Weekly Groups

All groups welcome newcomers. There is no fee; however, dana (selfless giving) is much appreciated. It is not necessary to have prior experience meditating or to bring anything. Wear comfortable clothing. One can sit on a chair or on the floor. Cushions are provided.

Children and young adults are welcome at the Dharma Center. Those 16 years of age and under must be accompanied by a parent. If adults decide to bring a young person to a session, please consult with the group facilitator in advance. Not all group meetings or events at the Center are suitable for young people

Zen Meditation Group

The term Zen is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word 禪 (Chan), which traces its roots to the practice of meditation in China as it evolved from Buddhist traditions in India. Zen emphasizes deep awareness, meditation practice, insight into Buddha-Nature, and the personal expression of this insight in daily life, especially for the benefit of others. As such, it favors direct understanding through zazen (meditation). Some Zen practitioners feel that primary insight followed by a gradual deepening and ripening leads to enlightenment. Others emphasize that practice and awakening cannot be separated and that by sincerely practicing meditation, Buddhahood is already being expressed.

We are a group of lay practitioners following Zen traditions. The emphasis of the Zen Group is on zazen meditation and Buddhist related readings to remind us of the essence of Zen practice.

The Zen Group normally meets every Sunday from 5 to 7pm. The first Sunday of the month (except in winter) we offer an additional optional 40-minute meditation period starting at 4pm. Many books recommended by our facilitators can be found at the Zen pages of our Amazon Store. All are welcome to attend. No experience necessary!

These are some of our facilitators:
Jody Palm
Jody Palm was born and raised in the Chicagoland area of Illinois, and was introduced to Buddhism while studying Japanese martial and flower arts there. She started out in the Zen tradition, but then switched to Tibetan Buddhism, which she studied for 15 years. She then spent another 15 years with her own practice before returning to Zen tradition. Jody has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and is very interested in the inter-relationship between Buddhist practice and psychotherapy.

Jody is a founding member of ADMC and teaches two introductory classes at the Center: How to Meditate and Introduction to Buddha and Buddhism – both classes for beginners. In addition, Jody occasionally teaches Tai Chi (Simplified Form), Yoga (for large bodies), and Making Buddhism Operational in Your Life. The latter was included as part of the Comparative Religion course at Walter’s State Community College in past years. Jody is currently retired, and caring for her 89-year-old mother, while making award-winning quilts.

Peter Ford
Since reading Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind in 1972, Peter has been practicing Zen meditation nearly every day. He has tried to follow Shunryu Suzuki's teachings, perhaps highlighted by practicing at one of the main temples in Japan where Suzuki had practiced. In addition to sitting, he maintains the ADMC website, created GoSit.org, and is the technical co-ordinator for ShunryuSuzuki.com. Peter offers the extended Zen meditation session on the first Sunday of most months.

Western Buddhist

At ADMC, our nonsectarian Western Buddhist path seeks to study contemporary Buddhist literature, as well as traditional writings, so that each individual may discover the way to free the mind from suffering. Our sessions include Dharma study and discussion using materials agreed upon by participants as our facilitators consider everyone’s input. Group meditation is an integral element of each session. We hope to encourage the practice of mindfulness, the development of compassion, and the attainment of the liberating wisdom of non-attachment.

At the present time the incredible richness and accessibility of Buddhist teachings provide a clear and welcoming invitation to awaken and liberate the heart and mind from suffering. In his book, One Dharma, Joseph Goldstein articulates the unique opportunity that Western Buddhism provides: “Siddhartha Gautama set in motion the great Wheel of the dharma more than twenty-five hundred years ago. It has rolled across continents and oceans, touching the lives of countless beings. Each culture has expressed the Dharma in its own language and idiom, emphasizing those methods that worked to free the mind from suffering. Now as different traditions come together in the West, the unique opportunity arises to learn from them all and to practice the One Dharma of freedom.”

  • Mondays from 7:00pm – 9:00pm.
  • Wednesdays from 9:30am11:00am at Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Gray.
  • Wednesdays from 5:30pm 7:30pm at ADMC - Cultivating Qualities of the Heart: a meditation session offering regular guided meditations to cultivate Mindfulness, Forgiveness, Loving Kindness, Compassion, etc. Sessions will be led by Marina Munjal and Linda Good.

