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Sally Clough Armstrong's Dharma Talks
Sally Clough Armstrong
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Sally Clough Armstrong began practicing vipassana meditation in India in 1981. She moved to the Bay Area in 1988, and worked at Spirit Rock until 1994 in a number of roles, including executive director. She began teaching in 1996, and is one of the guiding teachers of Spirit Rock's Dedicated Practitioner Program.
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2009-07-22 The Beautiful Qualities of Compassion and Equanimity 55:19
The four Brahma Viharas are loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. The foundation practice is metta, or loving-kindness, which cultivates a friendly and kind attitude towards ourselves, others and all experiences. When this caring heart meets suffering, it naturally responds with compassion. But the last Brahma Vihara, equanimity, the quality of calm acceptance, is necessary keep the heart in balance and open to all the joys and sorrows of our lives.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Metta Retreat
2009-07-18 The Practice of Metta 48:58
Metta, or loving-kindness, is the practice of cultivating a friendly and accepting attitude towards ourselves, our experience and all other beings. As we cultivate this quality through intensive practice, we can find that it can become our default response to life, rather than the conditioned habits of aversion, fear or grasping.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Metta Retreat
2009-05-16 Supports for Samadhi: An overview of the Buddha’s teachings on some of the beautiful qualities of mind and heart that lead to deepening concentration. 55:22
The role of concentration is central to the Buddha’s teaching. This can be seen by the emphasis placed on it in some of the key Buddhist lists, such as the Noble Eightfold Path, the Five Spiritual Faculties, the Seven Factors Of Awakening and the 12 links of Transcendent Dependent Arising. This talk looks at the qualities we can develop in our practice that support concentration, such as faith, mindfulness, happiness and contentment.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Concentration Retreat
2009-05-12 Factors That Support and Hinder Concentration 58:22
Any time we practice mindfulness and wise attention, we are weakening the impact of the hindrances, and strengthening what are known as the five jhanic factors: meditative qualities that support the continuity and deepening of our meditation. Each of the jhanic factors actually balances and acts as an antidote to one of the hindrances. This talk looks at how to strengthen the jhanic factors, and use them skillfully as antidotes to the hindrances.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Concentration Retreat
2008-12-05 The Fourth Foundation Of Mindfulness 59:09
The Satipatthana Sutta (usually translated as the Foundations of Mindfulness) offers a complete description of the practice of mindfulness, beginning with the direct awareness of the breath and the body, progressing through mindfulness of vedana or feeling tone, to the more subtle object of the Third Foundation, mindfulness of mind states. The Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness represents the culmination of this series of practices, and can be seen as a direct pointing, again and again, to the possibility of freedom through direct awareness of where we get caught, and how to turn the mind towards liberation. This talk is an overview of the practices of the Fourth Foundation, which can be seen as both the last in the sequence of practices, and as a progression in itself. It also covers how the Fourth Foundation can actually be skillfully interwoven into our practice of the other foundations.
Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center Three-Month Retreat - Part 2
2008-11-27 Practicing Gratitude And Joy 56:49
On this day of thanksgiving, it is important to remember what we are actually celebrating: the generosity of Native Americans to the early settlers, and all that they have given us. It is also a day to be grateful for all the blessings in our lives, and to bring a sense of appreciation to the beauty and joy that is all around us. As we incline the mind towards noticing what we are grateful for, we find an increased sense of well-being and happiness in our lives.
Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center Three-Month Retreat - Part 2
2008-11-20 Dependent Origination: An Overview 57:49
The Buddha considered Dependent Origination to be his most profound insight. This teaching shows us how we get caught in the cycle of suffering, and how it is possible to free ourselves. When we’re not aware of this process, we are blinded by our ignorance and get caught in craving again and again. We create different identities that we cling to, and that limit our ability to be free in the moment. When we’re aware of this process, we can make wiser choices about how to respond, and perhaps even break the cycles of becoming altogether. This talk gives a brief overview of the 12 links of Dependent Origination, and then describes how it works on a practical, moment-to-moment basis in our lives.
Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center Three-Month Retreat - Part 2
2008-11-13 Let The Breath Just Be The Breath 56:04
The way we experience ourselves and the world is highly conditioned by our perceptions , known as sañña in the Buddhist teachings. Through the process of perception we judge and filter our experience, preventing us from seeing things as they really are. The practice of mindfulness offers the possibility of working directly with our perceptions, and even inclining the mind towards more skillful and pleasant ways of experiencing ourselves and the world.
Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center Three-Month Retreat - Part 2
2008-08-21 Falling In Love With The Breath 57:45
Though the teachings on dukkha (suffering) are an important part of the Buddhist path, a skillful relationship to sukha (pleasure) actually played a significant part in the Buddha's awakening. This talk explores the wise use of pleasure and the cultivation of beautiful qualities of mind, especially in concentration practice.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Concentration
2008-07-15 It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This 54:45
The practice of Mudita or Appreciative Joy cultivates an open and joyful heart that naturally inclines towards connecting with what is uplifting and beautiful in others and in our own lives. It works to counteract the subtle or not-so-subtle tendency towards envy, which tells us that we are deficient in some way.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Metta

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