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"Five Kinds of Happiness: The Bliss of Blamelessness (April 28, 2015) - 43 min
Our spiritual path invites us to cultivate and, indeed, to simply awaken, a deep and abiding happiness that is independent of conditions. This talk continues an exploration of happiness with an inquiry into living with virtue as both the nourishment and the fruit of our practice.
"Five Kinds of Happiness" (March 24, 2015) - 37 min
Our spiritual path invites us to cultivate and, indeed, to simply awaken, a deep and abiding happiness that is independent of conditions. This talk explores the first of five different kinds of happiness that we can awaken and cultivate as both the nourishment and the wholesome fruit of our practice.
"Loving the Questions Themselves" (December 2, 2014) - 38 min
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.
"Over the River and Into the Trees" (November 25, 2014) - 36 min
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.
" Cultivating a Heart Unshaken" (August 19, 2014) - 32 min
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.)
"Conflict As Play" (August 12, 2014) - 38 min
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.
"When 'I'm Right and You're Wrong!'" (June 10, 2014) - 37 min
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.
"Butterflies, Ants, and World Peace" (April 29, 2014) - 37 min
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.
"Who Do You Think You Are" (April 22, 2014) - 37 min
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.
"Taking Refuge In Community" (June 5, 2012) - 39 min
We explore teachings on taking refuge in sangha, the Pali word for "community." How does refuge in community with one another relate to our silent meditation practice?
"Relationship as Spiritual Path, #5" (April 24, 2012) - 39 min
We explore the Buddha's teaching on release of clinging and the practical application in our real life human relationships.
"Relationship as Spiritual Path, #4" (April 17, 2012) - 38 min
We explore relational suffering in light of the Four Noble Truths and examine ways these can lead to release.
"Relationship as Spiritual Path, #3" (April 10, 2012) - 37 min
As we explore wholesome and not so wholesome wanting in relationship, we see more clearly the causes of relational suffering which, when known, can lead to release.
"Relationship as Spiritual Path, #2" ( January 17, 2012) - 42 min
We continue an exploration of relationship in light of the First Noble Truth, seeing how our relationship challenges invite an inquiry into the deep mysteries of this human life.
"Relationship as Spiritual Path" (January 10, 2012) - 37 min
To be human is to be in relationship. This talk, the first in a series, addresses relationships of all kinds in light of the Buddha's teachings of the First Noble Truth.
"Good Will to All" (December 27, 2011) - 41 min
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.
"Guided Meditation with full instructions and comments on Bridging Separation" (February 3, 2015) - 69 min
Note: Due to technical problems, this audio is missing a few seconds of recording around 1:02:45.
"Why Do We Practice? How Does It Transform Our Lives?" (January 6, 2015) - 28 min
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.
"Guided Meditation on Cultivating Awareness of the Body" (December 9, 2014) - 39 min
In this guided meditation you will explore several methods of grounding awareness in the body.
"Embodied Presence: Gateway to Freedom" (December 9, 2014) - 33 min
The Buddha emphasized that cultivating awareness in the body is essential to a powerful contemplative practice. In this talk we explore how this simple practice offers a peaceful stabilizing refuge.
"Challenging Energies to Meditation: Our Limbic Lovers " (October 18, 2014, from the IMCC Residential Retreat) - 64 min
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.
"Holding a Devastating Personal Loss in the Vast Mystery of Creation" (September 18, 2014) - 29 min
Suicide of a loved one is one of the most difficult losses anyone can experience.
Our practice and the vast mystery of this creation can offer us refuge.
"The Beauty of a Compassionate Life” (October 16, 2012) - 33 min
"Cultivating Tranquility: The Foundation of Practice” (September 4, 2012) - 30 min
"Your partner done left you, your dawg is dyin' and your pickup done threw a rod.....What to do?” (May 28, 2012) - 39 min
Sometimes life is like a bad country song. Lucky for us that when conditions become challenging our meditation practice offers us practical and soothing support.
"The Awakened Heart/Mind” (May 8, 2012) - 41 min
We explore Bodhichita, the awakened heart/mind, and its power to make a difference between happiness and anguish.
“Unlikely Friendship: Slave and Slave-Owner Descendants Speak on Healing Separation through Spiritual Practice” (March 20, 2012) - 64 min
Courage and hope in the shadow of slavery. Reflections on healing racial separation and finding friendship through honesty, faith and spiritual practice.
"Wisdom Through Relaxing Into the Flow of Nature" (dharmaseed.org) (December 30, 2011) - 62 min
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
"Promise of Spring" (April 19, 2011) - 36 min
"A Guided Meditation on Compassion" (January 31, 2015) - 25 min
Our capacity for compassion is supported and enlivened by our meditation practices, and is given life in our relationships. This guided meditation helps us to remember our caring nature and to soften the ways in which our minds make separation
"A Fresh Start" (January 3, 2012) - 39 min
Experiencing the possibility for trusting in Awareness, Truth, and Relatedness. Trust is the basis for examining our beliefs about what is possible for us.
“Generosity and Service” (October 25, 2011) - 39 min
Exploring the connection between the "felt sense" of generosity and our acts of service to others.
"The Dharma of Relationships, Part 2" (May 5, 2015) - 38 min
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? The talk, second in a series, will explore more deeply one of the necessary qualities for maintaining positive relationships, the quality of presence. Practices designed to help us establish presence, with ourselves and others, will be described.
"The Dharma of Relationships" (March 10, 2015) - 39 min
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 Challenge of Uncertainty" (December 30, 2014) - 35 min
Uncertainty pervades our human existence. The talk will focus on the tools which the Dharma provides us to better handle the uncertainty in our lives and live with greater awareness and happiness.
