This talk explores how true empathy and compassion occur when we are able to put ourselves inside the skin of others. When we are truly in contact with suffering (including our own) genuine compassion is born in us. The talk concludes with a boundless radiation lovingkindness practice.
To develop a wise and balanced practice, we need to cultivate both emptiness and compassion. Tipping too far into emptiness, our hearts can close to the suffering of the world; tipping too far into compassion we may become overwhelmed by suffering because we because we can’t see emptiness at the core. This talk explores the balance of the two.
As “devotion” is a loaded of a word some, we can also define it as loving attention and dedication. If you’re a familiar with Mary Oliver’s poetry, you’ll recognize “attention is the beginning of devotion” as a quote from her. In the talk I include a few of her poems that so perfectly reflect how attention leads to devotion through even the everyday elements of life and nature. I also talk about how devotion can be a balancing factor of heart and mind.
This talk explores the powerful and illuminating trifecta of Beginner’s Mind, Don’t Know Mind and Inquiry and the concrete ways they support us in our practice and our lives.
Our spiritual freedom is always available, even in the presence of difficulty, constriction and suffering. A moment of compassionate remembering and we can find release and freedom in this very moment.
Is enlightenment an esoteric experience that we must cultivate or is awareness itself enlightenment? Perhaps its closer at hand than we think.
Sometimes, in trying to hold ourselves up and avoid drowning, we may feel the rope burning and slipping through our hands. But we can find unimaginable freedom by letting go of the rope and learning to swim in the drowning pool.
The monkey is reaching
For the moon in the water.
Until death overtakes him
He’ll never give up.
If he’d let go the branch and
Disappear in the deep pool,
The whole world would shine
With dazzling pureness.
This dharma talk explores the comical “oatmeal incident” and how to meet all of experience directly and openly through the awakened heart/mind.
I met Michael Stone, a popular and beloved Buddhist meditation teacher, while teaching at Spirit Rock in May. We had a lovely dinner together and I got to know him just a bit. His death in July of a likely drug overdose resulting from bi-polar disorder was a shock to the international yoga and dharma community. Here I share my reflections on dharma, death and my brief but memorable encounter with Michael.
Notes: The photograph was taken by me at Michael’s request. The formal dharma talk ends at 19:05.
This dharma talk explores the intersection of delusion and Buddha Nature, how the awakened heart/mind is always available, even in the most difficult moments.