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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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2022-02-04 Guided Bramavihara Meditation (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 42:23
In order to open the heart and extend kindness and compassion to others we need to soften the places of contraction through practicing forgiveness. This guided meditation invites us to practice forgiving ourselves– our body, our mind, and our heart – and then extending it towards others as well.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center February Insight Meditation 1 Month Retreat
2022-02-01 Morning instructions: Focusing and unifying the mind 58:45
A guided meditation on deepening concentration using the breath as the primary object.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center February Insight Meditation 1 Month Retreat
2022-01-31 How The Practice Unfolds: The Five Spiritual Faculties 63:32
The Five Spiritual Faculties in the Buddha's teaching give a clear description of the natural unfolding of practice unfolds over time. It also describes the process over the course of a month-long intensive retreat.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center February Insight Meditation 1 Month Retreat
2022-01-27 Remembering Thich Nhat Hanh 51:02
The great Vietnamese Master, Thich Nhat Hanh, passed away on January 22nd at the age of 95. Thay, as he was known to his students, was one of the most influential Buddhist masters in modern times.We spend the evening exploring his teachings and honoring his spirit. A short clip of him teaching is included as part of the evening.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-01-20 Equanimity with Uncertainty: Finding Balance in Difficult Times 51:13
Equanimity or Upekkha is a highly valued quality in Buddhist teachings. It is one of the Four Divine Abodes, one of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment, one of the Ten Perfections and on a number of other lists. When highly developed it is the precursor to the experience of awakening. But what is equanimity? How can we cultivate it in our meditation practice? Even more, how can we access it in our daily life, especially in times like these with so much uncertainty, fear and sadness over the suffering in the world? We will explore various aspects of equanimity that can be pragmatically applied to our life off the cushion.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2021-12-30 New Year's Gathering: Letting Go and Moving On 51:53
As the year comes to an end, we mark and celebrate this transition point by reflecting on where we are in our lives and consciously get in touch with our vision for the coming year. The Buddha talked about the power of having Wise Intention and "Clear Comprehension of Purpose" to keep us facing in the right direction. As a community we can support each other through reflecting on what we've learned in 2021 and share a ritual to call forth our vision for the coming year.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2021-12-23 Winter Solstice and Holidays: A Time to Keep the Heart Open 53:11
When the days are shortest and darkness is all around, we have holidays to help us remember the light. In this talk we reflect on the heart practices of gratitude, forgiveness and love that help us stay connected to the light inside and around us.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2021-11-11 Letting Your Heartbreak Open to Active Hope 53:05
How can we keep open and stay engaged when our hearts are breaking and we just want to shut down? How can we cultivate a "no-matter-what commitment" as Terry Patten teaches? How can we develop "Active Hope" as Joanna Macy calls it. That is the topic of this week's exploration. The talk includes a powerful 20-minute conversation between Joanna Macy and Thanissara that took place a month before this recording.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2021-11-04 Showing Up for Reality with Humility and Grace: Terry Patten's Last Teaching 50:16
Beloved Philosopher, Teacher and Sacred Activist Terry Patten sadly passed away a few days before this talk. His last book, A New Republic of the Heart, is an inspiring teaching on how to face the global crises we are in. As he went through his own final journey he shared how one can face death with courage, wonder, grace and trust. It was a blueprint for how to meet the pain and sorrow of the world with those same qualities. This talk includes a powerful, clear, deeply moving clip excerpt of Terry's last teaching a week before he passed plus some of his teachings that have touched so many.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2021-10-28 Am I Enough? 53:06
A great Zen treatise says that someone truly enlightened is "without anxiety about non-perfection." It's no wonder that, with such impossible standards that most people hold themselves to, they always seem to fall short. How is it that others can so easily see our goodness while we're often the last ones to see our "True Nature"? The talk includes a short excerpt of Ram Dass sharing his primary practice to remember who we really are.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley

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