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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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2022-05-30 Metta for Self (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 38:01
Sometimes the hardest person to send metta to is oneself. This guided meditation invites us to see ourselves through a loved one's eyes to see who we really are.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Awakening Joy and Wellbeing
2022-05-29 Including body sensations and sounds in the field of awareness. (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 57:58
After establishing our anchor or home base in the meditation we can expand the field beyond the breath to skillfully include other body sensations and sounds.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Awakening Joy and Wellbeing
2022-05-28 Awakening Joy as a Practice (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 58:17
In his teaching on The Four Wise Efforts, the Buddha taught us to maintain and increase wholesome states (kusala) when they arise. This talk explains how to make that a central part of our practice.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Awakening Joy and Wellbeing
2022-05-19 The Problem with Resisting Reality: The Possibility of Real Freedom 52:21
As much as we would like things to be a certain way, we have limited control over the way things are. Even though that may be apparent to all Dharma students who have some practice under their belt, the mind still gets caught in the habit of attachment to things being a certain way. This week we will explore what gets in the way, how we can open to the way things really are and the radical shift that can occur within us when we see through this self-created prison.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-04-21 Gratitude for Our Home: Celebrating Earth Day 51:34
This Earth Day week we share an evening of gratitude and celebration for our natural world. When we get in touch with our love for something we are more motivated to care for it. Rather than going into the dire situation that most of us are all too familiar with, we can get connected with the beauty of the world that is our home We share a clip on the natural world and the experience of gratitude, which starts with an adorable little girl talking about the wonder of exploring nature instead of watching a screen followed by Brother David Steindl-Rast on gratitude. Although it is audio only you can still here the magic in the words. To see the video here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpkEvBtyL7M
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-04-14 Maranasati: Practice with Death and Dying 50:31
The Buddha suggested reflecting regularly on five aspects of life called the Five Reflections (also called the Five Remembrances). This talk focuses on what he called "the most supreme of all meditations": mindfulness of death or maranasati. Although contemplation of one's death might seem unsettling or scary, when undertaken as a conscious practice it can be extremely enlivening and even liberating.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-04-11 Your Practice is Not Just for You - Monday Night Dharma Talk 50:57
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2022-04-07 Clear Comprehension: The Buddha's Teaching on Four Different Elements of Practice 48:53
This talk explores the topic of Clear Comprehension (sampajañña in Pali) a powerful Dharma teaching on four different aspects of practice. In the Satipatthana Sutta the Discourse on the Four Foundation of Mindfulness, with regard to each foundation, the Buddha says the following: "Here, bhikkhus (practitioners), a bhikkhu (practitioner) lives contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief..." Clear comprehension means more than just having bare attention. Understanding and applying these four facets of Clear Comprehension can support a real deepening of our Dharma practice.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-03-17 Calming the Anxious Mind: Skillful Practices for Anxiety 52:02
Many people are experiencing stress and anxiety these days. Heartbreaking scenes of victims of the Ukraine invasion and other conflicts, potential escalation of war, political divisiveness or personal challenges all create an atmosphere of tension that is in the air. How can we use our practice to calm the mind and create space to hold it all without getting overwhelmed?
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2022-03-10 The Dharma of Good Leadership 57:27
When a leader has the welfare of the people as a priority the country prospers. When a leader cares only for themselves the country declines. This talk explores the Buddha's teaching on the qualities that make a good leader, the influence a leader has on the people and the story of an actual leader who underwent a transformation from a feared merciless ruler to one of great wisdom and compassion. We discuss how these teachings apply to our contemporary world.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley

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