Friday, 16 December 2011

Rebirth, Not Reincarnation by Steve Hagen

Steve Hagen has been a student of Buddhist thought and practice since 1967. In 1975 he became a student
of Dainin Katagiri Roshi in Minneapolis and was ordained in 1979. He has studied with teachers in the U.S., Asia, and Europe, and in 1989 received transmission (endorsement to teach) from Katagiri Roshi. He is currently head teacher at Dharma Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Friday, 9 December 2011

Anicca by Rebecca Bradshaw

This talk discusses a deep understanding of impermanence as a pathway into freedom.

Rebecca Bradshaw has been practicing vipassana meditation since 1983, and teaching since 1993. She teaches frequently at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, where she leads the teen and young adult retreats and is a member of the annual Three Month Retreat team. Rebecca is the guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Center of Pioneer Valley in Easthampton, MA. She also holds a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and works as a psychotherapist in the inner city. Her teachings invite exploration of the convergence of love and wisdom.


Sunday, 4 December 2011

Self by Stephen Batchelor

Reflection on passages from the suttas of the Pali Canon where the Buddha explores the meaning of "self" (atta).


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Mindfulness, Metta, Mystery by Myo Denis Lahey

Although I have put this talk under the "Thursday Talks" heading it was in fact used as the talk for the Soto Zen group's monthly Retreat Day last Friday.

Rev. Myo Denis Lahey (born July 14, 1951) is a Soto Zen priest practicing in the Shunryu Suzuki lineage. Myo is practice leader at Hartford Street Zen Center in San Francisco and at Iron Bell Zendo (now Valley Streams Zen Sangha) in Sacramento, California. A Dharma heir of Tenshin Reb Anderson, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Soto Zen Buddhist Association of North America (SZBA) and is a member of the Association for Soto Zen Buddhism of Japan (ASZB). Raised in an observant Roman Catholic home, Myo was drawn to religion and spirituality at an early age and found Zen Buddhism in his teens. He began sitting in 1969 with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and befriended many San Francisco Zen Center practitioners and teachers, including Issan Dorsey.


Friday, 4 November 2011

Understanding Sankhara by Tempel Smith

Tempel Smith teaches Mindfulness, Insight and Metta meditation with an emphasis on Buddhist psychology and mind-body awareness. He spent a year as a monk in Burma with Sayadaw U Pandita and Pa Auk Sayadaw, and he has completed the four year teacher-training program run by Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society.


Friday, 28 October 2011

Meditation and Mindfulness by Martine Batchelor

This talk by Martine Batchelor is from a recent retreat at Gaia House entitled "Meditation and study".

Gaia House is a Silent Meditation Retreat Centre – a sanctuary of contemplative calm set amongst the gentle hills and quiet woodlands of South Devon.

The original Gaia House was a former vicarage in Denbury, purchased in 1983. Maurice Ash simultaneously offered to host a Buddhist community in Sharpham House. At that point, Stephen and Martine Batchelor, returning from Korea, came to be part of the community. In time, they became part of the Gaia House teaching team.


Friday, 21 October 2011

Final Talk at July Sesshin 2011 by Rev. Master Olwen Crookall-Greening

This talk is by Rev. Master Olwen Crookall-Greening who used to be Prior at Reading Buddhist Priory which was founded by the late Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett in 1990. It is one of a number of temples of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives ( in Great Britain, Europe, Canada and North America. The Priory has had a number of resident monks over the years.

The Priory, to which the Newport Soto Zen group is affiliated, is located in a residential area of Reading and provides a place of peace and calm in the city where people can come to learn about Soto Zen Buddhism and meditation and participate in a regular weekly schedule of events.


Friday, 7 October 2011

Similes of the Buddha by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana is the founding abbot of the Bhavana Society. Born in rural Sri Lanka, he has been a monk since age 12 and took full ordination at age 20 in 1947. He came to the United States in 1968. “Bhante G” (as he is fondly called by his students) has written a number of books, including the now-classic meditation manual Mindfulness In Plain English and its companion Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness. Bhante G regularly leads retreats on vipassana, mindfulness, metta (Loving-friendliness), concentration, and other topics both at the Bhavana Society and elsewhere.