"A Key To happiness" (October 28, 2014) - 34 min
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.
"Finding Connection and Community: Taking Refuge in the Sangha" (July 8, 2014) - 36 min
Experiencing the possibility for trusting in Awareness, Truth, and Relatedness. Trust is the basis for examining our beliefs about what is possible for us.
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.
"Remembering: Mind is Luminous" (April 21, 2015) - 34 min
Honoring the Earth, our evolutionary imperative is to journey from seeing the world as “out there” to directly knowing our intimacy with all things. We see the fabricated habits of the mind, the way the mind has created suffering. The habits of greed, anger, delusion, lust, fear, pride, jealousy are sometimes called afflictions or defilements because they darken the mind. The Buddha reminds us that the mind is luminous, shining brightly, radiant, inherently wise, available in any moment with a diligent path of practice. This talk looks at how we might cultivate a plan for battling the clouds that obscure and separate, to uproot the unwholesome, to free us from the mind's old habits of creating suffering for itself.
“A Taste of Freedom” (July 1, 2014) - 29 min
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 Point: Stability, Well-being and Courage” (February 5, 2013) - 27 min
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.
“Darkness, Light and Lovingkindness” (September 25, 2012) - 38 min
“Grasshoppers and Generosity” (August 21, 2012) - 29 min
Exploring the importance of the spiritual practice generosity.
Holly Balow Robedeau
"Do you want to be right? OR be free? Buddha's Teachings on Suffering" (February 24, 2015) 27 min
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.)
"Impermanence: Letting Go -- On the Cushion and in our Daily Life" (November 4, 2014) - 30 min
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.
"No Self, No Problem" (November 18, 2014) - 34 min
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?
"Self-Compassion and the Path to Freedom" (September 2, 2014) - 33 min
The Buddha's teachings on compassion and love and kindness begins with the practice of first practicing compassion for ourselves.
“On Faith” (February 26, 2013) - 34 min
“Sangha and the Path” (October 23, 2012) - 48 min
“The Middle Way: Finding Balance in Tumultuous Times” (October 23, 2012) - 38 min
"The Dharma (Teaching) of Blue Socks" (Jan. 27, 2015) - 32 min
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.
"Endings -- and New Beginnings" (Dec. 23, 2014) - 30 min
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.
"Three Blind Men & an Elephant" (Oct 21, 2014) - 41 min
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.
"Ten’s First Rule of Life" (May 13, 2014) - 31 min
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.
"Being You" (May 6, 2014) - 36 min
"Being You" focuses on the many pressures calling on us to adopt false identities. It explores the importance of learning to be who we are and then, more deeply, will explore what we are.
“Ox-Herding in Charlottesville” (December 11, 2012) - 32 min
The Zen map of the spiritual journey is expressed in the ancient "Ox-herding" pictures. Exploring each of the 10 stages portrayed, we investigate how these are relevant to our lives today.
“Fear and Spiritual Practice” (September 11, 2012) - 31 min
Exploring our choice of fixating and expanding on fear, or relating to it as spiritual practice by acknowledging fear's presence and relating in wholesome ways that contribute to awakening and joy.
“The Banyan Deer, a Jataka story” (June 26, 2012) - 38 min
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.
“Seeing Grackles, Rocks and No-Self” (May 22, 2012) - 41 min
We explore how we usually look but don't see really see what we're looking at and how, in the process, we engage in “selfing,” reinforcing a sense of a separate self who is looking.
“Not a Matter of Addition” (May 1, 2012) - 29 min
The Buddha taught that the supreme blessing rests in how we live life. We note that the ultimate blessing of “a heart-mind unshaken” involves a shift in consciousness.
“The First Nobel Truth” (March 27, 2012) - 38 min
The 4 Noble Truths form the foundation of the Buddha's teachings. Members of our community share their experiences and insights around the 1st Noble Truth.
“Becoming Nobody, Going Nowhere” (January 25, 2012) - 40 min
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.
“The Way Things Are, Our Tasks” (December 30, 2011) - 33 min
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?
“Bahiya Lives - and Loves” (October 18, 2011) - 33 min
Bahiya died in Buddha’s time, but the awareness and love he embodied live today.
“Disenchantment and Beyond” (October 11. 2011) - 42 min
Disenchantment is a sign of spiritual growth. It expresses as natural lovingness and freedom of being.
“Squirrel's Tail” (August 31, 2010) - 42 min
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.
"The Tip of the Candle: How might Warriors illuminate the path to peace?" (Nov 11, 2014) - 36 min
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.
"Memorial Day as an Invitation for Spiritual Reconnection" (May 27, 2014) - 34 min
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 Brasington - "Mindfulness, Concentration and Insight" (September 30, 2014) - 41 min
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.
Hugh Byrne - "Absolute Cooperation With The Inevitable" (April 15, 2014) - 46 min
Hugh Byrne - "Guided Meditation" (April 15, 2014) - 24 min
Rick Hanson - "Proven Benefits of Meditation" (April 24, 2015) - 75 min
Rick Hanson, Ph.D., dharma teacher and neuroscientist, responds to audience members' questions in a joint event sponsored by IMCC and Unity Charlottesville. (Due to technical difficulties, the last few minutes of the recording is missing.)
Ajahn Thanasanti - "Guided Meditation" (April 28, 2015) - 30 min
Ajahn Thanasanti - "Love, Sexuality and Awakening" (April 28, 2015) - 46 min
This talk is a beginning of exploration of the themes of love, sexuality, and awakening as they touch the roots of our longing. Understanding desire is a pivotal part of understanding and being alive in the Dhamma.