Spiritual Friends (Kalyana Mitta) Groups
In an ancient Buddhist story, the Buddha’s faithful attendant, Ananda, asked about the importance of having wholesome companions. Ananda asked the Buddha whether having noble friends and companions wasn’t half of the holy life. The Buddha replied: “Do not say so, Ananda. Noble friends and companions are the whole of the holy life.” (SN 45.2, Bhikkhu Bodhi)
Our network of Kalyana Mitta (KM), or Spiritual Friends, groups is an important component of the PIMC spiritual community. They provide a platform for members of our sangha to deepen both their practice and their relationships with one another outside of PIMC, though regular meditation and Dharma study sessions in small groups on their own schedules.
It's important to understand that a KM group is NOT a conventional social group, and it's not a place for the kind of unfocused conversation one might engage in at a bar or party. The members of a KM group all agree to focus on the Dharma during their meetings - through study and meditation, as well as discussing the the way it shows up in their lives. There is always time outside of group to talk about the details of every-day life, such as politics, sports, dating, or family. Each KM group typically has some set of formal agreements about conduct within the group that all members accept, such as this example: http://www.spiritrock.org/document.doc?id-2476 .
Because our own Dharma work is intensely personal, discussion in group often involves personal self-disclosure that requires a willingness to be vulnerable, as well as a deep level of trust in all of the members of the group. To help facilitate that sense of trust, all KM groups require members to hold all discussion in group as private and confidential. This is an example of a typical KM confidentiality policy: http://www.spiritrock.org/document.doc?id=2474
Some of PIMC’s KM groups are open to new members and some are not, as noted in the listing below. For those that are open, any PIMC member is eligible to join. Most groups meet in members homes. For groups that meet in public spaces, this is noted in the listing below.
By coming together on a regular basis... meditating together, studying together, and learning to know one another in an environment of trust, we deepen our ability to open fully to all that is within us... to give voice to our deepest and most authentic “selves.” By doing so, we begin to see how connected we are in this human experience. When we are able to let go of some of the boundaries and barriers we experience as “reality,” our sense of separation from others is reduced, and the perception of loneliness and isolation is recognized for the delusion it truly is. This gives us the foundation to experience "Anatta", that is, "no fixed, abiding self" on a very real and tangible basis.
May you each bring open-hearted kindness and wisdom to every contact, every relationship, every effort. May that intention be returned to your heart increased one-hundred fold.
For More Information
While PIMC is committed to providing structure and support for these affiliated groups, they do operate independently of PIMC. If you want additional information about a specific group, please follow-up with the group contact listed.
To Start a New KM Group
It is PIMC's hope that our network of KM groups will grow over time, giving more members of our sangha access to the benefits for spiritual development. If you want to create a new KM group, please contact Avi to arrange an appointment with Robert to discuss it.
Location: NE Portland
Meets: Tuesdays, twice monthly
Organizer: Ruth Radford
Meets: Sundays, every other week
Organizer: Scott Cushman
Meets: Mondays (except the first Monday of the month), 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Organizer: Lora Dow
Current Status: Closed to new members, except when the group is starting a new book (Peer-led book study group)
Organizer: Larry Breslauer
Current Status: Open to new members
Organizer: Jim and Pam Cassidy
Current Status: Willing to consider new members