What We Offer
White Heron Sangha has no formal affiliation with any outside groups, lineages, or styles of Buddhism, or with any particular teacher. We accept the value and usefulness of all traditions and attempt to learn whatever we can from the unique approach of each.
We are peer-led. Talks and introductory meditation instruction are often given by our members. We periodically invite teachers from various Buddhist traditions to lead weekend retreats.
Sunday Evening Meetings
We have a regular meeting every Sunday at 6:00 pm. We are currently meeting at Unity Church, 1490 Southwood Drive, San Luis Obispo, 93401. We usually meditate for half an hour and then have some kind of program, which might be a lecture, a group activity, or a recorded talk. The schedule is listed in the Events section of this website.
Most meetings begin with 30 minutes of meditation, followed by announcements and a 10 minute break, then a 45 minute program that goes until 7:30.
On the first Sunday of each month there is an optional ceremony 20 minutes before the start of meditation for those who are interested in reciting some traditional Buddhist texts together.
On the fourth Sunday we offer tea, snacks, and socializing after meditation from 6:30-7:00, then have a 30 minute program until 7:30.
The White Heron Sangha offers Meditation Instruction on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month at 5:00 pm in the Unity bookshop. If you are new to meditation, or if you are experienced but have questions, or have hit an impasse, or just want to share your insights, you are welcome to come and discuss your practice.
Instruction will be alternately facilitated by James Coleman and Arlene Winn. (It may be cancelled during weekends when retreats are held -- please check the schedule.)
Retreats and Workshops
Teachers from outside our community from time to time are invited to lead weekend meditation retreats and workshops. Occasionally workshops and peer-led practice days (which we call "Days of Mindfulness") are conducted by our own members.
Website and Email communications
In addition to general information about the sangha, this website contains an events calendar and a quarterly e-newsletter with various relevant articles.
If you sign up with us (click on the "Membership" tab to the left), you'll be notified whenever a new e-newsletter is posted to the website, and when a retreat or other major event is coming up. We will only use your email address for important sangha business. For communications that may not be about essential White Heron Sangha matters, such as notices of relevant events sponsored by other organizations, or personal messages from sangha members, we use the list-serve, which is described below.
In addition to the features available on our website, the sangha has less formal email group (list-serve), which allows members to post notices that are automatically sent to all of the other list-serve participants. It is a valuable way for us to share our dharma-related thoughts and concerns. The sangha also uses it to forward information from other organizations about events that may be of interest to our members, such as a Buddhist event sponsored by a group other than the White Heron Sangha. The list-serve is implemented as a Yahoo Group, and apart from a moderator who approves new requests for membership, is not maintained by the sangha.
To join the list-serve, send a blank email to: email@example.com. You will be sent a return email from Yahoo with further instructions.
In this email you will be given a choice of clicking a link that takes you to the Yahoo group signup area. If you want full access to the group, which includes member-posted files, photos, etc., you will need to create a Yahoo ID before joining the group.
A simpler way is to simply REPLY to the email you received. You will then be added to email list only (the main function of the group) without the need for a Yahoo ID. If at a later date if you desire access to the other web features, you can create a Yahoo ID at that time.
Once you have joined the group, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and it will be automatically forwarded to everyone in the group.
For more information on how Yahoo groups work, see the Yahoo help facility.
We often record the talks given at our Sunday meetings and retreats. However, we don't have the resources to maintain a complete and systematic archive. Currently, our policy is this: if a talk you want to hear is coming up, but you won't be able to attend, contact us in advance and we'll make every effort to record it and see that you get a copy. If you want to hear a recent talk but failed to notify us in advance, ask anyway--we may have it. For single talks we can provide either an mp3 file or an audio CD. For retreats with lots of talking, mp3 may be the only option.
Contact Mick Malotte (email@example.com) or Michael Moran (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your requests.
We have a library of books, CDs, and magazines that can be checked out at our Sunday meetings.
Many sangha members belong to a small group for reading, meditation, and discussion. These groups are usually formed spontaneously by members. You are invited to announce your interest in forming or joining a group during the announcement period at a Sunday evening meeting, or by means of a message to the list-serve (see above).
When a new group has decided to form, Rosemary Donnell (email@example.com) is available to provide initial consultation on organizational approaches that have been successful with other groups.
For people living in the North and South parts of the county, there are additional/alternative meditation groups affiliated with White Heron Sangha.
North County Sangha
South County Meditation Group
We sponsor other activities such as potluck get-togethers, and a ceremony on Vesak (the Buddha's birthday).
All of the functions of the sangha are accomplished through the efforts of volunteers. We encourage everyone to help out in some capacity. Volunteering is a great great way to become more connected to the sangha while developing your practice of generosity. If you would like to help, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Dorothy Curhan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We have no membership fees--all activities are supported by contributions (called dana), with the exception of suggested fees to cover the costs of weekend retreats (special arrangements can be made for anyone who can't afford the fee for a retreat). Your tax-deductible contribution is always appreciated.