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BFF Podcasts

Welcome to BFF Podcasts. Click on a link below to hear our dharma discussions.

2016-06-12 Non Violent Communication Talk with Dr. Sean Ross-- What if we could see the beautiful needs behind all human behavior? What if we could learn to touch what was present and alive in us even during difficult circumstances? With the Buddha's eyes and ears, the whole world speaks peace. Among the pioneers in developing and teaching this kind of consciousness, Marshall Rosenberg developed a communication method known as Non-violent communication, or NVC. Dr. Sean Ross, from the Albuquerque NM Sangha, visits and shares how NVC saved his marriage, his wife's life, and was his path to the dharma.

2016-06-12 Non Violent Communication Workshop with Dr. Sean Ross-- Non-violent Communication (NVC) is a powerful method for creating heart to heart connection in our relationships so that our needs get met in an empathetic way. In a Buddhist context, we learn to see the beautiful enlightenment nature of everyone around us and so enter the pure land, where all experiences teach the dharma and we are surrounded by Bodhisattvas and Devas urging us on. In this seminar, we practice five essential skills: Presence, Observation, Feelings awareness, Needs Awareness and Gratitude.

2016-06-05 Great Living Seminar with G. Bermant PhD-- The Great Living Seminar explores the classic Shin Buddhist text, Tannisho, the sayings of the foremost and founder teacher of the Shin tradition, Shinran Shonin. This new translation into modern American English with its rich commentaries brings to life the heart of this extraordinary path that is open to anyone, at anytime.

2016-06-05 Promises in Religious Time-- How are we to consider promises of redemption or salvation that are to take place in the indeterminate future as a result of acts accomplished in the distant or even immemorial past? This is a question that vexes many if not all religions. The down-to-earth talk is an introduction to this mystery using examples from Biblical and Buddhist traditions. Presented by our special guest teacher, Gordon Bermant PhD.

2016-03-13 Inconceivable Compassion-- This week's dharma talk is titled Inconceivable Compassion, with guest speaker and Dharma Teacher Gary Link, from Chuang Yen Monastery, New York. The talk and subsequent Q and A, will cover the basis of the teachings and practices of the great 13 century Japanese master, Honen Shonin. The talk will cover the essence of the genuine heart, inconceivable grace and compassion, and how the simple practice of the nembutsu can transform your life.

2016-03-13 Honens Path to Bliss (Part 2)-- Part 2 of this seminar explores the central message of Honen, the 13th century Japanese spiritual revolutionary, with wonderful depth to bring out the brilliance and simplicity of the Buddhist Pure Land Way. Importantly, students learn about how Buddhism can be a practical and liberating spiritual path for ordinary people living in the 21st century. Presented by Gary Link.

2016-02-14 Honens Path to Bliss (Part 1)-- Part 1 of this seminar explores the central message of Honen, the 13th century Japanese spiritual revolutionary, with wonderful depth to bring out the brilliance and simplicity of the Buddhist Pure Land Way. Importantly, students learn about how Buddhism can be a practical and liberating spiritual path for ordinary people living in the 21st century. Presented by Gary Link.

2016-02-14 Pure Land Buddhism Overview-- Gary Link, a regular lecturer at Chuang Yen Monastery and trustee of the Buddhist Association of the United States, gives a Dharma Talk on Pure Land Buddhism.

2015-08-30 How to Practice Boundless Love-- May you be happy May you be safe May you be strong May you live with ease. Buddhism teaches about practicing unhindered loving-kindness as a key component in practicing the path. Metta, a word derived from the Pali language or maitri in Sanskrit, is translated as benevolence, friendliness, kindness or universal love. Beyond the concept, Metta Bhavana (practice) is an ancient and popular systematic practice of universal love. It is a powerful way to open and soften the heart. This form of visual meditation combines specific phrases that begins with wishing oneself well-being and then continues to extend it to ones loved ones, friends, teachers, strangers, even challenging people. Research has shown that Metta practice reduces pain and anger, and can help boost positive emotions and well-being in life. Presented by Dharma Teacher Rev. Senpai Lewis-Bastias.

2015-08-16 Absolute Grace-- Buddhism teaches that the Light of Great Compassion cannot be obstructed and her door is open to whoever wants to enter. There is neither judgement nor membership criterion not even sincere intention is needed to be spiritual reborn in the Realm of Infinite Light and Life aka Nirvana. People who are embraced by this unhindered grace are naturally transformed into loving and compassionate beings. Love is not a skill. Love is a response. Unconditional Love is a response to the unconditional grasped of Amida (Great Compassion). Excerpted from the book:Who Loves Dies Well, by Dharmavidya. Presented by Dharma Teacher Shoju.

2015-07-26 6 Ways to be a Bodhisattva-- In Mahayana Buddhism, a bodhisattvais an enlightened (bodhi) being (sattva). Traditionally, a bodhisattva is anyone on the Buddhist path who, motivated by great compassion, seeks enlightenment for the benefit of all beings but decides to forgo supreme enlightenment for the benefit of working for the benefit of all sentient beings. This talk will explore the many ways one can become a bodhisattva in 21st century America, from the perspective of a few Buddhist traditions such as Zen and Vajrayana schools through the words of their teachers like Thich Nhat Hanh and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche wrote: The life of a Bodhisattva is relating with all sentient beings as guests. The Bodhisattva invites everyone as a guest, constantly offering a feast. Presented by Dharma Teacher Rev. Lewis-Bastias.

