Masks and Personas of Self

This Sunday Wendy guided a discussion which revolved around the idea of Personas and the sense of self. The central theme was being able to exist in roles and experience the world without being caught up in one “self” or another. That is, to still have an ego, but to recognize it and be able to see it with some perspective.

The discussion was formed around two talks, one by Pascal Auclair here:

Pascal Auclair
2016-01-13 Joy On The Path 52:28

And another by Tara Brach:

Tara Brach
2009-10-21 Behind the Mask 49:00


This past Sunday, Sam guided our reflections on Non-Duality. This spiritual approach spans a number of different orientations and appears in different forms in Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as esoteric versions of other faiths. The discussion was broadened with a recorded talk by James Baraz:

In particular, we listened to minutes 6:47-13:03 and 21:59-54:44.

Hindrances or Opportunities

Following our discussion of dukkha, Joey offered the guidance by Yanai Postelnik on the hindrances and how we can work with them.  You might notice how they are arising in your practice this week, naming them and bringing any part of that experience to our discussion.  Just to remind you, the hindrances are desire, aversion, torpor or sleepiness, restlessness and doubt.

Yanai Postelnik on Hindrances


Sitting with Discomfort

Payton led the discussion on Sunday around the topic of sitting (or walking, or standing, or lying down) with physical discomfort and pain. The focus was a talk given by Sky Dawson, available here:

Some key points from her talk:

  • Is a mountain heavy? Only if we try to pick it up.

  • What happens when you feel pain in the body? How do we know it’s pain? Is your experience of pain always the same? The concept of pain can be huge, but isn’t it contextual?

  • It’s best not to try to endure the pain; allowing it to reach a peak without trying to manage it takes much longer to drop down again. If it increases, take steps to manage it.

  • “In practice, why do I move? … Why do you stop sitting?” Is it to alleviate discomfort? Right there is Dhukka: the nature of having a body and the feeling of always being dissatisfied.

  • We anticipate pain and then we can’t relax in the here and now. With chronic pain, even if you have no pain right now, we can’t relax because you’re always waiting for the next onslaught.

  • Shinzen Young: Suffering = Pain x Resistance.


Sam hosted this session on Freedom, with differing perspectives offered by three dharma teachers: Jack Cornfield, Tara Brach, and Christina Feldman.

“A Taste of Freedom”,  Christina Feldman, 12-27-08,  [0:00—1:38 and 9:38-19:37].

“The Great Perfection: The Taste of Freedom”,  Tara Brach, 10-5-99, [0:00-22:01].

“Freedom and the Way it is…”, Jack Kornfield, 9-6-10,  [10:53-15:52].

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)