Category: Audio Dharma (page 1 of 13)

01/04/2018 “Starting Over” with Laura Rosenthal

What does this phrase mean and what does it offer us as Buddhist practitioners? We habitually associate the concept of the new year with a “clean slate.” Perhaps we make resolutions, head back to the gym, or make amends for actions we regret. Yet our practice also teaches us that every moment of awareness and wholesome intention is a moment of renewal – at the same time that awareness brings us closer to an understanding of the ways past mental, verbal and physical actions condition present experience. For our first evening together after New Years Day, join long-time SIM participant Laura Rosenthal for a dharma talk and group discussion of this rich topic.

If you would like to download this talk, please right click and select “save as” here.

12/28/2017 “How do I get off this Cycle of Reactivity?” with Rich Howard

Our beginning classes offers an accessible approach to the profound core teaching of dependent origination called the Cycle of Reactivity. This evening, we will explore that very helpful teaching, with some deeper background drawn from the Nidanasamyutta, a chapter of the Samyutta Nikaya devoted to dependent origination. In preparation, you may read as much of Bikkhu Bodhi’s introduction to Chapter IX of “In the Buddha’s Words” as you wish; we will focus on page 315 through the first six lines on page 316. You may read all six suttas in Section IX(4)4; we will focus on two suttas on pages 355-357: IX(4)4(c) SN 12:33 and IX(4)4(d) SN 12:15.

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12/21/2017 “Community Evening” with R. Howard and C. Vigran

As we approach the end of the year, SIM Mentor Rich Howard and SIM Board Member Cathy Vigran will host an evening of community discussion. We will invite participants to review their practice over the past year in terms of the “Three Pillars”: generosity, ethical living, and training the mind (dana-sila-bhavana). We will also encourage folks to share what SIM can do to support their aspirations for practice. Come prepared to speak from the heart and listen mindfully.

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11/30/2017 “The Atthakavagga: Part 2” with Diane Wilde

The Atthakavagga: the original seeds that gave rise to Buddhist teachings – Part 2

“The wise person does not oppose any other person’s doctrine.” This is one of the reflections from one of the earliest books in the Pali Cannon, the Atthakavagga. Gil Fronsdal states in his introduction to his translation of the Atthakavagga: “Here we find the Buddhist teachings pared down to their most essential elements, free of the more complex doctrines often associated with Buddhism.” The poems and verses from this small collection reveal a pattern of teachings that are much different — in their directness and simplicity — from the later sutta collections. Verses in the Atthakavagga often have an almost koan-like quality, which often seem open to interpretation. We will discuss the exegesis of the Atthakavagga and our own interpretations of a few of its seemingly “simple” verses.

If you would like to download this talk, please right click and select “save as” here.

11/16/2017 “The Atthakavagga: the original seeds that gave rise to Buddhist teachings” with Diane Wilde

The Atthakavagga: the original seeds that gave rise to Buddhist teachings
“The wise person does not oppose any other person’s doctrine.”  This is one of the reflections from one of the earliest books in the Pali Cannon, the Atthakavagga. Gil Fronsdal states in his introduction to his translation of the Atthakavagga:  “Here we find the Buddhist teachings pared down to their most essential elements, free of the more complex doctrines often associated with Buddhism.” The poems and verses from this small collection reveal a pattern of teachings that are much different — in their directness and simplicity — from the later sutta collections. Verses in the Atthakavagga often have an almost koan-like quality, which often seem open to interpretation. We will discuss the exegesis of the Atthakavagga and our own interpretations of a few of its seemingly “simple” verses.

Talk handout: Dutthatthaka Sutta (.pdf)

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11/09/2017 “Two Darts: How is that working for you?” with Rich Howard

Two Darts: How is that working for you?
The last few months have presented us with a seemingly unending string of tragic events. Natural disasters, human cruelty, and events combining both have caused death and destruction around the world. As we take all this in, how is our practice serving us? The Sallatha Sutta, SN 36:6, provides some clues. Are we adding to the pain or using our mindfulness to “endure courageously, with patience and equanimity?” SIM Community Mentor Rich Howard will lead a discussion of how this well-known sutta may help us with our current challenges.
To prepare, read “In the Buddha’s Words” page 21 and section I,2(1) The Dart of Painful Feeling, pages 31-32.

Talk handout: Two Darts (.pdf)

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10/19/2017 “Death and Dying as a Teaching” with Diane Wilde

Death and Dying as a Teaching
Just like in the Buddha’s time, death is not an easy topic for people to consider.  Fear, guilt, denial, and/or sadness all come to the surface when we speak of our own death, or the deaths of those close to us.  This is exactly why the Buddha recommended that we don’t turn away, but rather make this fact of our existence, a subject of frequent reflection. Maranasati, or Mindfulness of Death is a reflection on our death and the deaths of others.  Death of course, is inevitable, and when we can to begin to view it with the same acceptance as birth, we start the process of uprooting ignorance and delusion. We will discuss how we can begin incorporating a “friendly” attitude towards death in our daily lives.

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10/05/2017 “Uposatha: Deepening Practice” with Rich Howard

Uposatha: Deepening Practice
Since the time of the historical Buddha, the days of the full moon and new moon have been special days (and nights!) for Buddhist practice. Laypeople living near a monastery might visit, bring offerings, and stay to listen to a dharma talk and meditate with the monks or nuns. If they cannot participate at a monastery, laypeople can still deepen their practice by meditating for a longer time, chanting, reading texts, or giving in a special way. This October 5 is a full moon day. We will celebrate Uposatha by having our normal sitting and break. After the break, SIM Community Mentor Rich Howard will give a brief description of the observance of Uposatha and answer any questions. We will then have an optional period of chanting, sitting, and walking meditation. We may also have another break for tea or additional sessions of chanting. You may stay as long or as short as you like; Rich will stay until midnight or until the last person has left!

There are several suttas that are specifically recommended for study on Uposatha days. Several alternative translations from Access to Insight are listed below; they are not found in “In the Buddha’s Words.”

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09/28/2017 “Not Holding to Fixed Views?” with Lori Wong

Not Holding to Fixed Views. How do we bring awareness to our views and implicit biases and open our hearts to see each other?

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Prior to the talk, Lori lead the Introduction to Meditation session. Click below to listen to the questions that she fielded after the session.

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09/21/2017 “Is Your Meditation Working?” with Diane Wilde

Is your meditation “working?”

Is the same practice suitable for everyone? How do I know if this is the right practice for me?  The important point is: Have you fallen into a practice that is no longer evaluated and has become as “habitual” as many other facets of your life. After a person has been meditating for some time, it’s important that he or she evaluate how the practice is developing. Is it working? Does it need adjustment? Is it even the right practice to be doing? Can it be improved? Some of this evaluation can be done on one’s own, some with a teacher or with friends. Join us for an important discussion.

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