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

September- December 2021

August 29 — Women’s Meditation

On the last Sunday of every month, all women are welcome to our gathering— an online meditation circle. We meet for one hour, and are guided into a practice by one of the women instructors; there’s also a reading and often a relaxation exercise. In the spirit of openness and acceptance, we invite you to be with us to experience yourself just as you are in supportive silence and connection. Open to all women everywhere and for all levels of meditators.

September 5 — Donna Morton on “Self-Massage to Stretch the Bonds of Your Ordinary Conceptions”

Kum Nye instructor, physical therapist and nutritionist Donna Morton, will talk about the unique opportunities available when connecting deeply with one’s being through self-massage. She will focus on selected points on the face and head, taking us through stimulating and relaxing practices, followed by silent sitting meditation. “When you massage yourself, … your whole body participates, as a reciprocal relationship develops between hand and muscle, or the point the hand massages, generating feelings that stimulate interactions throughout the body.  Interaction also occurs between physical and non-physical levels of existence, and this interaction stimulates certain energies that, not restricted to the body’s boundaries, spread to the surrounding world.” (Tarthang Tulku, Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga.) 

September 12 — Pauline Yu  on “Sensing Belonging and Community”   

In a time of division and uncertainty, where can we find common ground? How can alienation or isolation give way to a deep sense of inner confidence and belonging? What does Buddhism have to say about community, and how does this relate to ideals of renunciation and leaving home? Pauline Yu, a full-time work-study volunteer at Nyingma Institute, speaks to the joy that comes from releasing positions, and on the lessons she has learned from living in community for over a decade. When we connect deeply to our inner being, we may also realize that we already have everything we need for relating authentically to others. 

September 19 — Hugh Joswick on “Reading What the Buddha Taught”

Although there are many translations of the teachings of the Buddha available in English, it may be difficult to know where to start. The Buddhist sutras can seem bewildering: often succinct and repetitious. We may well wonder what is the value of reading these sutras today. Nyingma Institute instructor, Hugh Joswick, will discuss how reading the sutras in a class or workshop can improve understanding of the spiritual path and encourage you to deepen your practice. He will present short passages from some of the early teachings of the Buddha, and lead participants in a short meditation.

September 26 — Women’s Meditation

On the last Sunday of every month, all women are welcome to our gathering— an online meditation circle. We meet for one hour, and are guided into a practice by one of the women instructors; there’s also a reading and often a relaxation exercise. In the spirit of openness and acceptance, we invite you to be with us to experience yourself just as you are in supportive silence and connection. Open to all women everywhere and for all levels of meditators.

October 3 — Olivia Hurd on “The Process of Developing Balance”  

How does balance feel? “All aspects of experience blend perfectly and there is a vibrant quality to everything; the usual border between inner and outer space becomes fluid. Nothing is fixed, and we feel spacious and open.  We act with perfect ease and appropriateness. The essence of this experience is balance.” (Tarthang Tulku, Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga) Finding our way to equilibrium requires a process of listening sensitively to our body and mind, becoming aware of the pushes and pulls we feel when off balance: important signals. Nyingma Psychology instructor Olivia Hurd will draw on Tarthang Tulku’s wisdom of balance, and will include practices to cultivate harmony and balance.  

In Gesture of Balance, Tarthang Tulku writes, “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.”

October 10Santosh Phillip on “Manifesting the Quality of Being through Kum Nye” 

Tarthang Tulku’s book, The Joy of Being, the basis for this talk, offers exercises and explanations enabling us to awaken the full capacities of body and mind, senses and heart, by balancing and tuning our inward energies. Santosh Phillip, Nyingma Institute instructor of Kum Nye, will talk about how we can embody Kum Nye, “to give form to a quality or idea, to manifest something intangible so we can relate to it in a more tangible way… a vibrant aliveness fully attuned to the present moment.” He will present exercises to relax the body and release tensions to promote health and well-being, “while calming the restless tendencies of body and mind that interfere with the development of meditation.” 

October 17Richard Kingsland on “Early Experiences (1970-1974) in the First U.S. Nyingma Community with Tarthang Tulku”

Richard Kingsland, MD, became a student of Tarthang Tulku, when he was an undergraduate at the university, in 1970. Rinpoche had come to the U.S. in 1969, and began teaching the Dharma in Berkeley “in a small house, in broken English, with an infectious charm, profound dignity, and complete fearlessness,” says Richard. “He had about 20 students at that time.” Richard will tell stories of what it was like in the early days of this community, and will talk about the Nyingma Lineage teachings that began to wake him up. 

