New Dharma Talk: Empty Appearance

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Listen to a dharma talk I gave on August 8, 2017 at IMSB in Mountain View, Ca, on the topic of Skillfully Recognizing Empty Appearance. Though the Buddhist notion of emptiness can be quite challenging for Western Buddhist practitioners, the rich teachings on emptiness offer a clear path to apply wise view, wise action and skillful means in daily life. Enjoy!
Download mp3
iTunes podcast

Clair Brown’s Vision of Buddhist Economics

Clair Brown, an economist at UC Berkeley and a practicing Buddhist, has developed a holistic economic approach, where the economy delivers a high quality of life in a sustainable world. Buddhist economics integrates sustainability, equity, and compassion. While teaching her sophomore seminar at UC Berkeley, Professor Brown learned, “You don’t have to be a Buddhist to embrace a Buddhist approach to economics. You need only share the Dalai Lama’s belief that human nature is gentle and compassionate and embrace the idea that economics can be a force for good, one that goes beyond self-centered materialism.” Clair is one of the most humble, loving people I have ever met. Her new book, Buddhist Economics is a treasure.

A new dharma talk on the Buddhist psychology of addiction

Listen now to a recording of a dharma talk I just gave on the Buddhist Psychology of Addiction. This talk was delivered at Marin Sangha on May 31, 2015.  I was asked to talk about this important topic by the Sangha members. The talk covers quite a bit of ground including childhood trauma and its physiological and psychological role in teen/adult addiction. The talk also has instructions for landing in the aliveness of physicality as it is. Here is the link to listen to this talk:  The Buddhist psychology of addiction

Two New Dharma Talks on Non-attachment

I just delivered two talks on non-attachment—certainly the most misunderstood and maligned Buddhist ideal. Both are uploaded now and available for free download.

The first talk deconstructs the term into its various meanings and explores the philosophical implications of non-attachment and identity clinging through the Buddha’s teachings from the Pāli Canon and those of several modern-day Buddhist teachers.

The second talk focuses on the practical application of non-attachment in daily life. Together the Sangha and I explored various ways to cultivate non-clinging by transforming greed with equanimity, hatred with compassion, and delusion with clarity.

And you can hear both by following these links.
Talk #1: http://www.awakenedpresence.com/sounds/nonattachment1.mp3
Talk #2: http://www.awakenedpresence.com/sounds/nonattachment2.mp3

There is no such thing as a “present moment”

In the final chapter of my book, I make what many mindfulness enthusiasts would consider a blasphemous request, “Offer up the illusion of being in the present moment! Awareness is not about being in the present moment. Awareness is beyond manifestation and cannot be contained within any particular moment. Awakened presence is the effortless, unperturbed, unelaborated reception of experience—not the effort of trying to be in a present moment.”*

Today, I happened upon the Dalai Lama’s succinct explanation of why there is no such thing as a present moment. Watch it below and consider renouncing the foolish act of trying to be in a present moment.

 

*Miller, L.D. (2014) Effortless Mindfulness: Genuine mental health through awakened presence. Routledge: New York.

Watch the 2014 ISCS keynote speeches

I am pleased to share the 2014 ISCS keynote presentations which included talks from a distinguished variety of experts on contemplative science. These talks provide a wealth of information for anyone interested in the application, theory and practice of contemplative science, mental health interventions, and scholarship.

Is awakening clinically relevant? Part One of my dialogue with David Vago

David Vago, PhD and I recently recorded two rich and informative conversations focused on translating the Buddhist psychological conceptualization of “enlightenment” into modern clinical terms. David is currently involved in cutting edge neurobiological research on the awakened mind states that arise during various meditative practices. This first part of our two-part conversation covered the following topics: contextualizing the terms enlightenment, awakening, liberation; demarcating clinical markers of progress on the path; Nirvana and mini-nirvanas; state vs trait changes of awakening; extinction of mental and emotional habits; dissolving greed, hatred and delusion; pure awareness or nature of mind; the inherent problems of quick fix mindfulness. Please enjoy! Part Two will be available in a week or two.

David Vago, PhD is an associate psychologist in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory (FNL), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and instructor at Harvard Medical School. David has previously held the position of Senior Research Coordinator for the Mind & Life Institute and is currently a Mind and Life Fellow. David’s research interests broadly focus on utilizing translational models to identify and characterize neurobiological substrates mediating psychopathology, to better predict outcomes and potential biologically-based diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for those suffering with mental illness. David has been specifically investigating brain networks supporting self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence in order to clarify adaptive mind-brain-body interactions and their therapeutic relevance in psychiatric disorders. http://davidvago.bwh.harvard.edu/

An mp3 audio version of this discussion is available at http://www.awakenedpresence.com/sounds/dlpart1.mp3