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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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2017-01-26 "What Are You Going To Do Now?" 48:18
The swirl of political events with the new US administration have contributed to a culture of apprehension and anxiety for many as they adjust to this new reality. The question many practitioners are asking is what is the place of Dharma in this unfolding of events. What is Dharma and not Dharma? What is our responsibility? How does the political environment inform our Dharma practice? How does our Dharma practice inform our engagement in the world? The talk includes Bhikkhu Bodhi's essay Let's Stand Together that appears in the journals Lion's Roar and Buddhadharma.
IMCB Regular Talks
2017-01-19 "Being a Sacred Warrior in These Tough Times" 49:13
Martin Luther King Jr. said, "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." As we enter a time of uncertainty and, many are experiencing a swirl of emotions from apprehension and fear to anger and ill. How can we use our dharma practice to acknowledge and transform our negative emotions into wise effective response coming from understanding and love?
IMCB Regular Talks
2017-01-05 What Channel Are You Tuned To? (Note: This talk has some occasional sound distortion but it's worth it.) 50:52
As the Buddha said, "We are what we think. With our thoughts we make the world." Our minds can go to the the greatest places of fear, anxiety and ill will or understanding, compassion and peace. When we're lost in confusion we have in us the capacity to remember the goodness and wisdom that our hearts long to connect with. This talk is about remembering that possibility and cultivating access to that Buddha right inside, especially when the outside world is giving us very different messages.
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-12-29 Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017: Reflecting on What We've Learned and Where We're Heading 59:14
As we leave 2016 and open to 2017, how can we learn and grow from what's past and set ourselves in the right direction as we face an uncertain future? This talk includes recent Spirit Rock's Statement of Values: Spiritual Sanctuary and Refuge and the teacher meeting out of which it came. James reflects on his recent Huffington Post article "Holding Hands Together: From Helplessness to Empowerment." Finally, there is a ritual for letting go of the past and creating a wise intention for the future.
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-12-08 "The Power of Equanimity" 56:49
Equanimity not only helps us stay balanced in difficult times. It is a foundation for strong, effective response, especially in response to the forces of greed, hatred and power.
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-11-17 "Equanimity: Finding Balance In Difficult Times" 61:48
In times of uncertainty and emotionally charged situations the teachings show us the power of equanimity–a balance of mind and heart. This is very different from a resigned quietism. Equanimity involves the courage to feel all our intense emotions and act from a balanced, committed heart.
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-11-03 "The Big Shift: Learning to Open to Experience" 65:49
Our typical response to very negative or positive experiences is to contract in relation to them--either with aversion or attachment. The practice helps us cultivate a radical and much more skillful and profound relationship to them--having the courage and compassion to meet and learn from the negative as well as the wisdom to enjoy the positive while realizing its impermanence. This talk explores different qualities of heart and mind that help us do just that.
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-10-20 "Schadenfreude: Working with Your less than Noble Thoughts" 57:21
People in powerful positions can cause suffering and harm to others by spreading hate. It's natural and healthy to want to see them defeated. But what about when we actually enjoy seeing their misfortune and demise? How can we use a dharma lens to understand and hold those feelings?
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-10-06 "Finding Freedom Through Grief" --- The talk begins with this video about her trip to Nepal to build a school in honor of her daughter. 48:53
How can we process deep pain and turn it into deepening compassion and understanding? Kaye Cleave shares her moving story with James and the community about losing her 18-year old daughter and finding a way to transform her grief into meaningful beneficial action. To view the video: Catherine's Gift, go to at:
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-09-29 "The Four Faults of Natural Awareness" 57:04
James Baraz and son Adam Baraz discuss "The Four Faults of Natural Awareness", a Tibetan teaching (e.g.#1: "So close you can’t see it.") Adam presents the teaching and he and James discuss it with each other and community members.
IMCB Regular Talks

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