The Bear River Meditation Group follows the Zen Buddhist practice of Serene Reflection Meditation (Silent Illumination). We are affiliated with Shasta Abbey Buddhist Monastery, and the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. The order was founded by Houn Jiyu Kennett following her training at Sojiji Temple in Japan. The meditation group is led by two licensed Lay Ministers, Andrea Spark and Pam Johnson. We have been meeting for nearly 25 years in the Auburn, California area. All are welcome to come to join our meetings and retreats. Meditation instruction is available for those unfamiliar with the Zen form of meditation, or who might have questions about their practice.
Location and Weekly Meetings
The meditation group is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California. We have been holding our weekly meetings online this past year due to COVID. In June we invite those who have been vaccinated to join us for in person meetings in Applegate on the second and fourth Mondays. We will also continue to offer online meetings on all Monday evenings in June. Please contact us if you would like to be included in weekly emails with information about upcoming meetings, including the Zoom link for the meetings. We meet on Monday evenings from 6:45 -8:30 pm. The weekly meetings usually include recitation of scriptures, meditation periods, and Dharma talks followed by discussion. The meditation group currently has a resident teacher, a Senior Teacher of Buddhism in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. We also often have monks from Shasta Abbey join us via Zoom and for in person retreats. We are currently offering morning meditation and Short Morning Service on Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6 am.
The meditation group is directly affiliated with the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives and Shasta Abbey Buddhist Monastery. Reverend Master Daishin Yalon, Reverend Master Astor Douglas and Reverend Master Meiko Jones from Shasta Abbey, as well as other monks from the Order, join us for retreats and events through the year.
Reverend Vivian Grunenfelder of Still Flowing Water Hermitage, is currently residing in our area and serving as resident monk for the meditation group. She trained for over twenty years at Shasta Abbey Buddhist Monastery and is a Priest and Teacher of Buddhism in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. She offers Dharma talks and spiritual counseling and is available to perform various ceremonies including weddings, funerals and house blessings. Reverend Vivian regularly joins the meditation group for our weekly meetings. She is supported solely through the kindness of donations. For more information on offering her support and a listing of her current needs, visit the Donations page.
The meditation group exists on the ancient Buddhist tradition of dana, or what we know of as ‘generosity of spirit’, the giving and receiving from heart to heart. The practice of dana dates back 2,500 years to the time of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni. The Buddha in His wisdom purposely set up a practice of direct interchange and interdependence between the monastic and lay Sangha. He foresaw that reciprocal respect and kindness would develop between members of the Sangha in following the practice of dana, which in turn would assist each one of them in bringing their training to fruition. Whether we live the homeless life of monks or the life of a householder, generosity makes the heart grow brighter. There is no charge for attending the weekly meetings, nor for the events we sponsor. But, please keep in mind that we do pay rent to the Community Center, make offerings for our teacher’s transportation, provide tea and treats for weekly meetings and retreats and purchase supplies such as meditation cushions, benches, mats, candles, and incense. Donations are greatly appreciated and help support the continued activities of the meditation group.
The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives counts 85 Masters in our ancestral lineage, beginnig with the historical Buddha whose teaching of the origin of suffering and the path to it’s cessation flourishes today in the West. This lineage includes Bodhidharma who brought “wall-sitting” to China and the Shao Lin Temple, the 6th Chinese Master Hui Neng, and Dogen, who journeyed to China in the 13th century and returned toJapan to found the Soto Zen practice and Eiheiji Monastery in 1246.
The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives was founded by the late Reverend Master Jiyu-Kennett, an English woman, who was ordained in Malaysia in the Chinese Buddhist tradition. She went on to study in Japan where she eventually was certified as a roshi, and was authorized to teach and ordain men and women as monastics in the Soto Zen Tradition. This meditation group and those who practice with us follow the teachings of Soto Zen (Chinese: Ts’ao – Tung Ch’an) as passed on by Reverend Jiyu-Kennett. This practice is known here as Serene Reflection Meditation.
The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives is committed to providing a safe and ethical environment in which all may practice. We expect that we, and those who come through our doors, will treat others preceptually and with respect. We value the harmony of the sangha, and wish to address any concerns that may arise about possible unethical or inappropriate behavior. If you should have such a concern, you should feel free to discuss it with the priest of your or any OBC temple, any senior member of the Order or lay minister. Temple contact information can be found on the OBC website.