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 over 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 meet on Monday evenings from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. We are currently meeting online on the 1st and 3rd Mondays. On the 2nd and 4th Mondays we have two meetings, one in person at the Applegate Civic Center and another meeting online. Please contact us if you would like to be included in regular emails with information about upcoming events, visiting Buddhist teachers, Dharma study, and links for our Zoom meetings. Please to the Weekly Meetings for the upcoming schedule.
Please note that there are changes to the schedule in January as we hold our week long Intensive Practice.
In Person Meetings
We prefer that all people attending our meetings at the Applegate Civic Center are fully vaccinated. If you have not been vaccinated or boosted within the past six months, we ask that you wear an N95 or KN95 mask. If you have been traveling, exposed to someone with COVID or are not feeling well, join the online meeting rather than risk exposing people in person.
The meditation group is directly affiliated with the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives and Shasta Abbey Buddhist Monastery. Reverend Daishin Yalon and Reverend Astor Douglas, Masters from Shasta Abbey, serve as the group’s Chaplains and join us for meetings and retreats.
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 regular Dharma talks, gives 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 lives in Dutch Flat at the Still Flowing Water Hermitage and is supported solely through the kindness of donations.
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. 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, beginning 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.