Powerful “Stand Against Suffering” Statement Released

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Lion’s Roar has posted a powerful statement by thirteen leading Buddhist teachers, and 100 additional signatories, calling on Buddhists and all people of faith to take a stand against Trump Administration policies that will create suffering for the most vulnerable in American society. Read the statement here: https://www.lionsroar.com/stand-against-suffering/

Dharma talk on Fearlessness

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Fearlessness and intrepidity (the strength to carry on in spite of danger) feature quite prominently in Buddhist philosophy and Buddhist psychology. In fact, fearlessness is an oft-mentioned result of mental clarity, emotional equanimity and wakeful, embodied awareness. This talk fleshes out a few prominent teachings on intrepidity and how to apply them in daily life. Free download links to hear this talk are below.

Download mp3
iTunes podcast

December 19, 2016

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Buddhism teaches the interdependence and transparency of all phenomena, all experience. As trauma therapist, it may seem counterintuitive to hear me say that over-identifying with anything, including grief and trauma, is an invitation to become lost in the delusion of self-cherishing. I choose instead to wield the sword of discerning wisdom and fierce compassion. To face my complicity in the disintegration of American Democracy through my own complacency, blindness and incorrect assumptions. I choose to engage fearlessly in clear-minded, open-hearted uncompromising actions to support the wave of Americans willing to ensure American Democracy survives the coming onslaught of American Demagoguery.

 No matter how the electoral college votes, my responsibility is to recognize and seek to end suffering wherever it may reside: to no longer get sidelined by feelings of shock, anger and overwhelm. I am not that. I am nothing more than the luminous awareness in which those feelings and all other phenomena arise, exist and cease. Awakening, standing up for and speaking truth are the ultimate rebellious acts. This is where I choose to put my efforts and energy as we go forward.

The Ultimate Rx

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You can now download for free on Academia.edu The Ultimate Rx: Cutting through the delusion of self-cherishing, the chapter I authored for the newly published Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, Context and Social Engagement.

Chapter Abstract:
Western and Buddhist psychologies acknowledge the significant role distorted self-narratives play in poor mental health. But these two disciplines hold divergent views on the utility of ‘cherishing the self’. Western psychology claims high self-esteem is a requirement for self-confidence, happiness, and success. Buddhist psychology asserts wisdom and compassion are the forerunners of genuine confidence and sustainable personal and collective well-being. It further states that endemic self-cherishing—the habitual reification of distorted hyper-egoic self-narratives—is a primary source of mental and emotional affliction. Yet, Buddhist psychology also affirms the innate capacity of all human beings to end the mental suffering of self-cherishing. This chapter explicates Western and Buddhist psychological models of self, Buddhist theories of not-self and conventional and ultimate self-cherishing, and outlines a somatopsychotherapeutic clinical approach for helping individuals struggling with depressive, anxious, trauma-related symptoms and addictions, to recognize self-cherishing mentation and lessen its deleterious effects.

The Alignment of Buddhism and Activism

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Listen to a dharma talk I gave at Marin Sangha on November 27, 2016. In these turbulent times it is important to understand how effective social action and the Buddhist practices of wise speech, embodied awareness and right action complement one another. Virtuous conduct, sīla, depends upon a Buddhist practitioner’s ability to comprehend and enact right view: impermanence, not-self and the causes of suffering and non-suffering. This talk clarifies how to hold the precepts while boldly, fearlessly engaging in social action.

Free mp3 download      or        iTunes Podcast

Watch the Power and Care conference Talks

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Watch the Mind and Life Power and Care Conference taking place in Brussels.
The schedule of talks (Brussels Timezone) for Saturday and Sunday is:
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10th, 2016
Session 3: Perspectives from spiritual and religious traditions
Time: 9:30-11:30am
Religious and spiritual institutions are influential forces that promote peace and compassion and are concerned with the cultivation of an ethical existence. Yet at the same time they wield vast power that has often been used for divisive and destructive purposes and are profoundly implicated in the economics and government of societies, past and present. How can the world’s religions transform themselves and channel their immense power in order to remain viable agents of positive change?Speakers: H.H. the Dalai Lama; Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D. (interpreter); Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D. (moderator); Pauline Tangiora, J.P., Q.S.O., Q.S.M.; Matthieu Ricard, Ph.D.; Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp; Brother Thierry-Marie Courau, o.p.; Alaa Murabit, M.D.

Session 4: Perspectives from economics and society
Time: 1:00-3:00pm
Politics and economics are the quintessential arenas for the expression of power in the social realm. Since political-economic reasoning dominates our social and cultural lives how can motivations belonging to the “care constellation” be introduced into economic thinking and therefore into the societal structures that regulate human relations? Indeed, there are other models and behaviors that can create equilibrium between these elements that determine so much of our daily existence.

Speakers: H.H. the Dalai Lama; Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D. (interpreter); Dr Uwe Jean Heuser (moderator); Prof. Dennis James Snower, Ph.D.; Prof. Sir Paul Collier; Dr Vandana Shiva; Theo Sowa; Jody Williams

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11th, 2016
Session 5: Personal commitment and global responsibility
Time: 9:30-11:30am
The issue of “empowerment” as a component of personal and collective engagement, and the concept of care as an expression of responsibility for our planet and its civilizations in times of strife, forced migration and homelessness, and distress at the individual and societal levels, will provide the focus for our final session. Power and care are two primary elements that may not, finally, be opposed but rather coexist as a condition of dynamic and constructive equilibrium.

Speakers: H.H. the Dalai Lama; Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D. (interpreter); Theo Sowa (moderator); Olafur Eliasson; Dr Scilla Elworthy; Frédéric Laloux; Prof. Dr Tania Singer