Heart of Recovery -Sarpashana- meditation & dharma studies

Tuesdays at 7pm (See our weekly schedule, including details about how to attend, in the calendar.)

Sarpashana was known as the Buddhist Alcohol Study Group when it began in the mid-1980s in Boulder for members dealing with alcoholism or alcohol-related problems. This is a study group for all those interested in relating their path of meditation and dharma studies to their alcohol or other addictions and recovery. We explore the challenges, as well as the opportunities, that our addictions and attachments provide us in this context. Sarpashana is not viewed as a substitute for other recovery systems, but as an additional support for other means of recovery. The meetings combine meditation, study, and discussion.

We begin with approximately 15 minutes of meditation, followed by a reading chosen by the facilitator or a volunteer from a dharma book or recovery-related book. After all present have had an opportunity to share without cross-talk, we close with 5 minutes of meditation and a Dedication of Merit. Voluntary donations are welcome and appreciated but not required.

The following definition is adapted from the Sarpashana Sourcebook:

Sarpashana is a Sanskrit term meaning “poison eater.” The symbol for the group is the peacock because of an ancient Hindu story about the fact that the peacock derives its brilliant plumage from its consumption of poison. Its ability to transform poison into nourishment gives it both beauty and a proper kind of pride. Applied to a Buddhist-oriented education, counseling, and support network, sarpashana may be understood to mean that the poison is the disease of alcoholism (or any other addictive tendency).

Addiction produces a kind of false pride and we are consumed with ego-arrogance. By consuming our disease, in other words, by recognizing it for what it is, accepting the karma of it, and responding by first educating ourselves; second, taking it personally; and finally, acting on what we now know to be true, we transform ourselves and discover our true nature — symbolized by the magnificent tail of the peacock. Then, with genuine pride in being fearlessly human, at home in the world, we can proclaim the dharma of what we have learned and the dharma of what we have experienced to other sentient beings who suffer in this dark age.

A 90 minute meeting: 7 pm to 8:30 pm

  • 15 min of meditation
  • Reading from dharma or recovery-related book
  • Share
  • We close with 5 minutes of meditation and dedication of merit.


Donations are not required but graciously accepted.