The Upaya Dharma Podcast features Wednesday evening Dharma Talks and recordings from Upaya's diverse array of programs. Our podcasts exemplify Upaya’s focus on socially engaged Buddhism, including prison work, end-of-life care, serving the homeless, training in socially engaged practices, peace & nonviolence, compassionate care training, and delivering healthcare in the Himalayas.
Kathie Fischer: Vimalakirti’s Silence
Sensei Kathie Fischer explores the core tenets of Mahayana Buddhism, inviting us into deeper dialogue regarding the principles of non-duality, form, emptiness, and self. She brings us into the depth of Vilmalakirti’s thunderous silence, reminding us that it penetrates our lives and that it is close at hand when we drop the preferential mind. She reminds us that we throw ourselves into language, into objects, without noticing, we are attaching to these experiences of our lives without mindfulness, and we can transform this and instead rest in silence, and abide in the action and being of love.
Wendy Johnson: Awakening from the Illusion of Separateness
Wendy Johnson discusses the Vimalakirti sutra and connects this text and its teachings with the living teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh. She explains that Vimalakirti is a wounded healer boddhisatva, “dangerous to settled life in every way and alive with the feral vow to benefit all beings.” She shares with us that bodhisattvas become sick due to their “embodied emergent enactive compassion; a compassion animated by raw love for others and recognition of how many of us are sick.”
Wendy honors her root teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh, who continues to teach “vividly and authentically from his sickbed,” by sharing various teachings she has received.
Monshin Nannette Overley: Gifts of the Saha World
Monshin Nannette Overley weaves together the talks we’ve heard during the Fall Practice Period on emptiness and compassion, while exploring the difference between sentimental compassion and true compassion. She calls us to remember the true gift of having a practice, in this world, to wake up. She reminds us that our practice is a treasure which allows us to experience all that life has to offer and supports us in taking action from a place of true compassion. She encourages us to go beyond dualistic thinking and remember that there is no difference between the helper and the one being helped.
Matthew Kozan Palevsky: Vimalakirti Chapter 5: Bondage and Liberation
Matthew Kozan Palevsky delves into Chapter 5 of the Vimalakirti sutra. He begins by reminding us how sickness can open up the possibility for connection and healing, saying “In illness we can feel uniquely undefended, unpretentious, unmitigated, unquestioning, undone. At times this can feel like overwhelming intimacy with whomever is with us, or with all of life.” He then delves into the causes of Vimalakirti’s sickness, which is our sickness, and how we are to understand its cure. He tackles this central topic of Zen by breaking it down into two sicknesses and two cures, saying: “For the first, we apply the view of emptiness to a mind that wants to cling to duality. And for the second sickness we use Great Compassion to heal the broken heartedness that arises from Great Compassion. Of course, this is only one sickness, which is no sickness at all.” Kozan closes with a case from the Blue Cliff Record that expresses Vimalakirti’s invitation to meet the world with Wisdom and Upaya — with Great Compassion.
Reigetsu Susan Moon: Encouragements of the Goddess
Reigetsu Susan Moon reviews chapter 7 of Vimalakirti, The Goddess. She shares the story of the Goddess and Shariputra and illuminates insights from the sutra involving non-duality, opposites being necessary and complementary, gender as a social construct, and body as an illusory form. She encourages us to put ourselves in other people shoes in order to realize self as other, and reminds us that the oath of renunciation and the path of compassion are both right and in perfect agreement.
Robert Thurman: The Bodhisattva Way of Vimalakirti
Robert Thurman reads from his translation of The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti, summarizing this sutra as a text of discovering inconceivable liberation through direct realization of the interconnectedness of all beings. He reminds us that to understand this text is to understand that we are buddha, and to realize this we have to go beyond dualistic thinking.
Thurman explains that through increasing cognitive dissonance tolerance and meditation practice, we come to understand that we are beyond conceptual ideas of individuation.
This podcast exceeded my not expectations :)
Not what we expected...