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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2020-10-01 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?
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

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