Tuesday, February 1, 2011

dharma talk

I gave a dharma talk to our Zen sangha last night. Dharma talks are a flexible medium, but try to look at some aspect of our experience through the lens of Buddhist practice:
  • How do we perceive what's happening? In the situation, and in our own thoughts and feelings?
  • What does it mean to practice with that? How do we respond?
  • What happens when we practice with it? What changes?
  • How does this relate to [insert passage from some Buddhist text here]?
As you can imagine, this is normally the territory of teachers, but Misha will occasionally ask us to give a talk about some experience that has a practice aspect, like taking the precepts, doing a long retreat somewhere, traveling to one of the few remaining Buddhist countries, or teaching English in South America for nine months.

Given my past two talks, I decided to write this one out completely, so it went much better. My Chile experience isn't really separable from my Zen and aikido practices, and I'll probably be giving a couple more talks on it over time, but for this one, I focused on "aversion," a multi-faceted reaction that we talk about a lot in a practice context. Aversion is anything from my non-specific reluctance to do my taxes from 2008, to the time before many of my classes when I had a panicky, overwhelming desire to be doing anything else.

The first third of the talk is me describing the environment in Chile, to give some context to the dharma bits. You can download the talk here.

1 comment:

  1. Chris,

    It was great to hear your voice and your words about teaching in Chile. I can remember waiting for my Chilean students to rush into the room and my panic about not being ready to teach them(emotionally). It was not an easy job.

    But, that challenge was "balanced out" by my love for my Chilean family and my life in Limache (tranquilo)and my thirst for adventure. I think that the ups and downs of being "comfortable" and "uncomfortable" are part of the adventure for me.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us. I miss everyone in our group and wish there was a way to have another drink with everyone at Boliche sometime. Viva Carmenere!

    My husband, Richard, and I just returned to Alameda 3 weeks ago after traveling through Chile, Argentina and Uruguay for 7 weeks. So, I am getting more comfortable in my own home, but it is a slow process. Life is full of ups and downs...at home and abroad.

    My best wishes,