Thought Transformation and Other Commentaries


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Open Heart, Clear Mind - Buddhist Ideas for Everyone
by Venerable Thubten Chodron©
Sravasti Abbey, Washington, USA
April 2007 - December 2008

Ven. Chodron offered a multi-part course based on her book Open Heart Clear Mind. Further commentary was provided by her students at the Abbey. The talks were held at the monthly Sharing the Dharma Day at Sravasti Abbey.

Click here for Syllabus in Word format

-- Teachings based on Open Heart Clear Mind --

1. Meditation and the Buddhist Approach - 15 April 2007

  • Part 1
    Introduction to the course and meditation.
    Ven. Chodron describes the course and gives instruction on breathing meditation including position, breathing, and concentration.

    [16 minutes] : Download mp3 file
  • Part 2
    Ven. Chodron talks about the Buddhist approach including how the Buddha said to investigate and evaluate spiritual teachings. Ven. Chodron references the Buddha's sutras to explain what he taught about investigating and accepting spiritual teachings. She explains what the Buddha meant when he said that one should analyze the teachings as a goldsmith analyzes gold.

    [47 minutes] : Download mp3 file
  • Part 3 Q+A
    - If certain people have analyzed the Buddha's teachings for 2600 years can I accept it?
    - Hinduism talks about Brahma as positive force and realization is discovering that part of us is Brahma. How does that compare with emptiness or nirvana in Buddhism?
    - Is it best to focus on one type of Buddhism? How do you know which is best for you to follow?

    [18 minutes] : Download mp3 file

2. Taking the Ache Out of Attachment - 6 May 2007

  • Part 1
    Ven. Chodron explains how happiness and suffering is not due to external sources. She discusses how attachment and craving cause our unhappiness. She explains that if we look at our life we will see that trying to arrange our life to get what we want and and get away from what we don't want has not worked to bring real happiness and eliminate suffering.

    [40 minutes] : Download mp3 file
  • Part 2 Q+A
    - What is the difference between the experience of having a positive aspiration and clinging attachment?
    - When you are madly in love with someone is it possible to have the mind that sees through that?

    [13 minutes] : Download mp3 file
  • Part 3
    Guided Meditation On Attachment
    Ven. Chodron leads a short meditation on looking at our attachments and their results.

    [9 minutes] : Download mp3 file

3. Anger and Other Disturbing Attitudes - 3 June 2007

  • Nanc Nesbit leads the session on anger and the related attitudes of closed-mindedness, pride and jealousy. She also talks about the antidotes to these disturbing attitudes.
    [52 minutes] : Download mp3 file

4. Self-Centeredness - 15 July 2007

  • Barbara McDaniels leads the session. She talks about how
    self-centeredness steals our happiness and is the cause of problems. She talks about the disadvantages of self-centeredness as well as antidotes for it.
    [53 minutes] : Download mp3 file

5. Rebirth and Karma - 26 August 2007

  • Part 1
    Venerable Chodron talks about rebirth and karma. She talks about difficulties understanding rebirth and ways to think about it. She explains how the mind and body have two distinct continuities. Ven. Chodron also explains karma and how it is involved with rebirth.
    [42 minutes] : Download mp3 file
  • Part 2 Q+A
    - If a karmic seed isn't physical or mental, how is it connected to the mind stream that goes from one life to another?
    - Is memory associated with the brain or the mind?
    - Brain deterioration can lead to dementia, how does that affect the mind stream and rebirth?
    - Certain psychologists talk about a group consciousness, does karma play a role in that?
    - Is there group karma?
    - Is there something we can do for example at the time an execution is taking place to make clear in our own mind stream that we don't agree?
    - A friend has had a lot of death in her life and finds it difficult
    that these persons are totally erased because their body no longer exists. What would you say to her?
    [18 minutes] : Download mp3 file

