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The greatest gift is the
gift of the teachings
James Baraz's Dharma Talks
James Baraz
I try to convey that the wisdom and compassion we are looking for is already inside of us. I see practice as learning how to purify our mind and heart so we can hear the Buddha inside. In doing so, we naturally embody the dharma and help awaken that understanding and love in others we meet.
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2022-12-29 Endings and Beginnings: A Ritual for the New Year 39:30
An end of year reflection and ritual that includes letting go of the past--not the lessons but the baggage that may come with them--and visioning the future--what we want to create for ourselves moving forward.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-12-22 Celebrating Solstice: Honoring the Duality of Light in the Midst of Darkness 53:41
We explore going through the dark as an essential element of coming into the light. How can we grow through our own journey of facing challenges while staying committed to facing in the direction of greater light.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-11-17 Confidence and Humility: It's Not about Me 51:07
The Buddhist writer Wei Wu Wei wrote: "True humility is the absence of anyone to be proud." We are often humbled by life. How we handle it can either lead to defeat or profound growth. We explore how being humbled can deepen our capacity to open to all of our experience and strengthen our confidence and trust as we align ourselves with something greater than ourselves.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-10-20 Anything Can Happen at Anytime: Holding Loss with a Tender Heart 53:46
Our Dharma community is processing sad news this week that has sent a shock wave through the sangha. One of our respected teachers who led movement at many Spirit Rock retreats and mentored many students in the practice took her life after a long bout with health issues that affected her mental well-being. A truism of the law of impermanence is that "anything can happen at any time." I want to use this event as an opportunity to explore how the practice can help support us when a sudden major loss happens.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-10-13 It's Never Too Late: Responding Wisely with Unskillful Habits 26:17
Do you ever act on behaviors that you know don't support well-being but you choose to act on them anyway? I'm sure we all do. But how can we skillfully relate to that after the fact without self-judgment or self-recrimination? What are practices and teachings that help us to be patient as we go through this process of purification?
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-10-06 From Heartbreak to Compassionate Action 55:06
Kaye Cleave is a sangha member and film producer of the award-winning movie Catherine's Kindergarten. Catherine’s Kindergarten is the story of Kaye's emotional journey to confront her grief after the death of her only child, juxtaposed with her physical journey to a Nepalese mountain village to open a school in memory of her daughter. It is a truly moving experience. I'm proud to be part of Kaye's journey and in the film. Kaye will share some of her story of how the practice helped her process her grief and transform it into compassionate action. We share a clip of the movie and discuss the process of how we can turn heartbreak into meaning.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-09-29 The Time is Now: Engagement as Practice 49:39
Practice is more than stress reduction or finding calm within ourselves. A natural expression of a wise heart is the wish to relieve suffering not only in ourselves but in others and in our world. As Thich Nhat Hanh teaches: "Compassion is a verb."
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-09-22 You've Got a Friend: The Buddha's Advice on Good Friendship 55:07
The Buddha said, "Good friends are the whole of the spiritual life." But what does it mean to be a good friend? In the Sigalovada Sutta the Buddha describes different kinds of friendship including what a true friend is, what it is not, and how a true friend supports you in your spiritual practice. We will explore being there with others in a way that helps you and them grow.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-09-08 Refuge in the Buddha Within 55:07
This talk explores the deeper meaning of "Taking Refuge in the Buddha." This is not simply honoring or being inspired by the historical figure who lived 2,500 years ago. Until we see the Buddha right inside of us we are missing the point of what that teacher was trying to have us awaken to. We will look at various teachings that point to discovering the Buddha within.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-09-03 Metta Instructions (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 32:10
Some aspects of metta practice along with metta for self, loved one, neutral and all beings
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Labor Day Insight Meditation Retreat

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