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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2016-09-08 "All It Takes Is a Moment" 48:23
Even when we see how the mind and heart are contracted and caught, we might still be stuck. Seeing clearly how we're identified with the "story" doesn't necessarily reduce the suffering. It's a good and important start. The real shift occurs when, at some point, the heart releases and truly opens to access genuine metta.
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-08-25 "A Box Full of Darkness" 55:48
Mary Oliver wrote: "Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too was a gift." When life brings us unwanted suffering it's sometimes possible to use the experience to deepen our wisdom and compassion, what has been called "grace disguised as obstacles."
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-08-18 "The Tall Poppy and the Shrinking Violet" 49:23
Strong identification with self often leads to an insecurity that can manifest in two extremes: someone hungry for recognition, validation and praise or someone who is shy, lost in self-judgment, and afraid of being exposed as an impostor. Both of these are all too human. There is a middle path where one knows ones worth and appreciates their wholesome qualities while not identifying with them. This talk explores how practice can support a wise understanding that allows us to just be ourselves and know that is enough.
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-06-23 "Light brings out the darkness. Darkness brings out the light." 49:08
It seems that the interplay between ignorance and consciousness is an on-going dance--within ourselves, in our relationships and within our society. Understanding this dance can help us hold it all with greater equanimity. (At the time of the talk James was under the impression that the UK vote in process would have the country remain in the EU. As it turned out the vote ended up the other way.) This link below goes along with the theme for this week’s talk: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/broadway-stars-orlando-tribute-song_us_5768ea6de4b0fbbc8beb8b7b?sectio=
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-06-09 Ajahn Chandako from Austraila with James 1:16:40
Ajahn Chandako, an Amaravati monastic who is the abbot of Vimutti Buddhist Monastery in New Zealand. Ajahn, who is US born, has been a monk for 25 years and brings a deep, clear, playful attitude toward practice. Join us for a rich evening of dharma.
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-06-02 “Taking the Focus Off ME“ 53:47
Most of us know the feeling of self-consciousness when faced with a new situation or meeting new people. How can we relax, just be ourselves and really enjoy the connection? We’ll explore simple practices to allow our authentic self to shine through. Join us for an evening of practice and dharma.
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-05-26 "Who Are You Anyway - Attachment to Identity" 55:34
It's hard not to view ourselves through our accomplishments, possessions or attributes, even when circumstances change. How can we see through those temporary conditions to realize our true nature?
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-05-12 James with a special visitor: Buddhist Nun Ayya Yeshe. She has developed the Bodhicitta Foundation to support the empowerment of women and children from the previously ‘untouchable’ caste in Central India. The talk started with this YouTube video at ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCOpZ3kpIJU ) of her work. To learn more about her work, go to the Bodhicitta Foundation at ( http://bodhicitta-vihara.com/ ) 39:53
Bodhicitta Foundation is a socially engaged charity that helps ex-untouchable Indians – a community that was previously enslaved and forced to do the most demeaning kinds of work for little pay. They also help slum people, offer a women’s job training center, sewing, English computer classes and have a children’s study center. In addition they offer counseling for domestic violence, have a malnourished children’s program and offer basic medical and housing assistance.
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-04-28 The Story of Devadatta: Lust for Power in the Buddha's Time 52:51
Devadatta, the Buddha's cousin and brother-in-law, joined the Order in the early years with good intentions. Over time his jealousy and obsession with power turned him into the Buddha's main enemy. This dramatic story, reading like a Hollywood screenplay, gives us lessons in just what hunger for power can drive someone to do and the Buddha's wise responses to the various threats he faced.
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-04-24 Equanimity: Finding Balance in Our Practice 2:55:56
This daylong includes general talks on the theme of cultivating equanimity into your dharma practice. In addition to the talks and discussion, I offer the following practices with instructions that can be used to incline the mind toward equanimity (edited to remove lengthy periods of silence during the guided meditations): Practice #1 - Seeing things as they are Practice #2 - Looking through the lens of impermanence Practice #3 - Looking through the lens of vedana (feeling tone; 2nd foundation of mindfulness) Practice #4 - Equanimity with Big Mind meditation Practice #5 - Equanimty using traditional Brahma Viharas phrases
IMCB Regular Talks

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