join us.
To join and receive weekly readings and practice, hit "Gimme Dharma," and type "dharma" in subject
Texts the sangha has read:
The Dhammapada (from Buddha's own teachings)
Shout of Buddha, Writings of Haya Akegarasu,translated by Rev. Gyoko Saito
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, Shunryu Suzuki
Minding Mind, A Course in Basic Meditation, translated by Thomas Cleary
When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron
Selections from Zen Master Dogen, Thich Nhat Hanh & Dainin Katagiri
Jump in anywhere.
There is nothing not practiced
by those inspired by the Buddha;
When skilled in living this way,
There is nothing without value.
Brooklyn Buddhist Assoc. & Jikishinkan Aikido Dojo
Resources on Jodo Shinshu Buddhism
Our Sangha's Zazen How-To Guide
Timer & bells for solo zazen
Buddhist Peace Fellowship
To read about engaged Buddhism
Black Buddhists Chat group on Yahoo
To read about Buddhism in general