November 2012

November 2, 2012

Beloved Community,

As many of you already know, EBMC has a new home!  After a long search we have finally found place that can accommodate our growing sangha communities, is accessible and safe, and is near BART in downtown Oakland.  Yes!!

I want to welcome you all to bring your love and energy into the new space, and join us in a collective practice of making home.  The new space is vast and large, and we all need to do our part to fill it by inviting friends and community to meditate and be still together, for the possibility of healing for all of us.

Moving can be difficult and hard, and it’s a wonderful time to notice attachments.  I know I have a lot of positive experiences and friendship that were born in our old home.  Consider this moment as an opportunity to feel both the loss and gain of home in the same breath.  Perhaps this is an opportunity to start anew, and deepen your path and practice.

On the last night at our old space, we turned our sangha into a ‘town hall’ style discussion where we came up with a lot of exciting ideas and projects to start in our new home and build deeper community: A Buddhist Peer Reading Circle; A Family-Friendly, Children’s and Intergenerational Sangha; Skills and Resource Sharing; Social Justice and Action; Movement/Yoga before Meditation and Sharing Food, to name a few.  Now is the time to organize and create the space you want – go forth and make this your own sangha.

I leave you with a quote from dear Emily Dickenson, “Where thou art – that – is Home.”

I look forward to sitting together,




We meet THURSDAYS at East Bay Meditation Center, 285 Harrison Street (@17th Street), in downtown Oakland, from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. We usually do a half hour of silent meditation, with instructions for beginners, followed by a Dharma talk and community gathering.

We come together as a community of people of color for meditation, practice and resilience.  We support our struggles and provide a balm to sooth our continued work forward.  As Bell Hooks says, “Beloved community is formed not by the eradication of difference but by its affirmation, by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world.”

We carry this spirit forward in gathering people of color in community each Thursday for the POC Sangha.  Join us!



(Please note that EBMC will be closed and there will be NO SANGHA on Thursday November 22, 2012)

NOVEMBER 8: Spring Washam, POC Sangha Core Teacher

Spring Washam is a meditation and dharma teacher based in Oakland, California. She has studied meditation and Buddhist philosophy since 1997 in various traditions. After many years of teacher training with Dr. Jack Kornfield she is a new dharma teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Spring is one of the founding members and core teachers at the East Bay Meditation Center and leads the weekly sitting group for people of color. Spring is considered a pioneer in bringing mindfulness based healing practices into diverse communities. Also considered a curandera, Spring studies indigenous healing practices and works with students individually from around the world. She currently leads healing and meditation retreats throughout the United States. To contact her directly visit her website at

NOVEMBER 15: Spring Washam, POC Sangha Core

NOVEMBER 22: No Sangha – EBMC Closed

NOVEMBER 29: Anushka Fernandopulle

Anushka Fernandopulle has trained in meditation in the Theravada Buddhist tradition for over 20 years in the US and Asia. Other influences have been mystics from various cultures and traditions, creative arts, nature, service work, progressive social change movements, and modern urban life. Anushka teaches retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Insight Meditation Society, and around the country. She has an MBA and also works as an executive/life coach, facilitator, and organizational development consultant. More on her teaching can be found at

DECEMBER 6: Spring Washam, POC Sangha Core

Deep appreciation to all of our teachers and volunteers for your generosity! We wouldn’t be here without you!  The Teacher Calendar can be accessed anytime online at:


> Subscribe to the EBMC POC Sangha Newsletter –  the Newsletter is a monthly email with information about our weekly sitting group and other sangha-related announcements.  Subscribe by joining the google groups here:  You will receive an invitation to the group and must accept before you can receive messages.

> We have moved into a new space and need community support now, more than ever! Support the vision of EBMC by becoming a “Friend of EBMC” monthly donor:

> Find our Sangha Teacher Calendar online on our updated website!  Feedback and suggestions on how to make this online resource useful, is always welcomed and appreciated  =)


WE NEED VOLUNTEERS! With our new larger space, we need volunteers to help maintain the space.  If you are interested in learning how to: open and close our center, count dana, and serve as greeter/welcome table, please contact Shenaaz at to attend a 30 minute training session.  

