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NDF_logo_squareNatural Dharma Fellowship is a Buddhist community that supports the transmission and cultivation of contemplative and ethical practices for a better world. We believe that the inner development of compassion and wisdom facilitates authentic transformation in our workplace, family, relationships, community and society as a whole. We support the transmission of traditional Buddhist lineage teachings and also encourage an active and ongoing integration of these teachings into the many contexts of modern American life. We offer programs for caregivers, artists, educators, activists, and the LGBT community, as well as a robust program of training for those wishing to follow the traditional Buddhist path. Guided by Lama Willa Miller, our non-profit organization supports practice groups in the Northeastern United States, and offers contemplative retreats at our retreat center in New Hampshire, Wonderwell Mountain Refuge. Our core teachers are trained primarily in the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism (the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages), but we host teachers from other wisdom traditions as well.

June 2015 Newsletter

flowersFeatured News:
Natural Dharma Fellowship Goes to the White House

From Lama Willa Miller

On May 14, 2015, a diverse group of leaders of many Buddhist communities in the United States descended on Washington for a three hour briefing at the White House, the first ever of its kind. I attended this gathering on behalf of Natural Dharma Fellowship, in order to support this historic gathering. It felt like a special opportunity, especially as we were invited to sign and deliver two statements to the White House, on behalf of our collective sanghas, one on climate change and the other on racial justice (these are now posted at Wonderwell on the bulletin board, if you’d like to read them!). These statements communicated that we consider these issues of primary concern to the interests of the Buddhist community and humanity at large. This visit felt like a small but significant way to bring contemplative intentions into conversation with political voices. I also enjoyed experiencing the wonderful diversity of our Buddhist community in the USA. While many where not there who perhaps should have been, the representation was diverse, including monastics, lay teachers and many denominations. This event brought home to me how much the world needs the deep inner work that our sangha is engaged in—the work of developing compassion and wisdom for the sake of all.

Environmental and Social Sustainability at Wonderwell

Wonderwell Mountain Refuge has taken two important steps towards sustainability this month under the direction of Dan Gilner, the chairperson of Wonderwell’s new Sustainability Committee. First, Wonderwell has transitioned to water efficient toilets and is in the process of switching to water efficient faucets. Water efficiency helps Wonderwell to conserve both water and electricity. If you would like to help Wonderwell finish implementing its water efficiency sustainability initiative by contributing a donation, please contact Tech@wonderwellrefuge.org. Second, in solidarity with the “living wage” movement, Wonderwell has decided to raise its work-exchange rate by 50% to $15 dollars per hour. Through this act, Wonderwell hopes to support individuals applying for work-study by monetarily valuing their time to a greater extent, as well as to be a voice of solidarity with the national movement.

NDF Board, Teachers, and Mitras Undergo Anti-Racism Training

Recently NDF board members, teachers and mitras participated in anti-racism training workshops led by Donna Bivens and Paul Marcus. These workshops are a part of a larger initiative that aims to support NDF in its mission to be a safe and welcoming space for all who wish to explore the dharma. Anyone interested in learning more about the NDF Diversity Initiative can contact Meghan Searl (msearl@gmail.com). NDF members are also welcome to explore (and add to) a set of resources related to Diversity within NDF (https://sites.google.com/site/ndfdiversityinitiative/links-resources).

NDF at Cambridge Hosts Teachings on Social and Environmental Justice

Natural Dharma Fellowship at Cambridge has recently been hosting teachers that are focusing on social and environmental justice. NDF at Cambridge has welcomed Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams, Colin Beavan, David Loy, and Josh Bartok to discuss the palpable social and environmental issues that are confronting our planet, and has continued to explore ways in which our practice and our traditions give us unique insight into transforming both ourselves and the systems in which we exist. Natural Dharma Fellowship would like to voice deep thanks and gratitude to all who have participated in these important teachings.

EcoSattva Tip of the Month, From Jess McNally:

Jess McNally is a Buddhist practitioner, as well as an ecologist and writer. She works with Community Greenways Collaborative (communitygreenways.org), a non-profit dedicated to building citizen-science networks to restore ecosystems compromised by global change. She has lived at Zen Mountain Monastery, and currently studies at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in Woodstock, New York.

Tip for May: Help Track the Pulse of our Planet

Phenology is the study of the recurring life cycles of plants and animals. The etymology of the word means the study of what comes to light or can be seen (the same root as phenomena). In practice, it means recording the day of the year a plant blooms, or opens its leaves, or the day the monarchs return on their migration, for example.

This type of data is essential for understanding our changing ecosystems, and has been some of the most tangible evidence for climate change. Furthermore, phenology data is almost entirely gathered by regular citizens rather than paid scientists, who rarely have the funding or the means to do long-term monitoring of plants across a region.

You can become an essential part of this network by choosing one or two plants in your backyard to monitor throughout the year. By doing so, you can develop a daily practice that connects you with nature and your local ecosystem, and also become part of a network of ecosattvas across the country collecting this data for scientific research.

A program called Nature’s Notebook makes it easy to get started and record your data. The program provides resources, smartphone apps, support, and connects the observations you make instantly to the publicly accessible nationwide database.

Have fun and check it out!

Monthly Words of Wisdom:

When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music, the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.

- Alan Watts

Listen Online:

Unable to join us in person for Dharma Sunday June 28th? Join us live. Streaming starts at 10 am. This Dharma Sunday we will be joined by special guest and teacher Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche. Find out more here.

Wonderwell Garden Updates

Summer is in full swing at Wonderwell! Our vegetable garden is currently yielding produce that we are utilizing for meals in our retreats. This is a great aspect of Wonderwells current sustainability initiatives, and is also providing our retreatants with fresh, organic, low/no impact delicious produce!
Please contact us if you are interested in opportunities to come work in the vegetable and Mandala gardens. We hope you can come share in these outdoor contemplative practices that connect us to our beautiful natural environment and our food systems.

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