LISTEN

DHARMA TALKS FROM MONDAY NIGHT MEDITATION GROUPS
THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION

Mind and Matter as Things We Outgrow

02/24/2020

As we develop more insight into the nature of reality, we find ourselves effortlessly shedding activities and interests that no longer satisfy. Over time, we come to prefer peace to raucous, fleeting sense pleasures.

Keywords: khandha(s) (aggregates), nāma-rūpa (mind and matter), nibbidā (disenchantment)

Practicing All Day Every Day

11/11/2019

The Eightfold Path reliably leads us to happiness which comes from the abandonment of craving impermanent things.    Meditating and practicing mindfulness daily, allows us time to reflect on the state of our mind and develop the habit of recognizing and dropping unwholesome states as they occur.  Through strengthening wholesomeness with this daily habit, we  become dissatisfied with external pleasures that lead to suffering.

 

Keywords: Āsava, Dukkha, Emptiness, Impermanence, Mindfulness, Taṇhā, The Eightfold Path

The Game of Crazy Eights as a Metaphor for Awakening

09/23/2019

The less we hold on to thoughts, behaviors, views, and outcomes, the freer we are.  By structuring our day to support solitude, we can use it for meditation and reflection in order to shed some of the trivialities that take our time and energy.  While this practice might be in contrast to what others and the larger society value, through it we can develop inner happiness that is not dependent on things out of our control.

Keywords: Awakening, Mettā, Sutta, Unskillful

Changing Thoughts Through Observation and Training

09/09/2019

 When our minds are still, we can enjoy the ending of the friction created by thinking.  During this deep meditation, we can then observe the pattern of our thoughts rather than following them.  Observing our mind in this formal way gives us the opportunity to drop unwholesome thoughts and support wholesome thoughts. Because our words and actions begin with our thoughts, practicing observing and dropping unhelpful thoughts can help free us from craving, delusion, and hatred.

Keywords: Dukkha, Jhāna, Right Concentration, Right Speech, Samādhi, Vipassana

Known and Unknown Conditioning and the Practice of Dis-identification

07/22/2019

Meditation can help us track how our unknown conditioning creates our reactions to what is happening in the here and now.  Meditation and mindfulness give us the opportunity to sit with these fears and cravings in an effort to intentionally lessen their hold on our mind until they disappear.

 

Keywords: Conditioning, dependent origination, equanimity, spiritual bypass

Mindfulness of a Mug

03/03/2019

There are many ways to practice Right Mindfulness throughout our day. These simple practices purify the mind and allow us to rest in a pleasant, happy mind.

Keywords: Conditioning, hindrances, Non-returner, Right Mindfulness

Why We Meditate

03/14/2016

The benefits of meditation range from the mundane benefits of enjoying a refreshed, energized, and calm mind to profound states of insight and the freedom that comes from understanding the nature of reality. Over time, we develop an unshakable, mature happiness.

Keywords: Anattā, Dukkha, equanimity, Vipassana

Who Are We? Can We Dare to be Ourselves

01/26/2015

Many of us suffer because we hold onto harmful ideas about ourselves and the world. When we move towards greater, non-verbal awareness, the suffering produced by thinking falls away.

Keywords: dependent origination, The Three Poisons

Gifts of Meditation

12/19/2014

This practice helps us to be more effective and efficient.

Keywords: equanimity, four foundations, Majjhima Nikāya, six bases of contact

Automatic Reactions for Harmony & Innovation

03/02/2014

Brain research shows that through meditation we can reset our automatic responses and break negative mental habits.

Keywords: aversion, Dhamma, loving-kindness

Anger as Important Information

01/06/2014

Anger often develops when we don’t get what we want or we get what we don’t want. With resolve, insight, and repeated effort, we can come to experience unpleasant or disappointing moments with acceptance and equanimity.

Keywords: Dhammapada, dosa, equanimity, spiritual bypass

Mindfulness to Free the Mind

11/19/2012

Mindfulness is our servant; it can free us from the habit of thinking about the moment rather than knowing and experiencing it.

Keywords: dependent origination, sankhara

Training to be Happy

06/25/2012

We can develop a happiness that is not dependent on circumstances. Through meditation, we can bring attention to our habitual thoughts, reduce their grip on us, and replace them with mental habits based on love, kindness, and wisdom.

Keywords: concentration, mental habits
GUIDED MEDITATIONS

Complete Body Sweep Meditation

11/23/2014

CORE CONCEPTS AND PRACTICES

Ambassadors of Peace

02/10/2020

Exposure to the Dhamma is both a blessing as well as a responsibility. Through training and intention, we share the teachings while infusing all encounters with peace.