Friday, 23 September 2011

Awaken Your Unborn Buddha Mind by Edward Espe Brown

Kainei Edward Espe Brown (born March 24, 1945) is a Soto Zen priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki and a well-known gourmet cook. A Dharma heir of Sojun Mel Weitsman, Brown is the author of the best-selling Tassajara Bread Book. He regularly leads instructional cooking and baking classes and has been featured in the 2007 documentary film How to Cook Your Life by Doris Dorrie. Brown was ordained a priest by Suzuki-roshi in 1971, and from the mid-1960s on through the 80′s Brown lived at any one of the three San Francisco Zen Center locations—City Center, Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, and Green Gulch Farm. Currently Brown leads the Peaceful Sea Sangha in California. Brown is a member of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association.


Friday, 26 August 2011

Freedom - The Third Noble Truth by Gina Sharpe

Gina Sharpe was born in Jamaica and immigrated to New York at the age of 11. She has an A.B. in Philosophy from Barnard College and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. Before practising law, she worked for the New York City government (the Lindsay Administration), in the motion picture industry (as Assistant to the Producer of feature length films Little Big Man, Paper Lion and Alice’s Restaurant), as well as conducting research in public not-for-profits. As a lawyer, she practised as a corporate litigator and then as a corporate lawyer. She also served as an executive in the fields of venture capital and mergers and acquisitions.
After retiring from the practice of law, she co-founded New York Insight Meditation Centre. She currently serves as the Guiding Teacher. Trained as a retreat teacher in a joint Teacher Training Program of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Society, she teaches at various venues around the United States including Spirit Rock, Insight Meditation Society, Vallecitos Mountain Refuge, Mid America Dharma, Garrison Institute, Asia Society, Tibet House, the New York Open Center, the Katonah Yoga Center and a maximum security prison for women. She has been teaching the Dharma since 1995. She has served on the boards of directors of several not-for-profit and for-profit organizations.


Friday, 5 August 2011

Unholy Emptiness by Stephen Batchelor

Bodhidharma, the founder of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism, was invited to visit the Emperor Wu of Liang, who was a great patron of Buddhism. The Emperor had built many monasteries, and he asked Bodhidharma what merit his generosity had earned. "No merit," said Bodhidharma. Startled, the Emperor asked Bodhidharma the supreme truth of the Dharma. "unholy emptiness" replied Bodhidharma. Finally, the Emperor asked, "Who are you?" "I don't know" said Bodhidharma.

Stephen Batchelor examines "Emptiness" in the context of the Buddha's teaching of the "Four Noble Truths".


Friday, 29 July 2011

Reflections On The Lions Roar - Parts 1 & 2 by Ajahn Sucitto

Ajahn Sucitto

Was born in London in 1949. He had his B.A. in English and American Literature at Warwick University in 1971. He went to Thailand in 1975, where he happened across a class in Buddhist meditation in Chiang Mai. After a few days' practice, he decided to make a tentative commitment to the Holy Life. He returned to England in 1978 and he decided to stay and train with Ajahn Sumedho and he was responsible for editing and publishing his talks, as well as other Sangha publications.

Ajahn Sucitto was one of the original groups of who founded Chithurst Monastery Cittavivekha in 1979. He also helped to establish a vihara in Northumberland, Aruna Ratanagiri on 1981. In 1984 he was part of the community that moved from Chithurst to Hertfordshire to start Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, where had the responsibility of supervising the nuns training, as well as other teaching duties. During this time he also began teaching overseas. In 1992 he was asked to take over the function of senior incumbent at Chithurst Monastery where he now resides.

Reflections On The Lions Roar - Part 1


Reflections On The Lions Roar - Part 2


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Nun's Tea and the First Noble Truth by Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia

This talk is by Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia which tells of one of her stays in Rocana Vihara, the Nun's Cottage, at Chithurst. She introduced the subject for the "Lay Forum" on our last visit to the monastery.


Friday, 24 June 2011

How is the Understanding of Cognition-Only Verified by Reb Anderson

The group found this a challenging talk the theme of which was that we can verify our experience by "eating rice and drinking tea"...... very Zen!

