Dear Thay, Dear Sangha, Dear Virtual Community

Today, we close our Three Month Winter Retreat and our Moment by moment class.  The Third Noble Truth--the end of suffering is discussed by our teachers.  We are encouraged to look into our suffering and to be aware of what is real and how much we create in our own mind.  What is our real experience and what is suffering because that is what we label it?  We are reminded that the path is not a straight line and our view of our suffering can change depending where we are on the path. We are reminded that we are not just one thing, we are many things.  We can look deeply to see where we have a skillful relationship with our suffering and where we have a not-yet-skillful relationship. As our monastics recite, 'when a monk goes into the world, he looks straight ahead and walks mindfullly'.  May we all cultivate the ability to stay compassionately on the path--walking with mindfulness and concentration.  In this way, we offer our beauty, presence, and practice each other.  Our practice is not a conceptual exercise, it is one to be lived in real life, moment by moment, each and every day. 

Our teachers ask, does anything really end?  With Right View we see there is no beginning and no end.  Our course has ended, but it has also just begun as the 3,000 practitioners in 40 countries who are following the course walk mindfully into the world.  We bow in gratittude to all of you and to our wonderful teachers who show us the way in this life. 

Find your path. Enjoy your step. Enjoy your breath. Treasure your life. 


Direct download: Moment-by-moment_final_class.mp3
Category:Basic Buddhism Class, 2011-2012 -- posted at: 10:12pm CDT

Last week, we learned about the first turning of the wheel-the recognition of our suffering and our situation.  With the second turning of the wheel, Thich Chan Phap Hai encourages us to explores the causes of our suffering.  We learn more deeply about the three poisons-- Greed (or 'ever-seeking' or 'always wanting'), Hatred (or ill-will or 'closed-down heart') and ignorance or delusion (not ignorance as in lack of learning but in the inability to see things as they really are).  These are the three roots of suffering that the 4 noble truths offered by the Buddha will transform leading to liberation. The weekly practices focus on 'bare recognition' or 'bare experience' and handout includes many important readings.

Tonight's talk is a beautiful offering of the dharma that is practical for us to use.  It offers guideposts that help us on the journey in the Dharma that each of us must experience for ourselves.  We hope you will find it immediately useful and effective.

Direct download: 120212_001.mp3
Category:Basic Buddhism Class, 2011-2012 -- posted at: 8:03pm CDT

Dear Virtual Family:

For the past 8 weeks, we have studied the Noble 8-fold path, the 4th of the 4 Noble truths.  In a kind of Zen order, we have studied the last, first.  Tonight, we look into the first of the Four Noble Truths- The Existence of Suffering/Stress.  Thich Chan Phap Ho (Protection of the Dharma) guides us to look deeply into the fact that we have suffering, what it is, and how to handle it.  We can bring our awarness to the reality of our suffering and bring our courageous Buddha nature in us to face it and not run away any more. If we can cultivate the courage and stability in ourselves necessary to turn toward our suffering, we are closer to the peace and freedom offered by our practice.  We aren't afraid and we don't need to run away any more.  We can look at the base situation and see what is the real suffering and what is our mind adding to the situation.  Our teacher discusses the three poisons and the things that our suffering is often attached to.  Remembering the original fear and the original desire, we can liberate ourselves in this life.  Together, we can reflect on how transformation happens within us, and how we can be as alive and transformative as  the beautiful Deer Park compost pile! 

Please, sit with stability, breathe deeply, and enjoy this talk.  It can bring a lot of healing to ourselves, our families, and our world.

Direct download: Class_9_First_Noble_Truth_Suffering_exists.mp3
Category:Basic Buddhism Class, 2011-2012 -- posted at: 9:55pm CDT

Today's talk is a talk and a practice.  A chance to come back and touch the moment.  A chance to cultivate the evenness and concentration of our mind and to connect our body and our mind.  We learn new ways to enjoy being ourselves and nourish ourselves with right concentration.   Concentration also means 'to dwell with'.   We learn how to keep the weather within the same, no matter what the weather outside is.

Please enjoy this wonderful practice.

Direct download: Class_8_Right_Concentration.mp3
Category:Basic Buddhism Class, 2011-2012 -- posted at: 6:29pm CDT



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