10/28/2012 – The Five Spiritual Strengths

This Sunday Michael, as a balance to the Five Hindrances and a bridge to the Seven Factors of Awakening, introduced an excerpt from Steve Armstrong’s talk on A Lifestyle of Awareness, which focuses on the Five Strengths: Confidence Energy Mindfulnes Concentration and Wisdom.  We listened to and discussed the first thirty minutes, which addressed Confidence/Faith  and Energy.  The whole talk can be found here:


(Originally, another talk had been announced for the day – Adrienne Ross’s discussion of the Five Jhanic Factors and how each of them addressed a particular hindrance.  Upon reviewing that talk, it seemed that it retraced much ground covered by the Hindrance presentations of the previous weeks, and so the topic was switched.  For those interested in reviewing the hindrances with a fresh twist to , here’s the link to Adrienne’s talk.


10/21/2012 – Restlessness: The Fifth Hindrance

Maryann guided our reflections on the fifth and final hindrance in our tour of these impediments and how to overcome them (and we noted that Restlessness is among the very last fetters to disappear before complete Awakening!).  Maryann utilized excerpts from a Dharma Talk by Sally Clough Armstrong, given during the current three-month retreat at IMS, using the first half plus the last 3-4 minutes.  Here’s a link to the talk as a whole


10/14/2012 – Doubt: the Fourth Hindrance

Joey guided our reflections on doubt, sparking our discussion with excerpts from two dharma talks:  Joseph Goldstein on Doubt and Aversion and How They Influence our Lives and Practice


Tara Brach’s dharma talk, Trusting Our Secret Beauty, can be found here


Though time prevented even an excerpt of a third talk being included in our time Sunday morning, for those who wish to explore Doubt further, Joey recommended a talk by Kristen Katz on the role of Faith in Buddhist practice.


The wonderful Rilke poem quoted was an excerpt from the Duino Elegies:

The nothing you are grasping

Do you still not know how little endures?

Fling the nothing you are grasping

out into the spaces we breathe.

Maybe the birds

will feel in their flight

how the air has expanded.

Translated by Joanna Macy & Anita Barrows

And the handout Joey distributed has been added as an attachment right here: Doubt PDF

10/7/2012 – Sloth and Torpor: the Third Hindrance

Michael guided our exploration of Sloth and Torpor, drawing on Buddhist scripture, contemporary contrary interpretations of the dharma, and an excerpt of a talk by Joseph Goldstein.  The sutta on the lazy monks is from the Anguttara Nikaya, and can be found at number 7.6, under persistance (or lack of it)


Jason Siff’s comments on the possibly positive utility of sleepiness can be found in his book “Unlearning Meditation”, esp. pages 108, 112, 124-5.

From Joseph’s talk, we listened to the traditional ways of overcoming sleepiness, utilizing minutes 30:38 through 45:38 of his talk on the Hindrance of Sloth and Torpor