iSmile 341 – No Such Thing As A Mistake

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In this evening’s talk, Michael describes the benefits of sangha as a shortcut to uncovering our pre-existing enlightened mind. He further goes into the ways that Awakening manifests in each of us as a series of qualities that show up as being at once conscious and, at the same time, spontaneous. In other words, this talk describes how qualities of …

iSmile 340 – Like Your Own Eyes

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In this mashup of two talks, Michael uses the phrase from Dogen Zenji’s, Instruction to the Cook, where he suggests that each grain of rice be handled carefully, “as if it were your own eyes.” Treating our lives this way helps us awaken to the truth that any Tathagatha, or person who actually sees reality, can embody. This embodiment is …

ISmile339 – Dealing With Conflict

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What happens when we are in the midst of disagreement?  This can apply to a marriage, a friendship, a community or (perhaps especially) a legislative debate or an election. The Buddha had some thoughts on this as noted in the famed Quarrel of Kosambi, where he offers some guidance. Engaging in the practice of right speech and right thought can …

ISmile337 – David’s First Talk

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While several of Michael’s students have gone through the trials and tribulations of going through the shuso ceremony, where students offer up (among other things) their first Dharma talk, David Fitzgerald was the first to have his inaugural talk to the community recorded. An artist, a father, a retired informational technologist, a poet (as you’ll soon hear) and an all-around great …

ISmile336 – The Fourth Turning of the Wheel of Dharma

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So what is it that gets in the way of Awakening? If we are already Awake, why don’t we feel it? According to Michael, wisdom traditions seem to offer up some suggestions. Among the most important pointer is stillness itself. Without stillness there can be no authentic awakening. Period. This simple fact, according to Michael, points us, at least in …

ISmile335 – Living Dangerously

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If we’re willing to follow our fear and our negativity with our whole being, according to Michael, we are offered an opportunity to awaken. The loosening of our individual consciousness into a universal awareness is the byproduct of an authentic meditation practice that helps us face these fears and negativity with grace. Watching the bondage inherent in our individual consciousness, …

ISmile334 – Engaging Life As Its Witness

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In this talk, Michael walks meditators through the rough stages of spiritual ascendancy. With practice, he shows, the egoic structures as their practice deepens. He goes on to suggest that the felt-sense of what’s real is what we call, “love.” Also, he talks about the spiritual journey, from his own writing, where he suggests that we have a chance to …

ISmile332 – Dealing With War

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The Zen saying “Drinking this cup of green tea, I stop the war” offers us a chance to explore our own relationship with war. While it may sound passive and irresponsible on the surface, how we meet even the most basic activities internally, supports how we meet things, especially conflict, externally. So how do we meet war? Are we “anti-war” …