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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2016-11-03 "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 Youtube.com at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HILTuvNRXrg
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
2016-09-22 "The Issue of Othering" 58:04
Dedicated to the memory of Bob Kaneko, a dharma friend who recently passed away. As a child Bob spent years 4-8 in a Japanese Internment camp in California,1942-1946. This talk explores how easily we humans can unfairly treat and oppress those different from us. We see this daily in the media with hateful rhetoric stirring fears in many. How can we use practice to skillfully respond?
IMCB Regular Talks
2016-09-15 Awakening Joy for Kids: Bringing the Dharma to the Next Generation 59:49
James talks about the new book he co-authored with classroom teacher, Michele Lilyanna, and the importance of planting seeds of wisdom and compassion in the hearts of future generations.
IMCB Regular Talks
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

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