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

January 8 Hugh Joswick, “Opening Meditation Mind”   Tarthang Tulku writes in OPENNESS MIND that the mind is much more than simply the organ in which thought arises. For one, mind is the medium of developing meditation. In the broadest sense, the nature of mind is meditation” (113). If we think of meditation as a way of putting the mind into some “place” of relaxation or awareness, we might find Rinpoche’s words puzzling. How can a technique applied to mind be the same as the nature of mind itself? It is true that in the beginning, we confine ourselves to short sessions of meditation, building a small nest where we can feel relaxed and comfortable. But once a calm inner state is developed, we can drop any further instruction and open to a deeper level where just letting be is meditation (115). Hugh Joswick will discuss and lead meditation practices that move beyond minding a restless mind to embracing whatever level of mind we are experiencing.

January 15   Donna Morton   “Kum Nye Practice to Awaken the Joy of Being”    When we cultivate our capacity for experiencing rich depths of feeling, life becomes an ongoing symphony of feelings that blend and harmonize throughout the day, sustaining us with interest, creativity and positive thoughts. …we need not be shy about getting inside our experience and embracing it intimately, below the level of concepts.  Viewing our own embodiment as a precious resource, we may find our joy.   Kum Nye instructor Donna Morton will present a sampling of teachings and practices from Tarthang Tulku’s text, THE JOY OF BEING.  A year-long exploration of this text begins Wednesday mornings in mid-February. 

January 22  Olivia Hurd   “Opening to Living and Dying: Natural Being”   As we age, how can we deepen appreciation for our experience of life?  Nyingma Psychology instructor Olivia Hurd will present Buddhist teachings and meditations that can wake us up so we might fully engage the richness of life right now!  As we become elders moving ever-closer to dying, we may find a unique opportunity to use this precious time of life for inner growth: being with what is in this moment; letting go of attachments; becoming more comfortable with the truth of impermanence. Tarthang Tulku writes in OPENNESS MIND, It would be helpful to us if death were more openly acknowledged as a natural part of being, not as a great tragedy. By understanding the impermanence of life, we can fully value each moment. Awareness of death teaches us to enjoy life, not possessively or emotionally, but simply, by being filled with the beauty and creativity of living fully. (29) 

 February 5  Suellen Ehnebuske   “Understanding Negative Emotions”   Where do negative emotions come from? What is emotion anyway? And why is the pull of habitual negativity so difficult to control?  Understanding emotional habits, how they arise and how we might to loosen their reactive charge is the subject of this talk by Suellen Ehnebuske, meditation instructor.  Tarthang Tulku writes, Rather than asking why, observe how the emotion arises.   In this talk, we will look at the traditional Buddhist understanding of how reactive emotionality arises and how we might work to “catch” emotion before it dictates a reactive emotional response deepening the negativity and creating more separateness, confusion and dissatisfaction. Several short practices will be offered.

 February 12   Abbe Blum, Anita McNulty, Donna Morton and Santosh Philip    “2023 Level 1 Kum Nye Teacher Training Program Announcement”    If you are interested in learning about the upcoming Kum Nye Teacher Training Program that starts in August 2023, this informational session is the opportunity to hear about it from the program’s faculty.  An overview of the nine-month program will be presented and there will be time to answer your questions. This Teacher Training Program is appropriate both for those interested in teaching, as well as for those who simply want to dive intensively into Kum Nye practice.  The program is based on Tarthang Tulku’s first Kum Nye text, KUM NYE TIBETAN YOGA.  