Keywords: Anattā, Craving, dosa (hate), equanimity, Taṇhā, Upekkhā

The Four Foundations

12/09/2019

In this talk, The Four Foundations of Wisdom, Truth, Relinquishment, and Peace are explained, as well as the ways they serve to stabilize and free our mind.

Keywords: Aggregates, Clinging, Dukkha, Impermanence, non self, six bases of contact, Sutta, Vipassana, Wisdom

The Force of Habit: Starving and Feeding, Strengthening and Weakening

10/28/2019

Only Nirvāna is unchanging. Some of what happens in our lives is out of our control, but much is the result of our intentions, decisions, and actions. Often what we think of as our personality is really a collection of our habitual perceptions and behaviors. As we observe our mind returning to the same thoughts and reactions, we can free their hold on us.

Keywords: Conditioning, Impermanence, mental habits, Nirvāna

Mindfulness of the Body

10/14/2019

Being mindful of the Four Positions of our body throughout the day can improve our concentration. These are opportunities throughout the day to remove the clutter of our mind by merely turning our attention to the body. These informal meditations of the body support our practice of formal meditation and can lead to insight.

 

Keywords: Conditioning, Emptiness, Impermanence, Mindful, non self, Sati

Our Mind as a Creation of Karma

08/26/2019

Karma means to do.  Good acts through our mind, speech, and body have real results for us and others.  We create our future by inheriting the results of our actions and thought patterns we return to again and again. Because karma is driven by intentions which could be out of our awareness, we can use meditation to examine them.

 

Keywords: Buddha, Dukkha, equanimity, Karma, Wisdom

What Mindfulness Is and Is Not

08/12/2019

Mindfulness is the topic of many articles and research which point to the benefits of meditation and mindfulness.  However, mindfulness taken out of the context of Buddhism and the Eightfold Path leads to misunderstanding, sometimes dangerous practices, and unrealistic goals.  Right Mindfulness benefits us by aiding in the purification of the mind through meditation and following the Eightfold Path.

 

 

Keywords: Eightfold Path, Jhāna, Mettā, Right Mindfulness, spiritual bypass

Underlying Tendencies in the Mind

06/03/2019

Tendencies in our minds can get in the way of becoming fully free because they make us vulnerable to the hindrances. These proclivities support a sense of self and, therefore, distort our perception of reality. Through meditation we can see past these distortions into the unchanging reality of Nibbāna.

Keywords: Anusaya, Āsava, Consciousness, hindrances, Nibbana, non self, Vipallāsa

The Vital Role of Tranquility in Awakening

04/29/2019

If allowed to settle into stillness, even the most turbulent body of water becomes clear. Developing this kind of tranquility in our mind provides clarity and supports the work of deepening our meditation practice. Lovingly examining the state of our mind during the course of the day can strengthen our ability to settle our mind.

Keywords: Enlightenment, equanimity, Jhāna, Nimitta, sankhara, Viññāṇa

Compassion Without Clinging to Outcomes

04/15/2019

Living with kindness and compassion for others is an essential part of following the Eightfold Path.  True kindness is not tied to any expectation of positive outcomes that might come from a kind act.

 

Keywords: Compassion, Eightfold Path, loving-kindness, Muditā

How to Work With Sensations

04/08/2019

Though often beyond our awareness, sensations are always occurring in our bodies. Whether they are pleasant or unpleasant, when we do focus on our sensations, we can add mental suffering because of the thoughts we attach to them.  Merely observing these sensations can free us from this cycle.

 

 

Keywords: Āsava, Craving, Dukkha, Fetters, mental habits, Three Poisons

How to Work with Thoughts Skillfully

03/25/2019

Clinging, craving and aversion drive our thoughts and create suffering. By developing strategies for dealing with thoughts and looking at the mind, we can develop skills which will help us live in the moment, slow our minds, and understand better the mind and body relationship.

 

 

Keywords: Clinging, mental habits, Mindfulness, non self, Sense doors, Skillful, Unskillful

Labeling as a Strategy to Dismantle Unwholesome States

03/11/2019

Labeling as a powerful strategy to dissolve negative and stress-creating mental habits as well as a critical tool in developing happiness-inducing, positive mental habits.

 

Keywords: anicca (impermanence), clear comprehension, non self, Vipassana

Generosity

12/12/2016

The Buddha’s generosity to one person leads to the man’s freedom from suffering. He teaches if we see clearly, we develop wisdom and become disenchanted with the senses and their objects. In this way, our craving and aversion cool and pass away

Keywords: Exposition of the Elements, jhanas, Majjhima Nikāya, peace, renunciation, the Four Determinations: wisdom, truth

The Agenda Behind Thoughts

02/22/2016

With mindfulness and attention, we see how desire and aversion shape thoughts as well as witness how mind and matter condition each other in an impersonal, ceaseless way. The rapid rising and falling of mind and matter prevents us from seeing how the “self” is constructed millisecond by millisecond.

