Sundays, 6:00 – 7:00 PM / Dharma Talk or Gathering

DHARMA TALK SCHEDULE:  May – August 2021

May 2 Santosh Philip “Getting the Juice of Experience”
Kum Nye teacher Santosh Philip will discuss how language, words and thoughts can become an obstacle in getting the most out of any experience in life. Words have the effect of packaging our experience into frozen shapes that separate us from, and limit our actual experience. Practices will be presented that will ease and dissolve the grip of language so that we can enjoy a richer, deeper experience of body, mind and heart.

May 9 Anita McNulty “Opening the Heart”
How can we learn to open our hearts in these challenging times? The love and compassion that we need is available in our hearts. In this talk, Anita McNulty, longtime Nyingma student and teacher, will offer teachings to connect with our inner resources, in order to develop appreciation and kindness for ourselves and for others. We will explore simple practices to engage directly with our hearts. “Sustained, nourished, and supported by beauty, the heart begins to open, like the petals of a flower unfolding. The flower of the heart is the center of a mandala. When the heart opens, we begin to realize the unity of existence and our communion with nature.” (Tarthang Tulku, from MANDALA GARDENS) Anita is currently one of the Kum Nye Teacher Training Program instructors.

May 16 Pauline Yu “No Holding Back: Being Fully Present in Life and at Work”
Often we look outside of ourselves for meaning, trying to find or attain our ideal job, project, or situation. We can flip the script by realizing that we can create meaning from the inside out, starting now with whatever situation we currently find ourselves in, by working with the rich field of our own body, mind, and attitudes, and training our concentration, energy, and awareness. Based on Tarthang Tulku’s SKILLFUL MEANS, this talk shares a view of how we can engage work and daily tasks as practice; it is informed by a community culture which emphasizes responsibility and practical accomplishment as part of the spiritual life.

May 23 Hugh Joswick “Taming the Mind”
Tarthang Tulku writes in MILKING THE PAINTED COW that Mind can be our best friend, supporting us in every difficulty, or our fierce enemy, turning even simple acts of perception into occasions for devastating suffering. How can we tame an often unreliable and fickle mind to be a reliable friend? Are there ways to cultivate a better understanding of mind other than fighting its tendencies toward distraction and its engagement with suffering? Nyingma Institute instructor, Hugh Joswick, will provide discussion and practices to engage the mind differently.

May 30 Women’s Meditation

June 6 Donna Morton “Being and Body: Kum Nye Walking Meditation”
This profound practice is both simple in execution, and multi-layered in depth and detail. We will examine the text, and practice it together – along with some interesting variations – and encourage adopting this potentially transformative exploration in daily life.

June 13 Hugh Joswick “Reading the Sutras”
What is the value of reading the Sutras today? Nyingma Institute instructor Hugh Joswick will discuss the merit of studying the sutras and how that can improve understanding of the spiritual path and deepen practice. He will present short passages from the LALITAVISTARA SUTRA that presents the life of the Buddha as a play of compassion. This sutra provides a Mahayana perspective on the Buddha’s teachings.

June 20 Abbe Blum and Olivia Hurd “Knowledge of Freedom: Understanding Self and Mind”
What’s changed for you over the last year? What stubborn, negative behaviors or emerging confusions have been revealed, to your own and others’ distress? Now is the time to explore a path that develops conscious change and care for self and others. A nine-month international Nyingma Psychology Program, “Knowledge of Freedom – Understanding Self and Mind”, is available simultaneously from the U.S. at the Nyingma Institute in Berkeley, California, and Nyingma Centrum Nederland in Amsterdam, offering participants from around the world the chance to systematically, playfully and courageously examine the nature of their experience in order to transform it. Using contemplation, meditation, reading and movement exercises; featuring ongoing discussion and self-inquiry, this course of study, brings the opportunity to truly understand the workings of your mind, from emotions and feelings, to our embodiment and daily life and larger aspirations. This talk by Abbe Blum and Olivia Hurd introduces you to the teachings and practices of this nine-month program from September 9, 2021- May 23, 2022. Learn how you can increase your capacity to live your life in a way that benefits you and your wider environment. Give yourself this time to change.

June 27 Women’s Meditation

July 4 Nyingma Institute closed

July 11 Suellen Ehnebuske “Mindful Speaking”
What does it mean to practice “Mindful Speaking” in this age and time? In this Dharma talk we will look at the application of the moral principles embedded in “Right Speech” from the Buddhist Eightfold Path. Is it something as simple as saying kind words and avoiding obscenities? Our words carry great power to heal or harm. “Mindful Speaking” is a practice that carries perhaps the greatest impact on the quality of our relationships. Through conscious reflection and discussion, we activate a fresh awareness of the importance of speaking mindfully so that our words are rooted in a wholehearted expression of our Buddhist practice.

July 18 Chris Kagan “Playing with Challenging Situations”
How can we increase our freedom to respond to challenging situations in new, productive and unexpected ways? The antidote to anger is love, compassion and patience. But until we know how to apply these, we may instead force our anger down. (Tarthang Tulku, from OPENNESS MIND: “Transcending Emotions”) Nyingma Institute student and medical physician, Chris Kagan, will discuss the teachings from OPENNESS MIND to apply these antidotes, so that deeper awareness can help free ourselves from our difficulties. He will offer a practice that can be applied to your challenging situations, opening the door to becoming unconcerned but aware… We can play with each happening. … We can … find such a path of awareness within meditation.

July 25 Women’s Meditation

August 1 Mark Henderson “Overcoming Our Ancient Foe”
Anger damages our closest relationships, disturbs our sleep, and generally can make life miserable. The great Buddhist master Shantideva in his classic text, ENTERING THE WAY OF BODHISATTVA. wisely provides us with fresh attitudes and practices to overcome our anger, leading us to lighter and happier ways of being. This talk, by Mark Henderson, Buddhist Studies and Tibetan Language instructor at the Nyingma Institute, will explore Shantideva’s justly famous chapter on patience and its timeless relevance to our modern lives.

August 8 To be determined

August 15 Olivia Hurd “The Process of Developing Balance”
How can we achieve balance? We must be willing to feel when we are off-balance, noticing our expectations and their resulting disappointments. If one is truly balanced, one doesn’t feel anything at all; no push, no pull, no position. Nyingma Psychology instructor Olivia Hurd will offer practices during this talk to loosen up, to challenge our positions and maybe even enjoy some resulting openness. Tarthang Tulku writes in GESTURE OF BALANCE, A really good meditator is always learning, always working with disappointment. He knows how to deal with the world and with whatever experiences he encounters in his daily life – that is the real learning process. We feel that dullness and restlessness are negative, while happiness and cheerfulness are positive. We are always taking positions. However, awareness is neither happy nor sad, neither positive nor negative. Awareness takes no position other than balance. … As awareness increases, nothing can limit you, not even meditation. In this way you can become completely open and balanced.

August 22 Santosh Philip Title and Topic to be determined

August 29 Women’s Meditation