Dharma talks / Buddhism
The Buddha is reported to have said; “I teach only suffering, and the end of suffering.” This is Buddhism, a set of ideas & exercises you can use to help you end your suffering, gain peace of mind, and find true happiness.
Listen to dharma talks
I can’t stress enough the value I have found in listening to audio dharma talks.
– Thanissaro Bhikkhu evening (long talks) - 18 years of talks
– Thanissaro Bhikkhu morning (short talks) - 9 years of talks
– Thanissaro Bhikkhu talks by theme / topic
Ok… so thats my first piece of advice, start listening to dharma talks. I don’t mean listen to one, or a piece of one. I mean, start listening to the regularly. Even to the point of listening to multiples talks every day. The more the better. Maybe listen to one in the morning while your having your coffee and getting dressed, and another at the end of the day after dinner. You get my meaning. I’m talking about changing your behaviour to start listening to them all the time. The more the better. They say to become expert in something it takes about 10,000 hours of doing that thing. So, if you listen to a dharma talk that lasts an hour, figure you’ll have to do that 10,000 times to really master the subject. Two a day, each day of a 365 year day it will take you 13 years. So, if you wanna master piece of mind in three years your gonna have to listen to you’ll have to listen to just over 9 one hour podcasts a day. Ok… you get the point. You got a lot of audio dharma talks to listen to ahead of you.
Making dharma talks easier to listen to
Just like you are more likely to read the paper if it’s delivered to your door each day, rather than if you have to go out and get it each day… it is good to do things that will make listening dharma talks easier to do, and keep doing.
On the internet their is the concept of “subscribing” to podcasts (audio files). Both RSS readers and iTunes make subscribing easy. By subscribing to things you simply open the app and all the latest audio files you want have been found and downloaded for you, automatically, by magic. Ok… it’s not magic, just good technology.
If you have an Apple product you can use iTunes.
If you don’t have an Apple product you can use an RSS reader.
- Feedly RSS reader
Each asks you for a URL to subscribe to. These ULRs are excellent dharma talks to subscribe to;
- audiodharma.org RSS link. This RSS. feed is talks done mostly by Gil Fronsdal, Andrea Fella, and a few other what I would called longer time teachers.
- dharmaseed.org RSS link. This RSS is much more active than the above one, and has talks from a wider variety of teachers.
- dhammatalks.org RSS link - talks by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. This feed releases 2 zip files once a month. A zip file of short dharama talks, and a zip file of longer evening dharma talks. The zip file is a collection of all the talks done my Thanissaro Bhikkhu in the prior month. The evening talks are also available on youTube here. Since he dumps the talks there in monthly batches, while you can subscribe to them via RSS, some people may finding working through them on YouTube better, so they can use the RSS Reader for the first two feeds above, and youtube for this one.
Dharma talks, Buddhism, and the supernatural
While some see Buddhism as a religion, others see it as a philosophy. While some include supernatural ideas to it, this is not necessary. One can practice Buddhism without any supernaturalistic beliefs, just as one can hold a particular philosophical view, or participate in pychotherapy. Gil Fronsdal describes what he calls Natural Buddhism in which he explains his view of Buddhism without supernaturalism.
The Buddhist “canon” of texts
The Pāli Canon falls into three general categories, called pitaka (from Pali piṭaka, meaning “basket”, referring to the receptacles in which the palm-leaf manuscripts were kept). Because of this, the canon is traditionally known as the Tipiṭaka (“three baskets”). The three pitakas are as follows:
- Vinaya Pitaka (“Discipline Basket”), dealing with rules or discipline of the sangha
- Sutta Pitaka (Sutra/Sayings Basket), discourses and sermons of Buddha, some religious poetry and is the largest basket
- Abhidhamma Pitaka, treatises that elaborate Buddhist doctrines, particularly about mind, also called the “systematic philosophy” basket, likely composed starting about and after 300 BCE
You’re not gonna walk into a book store and buy the Pali canon as a single book, like the Christian Bible, so don’t drive yourself crazy looking for it. You should ease into the canon. Perhaps starting with…
The Dhammapada - One of the most popular / beloved of Buddhist writing collections.
- A translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu - table of contents
- PDF version - a printed copy is also available for free by writing the Metta Forest Monastary, PO Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082
Then as you have done a little reaserch on the three pieces mentioned about, you might visit this Suttas (discources) page for some of the more important texts.
Go on a retreat
At some point, listening to dharma talks, and reading texts, may become routine. When you feel your in a routine, there is nothing like a vacation. You may consider going ao a spiritual vacation, and visit one of the growing reputable meditation centers where you can meet other folks that are on a similar spiritual journey.
Some meditation centers in the USA
– Insight Meditation Society, Barre MA (1975)
– Insight Meditation Center, Redwood City CA
– Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodcare CA (1987)
– New York Insight Meditation Center, 28 West 27th St, NY NY 10001
– Common Grounds Meditation Center, Minniapolis Minn
– Metta Forest Monastery, Valley Center, CA (1991) Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff)
– Cambridge Insight Meditation Center, Cambridge, MA
The Buddha loved lists
The Buddha loved lists and so do I. Here is a list of links that at different points in time I’ve found really useful, but I don’t have cute heading to put them under. So… I’m just going to give you them as a list.
- A graduated series of 50 Dhamma talks for meditators, starting with breath meditation and leading through issues of discernment. An expanded version of this series (64 talks) is available on YouTube.
- An intro to the Buddha’s Teaching
- What is Theravada Buddhism?
- The Pali Canon
- Random Sutta
- Random Article
- dharmatalks.org - Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff)
- Free online books index
- dharmaseed.org talks
- audiodharma.org talks
- Buddhist Publication Society - bps.lk
- Book publications
- Wheel library
- The Noble Eightfold Path: The way to the end of suffering (PDF) - Bhikkhu Bodhi
- Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha - Thich Nhat Hanh
- Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha- Tara Brach
- Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book - Dan Harris