Groups & Events

Walking meditation. Photo credit: Matt Nash, 2018.

In naming this community “Dharma Friends Community,” we highlight the importance of relationships with friends on the path. All Dharma Friends gatherings intend to support each participant as a friend would offer support. Additionally, we see the teachings themselves as offering the help of a good friend.

Callie Justice leads all Dharma Friends groups and events, unless otherwise indicated. To find out more about Callie, visit the Leadership page.

All teachings at Dharma Friends Community are offered freely as a practice of dāna. Dāna, or “giving,” is a central practice taught by the Buddha. In relating to others from a sense of open-handedness, freely giving (particularly in support of the growth of the Dharma), we create rich conditions of mind and heart for the development of the Buddha’s path. Participants will likewise have the opportunity to offer donations in support of the teachers.

Upcoming Groups and Events

Click on any event below for more information. To view our full calendar, please click here.

Group Descriptions

Establishing Right Mindfulness - A Deep Dive

Right mindfulness is a layered and richly textured aspect of the Buddha’s path. This four month group will meet weekly to investigate the full breadth and power of this essential teaching. The emphasis will be on helping each individual to develop their personal practice in the light of what the Buddha taught.

A primary resource for the group will be Bhikkhu Analayo’s book Satipatthana Meditation: A Practice Guide. In addition to presenting Bhikkhu Analayo’s perspective, the group’s leader, Callie Justice, will draw on teachings from a few other teachers (Bhikkhu Sujato, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, and Eviatar Shulman) and from her own readings of the early Buddhist texts to further refine and clarify an approach to the process of developing right mindfulness.

Each week will be focused on specific practices for participants to work with over the coming week. Giving plenty of time for sharing personal experiences and supporting each individual’s process of exploration from week-to-week will be a priority.

Two separate sections of this group will be offered. One group meets Sundays from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. beginning Sunday, February 10th, 2019. The other group will meet on Sundays from 5 to 6:30 p.m. also beginning on Sunday, February 10th, 2019. Pre-registration is required for this group. To pre-register for one of the two sections, please visit the Contact page.

Looking at White Privilege with Help from the Buddha’s Path

Looking at experiences around race and racial identity can be emotionally challenging, and those of us in privileged positions can have a hard time seeing beyond the limits of our personal circumstance. In this group we will look to contemporary anti-racist activists to teach us somethings about whiteness and about the suffering (historical and present-day) that systems of race-based dominance and privilege cause in the lives of people of color. Some of the sources we will turn to are: the James Baldwin documentary ‘I Am Not Your Negro,’ Julius Lester’s book To Be A Slave, and three online talks - Robin DiAngelo on white fragility, Tim Wise on 'Race and Whiteness in the Era of Trumpism,' and Carol Anderson on white rage.

To help us to hold our explorations in skillful ways, each group meeting will begin with a period of guided meditation, and all participants will be asked to commit to devoting at least 30 minutes to daily meditation practice over the six-weeks that the group meets. We will especially look to the Buddha’s teachings on cultivating a heart of good will and compassion, establishing mindfulness of the body, and developing ethical trainings to support our efforts.

This group will meet for six weeks on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. beginning on March 19th 2019. The meeting place will be the Dharma Friends Community Meditation Hall located near the NC School of Science and Math in Durham.

The group will be led by Callie Justice. Like all Dharma Friends Community groups this group is offered free of charge as a practice of dana. Participants who wish to offer donations to Callie will have the opportunity to do that.

Please visit the Contact page to pre-register or to ask questions about this group.

Small Groups

Dharma Friends small groups are kept to a membership of no more than ten people. The small group size is intended to help participants develop relationships with one another, and to give each individual time to use the group for exploring what the Buddha’s teachings offer to them personally.

All small groups meet in the Dharma Friends Community Meditation Hall, which is located in Durham near the NC School of Science and Math.

Four types of small groups meet within the larger Dharma Friends Community.

  • Beginning the Buddha’s Path offers an introduction to newcomers, and is also meant to be beneficial to those who already have some experience with the Buddha’s teachings.The next Beginning the Buddha’s Path Group will meet weekly for six weeks, in the summer of 2019. Click here for more information about this group.

  • Practice Deepening Groups meet weekly on an ongoing basis in order to develop the practice and understanding of the Buddha’s path. People who join a Practice Deepening Group are asked to commit to participating for at least 4 months. These groups are planned for those who have some experience with meditation practice, and who have some familiarity with the Buddha’s teachings. The group ‘Establishing Right Mindfulness - A Deep Dive’ described on this page above is serving in place of the current Practice Deepening Groups. There will be an opportunity to join new sections of the two Sunday Practice Deepening groups this coming summer. For more information, click here.

  • Special Topics Groups offer the opportunity to focus on specific topic areas within the teachings of the Buddha. Generally, these groups ask for a shorter time commitment than the Practice Deepening Groups. The next Special Topics Group, ‘Looking at White Privilege with Help from the Buddha’s Path,’ is described above.

  • The Weekly Sit is open to any current or former participants in Dharma Friends groups and events. Those who have met that prerequisite may participate in the Weekly Sit on a week-by-week, drop-in basis, with no prior registration needed. We meet on Thursday evenings from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. for an hour of silent sitting and walking meditation practice. Those who wish are invited to remain for a half-hour of informal dharma discussion and questions.

Sitting meditation. Photo credit: Matt Nash, 2018.