Thursday, 13 December 2012

Our Relationship to Thinking by Brian Lesage

Brian Lesage has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1988 and has taught meditation since 2000. He has studied in the Zen, Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism. He was ordained in the Rinzai Zen tradition in 1996. His training in Vipassana Meditation includes doing extended meditation retreats in Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, and India as well as numerous retreats in the U.S. He leads retreats and teaches meditation courses nationwide.


Friday, 16 November 2012

Equanimity by Sylvia Boorstein

This talk by Sylvia Boorstein is rather "conversational", it starts half way through a discussion of the "recent" election and Obama's re-instatement as U.S. President.

It takes a look at all of the Brahma Viharas, while concentrating upon upekkhā, or equanimity.


Friday, 26 October 2012

Putting Down The Aggregates - Part I by Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia

This is the first of two talks by Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia looking at the five aggregates in terms of practise.

Gloria has been offering instruction in Theravada Buddhist teachings and practices since 1990. She is a student of the western forest sangha, the disciples of Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho, and is a Lay Buddhist Minister in association with Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in California. She has served as resident teacher of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts from 1996 through 1999. Taraniya teaches at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and at Dhamma centres in the United States.


And here is part two...........


Friday, 19 October 2012

The Myth About More by Ajahn Munindo

This talk is by Ajahn Munindo who provides our regular Moon day reflection. ‘Moon day’ is one verse from the Dhammapada, supported by a short reflection on the verse.

Ajahn Munindo is abbot of Aruna Ratanagiri, a monastery located at Harnham in Northumberland.


Friday, 12 October 2012

Exploration of the Kalama Sutta by Andrea Fella

In this talk Andrea Fella explores what is one of the most popular Suttas, the Kalama Sutta, a discourse of the Buddha contained in the Aṅguttara Nikaya. It is often described as the Buddha's "charter of free inquiry."

In it the Buddha says, only when one personally knows that a certain teaching is skillful, blameless, praiseworthy, and conducive to happiness, and that it is praised by the wise, should one then accept it as true and practice it.


Saturday, 6 October 2012

Attachment by Ajahn Brahmali

Ajahn Brahmali was born in Norway in 1964, first became interested in Buddhism and meditation in his early 20s after a visit to Japan.

He ordained as a monk with Ajahn Brahm as his preceptor in 1996. For the past 4 years he has been teaching Pali and the Vinaya ( monastic discipline) to the monks at Bodhinyana Monaster.


Friday, 28 September 2012

Differentiating Right Effort from Wise Effort by Rodney Smith

Nature, death and spontaneous freedom continually interweave themselves into my teaching. From the forest of Thailand, where I spent several years, I bring a deep awareness of the healing quality of nature into my teachings. Relaxing into our true nature allows us to realize what it means to be a human being. It is here we find a resting point, a counterbalance to the speed and turbulence of our culture.

My work in hospice brings a sense of urgency into my teaching. Working with the theme of death and dying reveals the here and now of life to us, how important it is to open to each loss, change and transition that marks our path. Life is precious. We need to awaken without hesitation.

Many of us crave to be more calm and centred. We know that life has more to offer than this fleeting material world. For each of us, the Dharma offers an immediacy of freedom for which we do not have to strive or wait. In practice, we can learn to relax deeply into the moment and rediscover spontaneous freedom.


Friday, 14 September 2012

The Art of Inquiry by Martin Aylward

Martin Aylward began practising Dharma at the age of 19, spending several years in Asian Buddhist monasteries and with Himalayan hermits. Martin is Co-Founder and Resident Teacher of Moulin de Chaves Meditation Centre in South West France, and reflecting his interest in engaged Dharma practice, has a new website, and is beginning to offer retreats, called Work Sex Money Dharma. He has been teaching internationally since 1999.


Friday, 7 September 2012

Got Freedom by Vinny Ferraro

Vinny Ferraro has been practicing meditation since 1993. He has studied with several renowned spiritual teachers including Jack Kornfield, Ajahn Sumedho and the Dalai Lama. In 1998, he spent a year sitting bedside with the dying through the San Francisco Zen Center Hospice Program. Since 2000 Vinny has led workshops for youth in schools internationally for a non-profit organization called Challenge Day, which led him to facilitate a group of teens and their families for the Oprah show. He has taught meditation to incarcerated youth and adults and is currently training dharma teachers to do the same for MBA, The Mind Body Awareness Project. He is a Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader and has been teaching the weekly Friday night insight meditation group, Dharma Punx, in San Francisco since 2004.


Saturday, 25 August 2012

A Special Monk & Monastic Memories by Steve Armstrong

This Thursday featured a double bill of two shorter talks by Steve Armstrong. In both he talks of his time as a monk in Burma and of some of the inspirational monks that he met there.

A Special Monk


Monastic Memories


Friday, 10 August 2012

Renunciation by Ayya Anandabodhi

This seemed an appropriate choice of talk following our recent visit to the Buddhist Monastery at Chithurst. The nuns community there has been steadily diminishing in the wake of the controversy over Bhikkhuni ordination.

Some of the nuns left to form the Aloka Vihara in San Francisco, which is supported by the Saranaloka Foundation. This was established in 2004 to support nuns from Chithurst and Amaravati monasteries to come to the United States to teach. After numerous visits, enthusiasm for the presence of women monastics allowed Saranaloka to extend an invitation to the nuns' community to set up a permanent monastery in the United States.

The decision of the nuns to take bhikkhuni ordination was followed by a decision of the Saranaloka Foundation to allow the evolution of Aloka Vihara to include ordained bhikkhunis. It is the intention of the Board of Directors to offer support to both the siladhara (10-precept nuns) in England, when they come to America to teach or visit and to the Aloka Vihara and its resident nuns who take bhikkhuni ordination.

The Aloka Vihara is well supported and both Ayya Anandabodhi and Ayya Santacitta are in residence there.


Friday, 3 August 2012

Mindfulness in the Buddhist Context by Gil Frosdal

Gil Fronsdal is the primary teacher for the Insight Meditation Centre in Redwood City, California; he has been teaching since 1990. He has practised Zen and Vipassana in the U.S. and Asia since 1975. He was a Theravada monk in Burma in 1985, and in 1989 began training with Jack Kornfield to be a Vipassana teacher.

Gil teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Centre where he is part of its Teachers Council. Gil was ordained as a Soto Zen priest at the San Francisco Zen Centre in 1982, and in 1995 received Dharma Transmission from Mel Weitsman, the abbot of the Berkeley Zen Centre. He is currently serving on the SF Zen Centre Elders’ Council.


Friday, 27 July 2012

I am of the Nature to Age by Anna Douglas

Anna Douglas, PhD. is a Buddhist Dharma Teacher, one of the founders of Spirit Rock Meditation Centre.

Her focus is on helping students of the Dharma mature in their practice, taking the practice off the cushion into their daily lives.

This talk examines Anicca, impermanence and the fact that we all age, grow older and die, and how realising this leads to liberation.


Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Buddha's Personality by Vishvapani

The third in a major new series of talks by Vishvapani to mark the launch of his new book: 'Gautama Buddha: The Life and Teachings of the Awakened One' (Quercus, 2011). Vishvapani is a well known figure in the Triratna Buddhist Community and is a regular contributor on the BBC's 'Thought for the Day'.

Great artists have tried and failed to grasp the essence of the Buddha's character. Beyond the narrative and the drama, what was the Buddha actually like? And what can be gleaned from the diverse sources that tell us about him? In this reflective talk Vishavapani looks behind the veils of history, legend and the texts themselves to conjure a vivid, felt image of the Buddha's personality. In a series of beautifully observed close-up drawings from the Pali Canon we are left with a portrait of spiritual genius that is both enigmatically distant and thoroughly human. Talk given at the London Buddhist Centre, February 2011. This talk is part of the series Gautama Buddha.


Friday, 13 July 2012

The Mind is an Interpretation Machine by Grove Burnett

Grove T. Burnett is founder of the Western Environmental Law Center, a public interest environmental law firm and has had a distinguished career representing environmental organizations and Indian Tribes across the West.

Grove has litigated many of the most important environmental cases in the Southwest, including the reintroduction of the endangered Mexican Wolf (the Lobo) back into the wild. He has been named four times to The Best Lawyers in America, which lists the top 1% of the nation's lawyers, and has received national recognition and many awards for his pathbreaking work in public interest environmental law, including the prestigious Kerry Rydberg Award for Environmental Activism and the E-chievement Award from the nationally syndicated radio show E-Town. Grove is also co-founder, along with Linda Velarde, of the Vallecitos Mountain Refuge, a wilderness ranch and contemplative center for the nonprofit and activist community, located 45 miles west of Taos.

Grove has trained extensively in the Buddhist traditions for over 25 years with Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, and Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. In addition to teaching meditation retreats at Vallecitos, he teaches retreats with Steven Smith, Sharon Salzberg, and Joseph Goldstein, including meditation retreats for the Yale Law School and the Insight Meditation Society.


Saturday, 23 June 2012

How Do We Become Wise by Sylvia Boorstein

Sylvia Boorstein is a co-founding teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, where she leads a popular weekly class on Wednesday mornings. She is also a Senior Teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She lectures nationally on Buddhism and mindfulness; she teaches vipassana and metta meditation. She emphasizes seeing daily life as practice and has a special ability to illustrate how we can be mindful standing in a grocery store checkout line as well as sitting on a meditation cushion.


Friday, 15 June 2012

Engaged Buddhism by David Loy

In this fascinating talk David Loy examines the ethical approaches of the West, based on the Abrahamic faiths and that of the East, based on Buddhism. The full title of the talk is "Engaged Buddhism; Personal Transformation and Social Justice".

