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: http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/182/talk/24678/

6/14/2015 – Addiction

Wendy Guided our reflections this morning, anchoring the discussion in Tara Brach’s talk “Freedom from Addiction.”  As Brach sees it, Addiction is a version of the Tanha or Thirst or Craving that the Buddha identified as the cause of suffering in the Second Noble Truth.  We reflected on addictions from email checking to substance abuse, and explored the relation of psychology to dharma.

To access Tara Brach’s talk, which includes two guided meditations, click


6/7/2015 – Sangha

As our sangha met for the first time in our new location in the Lojong Space, Payton guided our reflections on Sangha, the sense of community that spreads from those seriously committed to the Buddhist path out to include all those we interact with, and finally to a sense of connection with the population of the world at large.  Serving to center the discussion were excerpts from  a talk by Oren Sofer on a visit to Vermont, titled “Sangha Refuge and the Relational Field of Practice.  This talk can be found at


5/31/2015 – Generosity & Graditude

In our final meeting at Nancy’s Studio, Margaret guided our reflections on the twinned themes of Generosity and Gratitude.  These were, needless to say, deeply appropriate themes, since the sangha is deeply grateful for Nancy’s generosity in providing this beautiful space in which our sangha has met for the last several years.  Our reflections were enhanced by excerpts from a talk by Kamala Masters, which you can access here


5/10/2015 – Not-Self: Through the Looking Glass

Michael guided our reflections today, centering on a Dharma talk by artist and dharma teacher Marcia Rose, from the Forest Refuge, in which she explored the elusive and central experience of Not-Self in Buddhist practice.  Each time we look at this topic, different perspectives seem to be revealed, which is perhaps why Rose titles her talk “Through the Looking Glass.”