I find teaching to be a very deep and powerful "no self" practice. When I connect with others during Dharma talks--in the intimacy of small groups, and while holding meditation practice interviews--I am continually reminded to know, and be, in a place of clarity, spaciousness and immediate presence. Being able to offer students such a place of connection is my greatest pleasure and inspiration, as well as the most appreciated challenge in my teaching practice.
For me, the real fruit of the teaching is seeing the beauty of a gradual, and sometimes sudden, unfolding of a heartmind into its true self; seeing the variety of ways a person's essential, creative energy of being flows into the world.
On one end of the teaching, I am excited and inspired by students who are deeply committed to long-term, intensive practice. On the other end (and of course they're connected), I find that working closely with people at the grass roots level--in a co-creative process of developing and sustaining Dharma practice, study and community opportunitiies on a day-to-day basis--is equally exciting and inspiring.
From the immediacy of presence flows a wisdom that naturally connects us to the way of things. This amazing gift of mindfulness provides us with a spaciousness where we can make appropriate, healthy and creative life choices. Rather than being caught up in our old, conditioned habits, mindfulness provides us with the gift of engagement at its best. This is the Gift of the Dharma that we offer to all beings.
Exploring some of the breadth and depth of the great blessings of our precious human existence, in light of our life itself being the most precious and rare opportunity to practice the Dharma of awakening.
Exploring through stories--old and new--the unifying energy of metta, this most subtle and powerful energy. Why and how is the capacity for an unfettered unconditional connection in relationship to ourselves and others essentially necessary for our dharma practice and in the whole of our life?
A question with many obvious answers and some surprising answers that show up as our practice unfolds...a talk telling of exemplary stories.
Compassion - one of the two wings of liberation: It's the heart felt connection to beings, and our way of being in this world that ensues from this. Compassion: Arising out of a clear and deep understanding/knowing of Dukkha (the unsatisfactoriness of all phenomena); the root cause of this suffering and the way of it's end.
Compassion--the heart of tenderness, openness and great strength. As we turn our capacity to unconditionally open to and accept towards suffering, we connect with our courage and strength to genuine care and move towards the alleviation of suffering.
The enlightenment factor of tranquility, the calm serenity that begins to evolve out of the connection, interest and joy in seeing things more directly and clearly, brings a quieting of the disturbances of mind and body. Tranquility prepares the mind for deepening concentration, which is the 6th enlightenment factor. With a strengthening of moment-to-moment concentration, clarity and insight arise quite naturally.
Spiritual joy-bliss-rapture makes the mind/the heart bright, light, pliable, and open. It's rooted in our practice along the way of this journey to awakening. This bright and buoyant energy of mind and body helps to inspire and sustain the effort that is needed for practicing.
The bright and buoyant energy of joy, this "lightness of being", and the arising calm and quiet of a tranquil body and mind are essential aspects and fruits of this path along the way to awakening.
The Buddha's invitation to us is "to come and see" for ourselves what is true. Investigation is the "activity" of mindfulness. It's the activity of discernment. It illuminates the object. When things are brightly lit, what is already present is then clearly seen and known, and confusion is dissipated.
"EHI PASSIKA" "Some and See" investigation is the active aspect of mindfulness. It brings a clear discernment of our body-mind experience. Investigation is what lights up the truth for us.
Mindfulness is needed in all instances. It has the capacity to connect with and accept whatever phenomenon is presenting itself at any of the six sense doors without judgement, evaluation or the attachment of self-identification. Mindfulness is the "mother" of all the factors of enlightenment. It offers the great intimacy with experience that is needed for the door of truth to open.