October 24 — Anita McNulty on “Healing Through Positive Energy”  

Anita McNulty, longtime student of Tarthang Tulku, and Nyingma Institute Kum Nye instructor, will talk on the interrelationship of body and mind from the experience of Kum Nye.  When this integrated system is balanced, positive energy naturally flows freely, resulting in self-healing, relieving psychological burdens. Our whole system becomes vitalized and healthy when we learn to calm and integrate body, breath and mind. Anita will present simple practices that develop positive energy and feelings of lightness and joy. 

October 31 — Women’s Meditation 

On the last Sunday of every month, all women are welcome to our gathering— an online meditation circle. We meet for one hour, and are guided into a practice by one of the women instructors; there’s also a reading and often a relaxation exercise. In the spirit of openness and acceptance, we invite you to be with us to experience yourself just as you are in supportive silence and connection. Open to all women everywhere and for all levels of meditators. 

November 7Mark Henderson on “The Stages of Meditation:  Kamalashila”

In our era we often suffer with too much information. We may feel that meditation can lead to greater knowledge and freedom. But how do we start? How do we proceed? Many good people say a lot, but who really knows?

As the teachings of the Buddha were being transmitted to Tibet in the eighth century similar confusions arose. Fortunately the great master from India known as Kamalashila (Lotus Flower of Highest Ethical Conduct) provided a reliable guide. His text entitled The Stages of Meditation lays out the key points of practice in an orderly progression, with each key point supported by essential quotes from the Mahayana sutras. This talk will introduce us to Kamalashila and his eminently clear, practical, and reliable guidance.

November 14Suellen Ehnebuske on “What’s Your State of Mind?”  

The way we experience life is created by the particular states of mind with which we meet it. These mental states and what they bring to each experience are critical for our happiness. Yet, many of us are not aware of these mind states, and assume that what we are experiencing is controlled by outside influences. In this talk, meditation instructor Suellen Ehnebuske will investigate more closely qualities arising in mind — positive, negative and neutral, and how they drive our experiences when we are caught up in them.  Practices on self-reflection will be offered to increase awareness of these ever-changing mental states. As our understanding and awareness of mind grows, the conditions of choice naturally unfold that allow a shift out of mental habit patterns and suffering, toward more freedom and happiness. 

November 21Olivia Hurd on “Making Mind Our Friend”  

We have been at the mercy of the patterns of body and mind, accumulated through years of conditioning, causing us fears, doubts and worries long enough. But we can make peace with mind, and free mind to respond to our thoughts, feelings and emotions with greater flexibility and openness. We can use mind’s talents more productively to assure ourselves of a better journey and experience deepening intimacy with our own being. Within our own embodied realm, we can find all the knowledge we need to go farther. Once we have experienced this kind of wholeness, we know the way home to the core of our being. Meditation instructor Olivia Hurd will share some of her experiences in applying Tarthang Tulku’s teachings, both in meditation and in the heat of life’s challenging moments. 

November 28Women’s Meditation 

On the last Sunday of every month, all women are welcome to our gathering— an online meditation circle. We meet for one hour, and are guided into a practice by one of the women instructors; there’s also a reading and often a relaxation exercise. In the spirit of openness and acceptance, we invite you to be with us to experience yourself just as you are in supportive silence and connection. Open to all women everywhere and for all levels of meditators. 

December 5Mark Henderson on “Natural Freedom of Mind:  The Path” 

Viewing freedom as intrinsic to our being, the great 14th century Nyingma master Longchenpa encourages us to rest within the natural openness of our minds – naturally, non-dually, effortlessly. This talk will introduce the second chapter of Longchenpa’s classic text, The Natural Freedom of the Nature of Mind.

December 12 — Hugh Joswick on “Revisiting Gesture of Balance: Finding New Ways to Read a Classic Book”

Tarthang Tulku’s Gesture of Balance has inspired generations of readers to engage meditation and the spiritual path. It seems as vital today as the time it was first published in 1977. Nyingma Institute instructor, Hugh Joswick, will discuss some of the enduring themes of the book and how more recent writings of Tarthang Tulku shed light on the deeper meanings of the text. If you have read the text before, or have never read it, now is the time to re-explore your experience with the gestures presented in this book. 

December 19 — Nyingma Institute closed for Winter Break