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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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2022-10-06 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
2022-09-02 Morning Sit with Instructions (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 63:15
Opening the meditation filed to include breath, sensations and sounds
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Labor Day Insight Meditation Retreat
2022-09-01 Five Spiritual Faculties (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 61:06
A description of how the meditation practice unfolds
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Labor Day Insight Meditation Retreat
2022-06-16 Amazing Grace: Why Do Some People Turn Their Suffering into Compassion While Others Become Embittered? 50:41
In one discourse the Buddha taught that suffering can be a causative factor for faith to arise. However, that is not always the case. In fact, often suffering leads to bitterness, fear, and ill will. Why is it that, for some people, suffering is the catalyst to begin their spiritual journey and for others it's leads to negative patterns that contribute to a society filled with divisiveness, fear and "othering." We'll explore this mysterious process
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-06-12 The Five Daily Reflections 52:53
A follow up to a recent talk that focused on death and dying. This talk explores the other four of the Five Daily Reflections (also known as the Five Remembrances): aging, illness, loss and karma. It includes practices and discussion on how we can include them regularly in our Dharma practice, which the Buddha highly recommended.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-06-09 5 Methods to Work with Troublesome Thoughts: MN #20: Vitakkasanthana Sutta 49:43
The Buddha gave a teaching on five different methods he recommended to work with disturbing thoughts. When we are mindful of the thinking process it's possible to see thoughts simply as mental fabrications. However, when we get caught in them and the body gets activated, we spin out in the story and are caught in a negative emotional response. We become identified with those mental formations and can more easily get lost. When that happens, the Buddha offers these five strategies as skillful techniques to deal with the confused mind.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley

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