2015-07-19 What is Tao-- Buddhism teaches us that our ordinary mind us none other than the path itself. How is this so? This dharma talk will look into how we can see and experience this truth through unconditional eyes. Often we strive to manage our life. However, Buddhism speaks of naturally living a life that is well-lived. We speak of entrusting faith in the Primal Vow and the teachings. However, our faith is usually contingent on getting our way. Therefore, what is true entrusting faith? What is its source? Often we say we practice sitting meditation (zazen). However, when we practice zazen are we enmeshed in day dreaming, addicted to our thoughts or caught in the blankness of a trance? What is the correct way to practice zazen? What is Tao? What is ordinary mind? Presented by Dharma Teacher Rev. Lewis-Bastias.

2015-05-17 The Mindfulness Fantasy-- This talk will explore the true purpose of Buddhism and the practicality of mindfulness practice (sati) for the average lay person. Mindfulness is technique original to Buddhism that has, in recent times, become secularized like the Hindu practice of yoga. Instead of being a way to connect with the godhead, yoga has been reduced to a popular method to be physically fit. Likewise, many Americans tend to think of Buddhism not as a religion but as a set of techniques to deal with such mundane issues like stress, concentration, and general psychological happiness. This talk will address the way modernity has reduced Buddhism to a mere commodity consisting of a set of skills that foster even more self-attachment and suffering. This talk will be presented by dharma teacher, Shoju.

2015-05-03 Spiritual Devotion-- Devotion is a central part of the practice of most traditional Buddhists. Devotion includes rituals such as offering flowers and incense, bowing, chanting, and taking a pilgrimage to holy sites. Although there may be different objects of veneration among the various denominations, all of them focus devotion to the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. This talk will explore what is Buddhist devotion, and how it manifests in daily and community life. What the Buddha teach about devotion? A reading from Shan-Tao’s Liturgy for Birth (Ojoraisan) will be read and discussed as a classic example of a Buddhist devotional reading.

2015-04-26 Faith, Vows, and Practice-- Faith, Vows, and Practice are known as the tripod of Buddhist practice. These basic tenets support our journey along the path in order to successfully realize our inner potential to deeply love and understand. In brief, Faith is conviction, Vows are the aspirations, and Practice is method. This talk will explore these tenets and how to apply them in 21st century American life. Presented by Dharma Teacher Shoju.

2015-04-05 Relax, Trust, and Thank-- The Dharma Talk is titled Relax, Trust and Thank which are the 3 Essential Daily Practices in Buddhism to encourage a happier and more meaningful life. This inspiration talk will be followed by Q and A. Presented by Shoju based on an essay by Ven. Zhi Sheng.

2015-03-15 Precepts for the Pure Land Practitioner-- Often Western Pure Land practitioners wonder how to fully practice Buddhanusmirti (Buddha Recitation). What are the nuances of this practice? How can this practice make a real different in our lives? How can its practice open us to ultimate salvation? This talk and subsequent Q and A will look into how to realistically practice Pure Land Buddhism according to the precepts of the influential 13 century master, Ippen Shonin. Presented by Rev. Senpai G. Lewis-Bastías.

2015-03-01 Waking Up in America-- The Buddha mentioned that their were basic Five Hindrances that distracted us on the spiritual journey they are desire, aversion, fatigue, restlessness, and doubt. During the time of Buddha, when life was so much simpler, ordinary people suffered from these interferences. Today, contemporary life's fast pace is full of new distractions never conceived by our ancestors from the Axial Age. Dharma Teacher Rhusan will take a humorous and honest look about the pitfalls and difficulties that we face in trying to spiritually awaken here in the land of distractions. Presented by the humorous and insightful Dharma teacher Rhusan.

2015-02-08 The Way of the Bodhisattva-- This insightful talk will explore the Mahayana Buddhist ideal of the bodhisattva, which means spiritual being in Sanskrit. Presented by Shin Dharma Teacher Shoju.

2015-02-01 Buddhism, the Internet, and Pornography-- Modern technology has given our generation easy access to vast amounts of knowledge as well as an almost limitless amount of pornographic imagery. What does Buddhism say about this? Presented by dharma teacher Shoju.

2015-01-25 Toni's Story-- This talk and subsequent Q and A will explore the Buddhist teaching of compassion through a real story of young woman, Toni. At the prime of her life with all the hope of the future before her, Toni falls ill with an incurable disease. Compassion in the Buddhist context comes from the Sanskrit work karuna, which means empathy and the selfless act of alleviating the suffering of another. How can we cultivate compassion? What are its obstacles? Can we truly be compassionate? What can we learn from Toni’s story about ourselves? Presented by Dharma Teacher Rhusan.

2015-01-18 Our True Home-- Where is our true home? So many of us feel alienated and at a loss. We feel like we do not have a place in this world to rest or even a purpose to live. Where do we belong and what is our place in the world? What is the meaning of living in the Pure Land here and now? How can we uncover our true purpose in life? Accompanying this talk and Q and A will explore how the Shin teachings can offer a new life of inner confidence, understanding and love. Presented by Shin Dharma Teacher Daikan.

2014-11-23 Turkey, Mashed Potatoes and Mindfulness-- Some would say that of all of the American holidays, it is Thanksgiving that expresses the essence of the Shin Buddhist Way. How can Buddhists encounter the teachings of the Buddha in this holiday? What can we do during the preparation of and during the dinner to unfold the Buddha’s teachings on gratitude, interconnectedness, and compassion? Includes meditation and prayer suggestions. Presented by Shin teacher Jinshu.

