Tag: Rich Howard (page 1 of 3)

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.

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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.

04/20/2017 “Engaged and Aware: Finding a Balance” with Rich Howard

Engaged and Aware: Finding a Balance

For many of us, commitment to justice and ethics leads us to engage in action in the real world. But our practice of meditative awareness calls us to “be” not just “do.” Are these impulses opposed to each other? Or are they mutually supportive? How can we sustain our engagement and connect our mindfulness to the suffering all around (and within!) us? Let’s explore the implications of bringing our practice into every day life.

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03/23/2017 “Four ‘Nobel’ Truths: Bob Dylan’s Dharma” with Rich Howard

Bob Dylan received the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” His poetic song lyrics have an ambiguity that allows for many different interpretations. This Thursday night, “far between sundown’s finish an’ midnight’s broken toll,” we will re-visit one of the core teachings of the historical Buddha, through the lens of the words of a Jew who converted to Christianity. Even if Dylan did not have a Buddhist background like Leonard Cohen or Jane Hirshfield, we might learn something about the Four Noble Truths from the lyrics of this important American singer-songwriter-poet. Whether you are a big Dylan fan, or someone for whom he is ancient history from your grandparents’ time, or just one of the “searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail,” join us for an evening of poetry, dharma, and discussion.

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03/02/2017 “Uncertainty and Doubt” with Rich Howard

Uncertainty and Doubt We may come to practice in search of clear answers, but as practice matures, we become more comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. Suzuki Roshi wrote, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few. ” Maintaining this “beginner’s mind” keeps practice fresh and opens the mind to surprising insights. Too much uncertainty and ambiguity may lead to doubt. Let’s explore this rich territory together and see what it means for our formal and daily practice.

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Meditative Poetry: BOB DYLAN – Love Minus Zero

02/02/2017 “You Don’t Have to Be Buddhist” with Rich Howard

You Don’t Have to Be Buddhist

Rich just returned from Thailand, where Theravada Buddhism is interwoven with Hinduism and native folk religion. Once again, the question arises: Am I a Buddhist? Another question follows: Do I have to be Buddhist to practice at SIM? Spoiler Alert: No and No. Join Rich and the SIM community to explore how investigating these questions may shed light on why and how we practice. For the talk handout, click here.

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Meditative Poetry: RUMI – Birdwings

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