February 19   Santosh Philip   “Using Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga to Open the Gates of Meditation”   Kum Nye and Meditation instructor Santosh Philip will introduce Kum Nye exercises prior to silent sitting meditations.  Our practice of Kum Nye can help us loosen up tendencies to hold on tightly to concepts and expectations.  It can help us notice and relax the internal ‘watcher’ that tenses mind, nerves, and senses and numbs our experience, and it can support the patience necessary for experience to develop.  In the same way we have learned to surrender to the flow of beautiful feelings, we can surrender to the silent calm of meditation.  In the openness of relaxation, nourished by the vital energies awakened by Kum Nye, the open awareness of meditation begins to develop.  (JOY OF BEING: Tarthang Tulku)  Santosh will speak on the importance of trusting your experience to allow a sense of inner ease to develop, and guide both Kum Nye and meditation practices to support a deepening interconnection of mind and body.  

 March 5  Mark Henderson  “The Four Seals of the Dharma”   The entire teaching of the Buddha is distilled in four statements which are sealed by the true nature of things: all conditioned phenomena are impermanent, all defiled phenomena are suffering, all phenomena are empty and devoid of self, and nirvana is peace. Following Lama Mipham’s presentation in Gateway to Knowledge, this talk will introduce the genuine reliability of the four seals and explore the possibilities for liberating knowledge that can open up by realizing the four seals through our study, contemplation, and meditation practice.

 March 12   Abbe Blum   “Staying On and Coming Off the Cushion: Meditation and Awareness”   When we sit down to meditate, we have not really looked into the aspect of meditation experience that we take for granted.    Tarthang Tulku, Dimensions of Mind p. 111   What does relaxation have to do with meditative awareness?  “I’m not doing this right,” “I’m making progress”  “I’m just sitting, relaxed” – such inner dialogue suggests that we are already walking away from the meditation cushion. Reporting on experience while sitting to meditate—even telling yourself to “just let go”— automatically creates distance. Body and mind need to be calm and relaxed before meditation can deepen. Drawing from Tarthang Tulku’s DIMENSIONS OF MIND and JOY OF BEINGthis talk addresses how unexamined commitment to the self who is meditating takes us off the pillow even when the body is still there. How might we begin to develop the open awareness of meditation, embodying calmness?

March 19   Anita McNulty  “Balancing and Integrating Body, Mind and Senses”     What does it mean to live more in balance, with ourselves, with others and with the world?  How can we cultivate this balance, the objective of Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga? Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche writes,  The foundation of balance and integration is relaxation.  … When we are relaxed, we open to new sensory fields and dimensions, expanding sensations and feelings that bring body and mind together.  We learn to generate and accumulate energy, using it so both body and mind work together in a flowing, open way.  Thoughts and sensations flow more smoothly as the mind is vibrant and clear and the body vital and energetic.  When we truly relax, it is no longer the ‘self’ that is experiencing  – we become the experience itself.  Anita McNulty, Kum Nye Instructor in the Nyingma Institute Teaching Training Program, will explore these ideas and some Kum Nye practices, so that we can discover the beauty, richness and value of our inner resources. (210-211 KUM NYE TIBETAN YOGA)

 April 2  Richard Kingsland  “The Life Stories of Vairochana and Longchenpa, two of the greatest of all Tibetan Nyingma Masters”   Vairochana, one of the 25 great disciples of Padmasambhava, was probably the most accomplished Tibetan translator of Indian teachings in Tibet, and a miraculous and fully accomplished master on his own.  Longchenpa (1308-1364), is considered a second Buddha, and the greatest thinker and writer of the Nyingma tradition.   Dr. Richard Kingsland, who has been a student of Tarthang Tulku, founder of the Nyingma Institute, for 50+ years, offers this talk from his unique perspective on the great Nyingma lineage.   

 April 9  Ken McKeon  “Syncing with the Heart”   We tend to be strangers to ourselves, off balance and out of whack.  The teachings of the Time, Space and Knowledge Vision developed by Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche in the 1970’s, point towards a more knowledgeable and effective way of being in the world.  Veteran student and teacher of TSK for over 40 years, Ken McKeon will present exercises, as he guides students through this journey as work towards an open-ended and vigorous appreciation of life. (TIME, SPACE AND KNOWLEDGE – A New Vision of Reality;  by Tarthang Tulku, pp xxxiv. )