The wisdom division is gaining an understanding of what life is really about and adopting the three intentions of letting go (generosity), loving-kindness, and compassion. The two steps in this division are Skillful Understanding and Skillful Intention. The talks below are arranged under Core Teachings, Letting Go (Generosity) and Loving-Kindness/Compassion
The Eightfold Path
This series is based on Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness by Bhante Gunaratana. Each talk is a recap of the actual talk delivered at White Hall Meditation. At the end of each talk are two assignments: Reflection and Meditation. Practicing these assignments will allow you to experience the teachings which is the way the Buddha wanted us to truly know the dharma. At the end of each talk, there are two assignments, Reflection and Meditation.
The Four Noble Truths (Principles of Suffering)
This series of teachings is based on many sources including:
Dancing With Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering by Phillip Moffitt and The Four Noble Truths by Venerable Ajahn Sumedho.
Each talk is a recap of the actual talk delivered at White Hall Meditation. At the end of each talk are two assignments: Reflection and Meditation. Practicing these assignments will allow you to experience the teachings which is the way the Buddha wanted us to truly know the dharma.
Core Buddhist Teachings and their Application to Daily Life
There are four core teachings that we will explore:
Understanding Experience: The Three Characteristics: Saṃyutta Nikāya 22.45
How We Process Experiences: The Five Aggregates: Khandha Sutta
The Causes of Suffering: The Three Poisons: Sammādiṭṭhi Sutta
Suffering as a Disease: The Principles of Suffering Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
Taking True Refuge Series Talk I
This series is about how we can find freedom from stress by taking the true refuge. The Buddha described three gateways (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha) to this refuge which are traditionally known as the Three Jewels or Gems. The inspiration for this series comes from True Refuge by Tara Brach.
In the Buddha’s Prescription for Happiness (the Eightfold Path), in the second step, Skillful Intention, he stated three skillful intentions to adopt: letting go, practicing loving-kindness and practicing compassion. This is an exploration of the first intention: Letting Go.
Aging, especially old age, is a form of suffering. How can we cease this suffering and age peacefully? In this series on mindfulness and aging, we explore how to do this.
Our objectives are to: understand the Buddha’s relevant teachings about aging and suffering, understand how the Eightfold Path can give us insights and a practice for aging peacefully, reflect on the negative and positive aspects of aging in a different context, and be able to say yes to all aspects of aging.
Desire, Aversion, Delusion and the Road to Suffering
The Buddha described the mind states of greed, aversion (ill-will) and delusion as the three poisons that lead to unskillful behavior and thus cause suffering. “And what are the roots of what is unskillful? Greed is a root of what is unskillful, aversion is a root of what is unskillful, delusion is a root of what is unskillful. These are called the roots of what is unskillful.” These talks, explore each of these poisons.
How We Experience Life – Perception
When someone says, “That makes me crazy!”, what do they mean? What are they perceiving that is making them suffer? Is it really making them suffer?
Perception is one of the five ways in which we experience life. The Buddha called these ways, the Five Aggregates of Clinging, because, as we will see, it is our attachment to them that causes suffering.
Meditation on Perception
These dharma (teaching) talks on Meditation on Perception are based on the book by Bhante Gunaratana, Meditation on Perception: Ten Healing Practices to Cultivate Mindfulness. (Wisdom Publications, Boston, 2014) Each talk is a recap of the actual talk delivered at White Hall Meditation.
The Buddha and Consumerism
This talk was inspired by Penetrating the Tangle by Stephanie Kaza in Hooked!
This talk is not about the do’s and don’ts about consuming. Rather, we are looking at what are our intentions about consuming goods and services and how to develop our own actions based on these intentions.
The Buddha and the Coronavirus
The coronavirus situation is very challenging. We worry which is defined as giving way to anxiety or unease. We go into a trance with is allowing one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. In other words, we catch the disease of dis-ease. Thoughts arise that cause us to worry. the virus, the economy, our livelihood, our friends, our self and so on. How can we personally deal with it? What can the teachings tell us?
The Second Arrow Sutta
This is a study of the Sallattha Sutta, commonly known as the Second Arrow.
