Thought Transformation and Other Commentaries


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Taming the Mind - Buddhist Ideas for Everyone
by Venerable Thubten Chodron©
Sravasti Abbey, Washington, USA
March 2009 - December 2010

These talks by Ven. Chodron are part of a multi-part course based on her book Taming the Mind. The talks are held at the monthly Sharing the Dharma Day at Sravasti Abbey. The series, originally scheduled to continue through 2009, has been extended to December 2010.

Download flyer in pdf format.

15 March 2009 - Mind is the Creator of Our Experience

Venerable Chodron begins the series talking about how our mind creates our experience through our attitude and our karma. She explains how we describe a situation to ourself determines our experience. How we think about things influences how we behave, which influences how others react to us. If you change the attitude the whole experience changes. Ven, Chodron also explains how karma is the link between our actions and the situation in which we find ourselves.
[62 minutes] : Download mp3 file

19 April 2009 - The Four Noble Truths

Venerable Tarpa explains the importance of the Four Noble Truths. She talks about the the order of the truths, and how they provide a framework for understanding the Buddha's teachings. She also talks about how understanding the first two truths help set the motivation for practicing the path. Understanding the truth of suffering is not to become depressed about our situation, but to seek liberation and set the foundation for study and practice of the other three truths.
[63 minutes] : Download mp3 file

31 May 2009 - The Eight-Fold Noble Path

Venerable Semkye explains the fourth noble truth, the path to cessation, in terms of the eight-fold noble path. She explains how these are organized under the three higher trainings and the practices under each of the eight.
[58 minutes] : Download mp3 file

14 June 2009 - Precious Human Life

Ven. Chodron talks about what it means to have a precious human life. She talks about its meaning, purpose and the rarity of having the freedoms and fortunes of a precious human life. Ven. Chodron also gives ways to contemplate precious human life to bring it to mind more deeply and not take it for granted.
[65 minutes] : Download mp3 file

19 July 2009 - Preparing for the Future: Remembering Death & Rebirth

Venerable Chonyi explains how thinking about death can lead to joy in our lives and help us make our life more meaningful. She discusses how facing the inevitability of death and the uncertainty of our lifespan can help us in this life and future rebirths. She also talks about how Dharma practice can help us at the time of death.
[67 minutes] : Download mp3 file

30 August 2009 - Karma and the Wish for Freedom

Venerable Chodron explains what karma is and how we are creating karma all the time. In her discussion of positive karma, she explains ten virtues according to the Pali Canon. Ven. Chodron explains how we can benefit ourself as well as others by developing these virtues.
[53 minutes] : Download mp3 file

13 September 2009 - The Altruistic Intention

Venerable Tarpa talks about developing the altruistic intention to become enlightened to benefit all beings, bodhicitta. She explains practices to cultivate a sense of equanimity and its importance in developing bodhicitta. Ven. Tarpa goes on to explain the seven point cause and effect method for developing the altruistic intention.
[67 minutes] : Download mp3 file

18 October 2009 - Far Reaching Attitudes: Generosity

Venerable Chodron talks about the far-reaching practice of generosity, the mind that takes delight in giving. She uses a text by Nagarjuna to explain how the practice of generosity eliminates the mental afflictions. Nagarjuna's adages show how one's mental attitude during the act of giving can eliminate afflictions. Ven. Chodron also explains how small acts of giving can be transformed into a spiritual activity and have an impact on others.
[62 minutes] : Download mp3 file

15 November 2009 - Practical Guidelines for Good Living

Venerable Chodron talks about what it means to take refuge in Buddhism, formally and informally. She explains the objects of refuge, the Buddha, Dharma and sangha. Ven. Chodron goes on to discuss the guidelines one uses after taking refuge.
[58 minutes] : Download mp3 file

6 December 2009 - Precepts: Directing our Energy Positively

Venerable Chodron talks about what it means to take precepts. She explains the different levels of vows for lay practitioners and monastics including individual liberation vows, Bodhisattva vows, and tantric vows. Ven. Chodron also talks about the benefit of taking precepts both in this life and future lives.
[52 minutes] : Download mp3 file

21 March 2010 - Spiritual Mentor: Relating Realistically to a Spiritual Guide

Venerable Chodron talks about the benefits of relying on a spirtual teacher and how to relate to them in a healthy way. She explains how a spiritual teacher can help support and sustain one's practice. Ven. Chodron discusses why it is good to have teachers who "push our buttons" and don't merely make us feel good. Ven. Chodron also talks about what qualities to look for in a spiritual teacher and how to regard what we may see as faults.
[56 minutes] : Download mp3 file

