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.
"From listening, spontaneously meditation arises.
From listening, a depth, a well of virtues:
From listening, truth, fulfillment, knowledge,
……those who hear flower forever." 16th century Indian poet, Nanak
A 45 minute sitting meditation, beginning with Nanak's poem and then listening/hearing Tibetan bells, Japanese mok-tok, and other bell tones with alternating moments of silence.
Lovingkindness, compassion, empathetic/appreciative joy and equanimity. We weave a tapestry of clear, caring, balanced and appropriate responsivity through our practice. This growing and maturing tapestry made up of these perfectly natural capacities of heart weave into the whole of our life and into all of our relationships.
"The greatest gift is the act of giving itself" Generosity is the seed--the foundation of spiritual development. It is the ground of compassion. It is a requisite of Liberation. Generosity--the practice of non-clinging--puts us directly in touch with the reality of interconnectedness. We give to help free ourselves. We give to help, bring joy to and to free others. And, we learn to receive graciously and with trust, just what is given..
"May I, may you, may all beings be free from suffering." The Buddha's teachings and practices of cultivating a deep, expansive tenderness of heart, grounded in immeasurable impartiality--the heart of compassion--which transforms the way we relate to ourselves and to others. With the great strength and trust in our ability to bear witness to and face suffering, we are able to offer appropriate help in relationship to the pain, the anguish and the confusion of all beings, ourselves included.