I have two main aims in teaching. The first is to spread the dharma as widely as possible, offering it to as many different people as I can. The second is to teach a smaller number of people over sustained periods of time. This in-depth teaching engages my tremendous love for intensive, long-term meditation practice, where people can immerse themselves in the retreat experience and see how it transforms their understanding.
Although deeply rooted in the Vipassana tradition of Theravada Buddhism, I enjoy working with various skillful means from different Buddhist schools to help convey the essence of all practice, the one dharma of liberation. This essential dharma includes the wisdom of non-clinging, the motivation of compassion to practice for the benefit of all beings, and the potential for liberation within us all.
Given the speed and complexity of our culture, the Buddha's teachings offer a much-needed means to slow down, a way to create some inner calm. We need to touch base with this place of tranquillity in order to allow our bodies and minds to unwind. We then have the chance to see more deeply and profoundly the nature of our lives, how we create suffering and how we can be free. The dharma begins with the development of calm and it carries us all the way to liberation.
How are we called to transmit and receive Buddhist wisdom and practice today? This is an especially important question for contemporary students and those who themselves are training to become dharma teachers and their mentors. What is the significance of the mentor-mentee relationship? In what ways might American-convert Buddhism be transformed as the community of students and dharma teachers becomes more diverse? From its beginning, Buddhism has emphasized that impermanence is a mark of all existence; it is not surprising that as it has been transmitted to different cultures, across vast geographical regions over more than two millennia, Buddhism itself has been constantly changing. As Buddhadharma is transmitted and transformed by a new generation, how do we remain grounded in the liberating wisdom and practices of the traditions we have inherited even as we directly address the turbulence and urgency of our times, and share these teachings with an ever-growing and changing community of practitioners?
An evening of meditation and conversation as we explore these questions with BCBS co-founder Joseph Goldstein, BCBS teacher Dawn Scott, and BCBS Director of Studies William Edelglass.