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Dharma Talks Access for Retreatants

Tuesday Talks

2006-01-01 (33999 days) Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley

  
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2013-03-05 Boredom 40:57
  Shaila Catherine
Boredom not a state of relaxation. It is a manifestation of aversion and restlessness that arises when we are not bringing enough mindfulness, interest, energy, or attention to what is actually happening. The habit of seeking happiness in external events and sensory pleasures is fundamentally unsatisfying. The restless seeking of more stimulating experiences ignores the First Noble Truth of dukkha—that there is suffering in conditioned experiences; that unpleasant feelings arise in our lives. Boredom arises because the quality of attention is not well direction; it arises with unwise attention. We can counter boredom with mindfulness. Make the effort to observe the changing nature of things. Appreciate and enjoy what is worthy. Notice moments in which there is no clinging. Reflect upon your purpose and goal—aim for the highest liberation, complete awakening, the peace of release, nibbana.
2013-05-28 I-Making & Mine-Making Constructing Self 39:21
  Shaila Catherine
How is a sense of self constructed? What is the concept of not-self in Buddhist practice? How do we construct identity? This talk explores the traditional model of the five aggregates affected by clinging and explains how clinging occurs in contact with sensory experience. The five aggregates—materiality, feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness—represent an early Buddhist model for understanding how suffering forms through misperception. Clinging to misperceptions produces a sense of continuity in experience that we conventionally call "I", and a relationship to experience the we conventionally call "mine". This model clarifies the precise objects contemplated in vipassana (insight) meditation practice. This talk explains each aggregate so that insight may liberate the mind from this subtle type of attachment.
2013-08-06 Five Preconditions for Insight: Friendship (the first precondition) 36:21
  Shaila Catherine
The Buddha taught that there are five preconditions necessary for us to develop our meditation practice in seclusion—good friends, virtue and restraint, engaging in talk on the Dhamma, wise effort, wisdom. These preconditions, presented in the Meghiya Sutta, are developed progressively and support one another. This talk begins with a reflection on the cultivation of good friends. A good friend is one who support our progress on the Noble Eightfold Path. Sometimes we need someone to show us our potential, or to correct us when we stray from the Path. The inspiration, faith, kindness, and generosity that develops in a relationship with a good friend nurtures awakening.
2013-08-13 Five Preconditions for Insight: Virtue and Restraint (the second precondition) 22:34
  Shaila Catherine
The Buddha taught that there are five preconditions necessary for the development of meditation practice in seclusion—good friends, virtue and restraint, engaging in talk on the Dhamma, wise effort, wisdom. These preconditions, presented in the Meghiya Sutta, are developed progressively and support one another. This talk explores the importance of restraint in a successful practice, and considers virtuous action to be an expression of wisdom. Ethical behavior and the inner respect that comes with the knowledge that we can refrain from unwholesome impulses is a foundation for practice. Precept training encourages wise reflection regarding the many choices that we make in our lives. We can reflect on the intention that initiates an action, the experience while engaged in the action, and the result that develops from an action so that we bring wisdom into every action and interaction. The five precepts, and the ten unwholesome and ten wholesome actions are presented. We have the power to choose what we develop with diligence and wisdom.
2013-08-20 Five Preconditions for Insight: Engage in Talk of the Dhamma (the third precondition) 21:35
  Shaila Catherine
The Buddha taught that there are five preconditions necessary for the development of meditation practice in seclusion—good friends, virtue and restraint, engaging in talk on the Dhamma, wise effort, wisdom. These preconditions, presented in the Meghiya Sutta, are developed progressively and support one another. This talk explores the importance of engaging in dhamma talk, reflecting on the teachings, and wise speech as ways of nurturing the path of awakening. How do you know when to speak and when to remain silent? What kind of speech is most true and useful? What types of conversation will distract you from your goals, or support the realization of nibbana? Does your engagement in conversation encourage attachments, identification, self-grasping, or does it nurture letting go, release, and peace?
2013-09-03 Five Preconditions for Insight: Wise Effort (the fourth precondition) 33:04
  Shaila Catherine
