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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2020-08-13 Resilience with guest speaker Eve Decker 45:21
2020-08-06 Keep Out the Hate, Let in the Love 46:19
How can we prevent succumbing to all the negativity around us--messages of fear, hatred or despair from the media or people in our lives? Can we protect ourselves and process the very real issues facing us while letting ourselves still be nourished by the goodness that's around us?
2020-07-17 We Are What we Think 54:12
The Buddha taught: "We are what we think. With our thoughts we make the world." We will explore mana or "the conceit of I am" and how we construct a sense of self with our mind. Based on how we see ourselves or how we compare with others, mana or the conceit of “I am” is born. This tendency leads to "The Three Conceits: I am superior, I am inferior, I am equal to." If we're not mindful, we then erroneously proceed to make a permanent, solid entity of self. We explore how not seeing this clearly creates suffering and how we can free ourselves of this self-constructed suffering.
IMCB Regular Talks
2020-07-10 How Not to Be a Hot Mess 63:15
Devon and Craig Hase join James in sharing about their new book How Not to Be a Hot Mess: A Survival Guide for Modern Life. The book offers a playful exploration of living a life of Integrity based on the teachings of the Buddha. Devon and Craig lead meditation retreats throughout North America and Europe. Devon teaches at the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock. Craig spent six years in a Zen monastery and teaches mindfulness meditation, and dharma full time.
IMCB Regular Talks
2020-07-03 Applying Early Buddhist Perspective to Contemporary Issues 55:09
Ven. Bhikkhu Analayo has just written an essay exploring how the early Buddhist perspective shows that diversity work can become an integral part of the Buddhist path of practice. We will explore some of Ven. Analayo's ideas and see how we can apply them in our own practice. We'll also touch a recent article by Bhikkhu Bodhi, another esteemed Buddhist scholar, entitled "From Tragedy to Hope: Reflections on the Killing of George Floyd".
IMCB Regular Talks
2020-06-18 Racism and White Privilege - Part 3: Working with Guilt and Shame 52:18
The Buddha spoke of hiri and ottappa (Shame and Dread) as "The Guardians of the World." These are considered two wholesome states as they can prevent us from engaging in unskillful actions. But guilt and shame associated with internalized racism can paralyze us or put up walls of resistance. This is especially true if we take those feelings personally and blame ourselves for the cultural conditioning we're shaped by. How can we work skillfully with those natural and understandable reactions?
IMCB Regular Talks
2020-06-11 Racism and White Privilege with Special Guest Deb Kerr - Part 2 57:13
We will continue our exploration of Racial Justice and White Privilege with Deb Kerr. who led us in a rich discussion last week. Deb is a core teacher at East Bay Meditation Center where she is a co-founder of EBMC and has served on the EBMC Board. Deb will offer teachings on how educating ourselves about race relates to and is an extension of dharma practice and how it connects the dots to the larger picture of systemic change.
IMCB Regular Talks
2020-06-04 Exploring Racial Injustice and White Privilege 64:09
In the aftermath of the George Floyd tragedy and the protests that followed the community explores Racial Injustice and White Privilege. Special guest Deb Kerr, who is a Core Teacher of East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland. DE, who is one of EMBC's founders and has served on the EBMC Board has led White Privilege groups there.
IMCB Regular Talks
2020-05-21 Creating a Life of Integrity: In Conversation with Joseph Goldstein 64:29
James invited Gail Stark to join him as his guest. Gail shares what it was like to spend 10 months practicing the 10 Paramis or Perfections under Joseph Goldstein’s guidance. Her new book, Creating a Life of Integrity: In Conversation with Joseph Goldstein, is a wonderful exploration of what it means to truly bring practice into your daily life guided by Joseph Goldstein, the ultimate Dharma coach.
IMCB Regular Talks
2020-05-09 Loss, Grief and Death: Impermanence in Pandemic Times 56:25
The Buddha said to reflect each day on the facts of old age, sickness and death. He also said to to come to terms with the fact that everything and everyone near and dear to us will be separated from us. In these Covid-19 days our practice becomes letting go of what was and adjust to a new way of being. This practice of impermanence includes opening to loss, grief and death which is explored in this talk.
IMCB Regular Talks

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