Passing It On


Passing It On:
Lay Practitioners Share Dharma Wisdom
December 2009


Table of Contents

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After _____ poem by Mary Mulvihill
Horned Grebe at Mansion Hill Pond poem by Robert Bohanan
An In-Body Experience article by Kim Allen
So Much Light poem by Carolyn Dille
Surprised article by Marianna Tubman
Rooster in the Night poem by Gerry Sarnat
Let Silence be the Art of Practice meditation by Gerry Sarnat
Anxiety Attacks and Mindfulness article by Jim Bronson
Someone is Dying poem by Kaveri Patel
In the Pines poem by Kari Prager
Caregivers and Meditation memory by Bruce Arnold
This Morning poem by Kaveri P
Interventions article by Carla Brooke
As We are with Animals article by Rob Rossell
Practice poem by Carolyn Dille
Lessons from the Kodhana Sutta article by Dave Barnett
Never So Moved By a Prune poem by Bruce Freedman
A Lucid Dream memory by Jin Liang
First Lilies of the Spring memory by Jeanne van Gemert
Dharma and End of Life Caregiving article by John Ruark
Each Breath poem by Carolyn Dille
Reflections on Channel Surfing memory by Lynn Sunday
The Dusty Road poem by Susan Ezequelle
Friendship manuscript by Walter J. Filling
Love manuscript by Walter J. Filling

Passing It On: Background

The growth of Western Buddhist practice has come largely through the initiative of teachers who often carry credentials based on having been a monastic and received “dharma transmission” from venerable sages. In recent years, many sanghas have developed an additional leadership resource based on long-term experienced lay practitioners whose practices have matured and strengthened through everyday kinds of experiences, for example; having families, making a living, managing organizations, pursuing professional careers, in a variety of ways developing their gifts and talents and sharing them with their communities. These practitioners may be invited to take the dharma seat from time to time, not because of their credentials, but because of the wisdom they have to pass on.

The Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, Ca, has many such mature Lay Practitioners. Some participate and volunteer regularly at the center while others, though attending irregularly, are closely connected to our practice. Some of the lay practitioners have started small sitting groups of their own. Others have actively provided services to the IMC community, including; talks, classes, chaplaincy services, conducting weddings, memorials, serving on the board, attend interfaith meetings, offering mindfulness teachings for local businesses, school, and jails, etc.

To bring together the practice insights and dharma teachings of seasoned lay practitioners, we are launching this project in 2009 to publish art and writings about the many facets of Dharma practice in the many dimensions of lay life.

“As he was sitting there, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, ‘This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie.’

‘Don’t say that, Ananda. Don’t say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.’ ”

– Samyutta Nikaya 45.2

In Gratitude

  • to Gil Fronsdal for his steady and inspiring leadership
  • to Susan Ezequelle, Jim Bronson and Gerry Sarnat for their advice and editorial expertise
  • to Linda Filling for making her father’s illuminations available
  • to Carla Brooke for finding appropriate line art
  • to the Board of Insight Meditation Center for their support
  • to lay practitioners everywhere applying the teachings of 2500 years in their lives
  • and to all of our contributors who communicate artfully about their practice.

Our Publication

Passing It On is an independent, ad-free collection of writing and art by lay practitioners connected with the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California. The collection celebrates the every-day lives of dharma practitioners, but not in a way that ignores its complexity. The personal essays, short stories, poetry, and art explore the challenges we face and the moments when we rise to meet those challenges.

Passing It On publishes the work of emerging and established artists who are striving to be thoughtful and awake. The collection invites readers to consider an array of ideas and then to join the conversation by submitting work for future editions. The collection is offered freely in the 2500 year-old tradition of dana, “generosity”, and intends to show that helpful teaching can be found in the ordinary lives of lay practitioners.

Passing It On is a publication of the Insight Meditation Center which is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Publication of Passing It On is supported primarily by contributor and reader donations through the Insight Meditation Center. Cash donations to IMC are tax-deductible.


  • Kim Allen is currently the IMC Board President and works as an environmental consultant
  • Bruce Arnold is a Sociologist at the University of Calgary, Canada
  • Dave Barnett practices with the Coastside Vipassana Sangha in Montara, CA
  • Robert Bohanan an educator at the Univ. of Wisconsin, listens to Gil through ZenCast.com
  • Jim Bronson is a practitioner at IMC in Redwood City and an editor of Passing It On
  • Carla Brooke is an artist and teacher living in Half Moon Bay, CA
  • Carolyn Dille is an artist and writer living in Santa Cruz, CA
  • Susan Ezequelle is on the Chaplaincy Council for IMC and an editor of Passing It On
  • Walter J. Filling lived in Washington DC and was a master artist of illuminations
  • Bruce Freedman is a long-term volunteer with IMC and lives in Sunnyvale, CA
  • Jeanne van Gemert is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s CDL program living in North Carolina
  • Jin Liang attends IMC in Redwood City, CA
  • Mary Mulvihill is a participant in IMC’s Support Group for people with life-threatening illness
  • Kaveri Patel is a writer, mother and practitioner of family medicine
  • Kari Prager is a business owner in Mountain View and Livermore, CA
  • Rob Rossell is a life coach/hypnotherapist practicing in Los Altos Hills, California
  • John Ruark, MD is a practicing Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
  • Gerry Sarnat, MD is an Internist, writer, former CEO and an advisor to Passing It On
  • Lynn Sunday lives in Half Moon Bay, CA with her husband, Lee, and dog Hootie
  • Marianna Tubman writes and blogs from Redwood City, CA and is a BPF member


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