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Open IMSB Volunteer Opportunities

IMSB is currently seeking volunteers in the following areas: Administrative Assistant Assist teacher and other administrative volunteers with various ongoing tasks supporting the sangha, such as Google Drive administration, spreadsheet and membership database maintenance, flyer creation. Assistant Audio Editor Assist Audio Editor with transcription and posting of dhamma talks on Dharmaseed.org. Assistant Social Event Coordinator [...]

2017-09-28T16:20:27+00:00 August 29th, 2017|News, Uncategorized|

60 people joined us for the launch of a new meditation group in Saratoga

The opening of our new Thursday evening meditation group in Saratoga got off to a superb start with 60 people in attendance. Shaila Catherine gave teachings on mindfulness with breathing, and we enjoyed meeting each other over refreshments. The new facility at Westhope Presbyterian Church was warm, spacious, comfortable, and very quiet. With a broad array of guest [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:50+00:00 January 23rd, 2015|News, Uncategorized|

Resting the mind on the breath

I am leading a concentration and jhana retreat in France now, and it is a delight to introduce these practices. One student shared that by learning to settle the mind upon the breath, he gained deeper insight into the meaning of restlessness. Restlessness is a descriptive term: a mind without rest. The mind that does [...]

2012-06-18T06:51:41+00:00 June 18th, 2012|Breath, Jhanas, Meditation, Uncategorized|

Are Sense Pleasures Suffering?

We often link happiness to the attainment of sensory pleasure; or we expect sensory pleasures to bring happiness. The emphasis on the unsatisfactoriness of conditioned experiences, as taught in the Buddhist tradition can, at first, seem disheartening.  Why equate innocuous and natural pleasures with suffering? Is the Buddhist path life-denying? We had a rousing dialog [...]

Returning from a Four Month Retreat

I recently returned from a four month retreat that was lead by the Venerables Pa-Auk Sayadaw and U Jagara in Massachusettes. It was a experiential approach to the Buddha's teachings that emphasized deep concentration (especially jhana) practice; the careful discernment and analysis of mental factors, cognitive processes, material elements, and causal relationships; and culminated in [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:56+00:00 December 18th, 2011|Meditation, Sangha Practice, Uncategorized|

Embarking on a four month retreat

Ah, at long last, after months of organizing and arranging my worldly responsibilities, I am finally packing and preparing to embark on a 4 month meditation retreat that will be led by the Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw of Burma, and assisted by Venerable U Jagara. It will take place at the Insight Meditation Society in MA [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:56+00:00 June 17th, 2011|Uncategorized|

Kabbhalah: Jewish Mysticism

At this interfaith symposium, I attended an inspiring presentation by the scholar, Daniel Matt, on Kabbhalah, which is a form of Jewish mysticism that seems to address contemplations of nothingness and being, emptiness and fullness, the divine and the incarnate. It was fascinating to listen to their descriptions of nothingness, which at moments sounded remarkably [...]

2011-03-26T11:37:54+00:00 March 26th, 2011|Uncategorized|

Noticing Judging as a State of Hatred

Although the refinement of attention may not be as acute in daily life as it is during retreat, you can still resolve to clear your mind of obstructive states and refuse to fuel the reproduction of unwholesome states. For example, when you become aware that your mind is entertaining a stream of judging thoughts mindfully [...]

2010-11-06T08:10:57+00:00 November 6th, 2010|Daily Life Practice, Emotions, Uncategorized|

Daily Life Insight While Bathing

After speaking about the subtle Buddhist practices in which a meditator discerns, analyzes, and contemplates the ultimate realities of phenomena, a student asked me how she could apply the teaching during daily life practice. Although it can be challenging to consistently see the subtleties of mind and matter during active daily life, you can certainly [...]

2010-11-05T08:04:42+00:00 November 5th, 2010|Daily Life Practice, Mindfulness Practice, Uncategorized|

Diligence

I’ve been quite impressed by the power of diligence. It is inspiring to see the transformation in students who have been returning year after year for our annual jhana retreat. Some have travelled across many state lines, or simply preserved the time in their local schedule to spend these ten days doing intensive samadhi practice. [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:59+00:00 October 28th, 2010|Jhanas, Meditation, Uncategorized|

Feeling the breath today

Meditation teachers often speak about the breath, encouraging students of anapanasati samadhi to carefully observe the breath with a continuity of mindful attention. How closely are you observing your breath as you eat breakfast, walk down the stairs, drive your car, and also when you meditate? I enjoy highlighting mindfulness of the breath once in [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:59+00:00 October 21st, 2010|Breath, Daily Life Practice, Meditation, Uncategorized|

Causes taking shape

Buddhism presents a model of twelve links of dependent arising to describe the causal relationships that give rise to suffering. It is usually depicted as a circle, with the cycle beginning with ignorance, and developing through a chain of causal conditions that include volitional formations (activities), consciousness, mentality/materiality, six sense bases, contact, feeling, craving, clinging, [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:59+00:00 October 16th, 2010|Investigating body and mind, Uncategorized, Working with suffering|

Observing self constructions in speech

Speech events are a marvelous opportunities to observe the constructions of self. Notice the subtle motivations behind your speech today. When is the primary communication merely your own existence? Sometimes what is said is not very important; what we are really saying is, "notice me, I'm here, I'm special, I am like this, I am." [...]

2010-10-16T06:56:40+00:00 October 16th, 2010|Daily Life Practice, Not-Self, Uncategorized|