1. A Dharma Talk With Ajahn Sumedho

    01:35:54

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    (The recording begins as Ajahn Sumedho is already speaking.)

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    • A Paradigm Shift of the Heart

      46:55

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      The true resolution of the heart is not an wavering New Year's pledge but a determination to switch the very paradigm of our life.

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      • A Radical Path of Mind Training

        01:09:57

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        With Anushka Fernandopulle. Embarking on the path of Dharma practice gives us access to a different way of living. Come learn about what can develop from sincere and dedicated engagement in this powerful discipline. We will examine where we usually seek refuge and safety, and what might be reliable and realistic havens for this in the world.

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        • Beginning Meditation Class 4

          01:38:14

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          Rodney Smith presents the fourth class in a six part series on meditation for beginners. This class is sponsored by the Seattle Insight Meditation Society. Find more Dharma resources at http://seattleinsight.org.

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          • Beginning Meditation Class 1

            01:34:47

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            Beginning Insight Meditation with Rodney Smith, guiding teacher of the Seattle Insight Meditation Society. Visit us at http://seattleinsight.org

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            • Beginning Meditation Class 6

              01:28:33

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              Rodney Smith presents the final class in a six part series on beginning meditation instruction. This class is sponsored by the Seattle Insight Meditation Society. Find more Dharma resources at http://seattleinsight.org

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              • Birthing the Heart: A Complete Practice

                55:08

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                With Rodney Smith. It can be difficult to piece the many instructions of our Buddhist practice into a single coherent whole. We may sense we need to shore up one area and in the next moment we seem deficient in another. The Buddha summarized all the practices he taught into three words: sila (ethical conduct), samadhi (steadiness of mind), and panna (understanding and wisdom). When we get confused about what we should be doing, we might want to return to those three words for direction. They are the keys to birthing our hearts. These three words move in synchronicity to one another. If our minds are too discursive, we focus on distinct experiences, like the breath, until the mind settles. As it settles more, we see deeply into the interconnected fiber of life, which reinforces actions in alignment with the principles of our hearts. When there is sufficient steadiness of mind, our understanding of life deepens, our heart opens, and ethical conduct falls in line with the pain and suffering we see. The wish to hurt ourselves or others falls away with insight, not from moral restraint. We experience ourselves as being a part of and no longer separate from the web of life and we act in accordance with that understanding. Homework: Take sila, samadhi, and panna separately and see how each affects the other two. For instance how does integrity foster a steady mind (samadhi) and penetrating insight (wisdom)? Notice how many thoughts and conflicting emotions arise when you are deceitful. Pick an unskillful behavior you have lived with for a long time such as being manipulative or sneaky. Watch how noisy your life becomes when you engage in that activity. Why? What is happening? Try to meditate while that behavior is still fresh in your consciousness. How easy is it to steady your mind or sincerely focus on the present moment? After enough observation you will suddenly realize that you cannot birth your heart without ethical behavior.

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                • Birthing the Heart: Applying the Heart in Practice

                  58:39

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                  With Rodney Smith. How do we apply the heart to practice? There are two prerequisites for the balancing of Insight Meditation. The first is that we have to be able to observe and see so we can understand what the mind is doing. In the beginning the struggles of practice often have to do with steadying the attention sufficiently to be able to see without the interference of thoughts. This takes time and effort. But the second prerequisite is just as important but more easily overlooked, and that is that our attention has to contain a quality of heart within it. I call this combination of observation plus heart, caring attention. To know that all facts are friendly, which is one of the fruits of insight, is to not only focus upon the fact but to truly let it in and allow the fact to affect us. Our heart allows all facts to enter. We will then meet the fact at the sense door with relaxation and ease, and our judgmental opinions will stand aside, and we will let it pass, trusting in the inclusiveness of the heart. Watch this YouTube video for inspiration on accessing the tenderness of the heart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPSAgs-exfQ Homework: Does your meditation practice need more caring and/or more focused attention? Caring without focused attention is idealism usually pushed by ones own neediness, and focused attention without caring is without humanity, humorless, and dry. Take action from this assessment and apply yourself so that the two come into balance. Be careful not to allow your spiritual journey to move without the caring heart and the focused seeing. Watch how the two feed each other. When you care about something, you become focused and concerned about it, and when you focus on something, it starts affecting you and begins to open your heart. Notice when you are present which one is more active and call the other forth.

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                  • Birthing the Heart: Appreciation

                    47:03

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                    With Rodney Smith. We often miss the obvious ways our heart is birthed throughout the day. We may pass over these situations as unimportant when we succumb to the pressures upon us, but from a spiritual standpoint these moments are precious. These are the times in which our hearts are fully exposed and available, the moments when the mind is quieter and awareness is sensed, the times when the veil between the world and us is thinned considerably, and when life pours through uncensored. One such time is when we are quiet enough to appreciate the rich display of life before us moment after moment. Let us look for these opportunities throughout our day and not pass over them because we have more important things to do. Let us incline our mind toward appreciation as if it were the only experience that truly confirms why we live, and relish the adventure.

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                    • Birthing the Heart: Compassion

                      56:23

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                      With Rodney Smith. When many of us think of love we think of compassion, but love has many faces, compassion being just one of them. Compassion is the natural response of love to suffering, and love is the warm hearted connection with everything. In order for love to continue its compassionate response, we have to allow suffering to be experienced. If we turn away, love’s response will be obstructed by our aversion, and we will act from our aversive response rather than our compassionate one. Like all openings to love, compassion requires our stillness of being, which to the ego feels like being defenseless and vulnerable. The ego would rather move toward reaction than be defenseless, so it breeds hostility and indignation as its counter response to suffering. This puts “us” back into control and then “we” set out to do something about this outrage. But if we forestall this fear reaction and sit for a while within the vulnerability and stillness of suffering, a truer and more interconnected response emerges. We realize that the world is broken apart by a 1000 acts of righteousness but comes together only through love. Homework: This week make a point to experience pain wherever you may find it. Read the paper and listen to the news from this perspective. Put aside your defense mechanism that says, “They deserve what they got.” Revise your perception to see the world in terms of suffering and the end of suffering rather than good and bad. Do not seek a defense from the pain in your heart. Feel the pain on the other side of these issues. Picture the human beings behind the stories. Feel your own vulnerability, how this could be you. Whenever you encounter pain this week offer the phrase, “I care that you (I) are in pain.”

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