Kim Allen has been practicing Insight meditation since 2003, and has trained intensively in the U.S. and Asia with Western teachers, Theravādan monastics, and masters of other Buddhist traditions. Trained by Gil Fronsdal at the Insight Meditation Center and Insight Retreat Center, she offers Dharma programs, sutta study, and retreats in the U.S., internationally, and online, weaving classical Dharma into a contemporary context. Her education was in science and sustainability, and she is now dedicated to a contemplative life of study and practice.
This series expands on instructions offered in basic mindfulness courses, offers new depths of understanding, integrates the practice with life situations, and helps students establish a daily meditation practice. Mindfulness training is a practical tool that can support wisdom in any activity, and it is at the heart of Buddhist meditation leading to direct realization that frees the mind from suffering.
This talk was given as part of the series “Strengthening Mindfulness.” The talk discussed various 'presents,' or gifts, that the practice of mindfulness can bring to our daily lives. For example, one definition of mindfulness is simply being aware of what’s happening right now without judgment. So the practice of mindfulness can help us to cultivate the quality of nonjudgment, which in turn allows wholesome qualities such as generosity, patience, and compassion to come through.
This talk was given as part of the series “Strengthening Mindfulness.” Speaking mindfully is a kind of meditative practice, because it calls us back to our present moment experience as we speak. Listening compassionately is a practice of generosity; it’s like giving a gift to the speaker.
This talk was given as part of the series “Strengthening Mindfulness.” Dukkha, or suffering, includes pain, illness, and death; yet these are inevitable visitors to our lives. It is our practice to gently turn towards what’s difficult and painful in our lives, and understand truly these human experiences. When we are mindful, we become aware that there are the bodily sensations of pain and discomfort that we may not control, and there are our mind’s reactions to these sensations that we may observe and change. Mindfulness of death can lead us to a sense of spiritual urgency, and help us to cultivate compassion for this shared experience among all human kind. This knowledge of commonality can also help us to overcome fear.
This talk was given as part of the series “Strengthening Mindfulness.” Buddhism is the study of the processes of the human mind and body, so we can discern what the patterns are that lead to more suffering and less suffering, respectively. For many of us, the so-called ‘afflictive emotions,’ such as anger, anxiety, despair and envy, are the most common experiences of suffering. However, in our practice, it is not our aim to get rid of these emotions. Rather, we are training ourselves to become aware of these emotions, for they are usually deeply ingrained habits reacting to what’s pleasant or unpleasant with clinging or aversion. This awareness then allows us to shift the way we respond to what’s happening in the present moment, so we can find peace and ease with things as they are.
Kalyana mitta, or spiritual friendship, is a foundation of the Buddhist path. Through examining a number of suttas related to friendship, we gain an understanding of the important qualities and ways of relating to wise friends.
Dukkha – variously rendered as suffering, unsatisfactoriness, stress, or struggle – is one of the three marks of existence. According to the teaching on the First Noble Truth, the task related to dukkha is to understand it. This talk examines what dukkha is and is not, and offers guidelines for exploring it deeply.
Right Livelihood, as the culmination of the virtue, or sila, steps of the Eightfold Path, concerns all aspects of how we sustain our life. It is far more than just our job. This talk examines how we can practice toward a fuller alignment of all aspects of our life.