2014-11-16 From Skirmishes to Jihads-- For Buddhists, war is unskillful and to be avoided. This talk and subsequent Q and A will explore the Buddhist teaching on war. In the age of Al-Qaeda and ISIL, what is the proper approach that Buddhists take to warfare? Is war always wrong and unskillful? Is there such a thing as a just cause to war? Can a Buddhist become a soldier? Presented by Dharma Teacher Daikan.

2014-11-09 Recycling as a Buddhist Practice-- This insightful talk and subsequent Q and A will discuss how recycling can serve not only as a metaphor to Buddhist practice but also become an integral part of daily practice and reflection. Dharma teacher Sachi will explain how our engagement with the natural environment as a Buddhist practice will necessarily unveil our interconnectedness, impermanence, and issues of attachment and aversion. Presented by Dharma Teacher Sachi.

2014-10-26 The How vs the What-- Buddhism focuses more on process than outcomes. It is not that the outcome is not important, such as enlightenment, but the skillful approach is necessary to truly unfold its essence. The Buddha said here are 84,000 ways to enlightenment, that is, there are countless and equal ways to practice his teachings. A personal approach to the teachings is paramount to their true unfolding. Presented by Shin Dharma Teacher Shoju.

2014-10-19 Overcoming Habit Energies-- This talk will cover the obstacles of meditation practice and fully experiencing the Buddhist lifestyle (path). There are five styles of habitual reaction, known as the Five Hindrances, that keep us off track on our journey. There are both part of being human and the journey of life, and contrariwise, they are ingrained obstacles that impede access to mindful decision-making. These habit energies tend to detour us from true awareness and happiness. The Five Hindrances are desire, ill will, sloth, restlessness, and doubt. What is your base habitual pattern? Shin teacher Rev. G. Lewis-Bastías will present the Five Hindrances using stories and explain how to unravel them in our daily lives.

2014-07-20 Talk given by Mark Unno--Passages in the Life of Impermanance: The Unfolding of Great Compassion

2014-04-27 Relax, Trust, Thank--Learn about the 3 Essential Daily Practices in Pure Land Buddhism to encourage a happier and more meaningful life. Presented by Shoju based on an essay by Ven. Zhi Sheng.

2014-04-13 The marrow of Shin--Teachings on Shin Buddhism

2014-03-30 Shin Buddhist Spirituality--An exploration of Shin spirituality that touches on themes of eternal life, interdependence, love, compassion and many other topics. This talk is a modern explanation of Shin teachings?. Inspired by the book, River of Fire, River of Water. Presented Rev. D. Senpai..

2014-03-02 One Pure Moment of Deep Hearing--This talk will explore the central Shin practice called deep hearing. What is it? What are practitioners supposed to hear or listen to? This talk will cover the presenters personal experience with deep hearing and its transformative effects. Dojin is one of the contributors of the BFF’s book, I Stumbled Upon A Jewel, and this talk is based on one of her chapters. Presented by Dojin.

2014-01-26 The Wise Heart--Was Buddha the first psychologist? How can Buddhism help to alleviate the suffering that people bring to mental health therapy sessions? Inspired by the book, A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology is by Jack Kornfield, Presented by Jinshu.

2013-12-08 The Zen of Recovery--We are are addicts; we are addicted to our egos. Learn how the techniques of recovery intersect with the Buddhist path with the goal of untangling our well-established attachment to our egoic self. Presented by Jinshu.

2013-12-01 The Universe is in Everything--This talk will involve white paper bulbs which will be given out to all congregants. The them is the universe is a totality and seeds have everything they need. You may ask what does this have to do with Shin? Come and join us and find out. Presented by Shoshin.

2013-11-24 Mindfull Eating--A talk on how eating is an important part of Buddhism practice. This practices looks into not only how we eat, but also what is in our foods. The practice is to nourish our bodies and minds with wholesome foods. Presented by Jinshu.

2013-11-17 The Spirituality of Imperfection--A look into human frailty within the embrace of boundless compassion. Presented by Shoju.

2013-11-10 As you are--"What does practicing Buddha's compassion mean to you in your daily life? Does it mean to donate money to the poor, to help the homeless, or to refrain from discriminating against minorities?" Learn how we can awaken to radical acceptance of others but more importantly, ourselves. Presented by Rev. Senpai. Daishin.

2013-10-20 How to Erase a Permanent Marker--Like the ink from a permanent marker, we tend to get stuck in our ways, lost in attachments and aversions, and pride. However, when we are exposed by the Buddhist teachings, a natural process of transformation arises within our minds and hearts. This talk will uncover how this process occurs and how it affects our lives. Inspired by an essay by Karen Vielle. Presented by Rev. Senpai. Daishin.

2013-10-13 Dream Land or Pure Land?--The Buddha taught us that we are from one life, and we will return as one life. The origin of our life is one. We are now sharing the One Life. This insightful talk will cover how the reality of impermanence can awaken us to the preciousness of life and each moment. Inspired by an essay by Motohiro Kiyota. Presented by Rev. Senpai. Daishin

2013-10-13 The Golden Chain--This talk will explore the popular Shin prayer, The Golden Chain, which begins with the words, "I will be kind and gentle to every living thing..." However, is it possible to be kind to every living being? To practice absolute kindness would require an unqualified compassion and respect. Therefore, when we strive to put into practice the prayer’s message, are we being hypocritical? Presented by Rev. Senpai Daishin.

2013-10-06 What's Your Practice?--

2013-09-29 The Shin Effect--How has the Shin path inspired us, moved our hearts, given us faith, and awakened us? This discussion will look into the meaning of Shin in our lives and its vast transformative power. Presented by Rev. Senpai. Daishin.

