After thirty-five years of experience around the dharma, with eight of these years in Asia, I am still deeply inspired, as a teacher, by students' progress with the practice. I see the questioning I do with myself reflected in others. The infinite loop of my practice and my teaching becomes a self-fulling prophecy. As I see others letting go of old baggage, it inspires me to continue questioning myself.
My teachings, for I am not a scholar, come from my experience on the pillow. In the first ten years of the practice, I worked on the pain of life, the confusion, how to gain clarity. In the next ten, I was finding balance in non-attachment; being in life, but not wanting to enter life. In the last ten, I've been learning how to engage with the stickiness of living and loving. I ask, how kind are people to each other? How can we find a place inside that is not afraid anymore?
We need to know what drives us and our minds, how to relieve the cultural anxiety all around us. We need to stop and slow down, to start feeling. But the dharma not just a stress reduction course; the teachings point directly toward the nature of human conditioning and our freedom.
Overall, my teachings are very much about self-acceptance, giving ourselves space to do the practice and find our own voice. My intention is to give people permission to listen to themselves, to become friends with themselves. Ultimately, this moment is enough, we're enough, and don't need to be anything other than we are.
After decades of practice and teaching, what inspires me are those moments when I can see the habitual as if it were for the first time. If such moments occur while I'm giving a talk, then the teacher in me can hear its own words imbued with the freshness imparted by those who truly listen -- the multiple aspects of myself being part of the audience as well. Thanks for your participation in the process.
I have two main aims in teaching. The first is to spread the dharma as widely as possible, offering it to as many different people as I can. The second is to teach a smaller number of people over sustained periods of time. This in-depth teaching engages my tremendous love for intensive, long-term meditation practice, where people can immerse themselves in the retreat experience and see how it transforms their understanding.
Although deeply rooted in the Vipassana tradition of Theravada Buddhism, I enjoy working with various skillful means from different Buddhist schools to help convey the essence of all practice, the one dharma of liberation. This essential dharma includes the wisdom of non-clinging, the motivation of compassion to practice for the benefit of all beings, and the potential for liberation within us all.
Given the speed and complexity of our culture, the Buddha's teachings offer a much-needed means to slow down, a way to create some inner calm. We need to touch base with this place of tranquillity in order to allow our bodies and minds to unwind. We then have the chance to see more deeply and profoundly the nature of our lives, how we create suffering and how we can be free. The dharma begins with the development of calm and it carries us all the way to liberation.
It has long been important for me to offer the purity of the teachings of the Buddha in a way that connects with our common sense and compassion as human beings, which allows for the natural blossoming of wisdom.
Kate Munding is co-guiding teacher of IMCB. She has been practicing since 2002 and has done numerous 1-2 month intensive practice periods. Kate is currently in Spirit Rock's Teacher Training program. Kate has also trained approximately 2,000 educators, therapists, and parents in mindful awareness techniques and philosophy in the U.S. and abroad.
She is founder of The Heart-Mind Education Project, a consulting business focused on mindfulness in education.
Kevin Griffin is the author of the seminal 2004 book "One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps" and the recent "A Burning Desire: Dharma God and the Path of Recovery". He has been practicing Buddhist meditation for three decades and been in recovery since 1985. He’s been a meditation teacher for almost fifteen years. His teacher training was at Spirit Rock Meditation Center where he currently leads Dharma and Recovery classes.