I find teaching to be a very deep and powerful "no self" practice. When I connect with others during Dharma talks--in the intimacy of small groups, and while holding meditation practice interviews--I am continually reminded to know, and be, in a place of clarity, spaciousness and immediate presence. Being able to offer students such a place of connection is my greatest pleasure and inspiration, as well as the most appreciated challenge in my teaching practice.
For me, the real fruit of the teaching is seeing the beauty of a gradual, and sometimes sudden, unfolding of a heartmind into its true self; seeing the variety of ways a person's essential, creative energy of being flows into the world.
On one end of the teaching, I am excited and inspired by students who are deeply committed to long-term, intensive practice. On the other end (and of course they're connected), I find that working closely with people at the grass roots level--in a co-creative process of developing and sustaining Dharma practice, study and community opportunitiies on a day-to-day basis--is equally exciting and inspiring.
From the immediacy of presence flows a wisdom that naturally connects us to the way of things. This amazing gift of mindfulness provides us with a spaciousness where we can make appropriate, healthy and creative life choices. Rather than being caught up in our old, conditioned habits, mindfulness provides us with the gift of engagement at its best. This is the Gift of the Dharma that we offer to all beings.
There is great power and strength in the capacity to connect within our self and to others. Directly, clearly, patiently and fearlessly with a heart/mind that is free of ill-will and rooted in lovingkindness and mindfulness.
An inner wealth of generosity is powerful medicine. An antidote to the anguish and confusion that's generated through the training to accumulate and fixate upon and cling to our accumulations, generosity a seamless circle - giving and receiving. It feeds and grows itself.
Instructions - Mudita Practice. Short reflection with oneself - good, helpful, skillful things we've done. Mudita phrases with - some it's easy to rejoice for/with--------and a benefactor, a friend, a family member, fellow yogi, all yogis on retreat.
Mudita - the natural response of the heart - our capacity to see joy in relationship to another's happiness, success, beauty, goodness or well being. Exploring and recognizing the joy that has no 'self' at the center of it… the momentary joy of the pure heart.
Cultivating a strong and clear mindful attention that meets the experience of the moment allows us to see the afflictive emotions clearly.. To see through them like we see through the colors of a rainbow. This 'seeing' brings with it the possibility of the transformation of afflictive states into wholesome energies.
Reigning the mind in from all it's myriad distractions… cultivating the power of concentration in order to see clearly. Pay attention in a non judging, non manipulative, non grasping, non rejecting attention - the magic of mindfulness, taking us out of illusion directly into reality.
"When the heart enters into the mind, the mind then has quite a different quality." Learning to abide in our practice and in our life as a whole with kindness and patience--the heart of metta--we are then able to respond rather than react to what life offers. Stories woven into this talk are from the time of the Buddha and from our contemporary time that exemplify what the Buddha called "The Lion's Roar."
The essential aim of the Buddha's teaching is toward the understanding that comes through our own direct experience; that there is no person who is a 'self' and no thing- nothing- that is a separate self.
Change is the fabric of life; its very essence. How often do we
forget, ignore, or distract ourselves from this natural truth and then
suffer the consequences? Clearly seeing and accepting impermanence is
truly the acceptance of life.