2013-09-22 Heart of Reverence-- Southward Equinox - Heart of Reverence. The equinox is the time of year when day and night are the same length. In the Shin tradition, it is during this astronomical event when we commemorate Higan which means "Other Shore." Higan is a community event to reflect on and rededicate ourselves to the Buddha's Middle Way. Come and join us to deepen your engagement with the Buddha teachings. This year's Higan talk will explore the source of Shin veneration and how do we express it in everyday life. To whom do we take refuge? What is the attitude behind our devotion? What are the challenges to really experiencing true reality within us? How does interconnectedness play into our reverence? Presented by Rev. Senpai.

2013-08-25 Amida Buddha is everywhere--Shinran Shonin wrote, 'Countless Amida Buddhas reside/In the light of the Buddha of Unhindered Light'; What does this mean? This talk explores the Mahayana teaching that enlightenment (nirvana) is the transformation, not the elimination, of defilements (samsara). Presented by Rev. Senpai.

2013-08-18  Boundless Grace --How is it that lost, despair and confusion can be transformed in the substance of purpose, love and understanding? What is the shadow? What is the Primal Vow of Grace? How can we experience faith, hope and salvation? Participants of the previous weekend Shin retreat will reflect on and share their retreat experience. Presented by Rev. Senpai.

2013-08-04 The Limits of Compassion--Amida is the Buddha of infinite life and light, of boundless wisdom and compassion. But in our limited human life, we face limits to our compassion and in our wisdom to be compassionate to both ourselves and others. This talk will utilize personal examples and the essays of Gregory Gibbs and other Buddhist writers to explore ways our Shin practice illuminates the working of great compassion in our lives. By Dojin and B. Rarey. Gathering will be lead by Dojin.

2013-06-02 shedding suffering and rediscovering your essential self--

2013-04-14 The Number One Fool--

2013-04-07 Guide to daily practices and observances--

2012-10-07  Buddha's Advice on How to Socially Succeed -- Discover the Buddha’s practical teachings on creating the right attitudes and behavior for a successful social life and healthy relationships. This talk will look into the seven recommendations for building and maintaining a happy and peaceful life. Reference sources are from the Uposatha, Esukari and Soma Suttas. Presented by Senpai.

2012-09-30  Three Guys Walk Into A Bar: A Hindu, A Jain, And A Buddhist -- What are the roots of Buddhism? What led to its development? How are these three religions the same and different? Three Guys walk into a bar will look into how the three religions differ in their responses to spiritual questions. Presented by Sachi.

2012-07-08  Poets, Verses and the Pure Land II -- The Buddha once said that in the future monks will listen to “literary works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric” and will lose the true teachings. The concern was that poetry will delude rather than enlighten. In Shin, reading and writing poetry is pretty popular. How can we read an appreciate poetry without falling into attachment? Using some of Denis Hirota’s ideas on Shin and the use of language as a spiritual vehicle, this talk will look into how to read buddhist and non-buddhist poetry. Poets like by Frost and William Carlos Williams will be read. Presented by Kogen.

2012-06-17  Three Jewels -- What do we mean when we say, “I take refuge in Buddha the Dharma and the Sangha “? Taken from a Shin perspective, this talk and discussion will explore the meaning of these Three Jewels which are the central practice of all buddhists. Also, the talk will explore how the Three Jewels are practiced and lived in our daily lives. Presented by Abhaya.

2012-05-13  Amida's Path To Bliss -- How can you experience deep tranquility and the silence of peace? This talk will look into the contributions of Honen Shonin, the teacher of Shinran Shonin, the founder of Shin Buddhism. Honen believed that true Buddhism should be able to be practiced easily anywhere and at any time. Discover Honen’s path of nembutsu: to reflect and entrust on your shadow nature and let the inner light, through the Name, awaken you to your true and real self. Presented by Shoju.

2012-05-06  Skirmishes, War and Terror -- Discover the Buddhist way to resolve conflict. What is the approach that Buddhists take to warfare? How do we wage inner and outer warfare? Is there any good reason to act violently? Can a Buddhist become a soldier? Explore readings from Buddhist Ethics by Damian Keown and Ocean by Kenneth Tanaka. Presented by Daikan.

2011-10-02  Ajatasatru: The Story of Who We Are -- Everything you want to know about yourself is in this story of Ajatasatru. This classic story illumines our shadow nature while brings into light the living compassion of Amida Buddha that enfold its. Discover the naturalness, the oneness and worthwhileness of our lives. Lead by Abhaya.

2011-09-18  Myokonin Wonderfully Good People -- Come and experience the tales of awakened laypeople like Shoma, Genza, Seikuro and the hero Ryoken. Find out why they have been revered over the years even though they were not learned men of letters. Learn how they were able to awaken those of their time and those of us living now, to the pitfalls that can prevent us from living and enjoying a true Shin Buddhist life. Presented by Ryusan.

2011-07-17  Lost and Redemption -- This talk/discussion will discuss the themes of forgiveness, deliverance and love from the Contemplation Sutra. This ancient Pure Land scripture tells a story on how Queen Vaidehi, in ultimate despair and lost in a prison cell, after her husband was murdered by her son, experiences compassion, wholeness and liberation from the Buddha’s Pure Land teaching. Importantly, this discussion will look into how this sacred story relates to our modern lives. Presented by Abhaya.