11 April 2010 - Parent and Child Relationships

Ven. Chodron talks about the relationships between parents and children. She discusses how expectations and misconceptions can lead to problems and conflicts. Using the Sigalovada Sutra, she explains the Buddha's advice for establishing beneficial relationships between parents and children.
[60 minutes] : Download mp3 file

2 May 2010 - Friendship

Venerable Jampel talks about the qualities of good friends and false friends and why it is important to cultivate positive relationships.He also talks about the difference between love and attachment and how we can love others without being attached to them.
[53 minutes] : Download mp3 file

6 June 2010 - Colleagues and Clients

Venerable Chodron talks about practicing the Dharma in our relationships with those we work with. She talks about looking at our usual habits in relating to people in work situations. She discusses ways that we can bring our practice into the work place to transform habitual ways that we relate to others and be of more benefit as well as transform our mind.
[66 minutes] : Download mp3 file

18 July 2010 - Marriage: Helping Each Other Grow

Venerable Jigme talks about the components of a good relationship. She talks about the importance of trust and respect. Ven. Jigme explains how a relationship is an opportunity to cherish others more than ourselves. She also discusses how attatchment and the self-centered attitude cause problems in relationships.
[52 minutes] : Download mp3 file

1 August 2010 - Complaining: A Favorite Pastime

Venerable Chodron discusses complaining and how it causes disharmony with others. She explains how complaining serves no positive purpose. She also talks about the difference between complaining and constructive discussion aimed at reaching a resolution. Ven. Chodron talks about the tendency to view others as complainers and not recognize it in our self.
[58 minutes] : Download mp3 file

10 October 2010 - Ruminating: Living in the Past and Future

Ven. Jigme explains how ruminating interferes with meditation and being mindful of the present. She explains how we ruminate on the past and future, the result in our mind and ways to counteract this habitual action.
[34 minutes] : Download mp3 file

7 November 2010 - Being Responsible for Our Lives: Lesson from an Inmate

Ven. Thubten Jigme gives this teaching on how we tend to blame our problems and difficulties on others instead of looking at how we contribute to our life experiences. She talks about how we can take responsibility for our experience without blaming ourself. She reads a letter from an inmate to help illustrate this. She talks about how taking responsibility gives us the ability to change and stop the habit of blaming external sources for our problems.
[52 minutes] : Download mp3 file

1 May 2011 - The Buddhist Traditions: Finding What Suits Us

Ven. Chodron talks about the variety of Buddhist traditions and how they relate to each other. She talks about the similarities of the various traditions and the principal teachings common in all. Ven. Chodron also talks about the monastic practices of the traditions.
[70 minutes] : Download mp3 file

5 June 2011 - Theravada & Mahayana Buddhism: Buddhism's spread from India to Asia

Venerable Thubten Chonyi talks about the spread of Buddhism since the time of the Buddha. She explains why it is valuable to understand the different Buddhist traditions and what the different Buddhist traditions have in common.
[66 minutes] : Download mp3 file

7 August 2011 - Integration of Sutra and Tantra: Tibetan Buddhism

Ven. Chodron talks about the basic essential teachings that are present in all Buddhist traditions. She explains how the purpose of Buddhist teachings is to transform the mind, increasing constructive states of mind and decreasing destructive states of mind. Ven. Chodron explains how the Tibetan tradition includes the practices of the other Buddhist traditions.
[55 minutes] : Download mp3 file

11 September 2011 - The 10th Anniversary of September 11: A Buddhist Perspective

In this talk given on the 10th anniversary of September 11, Ven. Chodron comments on 9/11 from a Buddhist perspective. She explains how the self-centered attitude causes conflicts on a personal level and a group level. Ven. Chodron explains how cherishing others leads to peace and harmony. By training our mind in these attitudes we can make a difference in our own life and the lives of others. Ven. Chodron also talks about working in cooperation to avoid conflicts.
[60 minutes] : Download mp3 file

9 October 2011 - The Importance of Motivation in Buddhist Practice

Ven Chodron explains how our motivation influences how we think about ourself and how we treat others. She explains how we may engage in outwardly appearing positive actions with a non-virtuous motivation. Ven. Chodron also talks about the benefit of setting a virtuous motivation when waking and reviewing our actions at the end of the day.
[58 minutes] : Download mp3 file

6 November 2011 - The Four Immeasurable Attitudes

After she gives an overview of the Buddhist world view, Ven. Tarpa explains what the four immeasurable attitudes are and how we can use them to transform our mind and benefit others.
[66 minutes] : Download mp3 file

4 December 2011 - Religious Harmony: Diversity is Beneficial

Using teachings by the Dalai Lama and Ven. Chodron, Ven. Semkye talks about the shared values of different spiritual traditions. She also explains the benefits of interfaith dialogue some interfaith activities of the Abbey community.
[61 minutes] : Download mp3 file


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