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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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2022-01-27 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
2021-10-14 Letting Go of Knowing: Loving The Mystery: 49:08
This talk explores the freedom that comes from letting go of our attachments to ideas. As the 3rd Zen Patriarch of China said, "Do not search for the truth. Only cease to cherish opinions." What benefit can there be when we truly let go of thinking we know how things really are?
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2021-10-07 Emptiness and the Big Perspective 50:29
The Heart Sutra teaching famously states: "Form is Emptiness Emptiness is Form." This liberating perspective is the gateway to understanding the inter-connectedness of all phenomena and the spaciousness and freedom that comes from seeing our place in the bigger scheme of things. The talk includes a recording of Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweikart's moving account of the profound shift he experienced upon seeing the Earth from outer space.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2021-09-23 Seeing Beyond the Mask: Looking Past Our Assumptions 53:33
In his teaching on the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha describes in the Second Noble Truth four kinds of attachments that cause suffering. One of these is attachment to ideas and opinions. We explore this topic of looking beyond our views and opinions that are causing so much divisiveness and separation in these pandemic days.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley

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