Buddhism for Beginners - Buddhist Ideas for Everyone
By Venerable Thubten Chodron and the Sravasti Abbey Community
Sravasti Abbey, Washington, USA
March 2012 - December 2012
These talks by Ven. Chodron and others of the Abbey Community are based on her book Buddhism for Beginners. The talks are held at the monthly Sharing the Dharma Day at Sravasti Abbey.
18 March 2012 - The Essence of Buddhism
Ven. Tarpa begins the series with a talk based on the first chapter with an explanation of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eight Fold Path. She explains the practices of the Noble Eight Fold Path and how they help us to develop positive qualities, abandon negative qualities and subdue our mind.
[50 minutes] Download mp3 file
6 May 2012 - Love and Compassion
Ven. Semkye discusses what love and compassion are from the Buddhist view. She talks about ways to expand love and compassion for others. Ven. Semkye explains the difference between love and attachment and how we can confuse the two. She goes on to talk about compassion, common misconceptions about compassion and how pity, burnout and personal distress can distort our compassion.
[65 minutes] Download mp3 file
3 June 2012 - Meditation
Ven. Chodron describes the different types of Buddhist meditation and their uses. She explains the purpose and benefits of stabilizing meditation and analytic meditation in Buddhist practice. Ven. Chodron describes what is done in stabilizing meditation and that it is not daydreaming or spacing out. She explains how analytic meditation can be used to come to an accurate understanding of an object or to enhance mental qualities such as compassion. Ven. Chodron also discusses what mindfulness meditation is and how it is taught and used in a Buddhist setting and how it may used for medical or secular purposes. She explains how mindfulness meditation as taught by the Buddha is used to eliminate four misconceptions.
[57 minutes] Download mp3 file
8 July 2012 - Impermanence and Suffering
Ven. Chonyi explains how studying and meditating on impermanence and suffering can be rich and joyful. She explains the benefits of contemplating these two topics and seeing the reality of our situation in cyclic existence. Ven. Chonyi explains how suffering is not limited to gross physical suffering but includes an unsatisfactoryness that pervades all experience. She also gives points that we can use in contemplation of suffering and impermanence.
[61 minutes] Download mp3 file
5 August 2012 - Selflessness
Ven. Chodron talks about selflessness and our perception of how things and persons exist. She uses examples from the recent Olympics to show how we impute meaning and value to things but we forget that we gave them meaning and believe they have meaning and value from their own side. Ven. Chodron explains the benefit of looking at our conceptions and questioning if we are perceiving things accurately. She also describes how we create personal identities and how it causes problems for ourselves.
[58 minutes] Download mp3 file
9 September 2012 - Science, Creation and Rebirth
Ven. Chodron talks compares science to Buddhism and notes what they have in common and where they differ, especially how they view the mind. She explains how science is concerned with measurable phenomena and how Buddhism examines experience. Ven. Chodron explains the Buddhist view of rebirth and the continuity of the mind from rebirth to rebirth. She uses logical reasoning and analogies to explain rebirth. She also talks about karma and how it influences rebirth and experience.
[69 minutes] Download mp3 file
14 October 2012 - Karma - The Functioning of Cause and Effect
Ven. Chodron explains the Buddhist view of cause and effect. She explains how this is not a new concept to us because we already work with cause and effect in our daily life. She explains how karma is not fate or a system of reward and punishment. Ven. Chodron talks about looking at the long term picture in terms of cause and effect, not just in this life but for future lives. She discusses how karma allows us to take control, using our volitional actions to create the causes for long term happiness.
[64 minutes] Download mp3 file
2 December 2012 - The Buddhist Traditions
Ven. Semkye talks about why it is helpful to know about the various Buddhist traditions. She talks about the similarities and essential points that are common to all Buddhist traditions as well as the benefit of having a diversity of Buddhist and spiritual traditions. Ven. Semkye explains the main divisions of the Buddhist traditions and clarifies some common misperceptions about what are Buddhist traditions and what are not.
[60 minutes] Download mp3 file