series

Foundations, part 3: dāna, the Culture of Giving

Giving was so central to the early Buddhist system that it’s hard to overstate how much seems lost around this profound practice in the Western transmission. In the Insight Meditation system and other convert Buddhisms, dāna (Giving) is often just thought of as the practice of giving monetary donations for teachings or at the end of retreats. This makes sense …

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Liberation and Finality: Does this Path have an end?

A series of talks on the difficult descriptions of liberation in the Theravāda system: the Four Paths and Fruits. We talked mostly about Stream-entry, emphasizing some of the most mysterious aspects of this idea. Finality. Completion. Perfection. To engage or not? Is that even the right question? We’ll talk about “enlightenment” all month at Satsang, using a text called “The …

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Toward an Enraged Buddhism, Part 2

Continuing from Part 1, I talk here more about the value of anger, and differentiating types of strong aversive emotion. Anger, rage, critique, and tone. What’s skillful or unskillful for individual or communal liberation? Self-protective nervous system responses, tone-policing, who gets to decide who speaks and how, and how a classical Buddhist approach might not actually be the same as …

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Positionality is Ancestral Karma

Two talks on the complex current discourse known as “positionality”, which basically means that the social roles and conditioned state we experience the world through determine how and what we can perceive and know. I propose that the practice of inquiry into positionality is both a foundation for the insight into the emptiness of the sense of self (anattā), and …

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Mindfulness and its Discontents

A series of talks on “Mindfulness,” the great universal self-improvement practice. Ok, not quite. But mindfulness is awesome. Just not in the way the magazines want you to think. We’ll start with the basics of Buddhist Mindfulness. What it is and may not be, how we can discern its presence or absence as an embodied state, why it’s so important, why …

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Organic Intelligence basics for yoga & meditation practice

Four talks on the basics of Organic Intelligence (OI) as it might be applied to yoga and meditation practice. These talks were given in the context of a “Trauma-Sensitive Yoga” weekend at Namaste (June 2018), and look at the building blocks of OI using the common practice of yoga class and posture work as the main examples. Some of what …

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The Great Demons: Systemic trauma & social action

Based in our recent exploration of the Diamond Sūtra and the ideal of the Bodhisattva, we begin a series of discussions of what I’ll call the Great Demons, the systemic ills we struggle with and which so clearly are conditions for global suffering right now. We’ll work with three core models for understanding systemic ill, all of which I’ll explain …

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Vastness & Engagement: Exploring the Diamond Sutra

Coming out of a few weeks of conversation about foundational themes in the Buddhist systems called Mahāyāna, or “Great Vehicle,” we look at one of the most important and beloved texts of the Mahāyāna school known as the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñāpāramitā), the Diamond Sutra (vajracchedikā sūtra). I’m reading through it slowly, in Red Pine’s ch’an/zen-oriented translation, and reflecting on some …

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