The greatest gift is the
gift of the teachings
 
James Baraz's Dharma Talks at Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
James Baraz
I try to convey that the wisdom and compassion we are looking for is already inside of us. I see practice as learning how to purify our mind and heart so we can hear the Buddha inside. In doing so, we naturally embody the dharma and help awaken that understanding and love in others we meet.
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2024-03-21 Great Female Disciples of the Buddha 50:09
Most of the Buddha's disciples whose names we are familiar with, such as Ananda and Sariputta, are men. The Buddha also had women disciples who were wise and profound practitioners like Mahapajapati, the Buddha's aunt/foster mother, responsible for the establishment of the order of nuns or Patacara, revered teacher, who tragically lost her family and eventually became fully enlightened. “If the measure of a human life is a chance to have significance that extends beyond itself, then we’ve hit the jackpot. We are alive at game time on the planet, when everything we value is genuinely threatened, when it’s time for all hands on deck.” —Terry Patten, A New Republic of the Heart
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2024-03-07 Groundlessness: A Doorway to Liberation 60:09
Pema Chödrön writes: "It's not impermanence per se, or even knowing we're going to die, that is the cause of our suffering, the Buddha taught. Rather, it's our resistance to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation. Our discomfort arises from all of our efforts to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness. When we resist change, it's called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that's called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness." Let's investigate the underlying feeling of insecurity to see how it can be used as a path to real freedom.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2024-02-01 Sudden Awakening, Gradual Cultivation: The Process of Purification 52:56
Sometimes it feels as if our practice is taking one step forward and two steps back. Or two steps forward and two steps back. In this talk I want to explore the process of awakening in the context of understanding the trajectory of practice. Even though it might not seem as if much is happening or that you're truly growing, it's happening anyway. However, there are some things to know about how the process works that can help you develop patience, confidence and inspiration.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2024-01-18 On Having No Head: A Simple, Effective Anatta Practice 53:07
We all know the unpleasant feeling of self-consciousness. It is one thought away from self-judgment, self-criticism and a whole spectrum of “Selfing” thoughts. This week I want to share with you a simple and effective practice to cut through this painful negative mental habit which, when utilized, takes the “self” out of self-consciousness.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2024-01-04 Your Heart Was Made For This 55:30
with James Baraz, Oren Jay Sofer
Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed an uplifting transition to 2024. I'm delighted to invite you to join me in welcoming author and Dharma teacher Oren Jay Sofer for an evening of online practice and exploration based on his new book, Your Heart Was Made For This: Contemplative Practices to Meet a World in Crisis with Courage, Integrity, and Love. What does the contemplative path have to offer our aching hearts in a rapidly changing world beset with challenge? What can our practice offer beyond personal benefits?
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2023-12-28 End of Year Reflection: Honoring this Moment Together 54:14
As we come to the last gathering of the year, join us online as we will reflect on this moment together--looking back at the past year, seeing where we are right now and getting in touch with our vision for the upcoming year. We will mark this time together with an end-of-year ritual and support each other in our intentions for the New Year. Please bring a candle, some pare and a writing implement.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2023-12-22 The Light Inside the Darkness: A Winter Solstice Reflection 56:55
This Thursday our meeting will take place just as we arrive at this year's Winter Solstice (7:27pm Pacific Time). This longest night of the year has given rise to many holidays of light (Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Soyal, the winter solstice celebration of the Hopi Indians, and many others). We will explore accessing the light within as we experience the solstice and navigate the shadow within us and in the world.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2023-11-17 Changing the Channel - Letting in the Good 46:10
The barrage of frightening headlines every day often leave us with feelings of despair, hopelessness and negativity. While it's important to feel connected to the suffering all around us, it is equally important to nourish ourselves by opening to the goodness in life--both inside and around us. This helps us skillfully create a larger container so that we are not overwhelmed by the dukkha but rather can process it with balance and skill.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2023-11-09 Fnding Refuge - Skillfully holding it all 52:06
Refuge is a word that is often used in Buddhist teachings. We long to feel safe and protected from inner and outer harm. When everything seems out of control where can we find true refuge? How can the practice help us hold it all? This talk refers to a highly recommended conversation on the Mideast situation between two women (one Israeli, one German) who give communication trainings based on Nonviolent Communication: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K16F_lL4N1w.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
2023-10-19 Current Crisis in Israel and Gaza 1:33:07
with James Baraz, Stephen Fulder
Israeli Dharma Teacher Stephen Fulder joins James and shares about the current crisis in Israel and Gaza
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley

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