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Easing Awake with Doug Kraft

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Sifting through the earliest records of the Buddha's talks, we find a simple, elegant, and powerful practice. When he died, his teaching became an “ism”, Buddhism. As it spread into other countries, cultures, and eras his teachings or “map” was copied and re-copied. Shortcuts and alternatives were added and deleted. Compared to the versions of his teachings most widely known, his original meditation emphasized: Tranquility: an open, receptive awareness favored over highly focused, one-pointed concentration; Simplicity: loving kindness, serenity and insight all integrated rather than treated as separate practices; Stages: the practice matures through stages, each of which builds upon and goes beyond earlier stages (or “jhana”); Ease: relaxing as more important than striving. These podcasts are dedicated to this approach to meditation and daily living. I call it “easing awake.”

Sifting through the earliest records of the Buddha's talks, we find a simple, elegant, and powerful practice. When he died, his teaching became an “ism”, Buddhism. As it spread into other countries, cultures, and eras his teachings or “map” was copied and re-copied. Shortcuts and alternatives were added and deleted. Compared to the versions of his teachings most widely known, his original meditation emphasized: Tranquility: an open, receptive awareness favored over highly focused, one-pointed concentration; Simplicity: loving kindness, serenity and insight all integrated rather than treated as separate practices; Stages: the practice matures through stages, each of which builds upon and goes beyond earlier stages (or “jhana”); Ease: relaxing as more important than striving. These podcasts are dedicated to this approach to meditation and daily living. I call it “easing awake.”
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Location:

United States

Description:

Sifting through the earliest records of the Buddha's talks, we find a simple, elegant, and powerful practice. When he died, his teaching became an “ism”, Buddhism. As it spread into other countries, cultures, and eras his teachings or “map” was copied and re-copied. Shortcuts and alternatives were added and deleted. Compared to the versions of his teachings most widely known, his original meditation emphasized: Tranquility: an open, receptive awareness favored over highly focused, one-pointed concentration; Simplicity: loving kindness, serenity and insight all integrated rather than treated as separate practices; Stages: the practice matures through stages, each of which builds upon and goes beyond earlier stages (or “jhana”); Ease: relaxing as more important than striving. These podcasts are dedicated to this approach to meditation and daily living. I call it “easing awake.”

Language:

English


Episodes

It Ain't Personal

9/6/2019
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If suffering is the illness, the Buddha's diagnosis is sobering: the disease is incurable. Anguish is an inherent part of the relative world in which we live. So he proposed a radical solution. If we can't get rid of the disease, let's get rid of the patient. If there is no one to suffer, there is no suffering. Brilliant! But hardly the answer we were looking for. We shy away from the topic. Meanwhile, many of the difficulties we face as a species are rooted in a hyper-developed sense of...

Duration:01:08:34

Dependent Origination & Practice

8/20/2019
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Day 5 Retreat: Impersonal natural laws set the parameters within which we live. When we see these laws clearly, we see the impersonal nature of all phenomena. But many of these laws are so subtle and complex that it’s difficult to understand them. When we don’t understand, we take things personally and suffer. To help us understand how life works, the Buddha drew a map called “the laws of dependent origination.” This talk explores how this map works in the nitty-gritty of life and in...

Duration:01:38:35

Awareness Jhanas

8/6/2019
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Day 4 Retreat: In the earliest texts the Buddha described a path to awakening that goes through several stages called "jhanas". These are not the absorption jhanas that have been talked about in the West so often. Rather they are stages of deepening awareness. On this path, the meditation techniques change as we progress. They led to a powerful well-being that is more accessible than most people imagine. This talk traces this path from joy to peace to spaciousness to cessation to freedom.

Duration:01:42:26

Q&A, Kindness and Wisdom Practice

7/8/2019
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Day 2 Retreat: Doug responds to a range of questions related to deepening meditation practice.

Duration:00:54:38

Four Ennobling Truths

7/8/2019
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Day 3 Retreat: Buddhism is not a religion, philosophy, or even spirituality as much as it’s a way of engaging life. It’s a way of looking with a quiet, unflinching smile at whatever comes along. It’s turning toward the waves that crash toward us. The Buddha described this as four ennobling truths: (1) Life is sometimes unsatisfactory; (2) The source of our experience of discomfort is craving (tanha); (3) When we abandon the craving, suffering ceases; (4) There is a path we can follow to...

Duration:01:19:13

Hindrances as Teachers

6/27/2019
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Day 2 Retreat: An aikido student on a Tokyo train encounters a belligerent drunk and an elderly gentleman. The story illustrates a few of the ways we relate to the distractions and distortions that arise naturally in the mind-heart. What we do with these “hindrances” has a profound effect on our meditation practice and life. If we view them as a problem to be defeated or fixed, life becomes difficult. If we view them with kindness, they cease to be a problem. This talk explores three ways of...

Duration:01:25:13

Kindness and Wisdom Practice

6/25/2019
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Day 1 Retreat: Beginning Instructions for Kindness and Wisdom Meditation. Kindness is an attitude of friendliness to living beings. Wisdom is seeing clearly and impersonally. Kindness without wisdom is not kind. Wisdom without kindness is not wise. These are not separate qualities but different ways of approaching a unified whole that could be called metta-panna or kindness-wisdom. Kindness and wisdom meditation uses two different practices that are deeply intertwined. This talk with Doug...

Duration:01:05:18