I am going to co-facilitate two nights of meditation, dharma talks and discussion at DharmaPunxNetherlands with Against The Stream facilitator Bay Hagebeek. I love having this first opportunity to teach in the Netherlands, and the opportunity to team teach, something I did so often for so long in my career as an educator.
Each night will have a distinct theme:
Tuesday, August 7 - Cultivating Kindness: The Brahmaviharas
In the Upaddha Sutta, Ananda said to the Buddha: “This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie.” The Buddha’s response goes a bit further: “Don’t say that, Ananda. Don’t say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, and comrades, he can be expected to develop and pursue the noble eightfold path.” This teaching on good friendship suggests that sangha can bring on the factors of enlightenment, including the Brahmaviharas: Lovingkindness, Compassion, Appreciative Joy and Equanimity. These are often described as the result of dedicated practice, but can also be cultivated directly through practices specific to these four qualities. These talks, discussions, meditation and Q and A will guide participants to develop these four heart practices not as a spiritual bypass, but rather as a path to the transformation of suffering.
Wednesday, August 8 - Defenses Down: Diversity, Inclusion and the Transformation of Suffering
How do the core teachings of the Buddha, the 4 Noble Truths and the 8 Fold Path apply to issues of Inclusion, identity, diversity, and gender? How can we apply other teachings such as the 3 Refuges and the 3 characteristics to these issues? Modern mindfulness teachers as well as modern trauma theory also outline the critical need for the understanding of the impact of institutionalized trauma on individuals and groups of people. Building on the first night's teaching, cultivation of positive states and resources can be a key to success in bringing traumatic stress to an adaptive resolution.These talks, discussions, meditation and Q and A will help participants to explore how the 8 Fold Path and our insight and metta practices relate to and apply to our modern difficulties.