Recording Category: Dharma Talks

2,500 years ago, Shakyamuni Buddha himself predicted that all of us would realize Buddhahood. Buddhist scripture is replete with this assurance. But if our Buddhahood is assured, why do we struggle so with self-doubt? How do we balance the Buddha’s unbridled optimism with the frustration that inevitably arises in our practice?

In exploring Buddhist teachings and trying to incorporate them into our life, questions like “What is real?” move from being vague or frivolous ideas to concrete practices that shape our day. In this talk Kakumyo will see how this question shapes how we relate to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

We don’t have a lot of exposure to the Bodhisattva Vows at Dharma Rain. In this talk we’ll investigate these challenging and powerful vows. We’ll explore some of the rather different formulations of them and the koan nature of these vows. We’ll also investigate the power of wise aspiration in our practice.

We live our lives having to make so many decisions. How do we see what is right for us to do? What is the role of the mind and how do we develop our own wisdom to guide us.

It might be easy and comfortable to think about practice in terms of how it affects our mind state. This cause and effect is fairly simple and relatively observable. If the effect of practice spreads farther, what does that challenge? How would that impact our practice?

What is Joy? Is it the same as happiness? How does it relate to Suffering? Is it okay for a Buddhist to feel happy? In fact, Joy is one of the Four Immeasurables, as well as being one of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment. Genko explores Buddhism’s relationship to Joy, and gives some tips for… Read more »

Trying to avoid judgmental or reactive patterns, we might forego our authentic recognition of what fits. If we aim for clarity we might end up feeling disconnected. There’s a sweet spot in navigating life that allows for both wise discernment and nonattachment.

We celebrate the Festival of Nehan this week, and the historical Buddha’s passge out of this world. But perhaps there never was a Buddha. What if the Buddha never really existed? What happens to our practice then?

Whoa! What was that!? Sometimes we aim for equanimity and find ourselves surprised by reactive strong emotions. This Sunday Jyoshin will talk about selves–from–the–past appearing in the Present and ways zen practice can be used to examine habit patterns around strong emotions and reactivity.

This Sunday Genko weighs in on the ongoing study of the Bodhisattva Precepts we are doing on Wednesday nights, led by Jyoshin and Carrie. How do we hold, keep, and commit to the Precepts? More than a set of rules, they point us to a path in a particular direction. We work with them as… Read more »

The question of how to undertake a meditation practice in the midst of a practice community is one that has been asked since the time of the Buddha. What tools are we given to skillfully attend to our own personal growth, while also supporting others in a way that provides space for their transformation as… Read more »

Sometimes we see the state of the world and despair. Our experience with the suffering of all beings is hard to hold at times. How does our practice help us to navigate when it seems there is nothing to be done? Is there room for despair in the Dharma?

As we begin Rohatsu, our longest and most solemn sesshin of the year, Genko looks at sesshin practice and the intimacy it fosters in the midst of deepening silence.

This week Kakumyo discussed the most subtle and difficult of the brahma viharas or divine abidings. Equanimity is a key factor in creating the relational context that we function in. Given Zen’s emphasis on the interdependence of life, practice and enlightenment, this relational content becomes important. Holidays are approaching, get your equanimity booster while you can.

In the Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 Lines, bodhisattvas are described as “being armed with the great armor.” This week, Jyoshin will look at what this armor might be, how we tend to think about armoring, and how we may be able to shift towards utilizing spiritual armor instead of defensive armoring.  

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