Summary: Translator/teacher Ken McLeod provides spiritual practitioners with the essence of Buddhist practice. Ken is noted for his ability to present profound teachings and practices in clear straightforward language free from the myths and cultural overlays that make many Eastern teachings difficult to understand. These podcasts are a sampling of the 300+ recordings, some with transcripts, freely available at UnfetteredMind.org under Teachings. Our website also has dozens of original articles and translations of Buddhist texts.
Participants reaction to intentionally engaging in a non-virtuous act; patterned behavior as a way to avoid experience; ascription, inevitability and karma; how to respond to questions like "Do you believe in evil?" Loving-kindness and compassion as remedies to attachment to the pleasure of peace; the maturation of motivation and practice; Is compassion the natural outcome of awareness or something one must cultivate?; meditation instruction for upcoming week.
Follow-up discussion on free will and karma; the four factors which determine if an action sets in motion the process of evolution or karma: motivation/intention, doing the action or causing it to be done, the object which is acted on, and experiencing the completion of the action; the four results of such action: the full ripening result, the predisposition to experience the world, how the world experiences us; the way one is likely to experience things; the results of a specific non-virtuous actions (taking life); the problem with purity; By not taking these mythic descriptions literally, are we somehow shutting the door to the mystery of life?; the three categories of non-virtuous acts (body, speech, mind); 'wrong views' as having beliefs which prevent us from relating to what actually is; what is meant by improper sexual relations (avoiding obsession); making the dharma relevant in western culture; Buddhism as 'a' way or 'the' way; karma and attachment to meditative states; guided meditation for the upcoming week.
Three analogies for karma: God's will, gravity, and evolution; God's will as explanation of mystery; gravity as absence of justice, etc.; evolution as contrast to cause and effect; karma's function in spiritual life; karma is conditioning through intention and action; the three types of karma.
Review of the first two types of suffering; the third type of suffering and the six realms; how a society's cosmology (medieval or modern) reflect its psychology; how we experience the realms in daily life (anger as hot hell, hate as cold hell, etc.); how the development of numbering systems impacted mythic descriptions; perception of time and the realms; personal values and social norms; the four major and four minor sufferings of the human realm.
The aim of Buddhist practice; What is a relationship? Three types of relationship: 1) mutual benefit, 2) shared aim, 3) emotional connection; What's possible in a relationship? What gets in the way -- or how projections arise in relation to the Three Marks of Existence (impermanence, suffering, and no self); How relationships are undermined by disagreement or lack of clarity about their basis; How we can become awake in relationships.
What can we actually know in a relationship? The story of Nasrudin, the smuggler and the customs agent; The world of shared experience and the world of individual experience; The Four Steps of Standing Up in a Relationship: 1) Stand up -- actually be there, 2) Open to what is happening, 3) Serve what is true to the limit of your perception, 4) Receive the result; Useful tools for being awake in relationships: deep listening, four questions for opening up difficult situations, the rule of three, returning confusion to its source and not picking up what isn't yours.
Conflict as the experience of resistance to change when two or more worlds interact; Locating the resistance; The inevitability of conflict and how to engage in it skillfully; The Four Stages of Conflict (from Vajrayana Buddhism) -- pacification, enrichment, magnetisation and destruction; How to be awake in conflict using the same tools as for being awake in relationships and by remembering the Three Marks of Existence.
The Four Immeasurables as higher emotions not based on a sense of self, and their transformative quality; The Four Immeasurables in the context of relationship and conflict and the ways these manifest in relationships; How equanimity manifests as judgement at the base level, up through impartiality, aloofness or detachment, and patience to full acceptance with no sense of judgement; The two aspects of true equanimity; How loving-kindness manifests as attraction or sexual desire at the base level, up through affection and caring to the selfless wish that others be happy; How compassion manifests as pity at the base level up through sympathy, fearlessness to be with another person's pain to the genuine wish that they not suffer; The complexity and richness of compassion; Joy as competition or paranoia at the base level, up through elation or delight to joy in being and knowing what needs to be done and just doing it. Loving kindness and compassion as the appropriate efforts in intimate relationships; The shared aim relationship with a spiritual teacher; A summary of conflict as resistance to change demanded by the third world created when two people interact.
Recap of chapters previously covered; about the word "dukha"; what 'suffering' means in Buddhism; what is the question to which 'the vicious cycle of samsara' is the answer; why not just eat, drink, and be merry; relating the three types of suffering to the three poisons and the three types of faith; an exercise on experience and our reaction to experience; a closer look at the first two types of suffering.
Talk and meditation instruction on holiday stressors and the three marks of existence: facing the passage of time (impermanence), dealing with difficult emotions (suffering), dealing with difficult situations (non-self).
Appreciating and living in the understanding of the three facts of impermanence: death is certain, time of death uncertain, and we take nothing with us into death; regret and death; moving beyond the child-like morality of right and wrong; impermanence and the intensification of life experience; value of being able to experience life fully; how to do reflective meditations such as death and impermanence; how to use physical and emotional reactions in these meditations.
The problem: money drives the way we understand ourselves. Aim of financial model is to see experience through projection of money; aim of Buddhism is to experience what arises without projection; three bases of relationship: mutual benefit, shared aim, emotional connection; all forms of idealism involve avoidance of some form of suffering; when money is regarded as the problem, something else is being ignored; Questions: What are you asking for? What do you want? What does money symbolize to you?
What generates the problem? Confusion about money points to confusion about what we value in our lives; when you see things in terms of money, you are inevitably in one of the six realms; guided meditations: survival, getting emotional needs met, and self-image; intention versus self-image; valuing what can be taken away places life in other people's hands.
Possible directions towards a solution. The world of shared experience and the world we actually experience; money exists in the world of shared experience and of materialism; definition of materialism; comparison of the bases of life in world of materialism and world of well-being; comparison of spiritual ideal and being fully alive; Questions: What would you do with your life if you knew you would die in one year? If you were free from trying to get your emotional needs met? If you weren't concerned with being somebody?
Theoretical and practical concepts of what might be done. Traditional Buddhist method of The Noble Eightfold Path; footnote on the word "right"; four bases of success – curiosity, persistence or enthusiasm, understanding of genesis and conditions, creativity in framing questions; seven steps of manifestation; Questions: What am I going to do next week? Next month? Next year?