6. The Four Noble Truths - 16 September 2007

  • Part 1
    Ven. Chodron explains the Four Noble Truths. She talks about the importance of accurately seeing the unsatisfactory nature of our present situation, dukka, and the causes, misapprehension of the true nature of self and other phenomenon. She explains how the afflictions of attachment and aversion influence us all through the day. She explains the path to cessation of dukka in terms of the Noble Eight Fold Path.
    [43 minutes] : Download mp3 file
  • Part 2 Q+A
    - Are nirvana, liberation, and enlightenment the same?
    - Is the solitary realizer the same as Theravadan and the bodhisattva the same as Mahayanan?
    - If you are advocating the elimination of all anger, what would you recommend for a replacement of righteous anger that arises with injustice?
    - Can you explain the fourth Noble Truth in terms of the Three Higher Trainings?
    [13 minutes] : Download mp3 file

7. Buddha Nature and Precious Human Life - 7 October 2007

  • Part 1
    Ven. Chodron explains how both these two topics help us to see our potential and the conducive circumstances we have for actualizing it. She discusses two aspects of Buddha nature, natural Buddha nature and transforming Buddha nature. She talks about how our potential means we don't have to be limited by conditioning of this life and mental afflictions.
    [45 minutes] : Download mp3 file
  • Part 2 Q+A
    - How do we know that our mind-stream will continue after we die in this life?
    - In Hinduism the term Atman is used. In Buddhism is the term Buddha nature different?
    - Is there an effect on the mind with burial or cremation?
    - Can deja vu experience be a memory from a previous life?
    [13 minutes] : Download mp3 file

8. The Determination to be Free - 2 December 2007

  • Part 1
    Ven. Chodron talks about the determination to be free, one of the Three Principle Aspects of the Path. She talks about why it is important to understand it correctly. She also explains how the determination to be free of misery and the unsatisfactory experience of samsara is not renouncing happiness.
    [31 minutes] : Download mp3 file
  • Part 2 Q+A
    - Can small negative actions lead to larger ones?
    - If we can calm negative physical and verbal activities through ethical conduct and we can develop concentration and focus the mind single-pointedly, should we be able to eliminate the afflictions and perceive reality?
    - People all seem to have a different experience of "I" and a different explanation of it.
    - On an ultimate level we all have Buddha nature but on a conventional level are we just karma ripening?
    [29 minutes] : Download mp3 file

9. The Four Opponent Powers for Purification - 6 April 2008

  • Venerable Thubten Tarpa explains the four opponent powers and the importance of purifying negative karma.
    [47 minutes] : Download mp3 file

10. Developing a Kind Heart: Loving-Kindness - 4 May 2008

  • Venerable Chodron talks about the benefits of cultivating a kind heart. She talks about recalling the kindness received from others and letting a feeling of gratitude arise in your heart and a wish to give back. She explains that if we have a heart of kindness the feeling of being kind is its own reward. She also explains that being kind does not mean doing everything everybody wants.
    [49 minutes] : Download mp3 file

11. Cultivating Altruism and Bodhicitta - 20 July 2008

  • Ven. Chodron explains how to train our mind to develop an altruistic attitude and how it can bring benefit to ourselves and others. She talks about recognizing that all sentient beings are equal in wanting happiness and avoiding suffering. She also talks about recognizing the kindness of others, a cause of wanting to return their kindness.
    [58 minutes] : Download mp3 file

12. Meditation - 12 September 2008

  • Venerable Chodron talks about the different kinds of Buddhist
    meditation. She explains stabilizing, and analytical meditation as well as object oriented and aspect oriented meditation. Ven. Chodron also talks about the benefits of setting up a daily meditation practice and gives suggestions on how to do that. She discusses dealing with meditation difficulties like drowsiness. She also explains different ways to do walking meditation.
    [61 minutes] : Download mp3 file

13. Refuge in the Three Jewels - 12 October 2008

  • Venerable Chodron explains how the Buddha, Dharma and sangha are objects of refuge and how refuge in the Three Jewels is taking a safe direction in our life. She discusses how false objects of refuge are ineffective. She also explains the five ways that the Buddha is a reliable guide.
    [61 minutes] : Download mp3 file

14. Compassion in Action - 7 December 2008

  • Venerable Thubten Tarpa explains that compassion is a key Buddhist value. She talks about how to bring a kind heart to all our activities, contributing to our own happiness and the well-being of others. Ven. Tarpa also talks about how to be compassionate in a world where there are so many problems and combining compassion with wisdom.
    [56 minutes] : Download mp3 file


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