A reflection on the COUNTER-INTUITIVE nature of the Buddha's teaching - how the Dhamma goes against deeply seated intuition, e.g., that there is something permanent in this impermanent world. This is followed by a reading of and reflection on the first discourse the Buddha gave, which outlines the middle way and the four ennobling truths. To be followed in talk #4 by a detailed reading of the four truths as four injunctions rather than four things to believe.
After a framing of why we practice and how this intensive practice can inform our wider lives, and a short account of the qualities of mindfulness we explore how to practice in states of mind and heart. Using the model of RAIN (Recognition, Acceptance, Inquiry, Non-identification), we examine a number of ways to work with states of mind and heart, using as case studies, working with anger, judgment (harsh reactive judgment) and others.
Grasping and non-grasping in connection to self, people, things, views - how grasping makes us exaggerate and proliferate and how creative engagement can help our creative potential manifest and develop.
A continuation of the study of the Buddha's account of his awakening in the ARIYAPARIYESANA SUTTA (M.26). Mindfulness as the way to GROUND oneself in the GROUND of Conditional Arising. the subjective pole of this ground is the stopping of greed, hatred, delusion. The Buddha was reluctant to teach because what he had awoken to "WENT AGAINST THE STREAM". The talk concludes with several passages from the UPANISHADS to illustrate this.
We sometimes feel very connected with our love, wisdom, and mindfulness. At other times, we may feel disconnected from these qualities, stuck in what the Buddha called the five "difficult energies" (or hindrances). We explore compulsive desire and aversion, sloth & torpor, restlessness, and doubt - suggesting how to respond to these when they arise, both in meditation and daily life.