The greatest gift is the
gift of the teachings
Sally Armstrong's Dharma Talks at Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center
Sally Armstrong
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. Sally has always been inspired by the depth and the breadth of the Buddha’s teaching, as presented in the suttas of the Pali Canon, because the truth and power of the Buddha’s words still speak to us today. Her intention in teaching is to make these ancient texts and practices accessible and relevant to all levels of practitioner, from the very new to the dedicated meditator.
2016-09-29 Clinging 61:13
Though the 2nd Noble Truth points to craving as the cause of suffering, clinging – upadana – is inextricably woven into the experience of suffering. With craving we are reaching towards the object or experience, in clinging we are trying to hold onto it, and make it I, me or mine. Clinging is central to how we create a sense of self through the five aggregates, as pointed to in the first noble truth. We can bring awareness to the process of craving leading to clinging leading to the creation of a sense of self as depicted in the teaching on Dependent Origination, as it is often accompanied by physical energy we can recognize and certain types of thinking. Being mindful of this process allows us to respond wisely, decreasing or abandoning the clinging, and therefore not getting caught in the delusion of self.
Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center Three-Month Part 1
2016-09-22 Three kinds of intention. 58:29
To develop any skill, to fully cultivate any qualities in our lives, particularly on the Buddhist path, we need to engage with three kinds of intention that operate on different time frames. Cetana is the moment to moment intention, the urge to do, that we can bring into the field of our mindfulness practice. The next level, Adhitthana, is usually translated as resolve or determination, and is one of the paramis. The highest level is Samma Sankappa, usually translated as right or wise intention. This is the second path factor, after right view, so it is the kind of intention developed by right view. There are three kinds of Right intention - the intention towards renunciation, non-ill will, and non-harming. These skillful intentions can then inform our choices and actions (Adhitthanas) , which we keep in mind through awareness of moment to moment intentions, or cetana.
Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center Three-Month Part 1
2016-09-15 Living In Samsara 56:30
We live in an imperfect unfixable world, which we constantly try to fix or correct– This leads to suffering! One of the ways we obsess is through a type of thinking called papañca.
Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center Three-Month Part 1
2015-10-19 The Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness 57:05
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 be skillfully interwoven into our practice of the other foundations.
Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center Three-Month Retreat - Part 1
2015-10-12 The Third Foundation of Mindfulness: Mindfulness of States of Mind 59:26
In the third foundation of mindfulness, the Buddha instructs us to bring awareness and clear seeing to the contents of mind. In a nonjudgmental way, we are invited to be aware of whether the mind is affected by lust, ill will or delusion, and also when the mind is not affected by the states. Included in this practice are various experiences of concentration, expansion and contraction in the mind. The section ends by including awareness of the liberated mind, even if this is only a temporary experience. The thrust of this section is to notice the wholesome and the unwholesome qualities of the mind, and by that very noticing increase the wholesome and decrease the unwholesome.
Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center Three-Month Retreat - Part 1
2015-10-05 The Second Foundation of Mindfulness: Feeling Tone 57:36
Vedana, or the feeling tone of pleasant, unpleasant or neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant that arises with each contact, was considered important enough by the Buddha to be a foundation of mindfulness, one of the five aggregates, and central to the teaching on dependent origination. It is also at the heart of the Dart Sutta in the Samyutta Nikaya, where the Buddha talks about the two common responses to suffering: to bemoan and lament the fact that suffering is happening, but often to try to avoid the unpleasant by chasing after the pleasant. This talk looks at all of these different teachings to help us understand the importance of bringing mindfulness to vedana in our practice and in our lives.
Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center Three-Month Retreat - Part 1
2015-09-28 Satipatthana Series - The first foundation of mindfulness: the body 59:36
In the Satipatthana sutta on the foundations of mindfulness, the first area of practice is the body. The Buddha gives us many different practices and ways to investigate the body. This talk explores these practices, beginning with the breath, but going on to other practices that we don't often teach, such as the four elements, the 32 parts of the body, and corpse contemplations. Each of these practices can be a powerful doorway to wise seeing and freedom. This talk is the first of a series of four on each foundation of mindfulness.
Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center Three-Month Retreat - Part 1
2015-09-22 Guided Metta practice for self and friend 43:25
Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center Three-Month Retreat - Part 1
2015-09-21 Bringing wisdom and compassion to the judging mind 59:30
Many of us have a tendency to be critical and judgmental of ourselves and others. In meditation, this habit can seem quite strong and can create a lot of suffering. But mindfulness is a wonderful tool to enable us to see these thoughts for what they are, so we can begin to bring wisdom and understanding to them. they then no longer dominate our heart and mind.
Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center Three-Month Retreat - Part 1
2015-09-21 Standing Meditation 48:45
Guided meditation on the standing posture, as a valuable but often neglected part of our practice.
Insight Meditation Society - Retreat Center Three-Month Retreat - Part 1

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