2011-05-08  Living Life in the World of Reality-as-it-is -- Rennyo wrote, "Little did I know that I would grow old before I was aware of it..." This talk/discussion will look into the teaching of impermanance and the Five Remembrances. Based on Rennyo Shonin's letter "On a Hymn in Three Verses" written in 1477. Presented by Kisen.

2011-05-01  Look Within --Learn how Shin Buddhism is a vehicle to be ourselves and how, by looking deeply within our hearts and minds, we become aware of our oneness with all things. Discover how this looking within practice offers us a renewed life of wonder, humility and gratitude, within the embrace of Namu Amida Butsu. Presented by Senpai Sensei.

2011-04-17  Lumbini's Garden (bathing Buddha song --This is the music we used for bathing the baby Buddha on Hana Matsuri. Performed by Melissa.

2011-03-20  Relationships As The Path To Awakening --Learn how our relationships - parents, siblings, friends, spouse, children, problematic persons, co-workers and clients etc, are the realm to advance and live the Shin teachings. It is within the ordinary that the truly extraordinary can unfold; Shin is not about discovering what is new or different, but to see the beauty of life and light that has always been with us all along. Presented by Senpai Sensei.

2011-03-06  Why Does This Bodhidharma Have No Beard? --Explore the Buddha's teaching of living every moment as a precious moment by moving your mind beyond rigid concepts and notions of past or future. Presented by Senpai.

2011-02-20  Caught In The Karma Net --In the Hymns of the Dharma Ages, Shinran Shonin wrote that in an increasing complex world, the Nembutsu was the only path to liberation for most people. This is even more true in our world today. This talk will look into Shinran's understanding on how language, and particularly Namu Amida Butsu, works to liberate us in a world in which we cannot escape the tangled net of karma. Thus talk/discussion will be very lively with props etc. Presented by Kogen.

2011-01-30  Help Me Other Power! --The world of craving and desire can be so powerful that our will power is often not enough to overcome them. In this talk, we will discuss how to resist those cravings and desires, that get us into trouble, with the help of the Primal Vow of Amida, the Unhindered Light and Life. We will explore how the nembutsu and simple mindfulness can keep us in touch with Other Power and grant us a powerful defense against wearisome craving and desire. Presented by Abhya Dharmapala.

2010-12-12  Big Self, Small Self…Just As You Are --According to Shin, awakening (shinjin) is not attainable unless we embrace our shadow side and live our lives from its truest source. So, what is our false self? And our truest and real nature? How is it that Other Power functions on a continual basis in our lives? Why does this all matter in your daily life? Presented by Ryusan.

2010-12-05  Murder, Crime and Punishment --This talk and discussion will explore the Buddhist view on criminality, karma, rebirth and justice. Does Buddhism condone lethal self defense? Does Buddhism prohibit the capital punishment? What is the role of compassion in crime and punishment? What are the karmic repercussions of crime? Presented by Daikan.

2010-11-21  What is so Amazing about Buddha’s Grace? --This talk will discuss the power of Amida’s grace (Primal Vow) as a universal and living force directed toward everyone, even those who are considered the most undeserving. Amida’s grace can be shocking and scandalous but it is always transformative, healing hearts and giving hope and a new beginning to those it touches. What does one do to get a hold of unhindered grace? How do we express it in our daily lives? This talk will use short stories and parable to illustrate grace from the Shin Buddhist point of view. It will be a perfect primer for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Presented by Senpai.

2010-11-07  The Power of Mudras -- Learn how to calm stress, reduce agravations, and the frustrations of everyday life. Mudras are yogic positions for your hands and fingers. They can be practiced while sitting, standing, lying down or in any other position and in any place. This gathering will incorporate music meditation. Inspired by Mudra: Yoga In Your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi. Presented by Myo-on.

2010-11-07  The Miraculous Monkey Mind Seminar -- This is the second half of a seminar looking into how Buddhism and science approach the study of the mind, suffering, the self and the human capacity for change. In addition, it will show how all of this knowledge can help us in our daily lives and spiritual evolution. Interestingly, Buddhism and neuroscience are more closely related in many ways. Neuroscience demonstrates that brain cells can be changed by our thoughts and that compassion and love can increase the level of positive neurotransmitters in our brains. Includes exercises in breathing and observation of the body will be presented. After the presentation, there will be a Q and A session. Presented by Sachi. (Part II is the only recording of this seminar).

2010-09-26  Shin Buddhism 101 -- This talk will be a probing look in the nature of its path, experience and salvation using a modern yet uncanny parable. What is Shin? How is it lived? What is naturalness and the reality of grace? Presented by Senpai.

2010-07-11  What I Discovered about Buddhist Teachings -- The graduates of our Buddhism 101 class will reflect on what they learned, including the challenges and blessings of practice, during their 6 month walk on the Buddha's path of insight, compassion and faith. This gathering is especially useful for those who want to know more about becoming a Buddhist. Also, There will be a small Affirmation Ceremony for the Buddhism 101 Course's graduates. Lead by Senpai.

2010-06-27  Something You Forgot ...Along the Way -- This talk and discussion will present heart-warming stories that will explore life's basic truths, and spiritual and psychological insights. They will inspire you to look deeply within yourself and stir the aspiration to seek your inner potential of wisdom and compassion. Readings from the book with the same title of this talk, written by Kentetsu Takamori. Presented by Senpai. *NOTE: We apologize for some of the low audio levels in this recording. The discussion was presented out doors and there may be some white noise and wind sound interference during some portions of this talk.

