The Dharma Without Dogma Sangha of the Fresno UU Buddhist Fellowship is a group in which the participants feel an affinity with both Unitarian Universalism and Buddhism. This is an inclusive meditation and study gathering where all Buddhist practices are welcome. Also, democratic decision-making is followed in this peer led group where a safe and accepting environment for practicing meditation and furthering our knowledge of Buddhism is provided. The gatherings begin with a period of silent meditation within each participant’s own tradition followed by Buddhist study, which utilize a source (books, articles, DVDS, etc.) determined by the group.
We have two groups that meet weekly in the Sanctuary of the UU Church that are open for individuals to begin attending at any time.
INFORMATION ON THE MEDITATION/STUDY GROUPS:
TUESDAY EVENING GROUP: The group meets weekly on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON GROUP: The group meets weekly on Wednesdays from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
FORMAT OF THE GATHERINGS:
Both groups follow a similar format. The gathering begins with the lighting of an open flame followed by the dedication of the merits of our practice. The remainder of the first hour is dedicated to silent meditation according to the practice of each person.
Each individual determines how they will use this time between seated meditation, walking meditation, etc. The second hour begins with tea, a brief check-in, and a Buddhist study/discussion.
The following books have been used:
• Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor
• Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
• Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
• Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
• Radical Acceptance, Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach
• Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation by Joseph Goldstein.
The gathering ends with an inspirational closing and the extermination of the open flame.
• Spring and Fall Retreats: A retreat is held in the Spring and Fall of each year so both groups can get together as well as other interested individuals. The Retreats are held on a Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the UU Sanctuary. The formats for the Retreats include silent meditation and a Dharma Talk/discussion. Participants bring their own bag lunch. All interested are welcome.
• Quarterly Meetings: Both groups gather each quarter for a potluck, business meeting and brief meditation. This is a way for members from both groups to stay in contact, and it also provides an opportunity to discuss relevant issues and plan for the needs of the Sangha. All interested individuals are welcome to come and experience what the UUBF is all about and be our guests at the potluck.
• A group gathered after a sermon by visiting minister Doug Kraft on Buddhist meditation in early 2012. The gathering was to determine the interest in starting a UU Buddhist Fellowship at the Fresno UU Church. The 20 people in attendance agreed to proceed with starting a UUBF. A survey was sent out to the interested individuals and it was determined that there was an interest in having two groups, one on Tuesday evening and one on Wednesday afternoon. Both groups met for the first time the first week of April, 2012 and have been meeting in the UU Church Sanctuary ever since.
• UUBF.ORG: The home page of the Unitarian Universalist Buddhist Fellowship is a good source for the following:
- UU Sangha, the journal of the UUBF
- Texts of Buddhism-related sermons by UU ministers
- Links to other UU and Buddhist Resources