Reb Anderson, Tenshin Roshi is a lineage-holder in the Soto Zen tradition. Born in Mississipi, he grew up in Minnesota and left advanced study in mathematics and Western psychology to come to Zen Center in 1967. He practiced with Suzuki Roshi, who ordained him as a priest in 1970 and gave him the name Tenshin Zenki ("Naturally Real, The Whole Works"). He received dharma transmission in 1983 and served as abbot of San Francisco Zen Center's three training centers (City Center, Green Gulch Farm and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center) from 1986 to 1995. Tenshin Roshi continues to teach at Zen Center, living with his family at Green Gulch Farm.


Friday, 10 June 2011

Distortions Of Mind by Rodney Smith

This is the "sister" talk to the one below.


Friday, 27 May 2011

Secrets Of The Mind by Rodney Smith

Rodney Smith spent eight years in Buddhist monastic settings, both at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Massachusetts and during several years as a Buddhist monk in Asia. He ordained with Mahasi Sayadaw in Burma, then practiced for three years with Ajahn Buddhadasa in Thailand. He disrobed as a monk in 1983 and, after returning to the West, started working in hospice care and teaching Vipassana throughout the United States.

Rodney has devoted much of his energy to serving the dying—both in direct service positions and, until 2000, within hospice management. Since then Rodney has been a full-time dharma teacher conducting meditation classes and retreats and offering spiritual consultations. He serves as a guiding teacher for IMS and is the founding and guiding teacher for the Seattle Insight Meditation Society. He is author of the books Lessons from the Dying and Stepping Out of Self-Deception. His teaching emphasis is on awakening within the forms of daily lives.


Saturday, 14 May 2011

Mudita by Norman Fischer

Zoketsu Norman Fischer (c. 1946) is a Jewish-American Soto Zen roshi, poet and Buddhist author practicing in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki. He is a Dharma heir of Sojun Mel Weitsman, from whom he received Dharma transmission in 1988. Having served as co-abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center from 1995—2000, he has published several works of poetry and books on Buddhism. Fischer founded the Everyday Zen Foundation in 2000, a network of sanghas with chapters in Canada, the United States and Mexico. He has authored several essays on interreligious dialogues, and to that end has attended gatherings such as the 1996 Gethsemani Encounter held at The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky (where the Trappist Thomas Merton lived). Fischer has also stayed in touch with his Jewish heritage, occasionally attending services at Beth Sholom synagogue in San Francisco, California and offering instruction in meditation to interested parties there. In addition, he has also served as mentor to teenage boys—all of which is chronicled in his book "Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up." Fischer also serves on the Board of Directors for the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco, California.


Monday, 2 May 2011

Taking the Refuges as Practice by Steve Armstrong

Here's a fascinating take on taking the three refuges by Steve Armstrong.


Monday, 18 April 2011

A True Person of No Status by Stephen Batchelor

The following is another talk by Stephen Batchelor from a series on Zen meditation given at Gaia House.


The Two Wings of the Dharma by Kamala Masters

This talk received a mixed reception. It is by Kamala Masters, she is a co-founder and guiding teacher of the Vipassana Metta Foundation on Maui in the Hawaiian islands and is currently developing Ho'omālamalama, a sanctuary-hermitage for long-term practice.


Starting All Over Again Part One by Stephen Batchelor

The first two of this series of three talks by Stephen Batchelor are somewhat longer than is usual for Thursday evening talks but the series was so popular time was made available (we had our tea earlier!)


Starting All Over Again Part Two by Stephen Batchelor


Starting All Over Again Part Three by Stephen Batchelor

In this talk Stephen Batchelor examines the "middle path" of the Buddha's teaching. Taken from a Zen retreat at Gaia House.


The Hindrances by Bhante Bodhidhamma

In the late seventies Bhante Bodhidhamma began to meditate in the Soto Zen tradition with his first Buddhist teacher, Vajira Bailey in Birmingham. In August 1979 he underwent Jukai and committed himself to Buddhism as a Zen Buddhist at Throssel Hole Priory in Northumberland.

During this period he was living in Birmingham where a Burmese monk, Ven. Dr. Rewata Dhamma, had set up a Vihara. He began to visit and out of interest joined a course of meditation in the vipassana technique with Achaan Sumedho, now the Chief Monk of the Thai Forest Tradition based at Amaravati Buddhist Centre near Hemel Hempstead. That experience convinced him that Vipassana was to be the technique that most serviced his needs.

