What we're about

Hi my friends! I'm an Iranian American who found peace and solace in the teachings of the Buddha once I had a chance to learn Buddhism in California and then in Japan. It's been such a joyful journey learning about human mind and how to maximize our joyfulness and gratitude that I felt it'd be my biggest contributions to my community. I went to Japan to study more Buddhism and here I am sharing with those interested. I feel without understanding our minds, nothing changes in the world outside or within. So hope you join this group and work together in bringing about more changes. People join us from other venues so please don't think you'll be the only participant. You won't be! The more the merrier so people invite friends to our meetups so give it a try!

Upcoming events (4+)

Right View Lab: Getting Empowered Through Buddhism's Discussion of Our Biases

Hi everyone!

Hope you're doing well under the current circumstances. Buddhism helps us make sense of things happening and how to interpret things positively even if they're inconvenient for us at the moment. In these meetups, we learn that people who point out our flaws are actually helping us uncover our hidden treasures. Some people's jaw might drop hearing the above, but please give it some consideration.

Because of our pride or ego, when someone points out our flaws, we have a hard time processing it. But Buddha teaches us that it's such an important process. When our spouse tells us, "Honey, don't you think it's better for you to change this aspect of your behavior?" we're so quick to reject such remarks. As the proverb goes, truth hurts.

In contrast, don't we love to hear sweet lies? The closer to the truth the remarks we hear about are, the more resistance we're likely to show. How can we cultivate an attitude of self-improvement and fight with our ego that prevents that process? In Buddhism, it is taught that we all have stubbornness and pride. We think we are always right and we often go out of our ways to prove that we're right.

Let me give you a funny example. If you find a little red something on the floor and you think, "What is this red bean doing on the floor?" Your spouse comes and says, "What red bean? It's a red insect!" You might argue about it and suddenly see the red bean taking off the floor, flying, the one who said it was a red bean might continue their assertion saying, "That's a flying bean." In other words, still they don't want to admit they were wrong that it was a red bean. In truth, it was an insect that took off flying.

In our youth, when someone points out our flaws, we might say, "I see. Thank you for showing me the way." But as we accumulate life experiences, we feel that "This is my style." And so we reject the advice or suggestion offered to us.

People who are truly confident, they do hear others' suggestions and change themselves quickly. Such confident people are those who can distinguish what needs to change within them and what doesn't need to change. They have an easier time to focus on one smaller aspect of themselves that needs to be changed. They usually don't generalize that they need to change everything about themselves. They have come to see that it's just one aspect of who we are that needs to be changed at that point and people who can recognize that are generally confident people.

In this way, Buddha encourages us not to show anger to people who point out our flaws. By improving those flaws, our hidden treasures get uncovered.

Don't allow your feelings erupt before thinking rationally. Just say, "I received your precious remarks. Thank you for taking the time to let me know. Let me sleep over it."

Join our meetups to learn more about the art of living.

We're able to continue bringing these Dharma sessions for you thanks to the generosity of those of you who support us. Let me take a moment to express our gratitude now. If you too are able to support our cause, you can offer your donations on PayPal or Venmo to Bita Enayati at [masked]. Thank you for your support and encouragement in helping us continue to bring quality teachings to you, day in, day out. It's not the amount that matters but your desire to be part of a cause greater than ourselves.

Stay well and let's go forward towards the light of unconditional goodness together! Please message me at [masked] with your self-introduction if you'd like to get to know each other more and also to confirm your RSVP.

If you're interested in learning Buddhism but have a schedule conflict, please write to me for a one on one session.

Bita and Yuichi Asakura

Karma Lab: You Can Change Your Destiny As Much As You Want, Right Now

Hi everyone! Hope this message finds you well. We're going to start a new series of classes on Buddhism which focuses on each concept taught in Buddhism. On Wednesdays we're going to learn about the basics of karma.

The following is an excerpt from the book If you plant seeds of happiness, flowers of happiness will bloom by Kazushi Okamoto:

The first step on the road to happiness is not blaming things on your destiny, even when you feel that
“Things just don’t work out well for me . . .”
How do we feel when unexpected things happen? When it’s something good, we think, “Gee, I’m lucky!” When, on the other hand, it’s something bad we ask, “Why me?” Or we think, “It’s not my fault—it was just a piece of bad luck.” Thus, when something unexpected happens, which is to say, when something whose cause we cannot determine happens, we use expressions like “luck,” “coincidence,” or “by chance.”
But let’s stop and think about the matter. If you look up “chance” or “coincidence” in the dictionary, the definition is, “Something that occurs without a cause.” But are there in fact things that happen without causes? Let's learn from the wisdom in the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha.

We're able to continue bringing these Dharma sessions for you thanks to the generosity of those of you who support us. Let me take a moment to express our gratitude now. If you too are able to support our cause, you can offer your donations on PayPal or Venmo to Bita Enayati at [masked]. Thank you for your support and encouragement in helping us continue to bring quality teachings to you, day in, day out. It's not the amount that matters but your desire to be part of a cause greater than ourselves.

Stay well and let's go forward towards the light of unconditional goodness together! Please message me at [masked] with your self-introduction if you'd like to get to know each other more and also to confirm your RSVP.

