Well done! Have you organised any meetings yet?
I set up a local Buddhist group about 12 years ago, which is still going. It was a steep learning curve, but very worthwhile.
My initial advice would be to keep it simple, and to involve everyone in decision-making.
It’s varied over the years, but these days we meet in each others houses - it’s simpler and cheaper than hiring a room.
Typically we meet for two hours. We start with meditation (say half an hour), then one of us will present a Dhamma topic for discussion (we take turns at this). After that we have a cup of tea and discuss the topic. We’ve tried listening to recorded Dhamma talks, but it’s proved to be more interesting when people present their own topics for discussion.
Sometimes we meet outdoors, maybe going for a nature walk and practising mindfulness. We’ve held day retreats too.
That sounds awesome, and very similar to what I had in mind! Thank you, and glad to hear the concept works!
I like the idea of one of us presenting a topic, rather than potentially sitting through an hour long recording!
I thought of just reading a quick Sutta and talking about it, but it could be about any topic!
It could, but to meditate the joys of socialization, it might be on opportunity for gentle self-discipline. This would avoid a potential frustration in straying too far from individuals or group intention.
Small rituals (such as reading a brief standard introduction at the beginning of each gathering might help. (Just an idea.)
I hope your group and you flourish in this generous endeavor.
Heh good point, I should be careful with how I phrase it.
I mean any related topic. Not a presentation about e.g. my cat, awesome as he is
That’s also an interesting idea.
I thought about doing a quick “Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā Sambudhassa” chant, but that depends on the composition of the group. If I find lots of Theravada peeps, it would work, but I wouldn’t want to make people in other traditions, or secular people interested mainly in meditation, feel discouraged from attending…
Perhaps reading a quick Sutta passage on “admirable friendship” would work?
Oh, my words were mostly inspired by my own experiences of small group dynamics; especially if lonely, people seem to tend to wander. Your words might have allowed a little ambiguity but it was my memories behind my words!
You’ll probably find that the focus of the group will depends on the interest of the people involved, and that it will change and develop over time. I’d suggest keeping an open mind initially, also keeping things simple and basic, possibly with a pan-Buddhist approach.
I admit my main motivation is itching for some Early Buddhism/Theravada/Thai Forest practitioners, as there are temples for other traditions, even if they are over 40km away. But not much in Theravada, and nothing in Thai Forest.
Though, I am happy to meet practitioners in all traditions, or even just non-Buddhists curious about Buddhist meditation.
I have heard that Tilorien sometimes has group activities that include listening to a short sutta as spoken by Voice.suttacentral.netInspire Me. A short 10 minute listen might provide food for thought and discussion. The list of phrases behind “Inspire Me” is actually compiled from topics discussed here on Discuss & Discover. In fact, please let Anagarika Sabbamitta or me know of any suggestions you’d like to add to the list. Currently the suttas will be spoken in English until we make a bit more progress with supporting localization of voices.
I will confess that part of my motivation for creating this group, aside from the wish to meet fellow practitioners, is also to have something more solid to base an invitation on.
I would love to see a Dhamma Talk in person from one of my teachers! But, sadly, I’m not sure when I will be able to travel, even just to another European country.
So, I’m going for a “if Mohammed can’t go to the mountain, see if the mountain can go to Mohammed”
Hopefully, one day I will be able to say something like “hey, there’s at least 30 of us here who are interested in a Dhamma Talk, and possibly more will come, after advertising the event”. As opposed to “one Buddhist zealot and her skeptical boyfriend may be the only people in the audience”