2010-06-20  Sharing a Big Belly Laugh with Buddha: How Humor Can Improve Our Practice -- Discover how humor can help us keep all aspects of our lives and practice in perspective. Discuss the "curse" of seriousness and benefits of viewing our ego as a clown. Also, with any luck, we will share a few laughs together. Excerpts from It's Up to You: The Practice of Self-Reflection on the Buddhist Path by Dzigar Kongtrul. Presented by Jinshu.

2010-05-23  Loving-Kindness: The Path of the Foolish Bodhisattva --This talk and discussion will examine compassion looking at why should we care? How able are we to care? How can we let go of outcomes? It will draw from buddhist prayer and the insights from in the Tannisho, the words of Shinran Shonin, the founder and foremost teacher of Shin Buddhism, Presented by Shoju.

2010-05-02  Thinking Our Way into Insanity -- Explore and appreciate how the Buddha was and still is the quintessential master psychotherapist. The discussion will look into the path towards greater health. Inspired by A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. Presented by Jiko.

2010-04-11  The Path of Water -- How does great compassion smooth our rough edges? How are we lead to peace and harmony? This talk will explore water as a metaphor to describe the dynamic working of Amida Buddha in our lives? Presented by Senpai.

2010-03-28  Balance: The White Path through Fire and Water -- Using the Parable of the White Path by Shan-tao various ways of maintaining balance and entrusting will be discussed. How can we use faith and shinjin to negotiate our foolishness, ignorance and passion? Presented by Dojin. * NOTE * Excerpts of this talk had to be removed due to their personal nature. Some of the continuity of this discussion may seem out of balance. ;-)

2010-02-28  Home Practice and Alters -- How do you practice at home? Why is having a home altar important? What are the elements of a home altar? Learn how to bring your practice alive in your home and make it part of your lifestyle. Presented by Shoshin.

2010-02-21  Did Buddha Ever Have "A Case of the Mondays"? -- A discussion about “Work and Buddhism” In this discussion we will explore work as an integral part of our spiritual path rather than a barrier to it. We will focus on how to remain mindful during times of stress on the job as well as how to recognize opportunities in our employment for gratitude, meditation, and transformation. This discussion will be based on the book entitled Work as a Spiritual Practice by Lewis Richmond. Presented by Jinshu.

2010-01-31  From Skirmishes to Jihads -- Discover the Buddhist way to resolve conflict. What is the approach that Buddhist takes to warfare? How do we wage inner and outer warfare? Is there such a thing as a just cause to war? Can a Buddhist become a soldier? Explore the realms of applied Buddhist ethics. Excerpt readings from Buddhist Ethics by Damian Keown and Ocean by Kenneth Tanaka. Presented by Daikan.

2009-11-15  Abortion -- What is the approach that Buddhist takes to this controversial issue? Is it ever ethical to have an abortion? Is it a "sin"? How can women deal with abortion? Explore the realms of applied Buddhist ethics. Excerpt readings from Buddhist Ethics by Damian Keown and Ocean by Kenneth Tanaka. Presented by Daikan.

2009-11-08  I Met the Buddha and He Winked At Me -- An insightful, fun and spontaneous talk and discussion on how the Buddha touches and transforms our lives, and to explore if people in general are ready to encounter this transformational experience. Sachi relates her often amusing personal experience to initiate the conversation. Presented by Sachi.

2009-10-18  A New Earth -- According to Eckhart Tolle, there is hope for the dire state of humanity. A new state of consciousness is emerging in the world. This talk and discussion will cover our erroneous identification with the ego-self, the storylines it creates, and the path that leads to a new state of consciousness so that we can experience who we really are. the Talk is based on the book by Eckhart Tolle. Presented by Myo-on.

2009-10-11  Craving, Consumption and the Challenge of Living Mindfully -- In this discussion we will explore the variety of ways that human beings attempt to avoid pain and seek pleasure, from overindulgence in food or entertainment to life threatening drug addiction. We will focus on mindfulness practice as a spiritual method of recovery from these issues, as it is described in the text of Mindful Recovery by Thomas and Beverly Bien. Presented by Jinshu.

2009-09-27  Inner Togetherness -- Shin Buddhism emphasizes our deep inter-connectedness and the elimination of barriers between people. It also has an assured faith that no one is left out of salvation. How is this so? This illuminating discussion will explore the true nature of all sentient beings and its realization in everyday life through shinjin, the trusting heart. Excerpts read from the Buddhism of the Heart by Jeff Wilson. Presented by Senpai.

2009-09-20  How to Practice -- A down-to-earth look into the basis of Shin Buddhist practice. What do Shin take refuge in? What is deep hearing (monpo) and how do people get confused on its application? How is it that the Incense Offering (oshoko) can be the heart of Buddhist practice? Presented by Senpai.

2009-07-19  Hitler's Buddha Nature --Are some people beyond any hope of redemption? According to Shin Buddhism, who is "saved" and who is "condemned"? Excerpts from the book Buddhism of the Heart by Jeff Wilson. Presented by Myo-on.

