Tag: Rich Howard (page 1 of 4)

02/01/2018 “Refinement of the Mind” with Rich Howard

Sometimes we forget that this path of awareness has been described as a “gradual training.” We get impatient or expect our progress to look a certain way and are disappointed when it doesn’t turn out that way. Tonight we will discuss a discourse that likens the refinement of the mind to the purification of gold. The Pansadhovaka Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya 3:100 1-10) makes it clear that this is a gradual training with many steps. We will look at how these steps relate to our householder practice and offer reassurance (if we can avoid comparing mind!) to keep on practicing without expecting results.

Please read the introduction to Text VIII,4 on page 260 of “In the Buddha’s Words” (ed. Bhikkhu Bodhi) and the sutta on pages 273-275. You may find a different translation online at Access to Insight (Pansadhovaka Sutta: The Dirt-washer).
If you would like to download this talk, please right click and select “save as” here.

01/11/2018 “Bringing Tranquility to the Land” with Rich Howard

For all his teachings on ultimate liberation, the Buddha offered many teachings to laypeople and rulers on practical matters. SIM Mentor Rich Howard has chosen the story of King Mahāvijita and his chaplain to illustrate the compassion of the Buddha towards humans struggling with every day matters. This short selection from the Kūtadanta Sutta (DN 5), offers a vision of society that may sound different from the approaches in current headlines. Our discussion will focus on how we can bring these principles into our every day lives.

In preparation, you may read the last paragraph of Bikkhu Bodhi’s introduction to Chapter IV of “In the Buddha’s Words” (page 114); the sutta selection is on pages 141-142.

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.

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

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.

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

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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10/05/2017 “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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08/24/2017 “Five Spiritual Faculties” with Rich Howard

Five Spiritual Faculties

The faculties of faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom are our constant helpers on the path of awakening. They operate as a spiral rather than a straight line, deepening and supporting each other as we progress. This evening we will begin our exploration of these faculties.

Several suttas that mention the five faculties are presented in Chapter X, Planes of Realization, of “In the Buddha’s Words.” Text X,4(2) on pages 406-407 (The Trainee and the Arahant; SN 48.53) is one example; Bhikkhu Bodhi’s brief introduction to this text is in the first full paragraph on page 381. However, the introduction and texts in this chapter discuss the five faculties in the context of stages on the path to awakening. This will not be the focus of this discussion. A more useful text for our purpose of a general introduction to the Five Spiritual Faculties can be found in Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s translation of the Indriya-vibhanga Sutta (SN 48.10).  There is also a brief but useful essay by Bhikkhu Bodhi on the Five Spiritual Faculties.

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

08/03/17 “In the Buddha’s Words: Approaching the Dhamma – Part 2” with Rich Howard

In the Buddha’s Words: Approaching the Dhamma – Part 2

(You can listen to a recording of Part 1 here: July 13th Audio Dharma post)

“It is fitting for you to be perplexed, O Kalamas.” These words spoken by the Buddha to the citizens of Kesaputta ring true for us today. How do we approach the teachings of the Buddha, when there are so many competing spiritual, philosophical, and secular teachings, so many schools of Buddhism, and so many interpretations and teachers even within our own Insight (vipassana) tradition?

This evening, we will continue our exploration of Chapter III, Approaching the Dhamma, from In the Buddha’s Words, edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi. On July 13, we discussed the most familiar part of the Buddha’s teaching to the Kalamas (AN 3:65), a list of the 10 things one should not rely on to decide which teachings to follow. This time, we will look at Bhikkhu Bodhi’s point of view on the context for this first part of the Kalama Sutta. We will then move on to lesser known aspects of the sutta, including how to practice and what benefits result from the practice. If there is time, we will explore when, if ever, we might arrive at a place in our practice where we might accept teachings beyond the range of our personal experience. We will also look at the brief two paragraphs presented as the first text in this section. To prepare for this evening, please read the Introduction to Chapter III starting on page 81 through the first incomplete paragraph at the top of page 86, and texts III,1 and III,2 (pages 88-91). If you do not have the book yet, here are some alternative citations from accesstoinsight.org:

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07/13/2017 “Approaching the Dhamma” with Rich Howard

In the Buddha’s Words: Approaching the Dhamma

“It is fitting for you to be perplexed, O Kalamas.” These words spoken by the Buddha to the citizens of Kesaputta ring true for us today. How do we approach the teachings of the Buddha, when there are so many competing spiritual, philosophical, and secular teachings, so many schools of Buddhism, and so many interpretations and teachers even within our own Insight (vipassana) tradition?

Dennis, Diane, and Rich have chosen a book called “In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon” edited and introduced by Bhikkhu Bodhi (Wisdom Publications, 2005) as the theme for presentations at SIM through the end of this year. This evening, we will explore Chapter III, Approaching the Dhamma. As a starting point, Rich leads a discussion of the Buddha’s teaching to the Kalamas (AN 3:65), including Bhikkhu Bodhi’s point of view on the message of this sutta.

To prepare for this evening, folks read the first half of the Introduction to Chapter III (pages 81-85, first paragraph), and texts III,1 and III,2 (pages 88-91). If you do not have this book, here are some alternative citations from accesstoinsight.org:

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

06/15/2017 “In the Buddha’s Words: Introducing Our New Theme” with Rich Howard

In the Buddha’s Words: Introducing Our New Theme

As our practice matures, we may be moved to explore the suttas (discourses of the Buddha) on our own, without interpretation from someone else. After all, our tradition emphasizes direct experience. Yet it may seem difficult to know where to start. There is some repetition, both within a sutta and in thematic material repeated in various suttas. Some translations may have archaic language. The suttas are not in chronological order. And it may be difficult to find a sutta to answer a particular question arising in our practice or daily life.

For over 10 years, practitioners, including many at SIM, have found access to the suttas using a book called “In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon” edited and introduced by Bhikkhu Bodhi (Wisdom Publications, 2005). In addition to presenting suttas edited to be more readable, Bhikkhu Bodhi organizes the material by theme and offers an excellent introduction to each section.

Dennis, Diane, and Rich have chosen this book as the theme for at least the next 6 months of presentations at SIM. Join us this evening as we begin the exploration of this helpful, wide-ranging text.

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

Talk Handout: 20170615-BuddhasWords.pdf

If you are interested in purchasing a paperback copy of “In the Buddha’s Words.” complete the form below to contact Rich Howard. The book cost will be $11.37.

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