> We especially need people to volunteer to close the center.

Thank you to all who continue to help informally. This training is a step towards creating a structure of mutuality, where we can receive and provide support for one another.


UPCOMING CLASSES AND RETREATS                                                                                    


The True Journey, Going beyond the Ego – with Spring Washam / Saturday November 10, 2012 – 9:30 am to 5:00 pm

Among the vast collection of the Buddha’s teachings, those on the nature of the, “self” are the hardest to understand, yet they are central to the teachings. In fact, to fully understand the nature of the self is one way to define Nirvana. Egolessness or selflessness is sometimes misunderstood to mean that nothing exists, but this is not what Buddhism teaches. It’s more accurate to say that we exist but not in the way we think we do. This is great news! In this special daylong we will explore these essential teachings in a much deeper way. The day will include meditation, group work and talks on themes of the day.

Registration is required and space is limited. To register, please click on the following link to fill out a registration survey:

Mindful of Race – Toward Clarity, Courage & Peace – with Ruth King / Saturday November 17, 2012 – 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Matters of race lock heart and mind in social division, delusion, and ignorance when kindness and acceptance is our true nature. In this daylong retreat, open to all, we investigate the Relative reality of race and begin to recognize and welcome the ways in which our racial history has shaped our perception of ourselves, others, and events around us. Through periods of mindfulness, metta, and ceremony, we grow together in clarity and courage toward social healing and peace.

Click here for teacher bios

Registration is required and space is limited. To register, please click on the following link to fill out a registration survey:


“I Will Not Vote For Evil; I Want A Different System”

By Alice Walker, illustration by Irene O’Connell

Published: October 11, 2012 in Congnitive Liberty

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Alice Walker’s, Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Color Purple. She was recently at George Mason University reading from this great work. She agreed to share a poem when asked by Amy Goodman who was with Alice during the inauguration of President Obama in 2008.

ALICE WALKER: Yes, I’d like to. It’s dedicated to Wangari Maathai, who remembered the beautiful bountifulness of her land before the colonial invaders laid waste to it, and she resolved to bring it back to health by planting trees. And as you know, she died last year. Rest in Well Done; beloved sister of our clan.

  “Democratic Womanism”

You ask me why I smile
when you tell me you intend
in the coming national elections
to hold your nose
and vote for the lesser of two evils.
There are more than two evils out there,
is one reason I smile.
Another is that our old buddy Nostradamus
comes to mind, with his fearful
400 year old prophecy: that our world
and theirs too
(our “enemies” – lots of kids included there)
will end (by nuclear nakba or holocaust)
in our lifetime. Which makes the idea of elections
and the billions of dollars wasted on them
somewhat fatuous.
A Southerner of Color,
my people held the vote
very dear
while others, for centuries,
merely appeared to play
with it.
One thing I can assure
you of is this:
I will never betray such pure hearts
by voting for evil
even if it were microscopic
which, as you can see in any newscast
no matter the slant,
it is not.
I want something else;
a different system


…. read more by following this link:




> Please arrive on Thursdays before 7pm to minimize disruption and as a gesture of respect to the rest of the Sangha.

> The EBMC tries to be an accessible, fragrance free space. For support on being fragrance-free, see these resources “Femme of Colour Fragrance Free Realness”,  “How to be Fragrance Free,” and check out this extensive list of fragrance-free products on the EBMC web site.

> The teachings are regarded as priceless. So they are offered without a fee. You are invited to support the teachings and our efforts by contributing voluntary donations (the practice of “Dana”) for the expenses of the meditation center and the support of the teachers.

wishing you ease,



People of Color Sangha Coordinator Intern
East Bay Meditation Center

Join us on Thursdays from 7-9pm!