2009-06-21  Sacred Journey: Why I believe --(re)Discover the Buddha and his teachings, and the meaning of faith. Amla, our BFF of CT's friend, will discuss, in a multi-media presentation, her spiritual journey, what lead her to Bodh Gaya, India (where the historical Buddha realized enlightenment) and what inspired her to Buddhism. Presented by Amla. Also, come and honor the Summer Solstice and Father’s Day. (Please excuse the background noise. We were experiencing technical difficulties preparing the multimedia presentation. It took us forever to get the projector working for Amla's pictures. Finally we got it working when we ditched the PC and decided to use the Apple Computer. ;-) Because video of Amla's presentation wasn't available for this podcast we have included a podcast from Amla's previous presentation at the Hindu temple. This particular podcast has audio descriptions synced with photos Amla took in India. Click here to listen to this presentation. http://nelson.machighway.com/~bffnet/bffct/spring_2009/spring_2009_audio/hindu_temple_presentation.m4a

2009-05-24 The Power of Now --We are not our mind; we can find our way out of psychological pain; authentic human power is found by surrendering to the Now. In the present moment, problems do not exist, we are able to find joy and embrace our true selves and find ourselves perfect and complete. Short readings from the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Presented by Myo-on.

2009-05-17  Does Art Imitate Life or Life Imitate Art? --Does Buddhism recognize any distinction between the two? Join us as we explore Buddhism's perspective on the creative process. We will focus on poetry as well as shodo (Japanese) calligraphy, an example of which if featured on our nembutsu scroll. Also, we will pause to recognize and celebrate Gotan-e, Shinran Shonin's (founder of Shin Buddhism) birthday. Presented by Jinshu.

2009-04-26  Attitudes of Gratitude: How To Give And Receive Joy Every Day Of Your Life --Gratitude for small things enriches us beyond measure. It helps us focus on the positive in our lives and what we focus on multiplies and a regular practice of gratitude can help make us happier. From various short vignettes by M.J. Ryan which are correlated with basic Shin teachings. Presented by Myo-on.

2009-03-08  Is There a God in Buddhism? --Learn about what Shin Buddhism says about ultimate reality and the Western idea of God. Is there a God who watches all, judges and saves? What is the purpose of Shin practice? Who is Amida Buddha? Based on a reading, Is there a God? The Buddhist Answer, written by Taitetsu Unno. Presented by Senpai.

2009-02-22  Mappo: Are These The Times In Which We Live? --A talk and discussion on the Latter Days of the Dharma, one of the three ages of buddhism, in which practice becomes difficult due to self-centeredness, distractions, confusion and inter-personal conflict. Is there a solution? Pure Land Buddhist say yes; it's the nembutsu! Presented by Abhaya.

2009-02-08  Our Limitations Within Boundlessness --What are the limits of human understanding? This discussion explores the inconceivable reality that exist behind our human experience. Sources include: Zen master Dogen, Goethe and Isaac Newton to help illustrate the true meaning of shinjin, which Dr. Haneda calls "...the most important human experience taught in Shin Buddhism. A reading titled The Tip of the Iceberg from the book Dharma Breeze written by the famous Shin teacher Nobuo Haneda. Presented by Joe Hoydilla.

2009-02-01  The First Step in Entering the Path --How can I learn about Buddhism? An insightful look into the essential nature of the Buddhist path and how to live a life of a true seeker with one’s entire being. An essay written by the famous Shin teacher Haya Akegarasu. Presented by Senpai.

2009-01-25  Ecology, Sexuality, Divorce, Abortion and Warfare --Explore the realms of applied Buddhist ethics. What is the approach that Buddhist takes to these topics? Excerpt readings from Buddhist Ethics by Damian Keown and Ocean by Kenneth Tanaka. Presented by Daikan.

2008-12-14  Following Sound into Silence --Learn how in our lives of chaos and distraction the practice of chanting, both alone and with others, can quiet and stabilize our mind, expand our heart, elevate our emotion, and reduce our self-centeredness. From the book Chanting Your Way Beyond Ego into Bliss by Kailash. Presented by Myo-on.

2008-11-30  The Touchstone of Truth --What does the New Science have in common with Buddhism? A cutting edge discussion into the teachings and parallel sayings of Einstein and the Buddha. Includes a look into human experience, and wholeness and interdependence. Excerpts read from the book Einstein and Buddha by Wes Niker. Presented by Senpai.

2008-11-23  Where is My Husband? --This podcast was cut off early due to a faulty battery. 20 minutes of the Dharma discussion were salvaged. The beginning of this podcast features our personal approach to starting each discussion with a name go around and weather report. The remainder of this discussion revolves around the Buddhist perspective on death. Presented by Senpai.

2008-10-12  Suffering Is Optional --A fascinating look into three keys to freedom and joy. In this dharma discussion, we will discuss the first key which is to pay attention to everything. Based on the book by Cheri Huber. Presented by Myo-on

2008-10-05  Buddhism and Quantum Physics --Is there a conflict between Buddhism (religion) and science? This will be a fascinating exploration on how modern advances in science interact with the dharma. Presented by Abhaya.

2008-07-20  Freedom --What does freedom mean in Buddhism? A look into the religion of liberation for all without exception. Presented by Daikan.

2008-07-20  With the Unnos --Podcasting of the Unnos talk during their annual visit at Northampton.

2008-06-29  Beyond Good and Evil --An insightful look into the Buddhist view of the nature of evil and God, and the psycho-spiritual implications of our damaging inner critic through the stories of the Buddha's temptations by Mara. From an article written by Jan Chozen Bays in Buddhadharma Magazine, Winter 2006. Presented by Senpai.

2008-06-22  My Father and Raiders of the Lost Ark --A practical exploration into the Noble Eightfold Path’s Right Concentration and Right Mindfulness. Third installment in this discussion series; learn about Buddha's practice of paying attention, awareness and balanced acceptance. From the book It’s Easier than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness by Sylvia Boorstein. Presented by Kanshin.