If you're interested in learning Buddhism but have a schedule conflict, please write to me for a one on one session.

Bita and Yuichi Asakura

Purpose-Driven Lab:How Buddhism Empowers Us To See the Meaning of Our Hardships

Hi our friends,

Hope this email finds you well. The following is an overview of how learning Buddhism makes our life more purpose-driven:

We learn how to improve human relationships as well as our own human nature to become a better human being: what is humanism in other words. Alan Watts has said that Buddha was a great psychologist. Buddhism is an education and Buddha was a great teacher. So there’s elementary school, middle school, and college in Buddhism. Once we graduate from the “college” of Buddhism, our real life begins.

Most of you have probably heard of the 4 Noble Truths in Buddhism the first of which is Life is Suffering. When I had a CT scan of my lungs a few years ago, I was told by my doctor that there was a shade in my lungs; it surely is a tumor, doctor said. At that moment, all the colors in my life began to fade away. I felt so alone. But listening to Buddhism enables us to see that everyone goes through suffering in life as the Buddha taught life is suffering but we’re not born to suffer. Other examples might be the suffering of getting dementia or a family member who develops Alzheimer's and we have to care for them.

How can we overcome such sufferings? In short, by cultivating gratitude. Do you think a tree exists by itself? How do you think we are able to get water from the faucet so easily today? We easily forget about the hard labor of all people who have worked hard to produce such benefits for us. But it’s not easy to be mindful of it. We easily forget.

No. 1 question we get from meetup participants is how to deal with nasty people out there, such as at work, etc. First solution is to plant seeds of kindness to improve our relationships. We need to call them by name, Hello David….. nice talking with you David… Call them by name to recognize them. People who are humiliated or feel they’re not being recognized, they burst into fit of rage and might even commit crime. If we fulfill their need for recognition, they will begin to like us and vice versa. Our relationships will improve. Phrase a day calendar: Let us discover the good in others and commend them for it. Praising others is offering kindness to them; it’s one of the good deeds taught by the Buddha: giving the gift of heart and the gift of kind speech. The more we purify our minds to mean what we say, the more of a good deed it becomes.

Our relationships will improve and our life quality will improve as we gain insight about human nature. They are just the two sides of the same coin: we are all self-centered. We have a lot of self-love like narcissists. We need to understand this aspect of human nature. Conflicts easily arise. So we need to put others first and put ourselves in others’ shoes. Happiness is sure to follow for us and for others.

Join us to learn more.

We appreciate if you can support our cause. You can offer your donations on PayPal or Venmo to Bita Enayati at [masked]. It's not the amount that counts but the desire to contribute to a cause greater than ourselves. Thank you for your support and encouragement in helping us to continue bringing quality teachings to you, day in, day out.

If you're interested in learning Buddhism but have a schedule conflict, please write to me for a one on one session.

Happiness Lab: Let's Get Together & Think Together What Happiness Is & It's Not.

Hello our friends,

The following is an overview of how learning Buddhism helps us access more inner joyfulness:

Rain and sunshine are equally good: the state of mind of being enlightened: equanimity. A kind of mindfulness that does not crumble or fade away. To achieve this kind of happiness, we need to overcome 2 kinds of obstacles: impermanence is one of them. Getting to see our true self is another way of going forward.

In the Buddhist scriptures, Buddha often refers to the number of the sands in the Ganges River, which happens to be a numerical unit in Japan of 10 to the power 52. As you see the world stage and the span of time is very different in Buddhism than what we're normally used to.

Let me tell you a joke:

A man asks the Buddha: How much is a million years for you?
Buddha: It’s like a second.
Man: How much is a billion dollars to you?
Buddha: It’s like a penny
Man: Can I have a penny?
Buddha: Just a second.

Buddha teaches that human life is like a lightening, like a second. Happiness is relative; without making comparison, we can’t make a judgment. Comparing human life to the history of earth (4.6 billion years). If 4.6 billion years is like a year, the dinosaurs time on earth is like December 31. Locusts live 7 days. Mayflies live for only a few hours. What’s the purpose of their life? People in their 80s feel like their 80 years have passed like the blink of an eye.

Another view in Buddhism is that when we understand impermanence, we treat things with more care. For example, when you're moving to a new home, and put your chinaware in a box, you might label it as FRAGILE. Or HANDLE WITH CARE. Why? Because we know it might break.

When you go through a tough time, you ask yourself , "Is this real?" People say it feels so surreal. Meaning they can't believe it.

If it's a good thing, we also feel, is this real? Pinch me to see I'm not dreaming.

Let's discuss more on what happiness is.

We're able to continue bringing these Dharma sessions for you thanks to the generosity of those of you who support us. Let me take a moment to express our gratitude now. If you too are able to support our cause, you can offer your donations on PayPal or Venmo to Bita Enayati at [masked]. It's not the amount that matters but our desire to contribute to something greater than ourselves. Thank you for your support and encouragement in helping us continue to bring quality teachings to you, day in, day out.

Stay well and let's go forward towards the light of unconditional goodness together! Please message me at [masked] with your self-introduction if you'd like to get to know each other more and also to confirm your RSVP.

If you're interested in learning Buddhism but have a schedule conflict, please write to me for a one on one session.

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