July 2017 full moon – Gratitude

Just last week, I finished a one-month retreat at the Insight Meditation Society's Forest Refuge in Barre, Massachusetts, led by Sayadaw U Vivekananda.  What a relief it was, to temporarily put down some of the burdens I didn't even know I was carrying, and to have such a powerful opportunity to "disentangle the tangle" (as …

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June 2016 full moon – Inspiration and taking refuge in sangha/community

Graduates of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock four-year teacher training programme, 10 June 2016 - photo by Ben Marshall In my last international newsletter back in April, I wrote about inspiration, an aspect of spiritual practice that surprisingly, doesn't seem to be talked about very often.  As I discovered back then, "... the …

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November 2015 full moon – gratitude

A few slightly random reflections on Gratitude "These two people are hard to find in the world. Which two? The one who is first to do a kindness, and the one who is grateful and thankful for a kindness done." AN 2.118  As the three-month retreat at IMS comes to a close, there's a definite …

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June 2015 full moon – impermanence

Deeply understanding the truth of impermanence - including death - is central to the Buddha's teachings, but for those of us living in contemporary western society, this can seem a very alien and alienating concept.  It's more the norm to avoid anything to do with death and dying for as long as possible, until at …

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Rick Hanson interviews Joseph Goldstein on mindfulness

This is a recent interview by neuroscientist Rick Hanson with his teacher, Joseph Goldstein, who is one of the founding teachers of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. Joseph gives a very clear explanation of the full range of what mindfulness is, and also what it isn't, based on his forty years experience of …

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Generosity part 4: Giving and Receiving

Greg Scharf and volunteer cook Donald Elniff enjoying cake dana at the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre Right now, I'm assisting my friend Greg Scharf teach a two week retreat at the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre in New South Wales, Australia.  And right about now, the annual three-month retreat at the Insight Meditation Society …

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