2008-06-15  Do Chimps have Buddhanature? --Short essays answering the question of who we really are. A look into relationship of Buddhanature and the genome, teacher and student, and the importance of simply staying present in this very present moment. Authors include David Berman, Jiro Osho and Thich Nhat Hanh. From First Thoughts from various editions of Buddhadharma magazine. Presented by Senpai.

2008-04-27  An Uncompromising Religion --Short essays looking into the nature of the Buddhist religion and ‘living it,’ and how some tend to ‘corrupt’ the teachings to serve their self-centered needs. Authors include Ajahn Amaro, Ruth Fuller Sasaki and Dzongsar Rinpoche. From First Thoughts from various editions of Buddhadharma magazine. Presented by Senpai.

2008-04-20  Remember, Be Happy: A practical exploration into the Noble Eightfold Path’s Right Livelihood and Right Effort --Second installment in this discussion series; learn about Buddha’s handy instructions to wholesomeness. From the book It’s Easier than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness by Sylvia Boorstein. Presented by Kanshin.

2008-04-13  Humility: the Universal Virtue --How and why Shin Buddhism elevates the greatest virtue of humility? What does it mean to be a Shin Buddhist? Inspired by the book Dharma Breeze by Nobuo Haneda. Presented by Abhaya.

2008-03-30  Ants, Buddha and Emptiness --Are you confused about the meaning of emptiness? Learn how Complexity Theory can help you finally grasp it. Explore how the universe finds apparent order within chaos and without a central designer. From the article From the Bottom Up in Tricycle Magazine summer 2006. Presented by Senpai.

2008-03-23  EASTER WITH BUDDHA: Higan - Day of Rededication to Practice --Includes Touching of Earth Ceremony and a terrific topic: Buddhism, Zen and Nembutsu. How is it that everything in life is religion - the Buddhist Way? How does Buddhism untangle the knots of human troubles? A look into the Beat generation. From the book Everyday Suchness by Goymay Kubose. (This Podcast displays the date wrong in the viewer. It should read March 23rd rather than March 17th)

2008-03-16  Zen Path Through Depression Part III --How can you cope with negativity and despair through a committed spiritual practice. From the book by Philip Martin. Presented by Daikan.

2008-03-09  The Life of Becoming --From Everyday Suchness by Gyomay M. Kubose. Presented by Senpai.

2008-03-02  The Voice of Truth --What is a Buddha? Why does true entrusting come from ignorance? What kind of truth can we realize? From the book The Evil Person by Shuichi Maida. Presented by Senpai.

2008-02-24  Transforming the Storyteller -- Learn how to diminish the self-centered ego. How do we all get stuck in our storylines? How do loosen its power over us? Combines Toltec and Zen spirituality. From Don Miguel Ruiz's book The Voice of Knowledge. Presented by Myo-on.

2008-02-17  Zen Path Through Depression Part II -- A further look into the spiritual tools and guidelines for dealing with damaging mind states. From the book by Philip Martin. Presented by Daikan.

2008-02-10  Nirvana Day -- Known as Nehan-e. Honor and remember the story of the passing to Parinirvana of the historical Buddha. Includes the story of his passing. Dharma Discussion: What is Nirvana? Is nirvana a heaven? Is it an extinguishing of selfhood? From the book Everyday Suchness by Goymay Kubose. Also, this will be Affirmation Day for new Buddhists. Presented by Senpai.

2008-02-03  Universality -- Universality. What is the universal truth that can make humanity one? How does Shin unfold the universal truth? What is the Way of the Innermost Aspiration? From the book Dharma Breeze by Nobuo Haneda. Presented by Senpai

2008-01-27  Living Life and Naturalness -- Are we truly living or merely existing? How do we live our lives? How is Shin a natural way of life? From the book Everyday Suchness by Goymay Kubose. Presented by Senpai.

2008-01-20  Zen Path Through Depression Part I -- A look into the guidelines on how to ease depression through a committed spiritual practice. From the book by Philip Martin. Presented by Daikan. (This Podcast displays the date wrong in the viewer. It should read 2008 rather than 2007)

2007-12-09  The Four Noble Truths in Daily Life --Discover the how to embody the core Buddhist teachings in relationships, work and play. Also, looks into the dynamics of mediation. From Living Meditation, Living Insight by Dr. Thynn / presented by Senpai.

2007-12-02  Right Speech, Right Living --A look into our assumptions and how to let go and be mindful with our speech. from the book The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. Presented by Myo-on.

2007-11-25  The (Com)passion of Buddha --A look into compassion in Shin Buddhism and how to experience and practice it in our daily lives. by Abhaya.

2007-10-28  Suffering and Enlightenment --Learn about the First Noble Truth and the nature of enlightenment. From the book Buddhism Plain and Simple. Presented by Daikan. (Rated R for explicit language)

2007-01-28  Bodhi Day -- Celebrate the historical Buddha’s enlightenment under the Bodhi tree 2,600 years ago. Includes ceremony and a discussion on the meaning of living Buddha in our lives. (non-traditional date: originally Dec. 8th) This event is open to all who are interested in Buddhism and/or wish to honor this historical event. Presented by Senpai.

2006-10-29  Opening Service at the BFF --Here is a sample of our opening service. Presented by the BFF.

2006-10-29  Opening Service at the BFF: Voice Meditation --Here is a sample of our opening service. Presented by the BFF.

2006-10-29  Opening Service at the BFF: Gasho With Amida --Here is a sample of one of our Sangha favorites; Gasho With Amida. Presented by the BFF.

2006-10-29  A Personal Conversation With The Buddha -- This reading was selected for the 3/23/08 Higan service. Presented by Daikan.