The Buddha notes that when the uninstructed person feels physical pain, he becomes afflicted with mental anguish. The Buddha compares this to one who is shot with an arrow that causes physical pain and then shot with second arrow that causes mental pain. So this person is afflicted with two pains, physician and mental.
The Wisdom of Insecurity
This series of talks is based on The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety by Alan W. Watts (Vintage Books 1951). Although published over 65 years ago, this classic work still has relevance for us in today. Watts’s views will be supplemented by my commentary, relevance to the Buddha’s teachings and other references.
All of us have certain things that tend to trigger strong emotional reactions. These come from deeply held beliefs. These beliefs aren’t good or bad, they’re just a result of our conditioning. There are times when we might want to act as if they are correct. But if we’re not curious about them and don’t investigate them, we will just react automatically, and play out the same old patterns, even if it is not the most skillful thing to do. How can we untie the knots of our beliefs?
This loving-kindness series is based on Loving-Kindness in Plain English: The Practice of Metta by Bhante Gunaratana. (Wisdom Publications, 2017).
Laura Good and Robert Hodge
Reawakening to Our Buddha Nature
This series of dharma talks explores how to awaken to our Buddha nature “the fundamental happiness and freedom that are the birthrights of every human being.” The main resource is Radical Acceptance: Enhancing your Life with the Heart of the Buddha by Tara Brach (Bantam Books, New York, 2003). The talks explore the topic of each chapter with the intent to relate to our own experience and to the teachings of the Buddha. At the end of each talk, there are two assignments, Reflection and Meditation.
Robert Hodge and Laura Good
Compassion for Ourselves and Others
This series was inspired by Tara Brach’s book, Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN. There are 16 talks in the pdf by Robert Hodge and Laura Good.
Love: The Supreme Emotion
Love is mentioned in many contexts. What does it mean in terms of spirituality? What is the purpose of love in our life? This series explores love using Love 2.0: Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection by Barbara Fredrickson.
Robert Hodge and Laura Good
Love What it is and isn’t
Love is mentioned in many contexts. What does it mean in terms of spirituality? What is the purpose of love in our life? This talk was given on a half-day retreat.
Is It Possible to Avoid Getting Angry?
Dear Emily, How do you stop your emotions from shifting into “fight” mode and verbal violence? I understand the principles of Making It Safe, but often, I only become aware that I am in “violence” well into the conversation—when my own emotions are already heated and boiling over. The wisest choice at that point seems to be to get out of the space and conversation where I can get my emotions under control, but, by then, the damage is usually done. While I have greatly improved over the years and am far more aware of my own bullying nature (intellectual or otherwise), I still struggle to change. Signed, Upset & Unaware
Thich Nhat Hanh on Anger
Inspired by Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames Riverhead Books 2001
Chapters One Consuming Anger and Two Putting Out the Fire of Anger
Is it Possible to Avoid Holiday Stress?
The holiday season is popularly portrayed as a time of peace, joy, and giving. Unfortunately, for many, it can be a time of intense stress and unhappiness. Stress can be defined in many ways: unhappiness, sadness, despair, dissatisfaction, and anger. It can be triggered by a variety of circumstances including change in routine, relationships, and responsibilities. How can the Buddha’s teachings help us deal with this stress? The Buddha’s main contribution was as he stated: “What I teach now as before, O monks, is suffering and the cessation of suffering.”
Mindfulness and Compassion
How can mindfulness help us develop more compassion for ourselves and others?
Health care workers are expected to be compassionate but aren’t we all? Patients expect their
caregivers to be compassionate, but don’t we expect that of everyone? How can mindfulness build and maintain our compassion?
Skillful Intention and Family Relationships
In this series on Skillful Intention in Family Relationships, we will look at what skillful intention is, what it isn’t and how we can use it to not only decrease suffering in those relationships but to clarify what we want from them so we can increase our own happiness while we deepen our practice.
Laura Good and Robert Hodge
What Are You Becoming?
This talk is based in part on a meditation, As Days and Nights Fly By, by Thanissaro Bhikkhui
Meditations6 January 1, 2010.
Why is “What are You Becoming?” an important question? Do you need to become anything? The truth is that we are becoming all of the time. It is just a question of what. How do we become? What does the Buddha recommend that we become? We will be exploring these questions in order to realize our freedom and true happiness.