Browsing Category "Talks"
26 Mar
2013
Posted in: Poems, Talks
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Waking Up

I was listening to another great talk by Jack Kornfield last night, this one titled: The Gates of Awakening, in which he quotes from Thomas Merton‘s famous “Fourth and Walnut” epiphany:

“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all of those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness…..

“It was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes.

“If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed….I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.”

(image: “A Whole World,” by Couprie and Louchard)

 

22 Mar
2013
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Grasped by What We Cannot Grasp

I was listening to a recorded talk last night by one of my teachers, Lila Kate Wheeler, given at the one-month retreat that’s going on right now at Spirit Rock. She begins (and ends) with this poem, which strikes me as a beautiful description of our meditation practice. I offer it here for your reflection.

A Walk

My eyes already touch the sunny hill,
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance–

and it changes us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave…
but what we feel is the wind on our faces.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Robert Bly

(image: from “A Whole World,” by Couprie and Louchard)

 

5 Dec
2012
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We are Music

Last night I listened to Jack Kornfield‘s most recent talk from his regular Monday Night meetings at Spirit Rock. All of Jack’s talks are inspiring, but this one in particular, I found mesmerizing. The title is “Karma & the Power of Intention.” You can listen to it on dharmaseed here.

Jack talks about karma as the pattern of cause and effect that governs the universe. He talks about the way this patterns of experience happen and quotes the Buddha as saying:

If a man plays upon a lute, the musical notes do not appear from a storehouse of hidden notes. And when he stops, they do not return to any place else. They arise from certain conditions–the body of the lute, the strings, the training and exertion of the player. And when those causes and conditions change, the notes cease, leaving no trace. In the same way, the elements of being–physical and mental–arise according to conditions, and then cease. 

This is the way that the patterns we experience become manifest.

(image from “A Whole World,” by Couprie and Louchard)

8 Oct
2012
Posted in: Talks
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Dharma TV

More free videoconferences! 

The Compassionate Brain
Rick Hanson
, author of Buddha’s Brain, will host a 7-part video series called The Compassionate Brain. The series begins tonight, 7-8pm Central time and will continue for the following seven Monday nights. Each week, he will discuss the power of neuro-plasticity with world-class teachers: Richie Davidson, Dan Siegel, Tara Brach, Dacher Keltner, Kelly McGonigal, Kristin Neff and Jean Houston. You can watch live or view archived videos by clicking here.

Open Your Heart, Be the Change
Qigong Master Mingtong Gu
 will host an on-line series of conversations with respected thought leaders: James Baraz, Sharon Salzberg, Jean Houston, James O’Dea, Marci Shimoff, Janet Attwood, Norm Shealy and others. Beginning Tuesday, Oct 16, 3:30-4:30pm Central time, watch live or view archived videos here.

 

5 Oct
2012
Posted in: Practice, Talks
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Mindfulness at Work

My very first introduction to Mindfulness meditation — to any meditation, for that matter — was at a 3-day silent retreat offered by the company I worked for at the time: Monsanto. Strange, I know. But it was a life-changing experience….mainly, I think, because the teacher was Mirabai Bush.

Mirabai is the Founding Director of The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society (just to name one of her incarnations). And she has recently teamed with More Than Sound to offer a FREE, monthly webinar series on the benefits of mindfulness in the workplace.

The next webinar will be Thursday, Oct 11 at 2:00 pm Central Time. It will feature a live discussion between Mirabai and Dr. Kyra Bobinet, President of Senior Care Solutions at Aetna. You can register for it here, or view a streaming video shortly after the webcast here.

The webinar will cover:

* Dr. Bobinet’s best practices learned from developing and leading Aetna’s clinical efficacy studies with the company’s mind-body stress reduction programs

* Discussion of Aetna’s Mind-Body Stress Reduction in the Workplace clinical trial, and the study results that were published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology

* Mirabai Bush’s experience with developing the curriculum for Google’s Search Insider Yourself course, including participant reports of reduced stress, increased productivity, and more creative problem solving after taking the course

* A short, guided mindfulness exercise led by Mirabai Bush

Stay Tuned: The next webinar in the series will held on Nov 14 and will feature a discussion with Mirabai Bush and Richard Davidson, Ph.D., director of The Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of The Emotional Life of Your Brain.

 

4 Oct
2012
Posted in: Groups, Practice, Talks
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Wakefulness, Wisdom, Community

Last night at the Hi-Pointe Sitting Group, someone asked if we could spend some of our time learning the Pali chants I use to start the sit. So we did!

Here’s the Homage part of the chant in Pali (which we repeat 3 times):
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma-sambuddhassa

Here it is in English:
Homage to the Blessed, Noble and Pefectly Enlightened One

Here’s the Refuges part in Pali (normally done 3 times, but we just do it once):
Buddham saranam gacchami
Dhammam saranam gacchami

Sangham saranam gacchami 

Here it is in English:
To the Buddha I go for refuge
To the Dhamma I go for refuge
To the Sangha I go for refuge

For me, this means that I turn to Wakefulness (the Buddha), Wisdom (the Dhamma) and Community (the Sangha) for my place of safety and rest.

Of course chants are to be heard, not read. Click here for a terrific talk by Greg Scharf, where you can listen to these chants, and hear a beautiful reflection on what it means to pay Homage and Take Refuge.

(image from Offerings by Danielle and Olivier Follmi)

11 Sep
2012
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Listening to Phillip

Last night the DharmaSeed KM group listened to a very entertaining talk by Phillip Moffitt about ways to look (mindfully) at making major — or minor — life changes. He talked about different kinds of changes, including developmental changes related to life stages, adjustmental changes made in response to some new circumstance, and insight changes based on a new understanding of life and its meaning.

He also talked about sex! (You can listen for yourself by clicking here.)

At the end of the talk, he offered metta (well-wishing) to everyone listening. Instead of the traditional phrases, he used ones that he and a group of incarcerated men developed during the years he taught meditation in prison.

I loves these phrases:

May you be safe from internal and external harm.

May you have a calm, clear mind and a peaceful, loving heart.

May you be physically strong, healthy and vital.

May you experience love, joy, wonder and wisdom in this life, just as it is.

May it be so.

1 Aug
2012
Posted in: Poems, Talks
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Listen to This (without the all-CAPS)

I subscribe to Dharma Seed podcasts, so I listen to a lot of dharma talks. Most of them are very good…a few, I must admit are tedious…but some are so beautiful and inspiring that it’s all I can do not to fire off e-blasts to everyone I know, saying LISTEN TO THIS!!!! (We all know how welcome those emails are.)

So instead, I’ll just post the link here!

Pascal Auclair has a terrific talk, titled: On Unconditional Friendliness, Concentration and Other Things. It was recorded during a Metta retreat at True North Insight in Montreal. In the talk, Pascal reads a wonderful poem by Galway Kinnell, which I offer here (as an incentive to listen to the whole talk here.)

St. Francis and the Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to teach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as St. Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of
the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking
and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

(image from A Whole World by Couprie and Louchard)