The greatest gift is the
gift of the teachings
 
Dharma Talks given at Insight Meditation South Bay - Silicon Valley
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2021-04-06 Refraining from Intoxication 22:44
  Shaila Catherine
This talk explores the fifth precept: the commitment to refrain from intoxicating the mind through the use of alcohol, drugs, or addictive desires. Originally this precept highlighted the dangers of home-brewed alcohol, but can be expanded to address the many ways we may seek to excite, dull, distort, or intoxicate our minds. By working with this precept, we not only strengthen our capacity for restraint, but importantly, we investigate how the force of craving may be affecting our decisions and actions.

2021-03-23 Deepening in Emptiness 66:43
  Guy Armstrong
Emptiness has been one of the most important themes in Buddhist teachings since their very beginning. This talk will explore how the realization of emptiness unfolds in us through dharma practice to lead to greater and greater degrees of freedom.

2021-03-09 Refraining from Sexual Misconduct 35:21
  Shaila Catherine
This talk addresses the third ethical precept — refraining from sexual misconduct. Practicing with the precepts involves becoming mindful of our actions, recognizing the effects that our actions have on ourselves and others, learning to respond to our thoughts and feelings with wisdom, kindness, and restraint, and honoring our commitments. This precept provides opportunities to work with the movement of sexual desire and sensual lust. The views of sexuality that were prevalent in ancient India differ from contemporary norms, however, we can apply the underlying intention toward non-harming to contemplate and purify our own conduct. Shaila Catherine offers suggestions forgiving past unskillful actions, and strengthening our capacity for restraint.
In collection Ethics, Action and the Five Precepts

2021-02-17 Living a Dharma Life 32:37
  Ying Chen
In this talk, we explore how walking the Dharma path involves all aspects of our lives. To engage in dharma practices is to live a Dharma life, nothing excluded. When we open our dharma practice up to include all aspects of our lives, our relationships, our work, our chores, our inner being and our outer being, we allow Dharma to guide us in life.

2021-02-02 Finding Freedom from Habitual Patterns 60:53
  Robin Boudette
In the chaos of our everyday lives, we often run on auto-pilot finding ourselves caught in unhealthy habit patterns. In our attempts to help ourselves, we might watch too much news, plan for every possible situation, reach for our favorite comfort food or engage in other unhealthy behaviors, unwittingly feeding our anxiety and making things worse. Fortunately, mindfulness provides practices and skills that can help us change unhealthy habits and live in greater harmony with life. But how? The Buddha taught that disenchantment is key. In this evening session, we will explore self-reflections to illuminate habit loops and explore how we can tap into the direct experience of disenchantment.
Tuesday Talks

2021-01-26 Buddhist Insights from Encounters with Homelessness 35:25
  Cathy Small
This talk looks at the intersection of practice and life through the issue of homelessness. Based on her book, The Man in the Dog Park, co-authored with a homeless man, Dr. Cathy Small (a cultural anthropologist and meditation teacher) explores how social issues can become part of our practice, and how her decade-long journey with people experiencing homelessness offered Buddhist lessons about love and fear, self and other, and compassion and equanimity.
Attached Files:
  • When We Meet Suffering by Cathy Small (PDF)

2021-01-19 Speech from the Heart 36:18
  Kim Allen
From where does speech originate? How does our speech feed back to affect our own heart (in addition to other people)? These are worthy investigations in Buddhist practice. Speech ties back to the three unwholesome roots of greed, hatred, and delusion, as well as the three wholesome roots of non-greed, non-hatred, and non-delusion. Our choices in this realm have a major impact.

2020-12-08 A Householder's Vinaya 52:35
  Allan Cooper
Author Allan Cooper speaks on making lay life one’s practice instead of trying to fit practice into lay life. His book, The Householder’s Vinaya, is an accessible step by step ‘how to’ manual for anyone wishing to create an everyday life of meditative development. These new ways help cultivate and deepen meditative wisdom and establishes a deeper and more textured baseline when returning to the retreat center or monastery.

2020-10-27 Confidence, Uncertainty and the Five Aggregates 46:00
  Maria Straatmann
In times of uncertainty we tend to reinforce those things that lend themselves to feeling safe and familiar, usually by reaffirming a sense of self that says, “This is right; this is who I am; this is how things should be.” The way we do this is described in Buddhism with the five aggregates, the ways we experience, perceive, and interpret reality. We will discuss understanding and seeing clearly these ways of experience and how awareness of them may lead to freedom from suffering.

2020-10-20 Real Wealth 28:28
  Kim Allen
What kinds of wealth are most sustainable in times of loss? The Buddha defined five kinds of wealth that are especially appropriate for lay practitioners to develop: confidence, ethical conduct, learning, generosity, and wisdom. The inclusion of “learning” is interesting and not often emphasized. We will explore these five qualities in the context of our current times, considering how they can serve both ourselves and others.

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