David R. Loy (born July 27, 1947) is a Buddhist philosopher who writes on the interaction between Buddhism and modernity. He has been practicing Zen since 1971 and is an authorized teacher in the Sanbo-Kyodan tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism. David has taught at the National University of Singapore and Bunkyo University in Japan. From 2006 to 2010 he was the Besl Family Chair Professor of ethics/religion and society at Xavier University in Cincinnati.


Saturday, 26 May 2012

Retreat Talks

Yesterday some of us from the West Wight Sangha travelled into Newport to join the Soto Zen group for a day's meditation retreat, the following two talks were used.

The first, "Wisdom and Compassion", is by Swiss dharma teacher Ursula Flückiger.


The second is by Jeffrey Schneider and is entitled "There is No God and No Soul". Unfortunately the sound quality is not great but the talk is well worth listening to.


Friday, 18 May 2012

Dependent Origination by Leigh Brasington

This is another series of talks, this time by Leigh Brasington on the subject of Dependent Origination. Only the second talk was short enough to be suitable for the evening meeting with the Soto Zen group in Newport. However, the complete series is available here.

Dependent Origination Part 1


Dependent Origination Part 2


Dependent Origination Part 3


Dependent Origination Part 4


Friday, 16 March 2012

Applying The Four Foundations by Rodney Smith

The principles of the Four Nobel Truths, we are all familiar with, but the application of the principles lie within the integrated understanding of the Four Foundations. In this fascinating talk Rodney Smith goes deep into the Dharma and the nature of perceptual reality. One of the best talks that I have heard in a long time.

This is the first of a collection of five talks; we will feature the whole series as they are given. The talks were delivered at the Forest Refuge at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts U.S.A.


This is the second talk in this series, "Second Foundation; Dissolving Form".


This is the third talk, "Third Foundation; Just This".


The fourth talk is "Exploring The Third Foundation".


This is the final talk, "Application Of The Four Foundations".


Friday, 9 March 2012

Beauty of Energy by Steve Armstrong

In this dharma talk, part of a non-residential retreat series on "Qualities of a Beautiful Mind," Steve
Armstrong focuses on one of the ten paramis: beauty. Steve discusses how an awakened mind is marked by energy, used to benefit one's own life and the lives of others.


Friday, 2 March 2012

Dharma Talk at Cambridge Insight Meditation Centre by Jack Engler

Jack Engler is one of the pioneers of transpersonal theory, a relatively new way of thinking about human development in which Western psychological theory meets Eastern enlightenment philosophy. He is a practicing psychotherapist who also teaches Theravada Buddhist "mindfulness" meditation and Buddhist psychology. He is also the man who made the by-now famous declaration: "You have to be somebody before you can be nobody." His statement has become a catchphrase in much of the Western Buddhist world and almost a commandment among transpersonal psychologists and theorists.


Friday, 10 February 2012

Its About Time by Wes Nisker

Wes Nisker has studied Buddhist meditation for over three decades with teachers in Asia and America, and for the past 20 years has been leading his own retreats and workshops in Buddhist insight meditation and philosophy at venues internationally. He is an affiliate teacher at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, and does regular workshops at Esalen Institute and other venues.

He is also the founder and co-editor of the international Buddhist journal Inquiring Mind.


Friday, 3 February 2012

Neuro Dharma by Dr. Cliff Saron

Dr. Cliff Saron speaks with us about the limits of science, our paradigms, and the relation between statements made at the population level and what is meaningful for the individual in Buddhist training.
Our meditation is, by its very nature, in our own body and mind. It’s internal, there’s very little for someone to watch on the outside, they can’t do a fly through of our minds to see what’s going on. As it is so very subjective, there is a challenge when science does a study about that practice.


Friday, 27 January 2012

Wholeheartedly Being Ourselves by Paul Haller

Ryushin Paul Haller, City Centre Abbot at the San Francisco Zen Centre, is a dharma heir of Sojun Mel Weitsman and has taught at Zen Center for over 20 years. He teaches throughout the U.S. and Europe and has led mindfulness programs to assist with depression and recovery. Paul has also taught in prisons and has a long involvement with the Zen Hospice Project. He has been practicing yoga for 25 years.
Founder and former Director of Outreach at SFZC, Paul is interested in finding ways of expressing our practice in society, both as compassionate service and making it available to as many people as possible. He became abbot of Zen Center in 2003 and is originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland.


Friday, 20 January 2012

Truth - The End Of Programs by Ajahn Sucitto

This talk by Ajahn Sucitto is about the central importance of telling the truth and being "true", in alignment with reality.


Friday, 13 January 2012

Patience by Ursula Flückiger

An in depth talk on Patience, the tenth of the ten Paramis or Perfections.

Ursula Flückiger has been practicing insight meditation since 1980 with teachers such as Ven. Ajahn Sumedho, Joseph Goldstein, Christina Feldman. She feels very inspired by the compassion practices of the Tibetan Mahayana Tradition. She is a trained Hakomi psychotherapist, has been guiding insight meditation retreats since 1990 and is a co-founder of the Meditation Centre Beatenberg.