Archive of Talks

Right Speech – the Ideal Off-the-Cushion Practice

Practice “off of the cushion” is every bit as instructive as quiet sitting.  So for this week’s discussion, Andrea presented one aspect of the eightfold path that’s a clear call to apply mindfulness in our daily lives: right speech (also sometimes translated a “wise” speech).  We also broke into pairs in which members of the sangha were […]

The question of faith

At first or even second look, Buddhism is not quickly associated with Faith.  In fact many look upon it as free of that which was least appealing in their religious upbringing, the insistence on things unseen, accessible only by belief.  But it turns out that Saddha, usually translated “Faith”, is one of the five most important […]

What keeps us from being truly alive?

Much of the time, as we see life through a lens of our perceptions and thoughts, we are so caught up in our mind’s stories and made-up reality, that we can’t see things as they really are. There is great freedom in being able to let go of long held, distorted views; and there is […]

The Impermanence of the Body

Last week Michael A. discussed  the significance of the Buddha’s last steps, last words, and lasting legacy. Part of that legacy is the importance of holding close the impermanence of all things, including the body itself. This week, Jeffrey presented one aspect of the Buddha’s Mindfulness of the Body, one of the Four Foundations of […]

The Buddha’s Last Steps, Last Teachings

Most of us are familiar with the early events of the life or legend of the Buddha – his shock at the grim realities of living, his departure from the palace, his wandering, awakening and spreading the Dharma.  But close of his teaching career, his choice of where and how to die, and his final […]

The crucial focus of Impermanence

This Sunday, Wendy presented Mark Nunberg’s talk “Allowing Impermanence and Uncertainty to Transform the Heart”. We explored the mind’s habit of ignoring impermanence and taking false refuge in a fixed self. The practice of bringing awareness to the changing nature of things, including the self itself, is a path to alignment with reality and freedom from […]

The ‘why’ of Metta

In several recent gatherings we have focused on the practice of metta or “loving-kindness” with a focus on the “how” of the practice; the phrases one uses, for example, or the order of each of the subjects.  This Sunday we again considered metta, this time focusing on the “why”, that is, metta as an integral […]

Buddhist Personality Types

We all struggle with the “three poisons” of Greed, Anger, and Delusion, but may be more likely to gravitate toward one of these than others. There are some elements about how a practice of mindfulness can transform these hindrances into possibilities for presence and liberation. When stripped of their attachment, Greed imparts a sort of […]

How can we hold people accountable while still holding them in our hearts?

Division within our communities appears to have reached new highs, or lows, depending on your perspective. Regardless of which side of an issue we identify with, it seems that half of our community takes an opposite view. The escalation from mild disagreement to threatened and then actual violence has rocked our world. How can we […]

The experience of Craving

The Buddha spoke of Craving as the primary cause of our suffering in this life, and while we can intellectually understand that wanting things to be other than they are can be problematic, really noticing what that Craving feels like is not so obvious. That level of awareness is particularly challenging when the ancient texts […]

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