When we are confused or uncertain in our lives, we can think of it as a problem - something to be fixed. Our spiritual practice, however, invites us to discover the freshness and richness that is available to us in these moments of not-knowing.
As we encounter life's ups and downs, perhaps especially at the times of holidays, we sometimes can find some internal dismay that our life's circumstances seems not as rich or complete as we think they might be. In this evening's talk we inquire into the fullness of a gratitude that enables us to include every moment of experience - maybe even especially the difficult - in the warmth of our minds and hearts.
Our meditation practice invites us to see and investigate moments of conflict as powerful practice and learning opportunities. With the Dharma as guide, we can learn to allow conflict to touch our hearts and show us where we are caught and how we might open in ever deeper and joyful ways.
(This video is missing the last few minutes of talk due to technical difficulties.)
Our meditation practice invites us to see and investigate moments of conflict as powerful learning opportunities. With the Dharma as guide, we can learn to play with conflict, to allow it to open us to ever deeper and more creative possibilities, both internally and externally, in our relations with the world.
The Buddha speaks of our deep attachments to our own views as one of the "knives in our hearts" that can lead to much discord. In this talk, we explore the presence of these views and attachments as we inquire together into ways of cultivating the freedom that our meditation practice offers - even in the face of deep relational differences.
While the Buddha's teachings on loving kindness can sound very noble, when we come right into the practice, it can seem confusing and, ultimately impossible for us mere mortals. In this talk, we explore the deep meaning of the Buddha's teaching and look at simple, practical and nourishing ways to practice loving kindness in our daily lives.
In the Buddha’s teaching, one of the three characteristics of this human life is anatta, or "no self." We do not, he teaches, exist as separate beings in the way that we think we do. This teaching can be deeply valuable as we work to heal "isms" in our world: the confused thinking and acting of racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ageism, able-bodyism, anti-semitism and all of the ways of thinking and acting that keep us separate from one another.
To find happiness is to cultivate hearts and minds that are open and loving toward all being and event of our lives. This includes the most difficult beings in our world as well as the very most difficult - ourselves.
A Virtuous Cycle occurs through spiritual practice. The cultivation of personal integrity (ethics), powerful heart/mind training through meditation and a growing wise perspective transforms all that apply themselves.
When cultivating a meditation practice there are challenging energies that arise that are important to understand and befriend. Our perspective on these is critical to the establishment of a powerful practice.
Wisdom is more of a verb than a noun. It is the continual refinement of perspective and understanding. As you practice moment to moment the laws of nature are gradually revealed and freedom is realized
From birth to death, relationships are central to our human existence. What does the Dharma teach us about navigating the often stormy waters of our relationships? We will explore four of the most common relationship challenges in our lives. A number of constructive daily practices, derived from the Dharma, which offer relief from the suffering that we all experience in our relationships with others, will be described.
The talk addresses an important key to happiness as taught by the Buddha. There is strong evidence that if we commit one act of generosity daily, we will be experience greater happiness. Traditional teachings tell us that a life of generosity forms the ideal foundation for all other spiritual growth.Practical suggestions about how to use this daily practice are discussed.
The talk examines the ways in which our difficulties accepting this human life as it is causes us untold suffering. We will explore the ways in which we can practice acceptance as a means to achieving true freedom in our lives. The exploration will focus on a modern understanding of the Buddha's ancient teachings on dealing with avoidance and aversion.
(Introduction by Pat Coffey, Speakers Bernadine Anderson and Jeff Fracher)
Slave and Slave-Owner Descendants Speak on Healing Separation through Spiritual Practice.
Courage and hope in the shadow of slavery; Reflections on healing racial separation and finding friendship through honesty, faith and spiritual practice.
We explore how both traditional and contemporary teachings regard anger, and offer wisdom and compassion, around the fulcrum of mindfulness, to guide us through this most complicated of emotional territory. Undigested anger separates us from our self and from other; from the place of our common humanity, there is the possibility for real transformation..
It is really good news that we have the capacity to change the neural structure of our brain - the flourishing science of neuroplasticity - in the direction of greater happiness, compassion and care, verifying what the historical Buddha taught 2500 years ago. A popular Happiness Industry has grown up around these findings. But what of the “less than happy-making” feelings and mind states? Neglecting our “orphans of consciousness” we perpetuate the cycles that lead to suffering. In the practice of Mindfulness we shine the light of awareness, without preference, on whatever arises, in order that we may see clearly. Seeing clearly the nature of emotions we can work with them, responsibly, and with a kind heart, towards happiness independent of conditions.
What's your favorite way of suffering? The discipline of practicing allows us to see the phenomenal degree of choice, of freedom, that's possible in any moment, to end suffering. Freedom is present when you open to what's true – what am I aware of? How am I responding to that awareness? Mind as spacious as day-blind stars with irrepressible summer firefly light, the taste of freedom is here, now.
Midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, we see readily the 3 marks of existence - impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not self. We can cultivate practices that help us understand these truths: stability allows us to see the flow of change; well-being practices allow us to remember our true nature of radiance, wisdom, joy; acts of generosity and compassion strengthen us, give us courage and point to not self.
Suffering: the 2nd of the Buddha's instructions on the Three Characteristics. In this talk we explore Clinging and Aversion as unconscious perpetuation of suffering; the struggle between our desire to be Right & our desire to be Free. (See Talk of 11/4/14 on Impermanence.)
Our reactions to Impermanence (Change) can result in a full range of emotions: Happiness, Anger, Fear, Relief, Depression, Joy, etc. We humans tend to "park" ourselves towards a negative perspective. In this talk we will explore both sides- clinging and aversion; hoping to expand our understanding of both and increase letting go and equanimity. Scholars make reference to acceptance of Impermanence as focal to the Buddha’s teachings on the path to liberation.
Mindful awareness of our intimate experience with body, mind and heart, points us toward realization and insights into Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta, (Impermanence, Suffering and Egolessness), Buddha’s teaching of
the 3 essential characteristics of things . This talk focuses on Anatta (non-self) as a key teaching,
not so easy to grasp with the mind. Who are we when not bound by the limiting beliefs of our minds?
The gift of socks carries unexpected teachings. This talk explores how socks, beyond their practical uses, can be a spiritual reminder, the pitfalls of reminders and how a pair of blue socks point to reality beyond our everyday life.
The end of the year is time for holiday celebrations. It’s also a time when nature invites us to contemplate the natural cycle of all life, which sooner or later ends. In this talk, Susan asks us to explore dying, how our practice, at core, is about living daily in the light of death, and new openings that arise as a result.
On the spiritual journey, we're like the three blind men and the elephant in the ancient Asian story--confused. This talk explores some external and internal reasons for confusion. These include the ultimately inexpressible nature of the path; cross-fertilization producing confusion about the teachings of different Buddhist traditions; the nature of the fourth turning of the wheel of Buddhism in the West. Additionally, confusion as well as increased clarity can result from hearing different teachers, and from our ever-changing understanding as we deepen in practice.
According to Tenzing Norbu, ex-Tibetan monk, ex-cop with the LAPD and a fictional character the first rule of life is: "If you're open to learning, you get your life-lessons delivered as gently as the tickle of a feather. But if you’re defensive, if you stubbornly persist in being right instead of learning the lesson at hand, if you stop paying attention to the tickles, the nudges, the clues--boom! Sledgehammer." The Buddha couldn't have said it better.
An ancient Jataka fable tells the story of a Banyan deer who taught a king a lesson in nonharming and lovingkindness. Looking more closely, we see the deer also embodied compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.
In a society focused on somebodying, our practice ultimately involves nobodying. The Buddha said no-self is a characteristic of existence, and as we practice, we begin to experience the lightness and joy of nobodying.
Looking at global environmental challenges and asking what we can do to help heal the planet and our immediate environment. And how, amidst these dilemmas, can we live as spiritual pilgrims with peace in our hearts?
Our minds flicker like a squirrel's tail and we long for a quiet mind. The question is do we identify with the flicking mind or can we simply be mindful of the arising a passing of thoughts and emotions.
Veterans Day in the United States traces its history to the conclusion of World War I. Today, 100 years after the start of the "War to End All Wars", our nation continues to fight on multiple fronts. The national holidays of Memorial Day and Veterans Day are important times to pause, reflect, and engage with this reality. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh has written, "Veterans are the light at the tip of the candle." What does this mean? What might Veterans have to teach us about how to make peace within ourselves and with each other even under the most difficult circumstances? This talk draws on the words of Veterans and encourages the cultivation of deep listening as an antidote for the "wrong perceptions" that underlie conflict.
We have become a nation in perpetual war, but the horrors and tragedies of violence are very distant from many of us. Following Memorial Day, IMCC teacher Kristina Weaver will invite us to simply hold awareness of this often avoided truth. Our spiritual path has much to teach us about the roots of war and the conditions for peace, and our practice can bring us closer to our heartfelt concern for the survival of all. This will be a time to reflect on gratitude for life, grief for the losses of war, and hopes for a more just and peaceful world.
Leigh explores the practices of mindfulness and concentration, explains how they are connected with each other and how the experience of insight or direct understanding is related to both. He focuses especially on the practice of concentration or indestractability, explaining differences between access concentration and the meditative absorptions / jhanas. Outlining the characteristics of the eight meditative absorptions and offering practice guidelines, he emphasizes that a dedicated daily meditation practice plus retreats are foundation to them all.
is a nonprofit organization established in 1996. Its primary mission is to
promote the instruction and practice of Buddhist Insight Meditation and related
teachings that awaken an individual’s natural wisdom and compassion. IMCC is
located in Charlottesville, Virginia.