The greatest gift is the
gift of the teachings
Various's Dharma Talks at Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
2017-09-12 The Great Disciples: People and Personalities in the Buddha's Community 3:50:52
The early Buddhist sangha included some accomplished and intriguing disciples--lay and monastic, male and female. By searching the literature of the Pali Canon, contemporary scholars have been able to compile biographical information, infer personality traits, and gain a vivid sense of the human relationships and life-stories that formed the earliest Buddhist community. This speaker series will explore the lives, practice, and teachings of several of the great disciples of the Buddha. The series will illuminate both the ordinary and extraordinary contributions of some of the most interesting personalities whose questions, challenges, and life situations shaped the teachings that we cherish today.
Angulimala: An Ethical Transformation 27:30
  Shaila Catherine
In this first talk in a lecture series on the Great Disciples, the speaker, Shaila Catherine, tells the life story of Angulimala and his transformation from notorious robber and murdered to a peaceful, compassionate, truthful, and awakened monk. It is an inspiring example of the power of restraint, and the potential for redemption. Habits and dispositions do not need to control our lives. We can stop unwholesome, unhealthy, and harmful courses of conduct. We can purify our minds.
Ananda:The Man with the Questions 35:05
  Thanissaro Bhikkhu
In this second talk in a lecture series on the Great Disciples, the speaker, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, talks about the contributions by Ananda to the Dharma. Because of his incredible memory, what we know in the Pali Canon today came mostly from Ananda's recollection of the Buddha's teachings. He described in detail who came to the Buddha, what were their question/problem, and how the Buddha addressed that particular question/problem. This is an important contribution to our understanding of how the Dharma was taught, because so much of it depended on who was asking what, and what kind of teaching was the best for them. Another debt that we owe Ananda is that he asked the Buddha questions that no one had asked. And Ananda's questions in turn sparked the Buddha to explain things or do things that he otherwise might not have explained or done.
Anathapindika: A Generous and Devoted Lay Follower 44:25
  Ed Haertel
In this third talk in a lecture series on the Great Disciples, the speaker, Ed Haertel, tells the life story of Anathapindika. He was not a monk, and he is remembered as the foremost in generosity among the Buddha's followers. He received teachings from the Buddha that consisted a comprehensive code of conduct for conscientious lay followers of the Buddha. In this way, Anathapindika has become a benefactor to all those in the future, who try to follow the path of liberation.
Kisa Gotami: Buddha's Deep Compassion Toward Women 40:55
  Ayya Santussika
In this fourth talk in a lecture series on the Great Disciples, the speaker, Ayya Santussika, tells the life story of two enlightened, fully ordained nuns. In fact, there were quite a few of enlightened, fully ordained nuns at the Buddha's time. The speaker also discusses how we can find the key to our own happiness in these nuns' stories, such as letting go, calming the mind, and realizing complete freedom from suffering. Finally, Ayya Santussika describes the Buddha's tremendous compassion for women. In his teachings, the Buddha acknowledged sufferings that were specific to women that are still relevant today.
Rahula: Son of Buddha 39:47
  Margaret Gainer
In this fifth talk in a lecture series on the Great Disciples, the speaker, Margaret Gainer, describes the life story of Rahula, son of the Buddha. After meeting his father for the first time at the age of seven, Rahula became the first novice monk in the Buddha's Sangha. He is known as foremost in his eagerness in receiving training. The teachings that he received from the Buddha are still relevant to us today, more than 2,600 years later.
Mahakaccana: Clarifying the Most Cryptic Teachings 42:18
  Shaila Catherine
Shaila Catherine concluded our lecture series on the Great Disciples, with a talk about the Venerable Mahakaccana. He was a monk famous for explaining difficult and perplexing teachings. The Buddha sometimes gave brief teachings that left the listeners confused. Sometimes the disciples did not ask the Buddha questions to clarify their doubt. Instead they sought out another monk to elucidate the matter and explain the detailed meaning. The Pali Canon preserves several insightful discourses in which initial enigmatic teachings by the Buddha are systematically explained by Venerable Mahakaccana. He addresses profound topics including the construction of I-making and mine-making, craving, conceit, views, mindfulness of sense perceptions, obsession with thoughts of past and future, and overcoming desire and lust. His methods of exposition became the basis of early commentary, and Mahakaccana became known as the first Buddhist commentator.

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