Co-Facilitated by Marina Munjal
Marina grew up in Ohio with a statue of the Buddha in the study and a church home at a Unitarian Fellowship. She is one of the “founding mothers” of the ADMC and began building Buddhist community in the Tri-cities when she helped initiate the Holston Valley Sangha in July of 2001. She has been active in the Buddhist prison ministry since 2003 at Lee County, Virginia Federal Prison, which has continued to the present time and has helped develop an extensive library of Buddhist books, recordings, and movies, now housed at ADMC. She also offers community outreach on the subject of Buddhism, and has presented to the Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and Kingsport high school history classes.

Co-Facilitated by Linda Good
Originally from upper East Tennessee, Linda was drawn to Buddhism through her attendance at Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Gray. She is a student of Buddhism with preference for teachers, Pema Chödrön and Thich Naht Hahn. Professionally, Linda is a licensed psychotherapist (LPC/MHSP) in private practice in Johnson City. With seven years’ experience in local community agencies, Linda’s private practice includes client focus on healing emotional wounds, achieving personal & spiritual growth, and building healthy relationships. Previous to counseling, Linda worked in a wide variety of settings including corporate sales and marketing management in the information technology industry and as a teacher in public secondary schools. She enjoys the natural world and is an avid fly fishing angler.

Co-Facilitated by Debi Brewer
Debi first came to meditation at the Veterans Administration Hospital where she was receiving her clinical training as a chaplain.  In the VA system, mindfulness is taught to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  As her spirituality broadened, she came to the Dharma Center shortly after it opened here in Johnson City.  She has a daily meditation practice and meets regularly with the Western Buddhist Group on Friday nights.

She has particular experience with grief, trauma, addictions, and LGBT issues and has led community-based grief recovery groups for seven years.  She currently facilitates the Mindful Grieving group at ADMC, a 10-week program conducted three times each year.  Being a retired military service member and receiving her chaplaincy training within the VA system, she also has a particular affection for veterans and their unique concerns.

Guided Meditation

Cultivating Qualities of the Heart

On Wednesdays from 6:00-7:00pm we offer the following regular monthly guided meditation schedule:
  •  1st Wednesday of every month: "Mindfulness"
  •  2nd Wednesday of every month: "Forgiveness"
  •  3rd Wednesday of every month: "Loving Kindness (Metta)"
  •  4th Wednesday of every month: "Compassion"
  •  5th Wednesday of every month: when occurring: Various subjects as "Emptiness," "Equanimity," "Gratitude," etc.)
The regular repetition of these meditations is meant to cultivate the qualities on a deeper level. The sessions will be led by Linda Good and Marina Munjal.

Meditation and Beyond

This group will be heavily focused on silent meditation (primarily Concentration, Mindfulness, and Choiceless Awareness). The group can be used to learn meditation, or, if you already have a silent meditation practice, a place to practice your meditation. Also, after the group meditation there will be a ‘Dharma’ talk/discussion focused on mind and philosophical techniques.

It is very important to know that this is a Western, secular group. Although most of these meditations and techniques came from Buddhism, this group will not be a study of Buddhism per se. It is intended to help those who might be uncomfortable with Buddhism or religion but still want to learn meditation and the mental techniques.

The discussion will include philosophy from other non-dual sources. You will not be asked to believe anything or not to believe anything. It is open to anyone holding any religious faith. There will be no rituals, chanting, incense, positions, etc. The group will be more like those in the medical profession and in companies like Google, Apple, Deutsche Bank, Procter & Gamble, etc.

The group can be used at any level—from simple stress reduction, to techniques to improve the mind toward more tranquility and happiness, all the way to full Awakening (the change in perception often called Enlightenment, Liberation, Nirvana, etc.). How far you want to take it is entirely up to you.

Typical agenda:
  1.  Take questions regarding one’s current meditation practice, if you have one.
  2.  Teach any meditation newcomers the meditation technique(s).
  3.  Silent group meditation for 40 minutes.
  4.  Take questions on problems, experiences, etc. with the meditation.
  5.  A discussion on mind techniques and philosophy beyond meditation.  (30 minutes?)
Notes from previous meetings can be found at: https://sites.google.com/planetmiles.org/meditation

There is Meetup.com group for this group. See https://www.meetup.com/Meditation-and-Beyond-Meetup/

Russell Miles is a retired software developer who originally learned basic meditation 45 years ago while attending college. He has used meditation over the following years primarily for stress reduction. For the last 12 years he has been taking more advanced classes and intense week-long meditation retreats to take his practice beyond just stress reduction. His primary teacher has been Matthew Flickstein.

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