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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2020-10-29 A Time For Equanimity 60:45
We are in a unique moment in time for the United States and the world. How can we stay centered and even cultivate equanimity? Is it possible to hold a positive vision without getting caught in extra anxiety about the outcome? Can we allow for things to unfold as they will while having a clear focus of what we want to help create? Equanimity includes surrendering attachment while being inspired by gratitude, awe and possibility.
2020-10-22 Brahma Viharas - Eve Decker 51:11
Eve Decker, dharma teacher, singer-songwriter explores the Brahma Viharas much needed medicine for this time along with a song for evoking each one.
2020-10-15 Choosing Earth Pt. 1 with Duane Elgin and Friends 62:34
The second of two talks with wisdom teacher Duane Elgin and friends sharing Elgin's realistic, sobering but ultimately hopeful vision of where we could be heading the next fifty years. His book Choosing Earth: Humanity's Great Transformation to a Mature Planetary Civilization discusses the possibilities that lie ahead and the vision for how we can use this time to wake up as a species. A brief recap of previous talk with additional comments, Then an exploration of how to hold the unfolding from a psychological and Dharma perspective.
2020-10-08 "Choosing Earth" with Duane Elgin and Coleen LeDrew Elgin 64:28
James' special guests are wisdom teacher Duane Elgin (author of the classic Voluntary Simplicity) and his partner, Coleen LeDrew Elgin, share his realistic but hopeful vision of where we could be heading the next fifty years. His new book Choosing Earth: Humanity's Great Transformation to a Mature Planetary Civilization discusses the possibilities that lie ahead and the vision for how we can use this time to wake up as a species.
2020-10-01 Holding a Positive Vision: Part 3 44:48
A third in a series of talks on holding a positive vision. We explore some of the principles on mindful engagement presented in Sharon Salzberg's book Real Change: Mindfulness for Ourselves and the World
2020-09-24 "Contributing Effectively in Times of Crisis" Part 2 49:55
This week we will continue with Roger Walsh's essay: "Ten Principles to Know to Contribute Strategically". These principles provide a big-picture context for understanding our current dilemmas, unearthing their deepest roots, and revealing the deepest and most effective responses. This is part of a series of talks on the importance of holding a positive vision even through the storm.
2020-09-17 "Contributing Effectively in Times of Crisis" Part 1 53:47
In this time of great chaos and confusion we look at wisdom thinker Roger Walsh's new essay: "Contributing Effectively in Times of Crisis". We start by looking at four crucial questions: 1) What can I do? 2) What do I feel called to contribute? 3) What's the most strategic thing I can do? 4) How can I live my life so as to be an optimal instrument of service? The talk ends with Melanie DeMore singing I'm Sending You Light"
2020-09-10 Holding a Positive Vision 53:47
It seems like an accomplishment just getting through such tumultuous times--wildfires on the West Coast, storms around the country, coronavirus lockdown and the US in daily chaos. It would be understandable to succumb to anxiety and overwhelm. But as the Buddha taught, practice is about overcoming negative thoughts when they arise and cultivating wholesome thoughts and mind-states. We will explore the importance of holding a positive vision even through the storm.
2020-09-03 The Buddha as a Social Activist. 43:20
Sometimes the teachings seem to suggest a life of withdrawing from the world. But the Buddha himself was an example of engagement and could even be called a political revolutionary. As we try to sort out how to apply the teachings, (including duties of a good ruler) to contemporary issues, it can help to see his teachings in that light.
2020-08-27 Keeping Your Heart Open 57:24
It seems like we're collectively going through an intense initiation in so many ways--the wildfires, the virus, racial injustice, economic collapse and an election fraught with acrimony. The Buddha taught: "Hatred never ceases from hatred. Hatred only ceases from love." How can the teachings support us to skillfully keep our hearts open not only to those suffering but those who, through ignorance, cause suffering as well?

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