Sunday Talks

Each Sunday from 6-7 PM, a free talk on Nyingma teachings or related topics is presented by a Nyingma Institute faculty member or guest lecturer.

April 15, Olivia Hurd on “Finding Emotional Balance through Cultivating a Meditation Practice”

How can a routine meditation practice help to balance our emotions?  Unpleasant feelings often surface like lightning in real-time life situations, causing us to react in ways that exacerbate our problems. Tarthang Tulku writes in Gesture of Balance, “Awareness is always accessible within ourselves, within our energy. But when we are distracted or emotionally entangled, we may have no idea what is actually happening in ourselves . . . By working with these emotions in our meditation, we can learn to free ourselves from their influence.” Nyingma Psychology instructor Olivia Hurd will talk about the role of body awareness as well as mind awareness in transmuting negative energy to positive energy through meditation.

April 22, Ken McKeon on “Light as Knowledge”

“Manifesting in the contact of heart to mind and being to knowledge, light gives freedom of mind beyond all imagination. Immaculate and indestructible, diamond light offers universal illumination, communicating the wholeness of love and compassion.”  Tarthang Tulku, Dynamics of Time and Space.

The radical notion that ‘light’ is fundamental to all experience opens the way to contact a special kind of knowledge within ordinary appearance and meanings. Time, Space, and Knowledge instructor Ken McKeon will lead participants in dialogue and introspective practices that illuminate this approach to knowledge.

April 29, Donna Morton on “The Power of Posture to Shape Well-being”

Adopting the Seven Gestures posture on the meditation cushion as well as in daily life puts into practice ancient wisdom that can support our mind-body health today. We will examine the elements of balanced sitting posture and its effects on our structural health, energy, mind states and attitudes. This is an introductory primer to a workshop May 19th that will explore posture more in depth.

May 6, Lama Palzang on “Prayers for World Peace: A Visual Journey”

Each year, thousands of voices resound together at the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, India, activating prayers for universal peace and well-being during the 10-day Nyingma Monlam Chenmo, or World Peace Ceremony. You will experience this ceremony through the perspective of Lama Palzang, who has been directly involved with this gathering for many years, and see a selection of photographs from this year’s ceremony.

The beauty, color, and richness of this ceremony, its positive intention, and the attendance of many important masters, draws thousands of pilgrims each year. Learn about how you can participate, the power of making offerings, and why merit and wisdom matter.

This talk will be followed by a short introduction to the Ngondro Program at 7 pm. 

May 13, Bob Byrne on “Gratitude”

On this Mother’s Day, Nyingma Institute instructor, Bob Byrne, will explore the sense and meaning of gratitude from the perspective of the Dharma. Through discussion and practice, Bob will illustrate that sharing and expanding the feeling of gratitude can open new dimensions in our experience.

May 20, Bob Russo, “Skillful Means as Fundamental to Dharma Practice & Development.”

Our work brings us amazing opportunities for fulfillment and spiritual growth. How can we tap into this under-appreciated and under-utilized reservoir? Bob Russo will explore the challenging insights and practical instructions of “Skillful Means” for Dharma practice, inner development, and conscious work. Bob Russo has served as a project coordinator under Tarthang Tulku’s guidance for over forty years.

May 27, Olivia Hurd on “Transforming Negative Emotions with Mindful Awareness”

What wisdom can we learn from our emotions, and how can we work with them to relax their tightening grip?  Tarthang Tulku writes that our problems do not lie in what we experience, but in the attitude we have towards it.  It is possible to shift familiar reactive habit patterns of mind and body so that we don’t lose balance and patience. Nyingma Psychology instructor Olivia Hurd will discuss ways we can apply awareness to wake up to what is happening in our lives even amidst an emotional reaction.

June 3, Lama Palzang & Nathan Gallanter on “Activating the Sacred through Drumming and Chanting”

This talk will provide students with the opportunity to connect to the purpose, context, and use of sacred music in the Tibetan tradition, as well as to experience it in a light-hearted, relaxed manner.

Learn about the process of hand-crafting very large drums; their use and context in Tibetan Buddhist ritual practice; and finally join us in experiencing 10 large drums resounding together with sacred chants and prayers. Staff member and carpenter Nathan Gallanter will speak to the recently completed multiple-month process of creating over 10 drums for ritual use at Nyingma Institute. Lama Palzang, Co-Dean and faculty member, will talk about the context and purpose of ceremonial music in Tibetan Buddhist ritual practice, speaking from his experience as a trained lama.

The practice of chanting aloud with musical accompaniment enlivens and activates energies in the body and mind. It can harmonize and expand your field of experience, help clarify the mind, or be used to strengthen altruistic intentions. For a practitioner, these elements are part of an experiential method of focusing energy and amplifying positive intentions in transformative ways.