Sundays, 6:00 – 7:00 PM / Dharma Talk or Gathering
DHARMA TALK SCHEDULE: May – August 2021
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 Alice Lemon and Richard Kingsland “Personal Experiences with the Ngondro Preliminary Practices”
Essential and transformative for practitioners following the traditional pathway in Tibetan Buddhism, the Ngondro are considered to be the preliminary or foundational practices, especially among the Nyingma and Kagyu Schools. They consist of the completion of 108,000 each of the following practices: Prostrations, Taking Refuge or Bodhicitta, Vajrasattva Purification Practice, Mandala Offering and Practice, and Guru Yoga Practice. These practices purify obscurations and accumulate merit, clearing the way for the dawn of awakened awareness. In this talk Richard Kingsland will speak from his perspective as a longtime student of Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, and Alice Lemon will speak as a current participant in the Nyingma Institute’s Five Year Ngondro Program.
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