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IMCW News

This blog contains announcements, insights and articles from the Insight Meditation Community of Washington

Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

Back in May, during the last class for 2008-2009, I asked them what they had remembered most; what lessons had stuck.  Jacob recalled Jennifer’s teaching on Buddhism’s “five hindrances:” craving, aversion, restlessness, sloth and confusion.  The hindrances hinder peace, wisdom and kindness; they make it hard to experience freedom and happiness.  We teachers make use of visual queues whenever we can and in this case each hindrance was portrayed with the image of an animal: Craving as a pig, aversion as a rooster, restlessness as a monkey, sloth as…a sloth, and confusion as a mole.  We do not teach that the hindrances are “bad” or that the children are doing anything wrong if they experience them.  Instead, we help them become aware – invite them to experience for themselves...

IMCW Diversity Statement 2009

IMCW is a welcoming community that is committed to spreading Buddhist teachings in an inclusive environment. We believe the Dharma is a gift to all, inclusive of race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, age, economic status and any other personal, social or cultural attribute....
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Investigations

“What is this?” my first meditation teacher asked me almost twenty years ago as she held out a small brass bell in her hand. “What is this?” This was my first introduction to the koan... a Zen teaching question that is asked in everyday language, but must be answered with a deeper truth. After reflecting, I reached out, took the bell and gave it a quick ring. We both sat wordlessly for a few moments, listening to the sound resonate and then fade away. This style of Zen didn’t become the mainstay of my budding Buddhist practice, but my encounter with the koan made an impression that has stayed with me....
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Breathing Room

Ever wonder why it’s getting increasingly hard to plan a surprise birthday party for someone you love, or drop in on a neighbor for tea and conversation without scheduling it in advance, or plan a meeting without going through at least a dozen dates that extend three to six months out?  I wondered.  And, after surveying twenty-five of my closest friends and family, I was struck by the extent to which they each had a number of different explanations for their aversion to spontaneity, but they all had one in common. Their calendars, their lives had very little room, breathing room....
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Engaging with the Suffering of Our World

The Buddha’s teachings offer skillful ways: - of engaging in wise action to bring about the change that our world needs without being attached to outcomes;  - of disagreeing without turning those we disagree with into enemies;  - of having views and opinions but not being lost in or attached to our views and beliefs;  - and of knowing that violence cannot be ended by violence, only by love.   The poet T.S. Eliot said, "Teach us to care, and not to care." The Buddha’s teachings likewise encourage us to care deeply but not to cling and hence cause additional suffering to ourselves and others....