The greatest gift is the
gift of the teachings
Dharma Talks given at Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
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2022-07-14 The Five Hindrances 62:19
Mei Elliott
This talk provides an overview of the Five Hindrances, afflictive mental states that obscure our inner wisdom. It covers how to practice with the hindrances by engaging mindfulness, curiosity and kindness, as well as how to apply antidotes. Mei Elliott is currently the director of San Francisco Zen Center’s City Center temple, where she lives and practices.

2022-07-07 Brahma Viharas as Antidotes to Negative Judgments 58:50
Eve Decker
The Brahma Viharas ("Divine Abodes") are practices we can use to wisely meet the moment. In the context of negative judgments, each of these practices (lovingkindness, compassion, appreciation and equanimity) has a particular gift to give. This talk explores these beautiful qualities and how we can practice them when negative judgments arise.

2022-06-30 Cultivating the Wise Caring Responsive Heart in the Face of the Eco-Crisis 57:27
Jean Leonard
Jean Leonard, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and meditation teacher in private practice in Louisville, and is a board member of the Rocky Mountain EcoDharma Retreat Center. She has practiced vipassana meditation since 2003 and teaches mindfulness classes and mentors mindfulness teachers in training through Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach’s MMTCP program.

2022-06-23 Self-Friendliness: What it isn't and is, why and how we can practice 55:37
Eve Decker
The Buddha said – "...and how does one abide with one's heart imbued with loving kindness? Just as one would feel friendliness on encountering a dearly beloved friend, so does one extend loving kindness to oneself and all creatures." Do you feel friendliness toward yourself in a consistent way? If not, why not? And what are some effective practices to deepen self-friendliness and the positive effect that has on all areas of life, including happiness, health, and relationships?

2022-06-16 Amazing Grace: Why Do Some People Turn Their Suffering into Compassion While Others Become Embittered? 50:41
James Baraz
In one discourse the Buddha taught that suffering can be a causative factor for faith to arise. However, that is not always the case. In fact, often suffering leads to bitterness, fear, and ill will. Why is it that, for some people, suffering is the catalyst to begin their spiritual journey and for others it's leads to negative patterns that contribute to a society filled with divisiveness, fear and "othering." We'll explore this mysterious process

2022-06-12 The Five Daily Reflections 52:53
James Baraz
A follow up to a recent talk that focused on death and dying. This talk explores the other four of the Five Daily Reflections (also known as the Five Remembrances): aging, illness, loss and karma. It includes practices and discussion on how we can include them regularly in our Dharma practice, which the Buddha highly recommended.

2022-06-09 5 Methods to Work with Troublesome Thoughts: MN #20: Vitakkasanthana Sutta 49:43
James Baraz
The Buddha gave a teaching on five different methods he recommended to work with disturbing thoughts. When we are mindful of the thinking process it's possible to see thoughts simply as mental fabrications. However, when we get caught in them and the body gets activated, we spin out in the story and are caught in a negative emotional response. We become identified with those mental formations and can more easily get lost. When that happens, the Buddha offers these five strategies as skillful techniques to deal with the confused mind.

2022-06-02 Resting with Impermanence Riding the Waves of Change 51:10
Eve Decker
Things are constantly changing. Using mindfulness to bring attention to this reality is a reliable way to teach the mind to bring endurance and compassion to difficult times, and to savor and be nourished by pleasant moments. When the mind can see for itself that everything is changing all the time, it can become less reactive, more responsive, and better at letting go.

2022-05-26 Songs and Poems to Support Practice 56:10
Eve Decker
There is great value in memorizing wisdom teachings. It gives the mind access to support when a teacher, spiritual friend, or book isn't readily available. One easy and fun way to log wise teachings into long term memory is through songs and poems with messages of mindfulness, lovingkindness, compassion and more. Eve shares several that came up supportively on her recent two week retreat; and you are warmly welcome to bring a practice-supporting poem or song as well.

2022-05-19 The Problem with Resisting Reality: The Possibility of Real Freedom 52:21
James Baraz
As much as we would like things to be a certain way, we have limited control over the way things are. Even though that may be apparent to all Dharma students who have some practice under their belt, the mind still gets caught in the habit of attachment to things being a certain way. This week we will explore what gets in the way, how we can open to the way things really are and the radical shift that can occur within us when we see through this self-created prison.

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