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Aloha Sangha is the name of a group that has been meeting since February 1998 in Honolulu.

Please visit our new site here: http://alohasangha.com/

We meet on Thursdays, from 6:00 to 7:30 PM in Manoa, on the island of O’ahu. We are very informal–no fees, nothing you have to commit to, we simply offer this every week as a community service. They have been ongoing weekly for 12 years now.

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What we do at our meetings

Over the years folks have found that beginning the sessions with slow, gentle movement (yoga and qigong based) for the first 30 minutes is a great way to lead into meditation, so that’s what we do. Guided meditation follows for about thirty to forty minutes. We end with a very short discussion period, with snacks and tea, which we provide.

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Orientation and affiliations

I am not sure labels work that well to describe our group. We practice bare-bones mindfulness meditation. It just so happens that I personally have found the teachings presented by ancient and present day sages of Ch’an and Pure Land Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, and Christian and Jewish mysticism to have had the most lasting and beneficial effects over the long term. But we are neither a Buddhist, Advaita, or mystical-religious group.

For details on how this orientation plays out in practice please see the nuts and bolts page.

That we are not affiliated with any other group, teacher or spiritual lineage has its advantages and its drawbacks. Some folks like to know there is a place where they can come to meditate where they won’t be sold a worldview or other aspects associated with belonging to a spiritual tradition or lineage. This works well for people who are naturally sceptical about these issues, or for those who already have a lineage of instruction and know that they can practice it without the pressure to conform. The meditation instruction which is provided is bare-bones mindfulness practice inspired by the Theravada Buddhist tradition in which I trained for many years.

We attempt to host teachers from a variety of spiritual traditions when they visit O’ahu regardless of their lineage.

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What to bring

If you have an exercise or yoga mat it would be good to bring it. If you don’t have one, we can provide a mat for your first few times.

My story

My first exposure to meditation was with Maezumi Roshi at the Los Angeles Zen Center (ZCLA) in 1980, my first teacher. I moved into a local Buddhist center within walking distance to ZCLA in 1981–the International Buddhist Meditation Center. It was  there, in 1981, that I met my second teacher, an American using his given Buddhist name, Shinzen Young.

In Shinzen I found a brilliant combination of Buddhist erudition and brass-tacks meditation know how. It was cut to the chase dharma–Shinzen could calrify the heaps of intentional confusion set up by the zen training at ZCLA in a single, efforless phrase. He had done hard time in Buddhist monasteries in Japan.  He possessed the keen ability to shift through the non-essential aspects of traditional zen training and present gems of insight that would leave me stunned. He also introduced me what was to become the all consuming passion for the following 25 years–vipassana meditation and the teachings of the historical Buddha preserved in the suttas of the Pali Canon.

After attending some 20 or so vipassana retreats of varying lengths (from 10 days to the 3 month retreat in Barre, Massachusetts in 1984) I left the USA to study and practice in Sri Lanka. I was ordained as a Theravada monk in February of 1985 in Sri Lanka, where I spent a year training in anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing) meditation.

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Tom In Sri Lanka in 1985.

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I explored further meditation training for two more years in Burma and Thailand before giving back my robes December of 1987 and returning to live at the International Buddhist Meditation Center in Los Angeles.

In 1990 I moved to Hawaii, where I met my wife Katina, the following year. I also went to nursing school here, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I served as the coordinator of a local chapter of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship here on O’ahu from 2000 to 2002. We have two children: Uila, our daughter is 16 and Kupai, our son, is 12.

Please visit our new site here: http://alohasangha.com/

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2008 6:55 pm

    I’m glad to have found your blog, and intend to post a link to it in the “Useful Sites” area of my own blog, The Buddha Diaries. I’d be delighted it you’d consider returning the compliment. Blessings, Peter

  2. October 10, 2009 7:54 am

    Dear Tom,

    Thank you for doing what it is you do. I just noticed via my website stats that there’s a link from your blogroll to my Mindful Living Guide site. Thank you for this as well. It seems we’ve a similar background, tradition-wise: e.g., Vipassana or mindfulness meditation, Taoism, yoga, nondual (Advaita) Hindu philosophy/practice.

    For me all of these have integrated into one, non-striving practice or understanding.

    Please feel free to drop me a line if you’d like. No obligation however.

    Be well,

    Sean

  3. October 12, 2009 7:46 am

    So nice to meet like minded folks. I enjoy the material on your blog. Keep it up!

  4. Carlos Butler permalink
    October 25, 2010 12:52 am

    Its Carlos from Scriptlance Tom. Dont worry, focus in your main priority now. Its been nothing to me beyond than meeting a good man. Good luck and talk soon.

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