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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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2024-05-23 Thursday is Wesak! Thursday is Wesak! Honoring the Life and Teaching of the Buddha 49:51
This Thursday, May 23rd is Wesak, the most special day in Theravada Buddhist countries (Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka). The full moon in May is said to be the day that the Buddha was born, became enlightened at the age of 35 and died at the age of 80. The three holiest of days all rolled into one! On this Wesak, we can reflect on who this person was, what he discovered on his journey and the legacy he's left us.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2024-05-02 The Power of Collective Intelligence: The Magic in Community 48:35
The Buddha spoke of like-minded friendship as "the whole of the spiritual life." He encouraged us to take refuge in the Sangha. What makes community so powerful? Have you ever been part of a group that felt quite magical, where it was more than merely a collection of individual members? What are the ingredients that make a group like that come together?
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2024-04-18 Loving the Earth through Joyful Connection 56:26
April 22 is Earth Day. How can we express our care and appreciation for life on this planet through meaningful action? I look forward to exploring this with you at our Thursday sangha. I hope you join us.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2024-03-21 Great Female Disciples of the Buddha 50:09
Most of the Buddha's disciples whose names we are familiar with, such as Ananda and Sariputta, are men. The Buddha also had women disciples who were wise and profound practitioners like Mahapajapati, the Buddha's aunt/foster mother, responsible for the establishment of the order of nuns or Patacara, revered teacher, who tragically lost her family and eventually became fully enlightened. “If the measure of a human life is a chance to have significance that extends beyond itself, then we’ve hit the jackpot. We are alive at game time on the planet, when everything we value is genuinely threatened, when it’s time for all hands on deck.” —Terry Patten, A New Republic of the Heart
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2024-03-07 Groundlessness: A Doorway to Liberation 60:09
Pema Chödrön writes: "It's not impermanence per se, or even knowing we're going to die, that is the cause of our suffering, the Buddha taught. Rather, it's our resistance to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation. Our discomfort arises from all of our efforts to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness. When we resist change, it's called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that's called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness." Let's investigate the underlying feeling of insecurity to see how it can be used as a path to real freedom.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2024-02-29 Transitions as a Focus of Practice (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 58:30
We can easily lose our mindfulness when we are experiencing a transition from a change of activity in our daily experience to major shifts in our life. In truth we are always in transition. This talk explores the power of bringing consciousness to transition as focal point of our practice.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center February Insight Meditation Retreat--1 Month
2024-02-22 Compassion (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 51:58
Compassion practice including all categories.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center February Insight Meditation Retreat--1 Month
2024-02-21 Devotion to the Sacred (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 64:44
Although devotion plays a significant role in Monastic Communities and Tibetan practices it is not something often discussed in lay communities. Yet devotion can be a major source of inspiration which can fuel our practice. How can we access it and have it moisten our sincerity of motivation?
Spirit Rock Meditation Center February Insight Meditation Retreat--1 Month
2024-02-19 Big Mind Meditation (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 60:37
This guided meditation, originally created by Joseph Goldstein, shifts the subject of attention from objects to the awareness that knows.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center February Insight Meditation Retreat--1 Month
2024-02-16 Trust (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 59:47
With so many strategies and messages about how to practice, how do we know the "right" way to practice? The Buddha said ultimately you should "be a lamp onto yourself." This comes down to trusting the wisdom inside. How can we discern the wisdom voice from the voices rooted in fear and confusion? This talk includes the 5 strategies offered by the Buddha to work skillfully with distracting thoughts.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center February Insight Meditation Retreat--1 Month

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