The Buddha taught that there are five preconditions necessary for the development of meditation practice in seclusion—good friends, virtue and restraint, engaging in talk on the Dhamma, wise effort, wisdom. These preconditions, presented in the Meghiya Sutta, are developed progressively and support one another. This talk explores the role of effort and energy on the path of awakening. We make the effort to avoid and abandon unwholesome states, and to cultivate and maintain wholesome states. We apply our energy with diligence and balance. If too lax we will fall short of the goal and permit obstructions to distract the attention; if there is too much striving and forced effort we will exhaust ourselves and become discouraged. Right effort is balanced between relaxation and vigor; it is appropriate to the situation—applying just enough strength to meet the current conditions with wisdom and clarity. Skillful effort requires the commitment to endure difficult and painful situations without becoming disheartened. We persevere on our path, adjusting the quality of effort with mindfulness and sensitivity.
2013-09-10 Five Preconditions for Insight: Wisdom (the fifth precondition) 36:03
  Shaila Catherine
The Buddha taught that there are five preconditions necessary for the development of meditation practice in seclusion—good friends, virtue and restraint, engaging in talk on the Dhamma, wise effort, wisdom. These preconditions, presented in the Meghiya Sutta, are developed progressively and support one another, with wisdom as the crowning jewel and chief. This talk explores the importance of wisdom for revealing the impermanent nature of all things. With the clarity of wisdom we discern the arising and passing of phenomena. This insight into impermanence undercuts habitual delusions that perpetuate blindly grasping and clinging transient things. Wisdom is important at all stages of the path. At the beginning of our practice, we need wisdom to discern the right direction, clarify our purpose and learn skillful methods; we need wisdom in the midst of the practice to make the many adjustments that sustain us on this path; and the path culminates in the wisdom that leads to release. With wisdom, we will see the changing nature of all things, and understand how we construct our perception of reality, discern the four noble truths of suffering, and recognize how we can realize the end of suffering.
2013-10-01 Investigating Aversion and Anger 38:15
  Shaila Catherine
This recording begins with approximately 20 minutes of teachings on anger, followed by a little less than 20 minutes of a guided meditative reflection. The talk examines the force of aversion, anger, hatred, and hostility as manifestations of what in Pali are called dose-rooted states. Rather than criticize and judge ourselves when anger arises, we extract ourselves from the story of anger, and practice seeing it as an experience of suffering—as dukkha. Anger does not happen to us; we actively engage in the process. Therefore, through clear seeing and wise inquiry, we can change the conditions that perpetuate anger in our lives. Often anger arises when there is unwise attention to an unpleasant sensory or mental contact. We can learn to work mindfully with these deeply conditioned tendencies and feeling how it manifests in the body, become aware of the feeling tone (vedana), recognize the mental state, and discern how it functions—its origin, cessation, and way leading to its cessation. The primary antidote is mindfulness.
2014-01-14 Hardwiring Happiness 1:16:46
  Rick Hanson
In his newest book, Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence, Dr. Rick Hanson explains how the mind shapes the brain: neurons that fire together, wire together. Positive experiences are the main source of the neural structures underlying motivation, self-worth, the executive functions, good mood, kindness, resilience, and other inner strengths. Unfortunately, most positive experiences are wasted on the brain because it evolved a negativity bias to help our ancestors survive. It’s like Velcro for bad experiences but Teflon for good ones. To solve this problem, this talk will present the four simple HEAL steps of taking in the good, which turn passing experiences into lasting neural resources. We’ll explore how to use these methods to build confidence, focus attention, lower anxiety, and fundamentally, hardwire happiness into the brain.
2014-05-27 Mindfulness Sacred or Secular? 26:58
  Shaila Catherine
Shaila Catherine gave this concluding talk in a guest speaker series that was organized to stimulate critical inquiry about mindfulness and how the teachings about mindfulness are manifesting in western cultures. This talk presents critical thinking, reflection, and discussion as integral elements of Buddhist practice. It refers to the early Buddhist custom of reciting teachings, sharing the Dhamma, and inviting correction and criticism about how the Dhamma was presented and taught. As mindfulness practices become mainstreamed, and applied in corporations and therapeutic contexts, some concern arises that the deep and liberating teachings of emptiness might be ignored as non-Buddhists, and sometimes non-practitioners, assert their own definitions of mindfulness in the media. This brief talk concludes with reflection questions about: 1. the meaning and definition of mindfulness—how is mindfulness different from attention? 2. how are ethics taught in Buddhist and secular applications of mindfulness? 3. how are secular interests affecting the development of western lay Buddhism?
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