What has always engaged me is working with practitioners who are deepening their commitment to the Dharma and then seeing them take a quantum leap in their understanding. My contribution to this commitment is working towards conveying a Theravadan practice with a Mahayana spirit.
The Theravadan practice of vipassana provides simple, direct instructions that can be immediately understood and applied in daily life as well as retreat practice. The Mahayana spirit has the beautiful attitude that we practice not for ourselves alone, but for all sentient beings. Between the two, the unfolding of liberation for ourselves and others becomes a simple, down-to-earth practice that anyone can do.
It is fun for me to take the most difficult concepts and put them into accessible language, to unwrap the mystery. So I try to find ways to explore the breadth of concepts like "emptiness" -- to see how the entire path can be explained in terms of this synonym for nibbana. One of my aims is to bring the goal of freedom into the here and now. This way practitioners get a taste of freedom, so they know what they are heading toward on their journey to liberation.
The tools of mindfulness and lovingkindness can be picked up by anyone. They are easy to understand and they bring immediate benefit to our lives. The essence of vipassana is ideally suited to western society, especially to the resonance between our psychological turn of mind and our quest for spiritual understanding.
The practice of lovingkindness makes the heart more sensitive to the joys and sorrows of life. It also reveals a deep sense of connection to all sentient existence that overcomes a painful sense of isolation.
The talk explores how the sense of self is created through the links in dependent origination. “Unentangled knowing” describes how a meditator can be in a state of full awareness of things coming and going at the sense doors without being caught in them.
We can come to a greater freedom in life by investigating the nature strong emotions and our relation to them. This talk explores working with four emotions in particular: desire, sadness, anger and fear.
Publishable online for the general public
By developing a more accepting attitude toward difficult emotions and by understanding their nature, we can come to a greater sense of freedom in life. This talk explores five strong emotions (desire, anger, fear, sadness and self-judgment) and how to work with them.
Metta practice makes the heart more sensitive to the joys and sorrows we are subject to. This tenderness becomes the avenue for us to discover our deep connection to all of life and end a sense of isolation.