Keywords: idappaccayatā, nāma-rūpa, sankhara

Understanding Not-Self in Ourselves & Others

03/17/2014

People are like us- flawed. Understanding this can be a source of compassion for ourselves and others.

Keywords: anatta (not-self), anicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering)

Intention, Speech and Not-Self

03/03/2014

When we observe thoughts in meditation, we see firsthand how thoughts are constructed and how the delusion of self drives their ongoing fabrication.

Keywords: not-self, Right Action, Right Intention, Right Speech

Limited Self vs. Vast Self and the role of Jhana

01/27/2014

One reason we suffer is that we cling to an idea of a self. In Buddhism, the self is understood to be something we construct. Through meditation, we can go into a silence that helps us recognize the small mind as well as train in developing a vast mind. With training, even an infinite mind can be surpassed.

Keywords: Dharma, Right Effort

Bāhiya Sutta

06/17/2013

This oral reading of the Sutta, as well as the dharma talk, provides insight into freeing the mind of comments that assert the self. “When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.”

Keywords: Anattā, arahant, samvega, Sutta, unbinding

Evil and Free Will

06/18/2012

Buddhism is without the concepts of evil or free will. Instead we follow the Eightfold Path to understand how delusion generates suffering.

Keywords: Conditioning, Eightfold Path, not-self, Right Effort, skillful/unskillful
Dharma Talks from RETREATS

The Art of Disappearing

Talk 1: Why Disappear?

02/20/2016

When the hindrances are gone, when negative emotions are absent, the underlying tendency to “identify” and generate a “self” from transient mental phenomena lessens. Realizing the unconditioned is only possible when the optical illusion of a self vanishes.

Keywords: Anattā, Fetters, hindrances, Nibbana, not-self, saṃyojana

Talk 2: Developing Stillness

02/20/2016

How to identify and overcome the obstacles to generating a still, strong, and powerful mind.

Keywords: dukkha (suffering), Samādhi

Talk 3: More About What is Disappearing.

02/20/2016

When a desire emerges, we automatically assume an “I” exists behind that desire. “I want this” or “I don’t want that.” With training, though, we recognize the corelessness and transiency of desire, of the “self.” This recognition, repeated many times, leads to profound insight and freedom.

Keywords: Āsava, desire, Taṇhā
AN INSIGHT RETREAT ON NO SELF OR THE LESS THERE IS OF ME, THE GREATER THE FREEDOM AND PEACE- OCTOBER 30, 2015
On an intuitive level, we realize we are not our thoughts or passing emotions or aging bodies. We realize we change from moment to moment, yet there is a distinct lingering impression that there is an enduring “me. “

Becoming fully free of a “me” in the course of three days is not realistic. What we can do, though, is train ourselves to recognize more quickly how the conditioned “self” arises. As a lovely outcome of this training, when we do find ourselves reacting to something in our lives, we’ll be more likely to recall, oh, it’s just a thought. I can put that down. Or, here’s a frisson of apprehension about how the meeting will turn out. It’s not me. I didn’t request this. I can put this down, too. What a relief!

Meditation Instruction

10/30/2015

You cannot read your way to enlightenment.

Introduction to Not Self – Part 1

10/30/2015

All compounded things break down, go away.

Introduction to Not Self – Part 2

10/30/2015

Because our minds are dull, there seems to be more stability…

Aggregates. The Futility of Trying to Fix Suffering

10/30/2015

The Five Aggregates of Clinging

10/30/2015

Khemaka Sutta – The Lingering Sense of I Am

10/30/2015

Vipallasa Sutta -Distortions of the Mind

10/30/2015

REDISCOVERING THE PRESENT MOMENT- APRIL 18, 2015
Together we will set the world aside, with all of its tumult and frenzied energy, and refresh our overworked minds. This is a day of simplicity, letting go, and resting in whatever surprises life offers. The emphasis will be on sensing and awakening to the present moment. Please bring an attitude of child-like curiosity, wonder, and playfulness.

Rediscovering the Present Moment Part 1

04/18/2015

Rediscovering the Present Moment Part 2

04/18/2015

EXPLORING THE LIMITLESS- JULY 25, 2014
Over the past year, Susan Pembroke has been talking about the significance of being aware of the kind of mind we inhabit at any given moment. She has also urged making a conscious choice to step out of the limited, binary mind, and jump into the vast, infinite mind. Knowing how and when to move between these two manifestations of mind, between the finite and infinite, are essential to happiness as well as being our legacy and good fortune. During this silent retreat, as we did last year, we will focus on quieting the limited, conceptual mind long enough to sense the immense, vital field which is our true home. Expect longer sits and encouragement to develop a robust and unwavering base of concentration so that the mind can expand and return to its natural state.

