Tag: Diane Wilde (page 1 of 3)

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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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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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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08/17/2017 “Karma and Rebirth – continued” with Diane Wilde

Karma and Rebirth (continued) 

Why the emphasis both in meditation and daily life on the present moment? And why is it so difficult to maintain our focus on what is happening in the present moment? Yet this is the core instruction we are continually reminded of as we navigate the Buddha’s path to awakening. The present moment is the only place where we have the liberating opportunity to create our own karma, thus creating a future of much more ease and contentment. By remaining oblivious to the present moment, we stay in delusion…continuing our habitual reactivity mentally and to the episodes in our lives which perpetuates discontent and unhappiness. We might consider that each moment we are “present” is an opportunity for rebirth… to “wake up” to our lives.

The Buddha provided a check-list of sorts which helps us focus on what is taking place. This list is the ten unwholesome actions — in thought, word, and deed — and their counterparts, the ten wholesome actions. As you read them, you may notice a category or categories in which you struggle — or have ignored — which has caused unhappiness for yourself and others. We will discuss these “wholesome and unwholesome actions” and how effectively to work with them.
In preparation for the evening’s discussion, please read “V. The Way to a Fortunate Rebirth” Chapter 2 (page 156 – 161) in Bhikkhu Bodhi’s book, “In the Buddha’s Words.”

  • To review Diane’s previous talk on this topic, click here.

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07/06/2017 “A Fortunate Rebirth” with Diane Wilde

A Fortunate Rebirth… A talk and discussion on what rebirth means, both in the future and in this lifetime, with Diane Wilde.

Raphael Calix will share his own story of rebirth as a former “lifer” in prison and the changes that came with his mediation practice.
Diane Wilde will lead a Dharma talk/discussion on rebirth, both from the orthodox viewpoint, as stated in the Pali Cannon, and as the rebirth of our authentic selves when we courageously look at our lives. We will discuss the importance of recognizing what is “kusala” (skillful) and what is “akusala” (unskillful) karma, and the importance of investigating our lives on and off the cushion.

Raphael Calix has been invited to share his own story. Raphael was an inmate at San Quentin prison until January 2017. As a “lifer,” he was told he would never be released. He created his own akusala karma as a young man, and yet found “freedom” with his mediation practice while incarcerated. As he pursued meditation and daily mindfulness practice, he began courageously facing the harm he caused others, as well as his own self-hatred. His story is a profound statement on the changes that can take place when each of us we are able to investigate ourselves with “scales falling from our eyes.”
If you are so inclined, please read pages 145 – through the first paragraph on page 147 In Bikkhu Bodhi’s book “In the Buddha’s Own Words”; the chapter on “The Way to a Fortunate Rebirth.” Please read the first sutta, “The Law of Karma” on page 155-156.

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

06/08/2017 “Becoming Authentic” with Diane Wilde

Part 1 of 3 in a series.

How often have we said to ourselves, “If I could only be ME!  If I didn’t have to play a social roll, pretend I am someone I am not, and could be authentic — my life would be so much easier!“ Too often we create endless identities which hide the authentic person we feel inside.

Yet, we continue to conform, continue to hide the depths of our true feelings, and too frequently are unable to experience — both in ourselves as well as externally— the freedom of being “real.”

In this three part series, we will look at what it really means to be authentic, both to ourselves and in the society which we live. We will discuss what authenticity means, and the steps — often challenging— that we need to take to allow ourselves to be truly seen, both internally and externally.  The first in this series will investigate what we mean by “becoming authentic”. The second in this series will address bringing authenticity into the world… especially at this time when it is so needed.  The third in this series will be a community conversation of our own experience with the topic.

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

Here is a home practice that was given out after the talk:

  • During a meditation, ask the question, “Who Am I?” As your mind slips away, keep coming back to this question.
  • What have you discovered about the small self in meditation and in your daily life? Be specific.
  •  When have you had the experience of authenticity in meditation and daily life? What took place?
  • How honest are you with yourself during meditation?

03/30/2017 “What about God???” with Diane Wilde

It seems appropriate to discuss god and its compatibility — or not — with the holiest seasons in the Judeo-Christian calendar approaching in April. In the West, there is a widespread assumption that you can’t be a Buddhist and believe in a supreme being.
At prison, inmates — especially people who are new to the practice —frequently ask about Buddhism and its teachings on god. Underlying this question is a concern about being cajoled to “convert to Buddhism.” (As I have stated numerous times to inmates, the only conversion is the desire to investigate your own mind.) At SIM as well, practitioners often embrace the Buddha’s path and simultaneously maintain a strong allegiance to a belief system which defines “God” as the supreme being. Tonight we will discuss the “gods” that were an important component of the Buddha’s culture, as well as the Buddha’s teachings on god. For many westerners, reconciling a belief in god while following the Buddha’s path of alleviating suffering can cause confusion. For others there is no problem at all, with a comfortable marrying of both.
Should make for a lively discussion!

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

03/16/2017 “I’m right, you’re wrong…end of discussion” with Diane Wilde

During this historic and volatile period in our nations’s history, it is helpful to return to the guidance provided by the basic principles of this practice — Right View or Wise View, “samma ditthi.”  All of us across the political and social spectrums are tenaciously clinging to our views which we summarily declare as “truth.” Too often fear, anger, resentment and even hatred are propelling us in one direction or another.  If we take the time to take inventory, we might discover which closely-held views are wise and compassionate and which promote ignorance and cruelty.  Looking at these beliefs in our lives is practicing Skillful or Wise View in daily life. Clearly seeing how things are is a formidable task, yet this is what is asked of us if we truly desire to decrease, and hopefully eliminate, suffering in our lives.

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02/09/2017 “When Is Anger Skillful?” with Diane Wilde

When Is Anger Skillful?

Is anger an empowering and appropriate response to suffering and injustice, or does it only cause more conflict? Is it skillful or unskillful? Does it help or hurt? With so many bad things happening in the world these days, there’s a lot of debate about the proper role of anger. The answer may lie in the fundamental distinction Buddhism makes between anger and aggression. We’ll discuss how to channel anger appropriately as taught in the Pali Cannon, as well as reflections from other teachers and sangha members.

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11/03/2016 “Friendship” with Diane Wilde

Friendship… the friend we are to others and the friendships we cultivate.    Our new home and the first SIM Dharma sitting practice and discussion at the Sacramento Dharma Center is a wonderful opportunity to look at friendship in this new, expansive and beautiful venue… our new home. What kind of friends do we cultivate? What kind of friend are we to others? What hinders us from being a friend and why do some of us shy away from developing friendships? What can we learn from those whom we consider “difficult”? With three sanghas coming together in our shared space, it is a timely topic.
All of us who practice and study the Buddha’s teachings at the Sacramento Dharma Center will all be asked to help and support our new home. This is a wonderful opportunity to deepen old friendships and cultivate new ones. The Buddha offered wise and compassionate advise which couldn’t be more relevant then right now.

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