The Four Divine Messengers

This Sunday Zac prompted our reflection and dialogue with the story of the Four Divine Messengers. The tale holds truths about initiatory experiences, setting forth on the path, catalysts for transformation, and reveals a particular archetype of the spiritual path. The talk and discussion focused on the divine messengers in our lives today.

11/1/2015 – Stream Entry (1)

Michael guided our reflections today with a talk on Stream Entry, the first definitive stage of Awakening, after which there is really no turning back.

A variety of canonical readings on Stream Entry can be found at

The story of Siddhartha’s bowl floating upstream can be found in

The Buddhacarita  or  Acts of the Buddha, Asvaghosa,

available on line at

and in

The Hungry Tigress, Buddhist Legends and Jataka Tales, Rafe Martin, (Berkeley: Parallax Press, 1990)

Sila, Samadhi, and Panna

This Sunday Payton guided our discussion around one organization of the Eightfold Path: Sila, Samadhi, and Panna, or, Ethics, Concentration, and Wisdom. With the addition of a recorded talk by Christopher Titmuss (listen to the talk here) we had a lively conversation about the ways in which the “Three Trainings” influence one another in a way that’s not immediately visible. As Christopher says, “Ethics is not just the five precepts. Ethics, Samadhi, and Wisdom have a deep relationship with each other. The three-fold training dissolves into the same liberating substance.”


Right View & Intention

Although Westerners often begin their engagement with Buddhism with items listed at the end of the Eightfold Path – Mindfulness and Concentration – the Buddha put Right View and Right Intention at the beginning, and considered them foundational.
Wendy guided our reflections this week, using portions of a dharma talk by Sally Clough Armstrong to enhance our understanding of these crucial bases for practice.


Papancha (Papanca)

Payton led the discussion centered around the idea of Papancha, or Mental Proliferation. The seminal sutta on this topic is the “Honeyball Sutta”, where it’s explained as: first there is the coming together of three things, an object, a sensory organ, and consciousness. The meeting of these three is “contact”. Contact leads to feeling tone (Vedana), which leads to perception (naming), which leads to thinking about, which then leads to Mental Proliferation.

We listened to a talk by James Baraz entitled “The Honeyball Sutta: The Source of Our Confusion and the Way Out”.

7/12/2015 – Doubt and Subjective Objectivity

Payton guided the discussion this morning on the concept of Doubt in our practice. Typically Doubt is expressed as one of the Hinderances, but in a talk by Tony Bernhard we heard that doubting is only natural, and perhaps more important is our understanding of what we decide to believe.

To listen to Tony’s talk, follow this link to Dharma Seed: