DHARMA SHARING SESSIONSFriday, June 7, 2013 – 9:30am: Session I: Self-Awakening (click here to view video) Mr. Noah Levine shared:
- It is optional to obey our mind.
- Mindfulness takes practice. Start the day with a formal practice like sitting meditation, so that it becomes 2nd nature and a part of us.
- Apply the Practice to all parts of our lives — when we’re driving, answering emails, eating, spending time with our children, etc.
- Do not only practice when we are at a Retreat or temple, but practice every moment we can.
- Awaken starts now. No worries, anxiety, or fear of the future.
Friday, June 7, 2013 – 1:30pm: Session II: Pursuit of Happiness (click here to view video) Mr. Ramon Lopez shared:
- Happiness and Buddhist practice does not involve ignoring our emotions. Happiness, sadness, pain, joy and suffering are a part of our life experience and should be examined, not ignored.
- Buddhist meditation practice helps us bring compassion (metta) and awareness (mindfulness) into our emotions and helps transform our relationships with these emotions into one that is peaceful.
- We are often trapped in a cycle of “pursuing happiness” as something external and out of reach that we keep grasping for. Meditation practice helps us realize our inner peace in this moment and that happiness is found in the path of everyday life.
- Buddhist meditation practice does not mean abandoning goals or abandoning standards for excellence. Awareness of the present gives insight into lessons from our past and planning for our future.
- Informal practice is just at important as formal practice. Formal practice is the point in the center of the circle, but the rest of the circle comes from our everyday life
Saturday, June 8, 2013 – 9:30am: Session III: What is Real? What is True? Buddhism Facts and Myths Q&A (click here to view video)
- Venerable Thích Hạnh Tuấn [Chùa Trúc Lâm, Chicago, IL]
- Venerable Thích Từ Lực [Chùa Phổ Từ, Hayward, CA]
- Venerable Thích Đạo Quảng [Chùa Tam Bảo, Baton Rouge, LA]
- Venerable Thích Tịnh Mãn [Tu Viện Từ Vân, Morrison, CO]
Saturday, June 8, 2013 – 1:30pm: Session IV: Matters of the Heart Dr. Bill Davis and Thầy Đạo Quảng shared:
- Before we can foster a relationship with others, we must have a positive relationship with ourselves.
- To act nonviolently and in loving kindness, we must always treat others as we would wish to be treated.
- Everyone feels lost, confused, or angry at some time. Learn to write your anger on the water so it quickly dissolves to peacefulness.
- Relationships are a work in progress. They do not live without our nourishment.
- We have far more things in common than differences.
- How we feel about ourselves often influences our perceptions. Through compassion and understanding, our perceptions change.
- Maintain healthy relationships by cultivating positive thoughts and the ability to know ourselves. If we do not understand ourselves, how can we understand others? If we do not understand ourselves, we will not recognize ourselves in others.
- Loving oneself unconditionally is to accept yourself as you really are. Recognize your weaknesses and failures, and forgive them. Recognize your strengths, and cultivate them.
- Happiness grows when it is shared. Sharing creates a connection with others and tells others “you are not alone”.
- Give the most important gifts: time, empathy and patience.
Sunday, June 9, 2013 – 9:30am: Session V: Giving with a Buddhist Heart (click here to view video) Ms. Quyên Vương shared:
- Live life with Passion and Compassion. Don’t push yourself to be #1. Push yourself to always give your best. Then graciously accept the outcome as “nhân duyên (cause-effect, Dependant Origination)” and enjoy your inner peace.
- Do charity work. Compassion comes from understanding and empathizing with the other person’s sufferings. The poor suffer. The rich also suffer. For every pain that you feel, think how others also feel it. Reflect on your pain to better understand others’ pain.
- Give with a Buddhist Heart; keep your Compassion grounded in Faith and Wisdom. Passion and Compassion come from your heart. The will to kill or help others comes from your heart. The energy to do good or evil, the strength to persevere to reach your goal also comes from your heart. Beware: we can be the Buddha; we can also be the Devil.
- Truly take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha in all aspects of your life. Pray to your favorite Buddha and Bodhisattva. Feel close to them as if they are your parents. When you are most desperate, that’s when you are most sincere in your prayers and honest in looking at yourself.
- Watch your Ego vigilantly. Without the Buddhist Heart, charity work only goes to build up the Ego. It is easy to spot the Ego in a person who screams for recognition and material gains. It is much more difficult to discern the Ego in an altruistic, soft-spoken, loving person doing charitable work. Being able to help others also builds your Ego, even when you think you are being humble. Stay grounded in your Buddhist heart, pray to Buddha and the Bodhisattvas to keep you away from those Ego traps.
- Contemplate on how you can “mesh” your spiritual journey and worldly endeavors to make your life more meaningful and productive. When ??i (Life) and ??o (Religion) do not conflict, you can do whatever you feel like doing. When ??i and ??o tell you to do opposite things, stay with ??o.
Sunday, June 9, 2013 – 10:45am: Session VI: Changing Life, Making an Impact (click here to view video) Mr. John Bell shared:
- Younger people have played significant roles in bringing about social transformation for a more just and peaceful world. Young people today can and are making an impact.
- It is good to acknowledge and embrace our feelings of broken-heartedness as we look around the world, rather than denying or running from it. Feeling our feelings allows us to clear our minds and energy for even more effective bodhisattva work of relieving suffering.
- The extent to which we can do effective “outer work” depends on the depth of our “inner work”. Our basic Buddhist practice of mindfulness is the foundation for being more present and effective in the wider world.
- “Happiness is not an individual matter” as Thích Nhất Hạnh says. We fool ourselves if we think we can create a little private oasis of happiness and peace that is separate from the suffering of the world. We are interdependent. What hurts you hurts me. Therefore working to relieve your suffering is also working to relieve my suffering.
- Offer ourselves and each other loving-kindness; practice gratitude for our lives. Always