Soon after he met his core teacher, Sayadaw U Janaka of Burma (Myanmar). He is one of the main teachers in the Mahasi Tradition. Bhante went to spend six months with him in Yangon. It had a deep and lasting effect upon him.


The Hindrances part II


Creative Engagement by Martine Batchelor

MARTINE BATCHELOR was born in France in 1953. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in
Korea in 1975. She studied Zen Buddhism under the guidance of the late Master Kusan at Songgwang Sa monastery until 1985. Her Zen training also took her to nunneries in Taiwan and Japan. From 1981 she served as Kusan Sunim's interpreter and accompanied him on lecture tours throughout the United States and Europe. She translated his book 'The Way of Korean Zen' and has written an unpublished manuscript about the life of Korean Zen nuns.

She returned to Europe with her husband, Stephen, in 1985. She was a member of the Sharpham North Community in Devon, England for six years. She worked as a lecturer and spiritual counsellor both at Gaia House and elsewhere in Britain. She has also been involved in interfaith dialogue. Until recently she was a Trustee of the International Sacred Literature Trust.

With her husband she co-leads meditation retreats worldwide. They now live in France.


The Importance of Problems in Practice by Edward Brown

Edward Espe Brown is a Soto Zen Buddhist priest. Edward was ordained in 1971 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, who gave him the Dharma name Jusan Kainei, which means "Longevity Mountain, Peaceful Sea." He is famous for also being a chef, co-founder Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, has written many books on "Zen cooking" and in 2007, was the subject of a critically acclaimed feature-length documentary film entitled "How to Cook Your Life", directed by Doris Dörrie. So this talk is a good follow on from Larry Rosenberg's talks on Dogen's  instructions to the cook.


Dogen's Instructions To The Cook - Part I by Larry Rosenberg

This is the first in a series of talks around the themes raised in Eihei Dogen zenji's famous "Instructions for the Tenzo", the Tenzo being the head cook in a Zen monastery. In this first talk Rosenberg addresses the issues around "just doing your job" as a yogi (student) on retreat.

(the first 30 seconds are silent)


Dogen's Instructions To The Cook - Part II by Larry Rosenberg

In this talk Larry Rosenberg continues with the theme of daily life being practice and practice being daily life. When you cook "just" cook, put your whole attention and being into the work of the moment.


Dogen's Instructions To The Cook - Part III by Larry Rosenberg

There's a lot of ground covered in this one, good talk.


Dogen's Instructions To The Cook - Part IV by Larry Rosenberg

In this final talk of the series Larry Rosenberg offers advice on how to take the practice of the retreat with us back into the "world" of our everyday lives, pointing to the teaching to the cook that it's all the same; the moment is the moment.


Independence Day, True Independence and Its Wider implications by James Baraz

A talk given in the lead up to the 4th of July Independence day celebrations. James Baraz speaks of how true independence is freedom from the idea of self and how such freedom brings insight into the essential interdependence of everything.


Knowing Attachment by Ajahn Santacitta

Ajahn Santacitta is a senior nun at Aloka Vihara which with the blessing of the Forest Sangha monastic communities in Europe, was established as a branch monastery for training women in the United States.


The Heart Based on the Brahma Viharas by Ajahn Thitamedha

This is a talk by Ajahn Thitamedha, the Russian nun who lead the lay forum the first time we visited Chithurst monastery. You need to listen carefully as she has a strong accent but it's well worth it for this beautiful teaching and fresh take on the four Brahma Viharas or "Divine Abidings".


The Buddhist Atheist, interview with Stephen Batchelor

In this interview with Vince Horn of Buddhist Geeks, Secular Buddhist teacher Stephen Batchelor explores some of the ideas presented in his newest book, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. They start off by examining the two Buddhist doctrines of karma and rebirth, using the original teachings of the Buddha, especially the “imponderables” as a touchstone for the conversation. Stephen’s basic claim being that the belief in rebirth doesn’t have sufficient evidence behind it, and it actually takes away from the core practices and teachings of the Buddha.