Sugarplum Sangha

The Five

Mindfulness Trainings

The Five Mindfulness Trainings (5MTs) are the foundation of our meditation practice. As people seeking to build a community and society founded on joy, loving-kindness, compassion, and peace, we aspire to practice them every week, every day, every moment. If you are not familiar with these trainings, take time to read this document. We’ve included the original version of the Trainings as well as how we practice them specifically at Mariposa. These trainings are not a destination to get to, but a map for navigating the terrain of daily life together. They are lamps lighting our path. Below are a few simple ways we practice the Mindfulness Trainings during our retreat.

Reverence For Life

Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world.

The organizers of this event have created a vegan menu out of compassion for animals and the environment. You are welcome to bring some of your own food but please do so in the spirit of Reverence For Life. If you are not a vegan in your daily life, please consider making this weekend an all vegan weekend. That said, Reverence for Life includes our own life as well. If your dietary needs absolutely require animal products, you can bring it with you. Please bring only what you need, and please inform the organizers of your needs ahead of time.

We are aware that we will be sharing a habitat with many other species of living beings, and we don’t want to tempt them into any dangerous situation. So, we will keep all food in the kitchen provided by Mariposa facilities. We will also respect the space that is home to many animals by keeping all trash in its appropriate receptacles.  If you do cross paths with any wildlife, remain calm and remember that you are just as strange to them as they are to you. They usually continue on their merry way unless provoked. We will provide more specific details about handling various wild animal encounters during our orientation at the opening of the retreat. And finally, Mariposa is home to a community of residents that graciously offers use of the land and facilities that have provided them a livelihood for decades. During our retreat, we will practice to be mindful and considerate so as not to inconvenience their daily routine.

True Happiness

Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming.

When we are able to dwell happily in the present moment we have True Happiness. Dwelling happily in the present moment is a practice of letting go - letting go of unwholesome states such as craving, anger, jealousy, and so on.  We know our practice of True Happiness is deep when we feel at ease and generous, willing and ready to give back to our community. We practice by sharing our time, energy, and material resources with each other, and by refraining from taking what is not ours to take. If you have extra supplies to share with the community, please bring them. Folks may need things like blankets, sleeping pads, batteries, toiletries, etc.. Finances are yet another shareable resource. Organizers have planned and negotiated to keep the retreat as affordable as possible, and yet donations are still a helpful means of making the retreat more inclusive. Our paypal account is open anytime you feel inclined to offer an extra donation. The more we can bring and share with each other, the more comfortable we’ll all be.

Dwelling in the present moment, we are more than happy to flow with the energy of the community, participating joyfully in activities and making the most of our free time to nourish ourselves as we please. If you have possessions that are very important to you or will create fear or suffering if they are lost, please consider leaving them at home, or locked safely in your car. We want to enjoy a happy weekend free from concern about material things.

True Love

Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness – which are the four basic elements of true love – for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.

As humans, we carry a lot of sexual energy, and society bombards us with unwholesome images and messages about how we are to live in relation to our sexual identities.  We’ve all been sexualized and objectified. This event is a refuge for people who want to connect at the level of human beings rather than mere sexual objects.

Still, let’s not be caught off guard when attraction arises. We are people coming together with similar aspirations in a joyful and spiritual atmosphere. The beauty in everyone will be very easy to see. We should remind ourselves that sexual attraction is not love. If we really want to cultivate love, we should practice to nourish compassion and loving kindness for ourselves and everyone else. Taking time to get to know our fellow practitioners apart from sexual craving allows us to experience community on a deeper level, and experience true joy in togetherness. It also helps us to be free from habit energies of fear, craving, looking to others for validation, jealousy and many other things that can perpetuate suffering in our lives. We enjoy this opportunity to practice true love and connection by handling our sexual attractions mindfully. As a refuge for all people, we care deeply about this retreat being a safe space for all genders and sexual identities. We hope everyone can participate without any concern about assumptions being made or redirecting unwelcome advances. It is probably best to be on the safe side and recognize that most people attend a retreat like this to deepen their meditation practice and not to explore dating opportunities.

Those attending the event with a romantic partner can also practice with another aspect of True Love, inclusiveness. With inclusiveness, we realize that loving another person deeply is really an opportunity to practice loving everyone. Therefore, our relationships with our partners should not cut us off from friendships with others or a life with a community. During this event, you may like to allow some spaciousness in all your relationships - taking the time to be with yourself, your partner, and old and new friends alike.

Loving Speech and Deep Listening

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.

So much of our communication is tainted by habit energy.  We speak over each other. We speak out of anger. We slander, we gossip, and we miss the opportunity to nourish the wholesome seeds in each other.  Words can create so much suffering; many of us have been damaged before. Words also have the capacity to express what is beautiful, inspire confidence, and share appreciation.  The Sugarplum Sangha practices to transform the habits of unskillful speech. We learn to recognize the signs of anger and calm ourselves to reach some clarity before we speak.

Loving Speech is impossible without Deep Listening. Without Deep Listening, we can’t know which words are loving and which are not because we would not have heard the other person. Deep Listening is also a way of practicing kindness to ourselves. We listen in an attentive and relaxed way, letting go any negative judgments about the other person and anxiety about our turn to speak. In this way, we are truly present for the other person. Our presence can offer great relief when others are sharing their suffering and great joy when others are sharing their happiness.

From time to time, it can be helpful to take a break from listening and speaking. This gives our consciousness a chance to circulate and our energy to renew. Silence is an important practice in Loving Speech and Deep Listening. We will practice noble silence in the evenings and mornings. During noble silence, we enjoy the peace and tranquility of the late evening and early mornings, letting our minds rest in the present moment.

Nourishment and Healing

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth

Practicing mindfulness, we know that happiness depends on a loving relationship with our bodies and minds.  We show our love to our bodies and minds by taking good care of them, not consuming toxins in what we eat or drink, perceive through our senses, or think. Attending this retreat supports us in taking care of our bodies by being drug, alcohol, and tobacco free.  We take care of our minds by guarding our senses, which are constantly invaded by all kinds of media. During this retreat, take the opportunity to detach from your electronic devices and give your senses the chance to soak in the beauty of nature. There will be no access to cell service, wifi, or Mariposa phones except for in cases of emergency. When we let go of consuming toxins in our body and minds, we naturally feel light and peaceful.  We have the energy we need to practice mindfulness in all our daily activities with joy, enthusiasm, and ease.