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.
"The greatest gift is the act of giving itself" Generosity is the seed--the foundation of spiritual development. It is the ground of compassion. It is a requisite of Liberation. Generosity--the practice of non-clinging--puts us directly in touch with the reality of interconnectedness. We give to help free ourselves. We give to help, bring joy to and to free others. And, we learn to receive graciously and with trust, just what is given..
Lovingkindness, compassion, empathetic/appreciative joy and equanimity. We weave a tapestry of clear, caring, balanced and appropriate responsivity through our practice. This growing and maturing tapestry made up of these perfectly natural capacities of heart weave into the whole of our life and into all of our relationships.
This practice is a path of inquiry, investigation and discovery that we fully participate in and experience for ourselves. By the power of our own attention-mindful awareness, with great interest and energy, we develop a concentrated clarity of presence, taking the time to look very deeply at our own experience of body, mind and heart. Through this process we are able to see and experience the nature of things. This is what leads to the deepest wisdom and happiness. This is what leads to awakening/liberation..
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.
"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."