Archive of Talks

The space of presence

A great gift of practice is the ability to cultivate presence, a space in which we can meet our experience with a real attention that brings deep connection and fulfillment. This Sunday, Andrea guided our reflections, drawing on Tara Brach’s exploration on this topic. Tara’s talk is available here: https://www.tarabrach.com/gift-to-the-soul-the-space-of-presence-4/ During the talk, Tara read a poem […]

Dharma in our wider world

Matters like COVID, political uncertainty, police violence and the like often seem remote from the meditation cushion and the world view of the Buddha. And yet the connections between dharma, pain, grief, effective action, and social challenges can be clearly drawn, as they are in an end-of-retreat dharma talk by Michele MacDonald and Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey […]

Selfing – moment by moment creation

The Self, so often thought of as a thing, is, from a Buddhist perspective, an activity that arises under certain conditions, which can be seen and seen through.  Sam guided our reflections this week, and drew upon several teachers in the Early Buddhist tradition, including Andrea Fella, Guy Armstong, and Susie Harrington (who also offers  a guided […]

Buddhism, Racism, and Independence

This week Jeff H guided our reflections, returning to the topic of racial justice from a Buddhist perspective, and anchoring the discussions with a podcast titled “Racism and Independence” by Jack Kornfield that seems to have been recorded this year but was in fact from the 1990s. Jack starts with the context of our celebration […]

Evil: a Buddhist perspective

This Sunday, Jeffrey provided an overview of Stephen Batchelor’s key ideas in his book, Living with the Devil, followed by a talk by Batchelor. He rejects the dualistic conception of Mara or Satan or The Devil as embodiments of pure evil; and of Buddha as pure good, to instead tease out the subtle nature of […]

Living a Meaningful Life

The Buddha said that he taught the nature of suffering and the end of suffering.  But many have found that his teachings take us far beyond that, and into shaping lives that are more meaningful to us — and even to others.  And some have discovered, along the way, a relation with continuing suffering can be […]

Living the Great Questions

Rather than seeking the certainty of answers, we can mature authentically by staying with the great questions.  This past Sunday, Michael guided our reflections as we explored three zen koans which directly meet the question of authenticity in practice. We did not record the session, but Michael gave a very similar talk another time, which […]

Meeting the judging mind with wisdom

Many of us have a tendency to be critical and judgmental of ourselves and others. This habit can seem quite strong and can create a lot of suffering. Mindfulness is a wonderful tool to enable us to see these thoughts for what they are, so we can begin to bring wisdom and understanding to them. The […]

The mind’s endless narratives

In the Ball of Honey Sutta (MN 18), the Buddha stated that the cause of “conflict lies within, in the unskillful habits of the mind, rather than without.” He identified this unskillful habit of the mind as papanca. The  Pali term papanca does not have direct English equivalent and is often translated as proliferative thinking […]

When Fear Dies

 In this time of stress—political, racial, economic, familial, and certainly mental—the Buddha’s teachings are particularly useful, even precious.  Ordained Bhikkhuni Ayya Medhanandi, who directs a Hermitage in Ontario, recently offered a talk titled “When Fear Dies,” in which she presents the Buddha’s teachings on how we can respond to anxiety, fear, impatience or aggression, whether […]

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