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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2021-06-03 Divisiveness in the Buddha's Community: The Quarrel at Kosambi 52:18
One of the greatest challenges today in the US is divisiveness within the country. However, the Buddha faced the same problem right within his community! The Quarrel at Kosambi tells the story of his sangha dealing with a bitter argument that almost created a schism in the sangha. And the Buddha had a very difficult time trying to bring peace between the two factions. We will discuss this story and the lessons we can learn that can be applied in today's time.
2021-05-27 Not Seeing Dukkha is Dukkha 51:30
This talk is based on a teaching from Joseph Goldstein: "Not seeing dukkha is dukkha." It's humbling to realize that we are creating much of our suffering. But it's through clearly seeing this that we also create the possibility of truly waking up. We can change our whole relationship to seeing how we get caught by old habits and thought patterns from self-judgment to compassion and liberation.
2021-05-13 Forgiving the Unforgivable: Angulimala Sutta (MN #86) 55:45
Angulimala was a feared serial killer who was the scourge of the land--until he met the Buddha. We will explore his story and its relevance for our practice in learning to keep our hearts open to those who cause great harm. Why does the Buddha find it beneficial and how is this possible?
2021-05-06 Saying Goodbye: When a Friend Dies 60:25
This past week James felt very fortunate to be with one of his dearest friends in his final days died. This talk explores that life passage. How can we say goodbye to a loved one and grieve fully with the understanding that death is a natural part of the life cycle? How can practice help us through that process?
2021-03-28 Befriending Ourselves Daylong 4:26:41
James Baraz and Eve Decker When we develop a basic kindness towards ourselves we not only learn to accept the difficult parts, but in the process embrace our humanity and see more clearly the beauty that's inside. As we do that we allow our goodness and True Nature to shine through. This becomes a gift to everyone we meet, a healing energy that awakens the goodness in others as well.
2021-03-18 Honeyball Sutta: The Buddha's Teaching on Papanća 56:36
Have you ever wondered how your mind can move from one thought to getting lost in a complex story without you knowing how you got there? The Buddha describes this process in his Honeyball Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya #19) where he explains the phenomenon of papanća or proliferation of thought. The more we understand this porcess and work with it as practice, the less we get caught up in the stories the mind creates.
2021-03-04 Eve Decker - 8-Fold Path 51:24
Eve Decker talks about the 8-Fold Path
2021-02-25 Gratitude 52:46
In the Mangala Sutta, the Discourse on Blessings, the Buddha teaches: "To be content and grateful is a blessing supreme." Gratitude is a particularly potent ally in awakening true happiness because it helps expand the mind as well as the heart. With a grateful heart we have a larger container and more space to hold the difficulties we encounter. When we pause to notice what we usually take for granted a new world of possibilities opens up. It's as if we've changed the station instead of being stuck on our own little "drama channel."
2021-02-18 The Secret Ingredients of Dharma Practice 37:59
One of the lesser known lists are four different qualities of heart, The Four Iddhipadas, that are present in people with differing temperaments, that are powerful motivators for practice.
2021-02-11 Intention from the Heart 49:58
The Buddha taught "Intention is karma". We will look at two manifestations of intention and how we can work with this powerful energy to increase well being.

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