Thoughts and Moods

07/25/2014

Use this awareness to create a space between what’s coming up and how you are responding.

Exploring the Limitless

07/25/2014

EXPLORING AWARENESS- MAY 18, 2013
Awareness does so much more than simply allow us to reject dead-on-arrival habitual responses and discover possibilities that are fresh, rewarding, enlivening. Even though awareness is essential in remembering and acting on our highest aspirations, there is still so much more to this ever-present state, one that we can overlook the way we fail to see the space in a room. Awareness reveals our true identity as well as connecting us with all that is. Awareness takes us home as well as being our home.

Ways to Work With Awareness

05/18/2013

Awareness as a Refuge

05/18/2013

Keywords: Conditioning, mental habits

Awareness as an Opening

05/18/2013

Awareness as a Door to the Non-Dual

05/18/2013

Equanimity: Creating an Oasis of Peace

Equanimity appears in all of the essential categories pointing us in the direction of full awakening. It is the fourth Brahma-vihāra, the last of the seven factors of awakening, and the last of the Ten Perfections. Without the stability and maturity of a still, non-reactive, and stable mind, we cannot make progress in dissolving unskillful mental habits and freeing the mind.

Equanimity is both a dynamic and highly-skilled practice as well as an outcome. When we practice equanimity, we remember that incessant change is inherent in all phenomena. We recall the insight that reacting with resistance or craving only makes things more problematic. We simultaneously commit to remaining calm and accepting in the midst of any conflict, loss, physical pain, or emotional distress. We know shouldering the stress of the present moment will diminish future suffering. In essence, equanimity is the long game approach to happiness.

Talk 1: The Critical Role of Equanimity in Awakening

08/24/2019

The sublime quality of equanimity can become our default mental state through practice. With equanimity, we can be free of fleeting pleasures and achieve peace that supports us.

Keywords: Brahma-vihāra, concentration, Jhāna, Mindfulness, Upekkhā, Viriya

Talk 2: Equanimity/Upekkhā

08/24/2019

Achieving equanimity/equipoise requires practice and right effort. We can use mindfulness as a tool.

Keywords: Ānāpānasati, Mindfulness

Talk 3: Highest and Most Sublime Emotion

08/24/2019

Our happiness does not have to be dependent on changing phenomena. Through the work of observing and training our mind, we can achieve the freedom of equanimity, considered one of the Ten Perfections in Buddhism.

Keywords: Āsava, Brahma-vihāra, Conditioning, equanimity, Samādhi, Upekkhā

Rest With Things as They Are-February 15, 2020

As practitioners, we are urged to do many things: practice virtue, become adept meditators, cultivate continuous mindfulness, develop insight into dukkha, anicca, and anattā, act with kindness and compassion, relinquish things that fuel desire and resistance, expand our knowledge of the Dhamma, and deconstruct and dismantle the self. It can seem like a lot of work, even daunting and impossible, but perhaps we’re the ones making our practice stressful?

This is how Ajahn Chah described his practice:

             The heart of the path is so simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing.

            Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle.

Talk 1: Give Up Clinging To Love And Hate

02/15/2020

Keywords: Upādāna Dosa

Talk 2: Do Not Try To Become Anything

02/15/2020

Keywords: Anattā

Talk 3: Come Out of the Battle

02/15/2020

Keywords: Anattā, Avijjā, Moha, not-self

DHARMA TALKS FROM SUNDAY MEDITATION

JUNGLE THICKETS

Jungle Thickets

01/05/2020

In this sutta, the Buddha invites us to assess whether we are making progress in our practice or not. If we are, then keep doing what we are doing. If not, we need to investigate how to change our lives to support our meditation practice.

Keywords: Āsava, Nibbana, Right Mindfulness, Samādhi, Sati

Samādhi

Samādhi

06/09/2019

The Noble Eight Fold Path is made up of the components of Sila, Paññā, and Samādhi. The elements of Samādhi (Right Effort, Right Concentration, Mindfulness ) work together during meditation which, in turn, helps in following the Noble Eight Fold Path. Through Samādhi, we can collect our mind and gain access to deeper states of concentration in meditation. With a unified mind we can have access to Jhāna states and insight into reality.

Keywords: Eightfold Path, Jhāna, Mindfulness, Paññā, Pīti, Right Concentration, Right Effort, Samādhi, Sila, Vicāra, Vitakka

New to meditation?

We invite you to explore.

 

“Whatever a person frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of her mind.”

– Majjhima Nikāya 19