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Buddhist Wisdom, Modern Life

Buddhist Wisdom, Modern Life

By Claire Villarreal, PhD

The Buddhist tradition began over 2,500 years ago, and its roots are even older. Over the centuries, countless people have benefited from these teachings. But are the beliefs and practices of Buddhism still relevant? Absolutely! If anything, we need this wisdom more now than ever as our world speeds up.

In this podcast you'll find guided meditations, teachings on the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, and some stuff just for fun.

For a deeper dive on the Four Noble Truths, click here: bit.ly/Bddhist4NTs
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Reincarnation, karma, ancestral spirits, and regression therapy with Dent Gitchell
Reincarnation, karma, ancestral spirits, and regression therapy with Dent Gitchell
My friend Dent Gitchell, PhD, an educator, author, and meditation teacher in Arkansas, joins me today to bring a different perspective on reincarnation cases. After a childhood of being open to the unseen aspects of reality, Dent trained with Roger Woolger, a pioneer in past life regression therapy, which helps people recover from previous life traumas that are holding them back from healing and freedom in this life. Now, I’m not sure that all memories that come up in this form of therapy refer to actual previous lives, but many people find tremendous healing from it, and as you’ll hear, Dent found it helpful. This conversation also makes some connections between Buddhist teachings on karma and the previous lives Dent experienced. To learn more about Dent, to find his book, and to learn more about the psychotherapy he offers, check out his website: http://www.dentgitchel.com To find all my free courses on Buddhism, click here: https://geni.us/freecourses May you and all beings be well. Dent Gitchel is a therapist, educator and meditation instructor. He is a long-term meditator, primarily in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and has a strong interest in the intersection of traditional contemplative practices and modernity. He has formally trained in and been certified several meditation teacher training programs including Mindfulness Based Emotional Balance (MBEB) , Stanford's Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) and Dharma Moon's Mindfulness Meditation Teacher program. He is the author of Pursuing Purpose: Finding meaning Through Meditation.
01:27:30
October 26, 2022
The power of rest: the Sabbath, retreat, and rejuvenation with Jake Loveland
The power of rest: the Sabbath, retreat, and rejuvenation with Jake Loveland
I first met my guest today, Jake Loveland, when we recorded an interview for his podcast, Tenaciously Human, about the connections between Buddhism and success in life. (You can find that episode here: https://geni.us/mPbVnik.) One thing Jake mentioned in that first conversation was that he’s a big fan of the Jewish and Christian idea of the Sabbath, and as I took time off this summer, I found myself thinking again and again about how rest and relaxation open more space for creativity. So why are these practices often so difficult? Jake and I will discuss the Sabbath – and how we can work some Sabbath attitude into the rest of the week – as well as the Buddhist idea of retreat. I hope you enjoy and feel empowered to take time to rejuvenate in your own life. Here’s a link to Jake’s site: tenaciouslyhuman.com. Or find him on social media: @loveland_jake. And you can find my free intro to Buddhism courses here: https://geni.us/freecourses Jake Loveland is a business coach and the Host of Tenaciously Human Podcast. As a husband, father of 5, and former executive of a multimillion dollar company, he is primed to help leaders get out of the day-to-day so they can maximize the year-over-year - all while prioritizing faith and family. May you and all beings be well.
49:26
October 21, 2022
Psychedelics, the Grateful Dead, and Buddhism with Dent Gitchell
Psychedelics, the Grateful Dead, and Buddhism with Dent Gitchell
Hi, friends, I’m excited to introduce you to Dr. Dent Gitchell, an educator, author, and meditation teacher – a guy with a lot of credentials and a lot of expertise. But what I recently learned about him is that he’s been a fan of The Grateful Dead since he was young, and along with that came a lot of consciousness-expanding experiences with psychedelics. In this conversation with Dent, we’ll dive into those early experiences and how they’ve shaped the wise and kind teacher he’s become. To learn more about Dent, who’s a psychotherapist living in Little Rock, Arkansas, check out his website: http://www.dentgitchel.com For a list of all my free courses on Buddhism, click here: https://geni.us/freecourses I hope you enjoy this conversation with Dent. May you and all beings be well. Dent Gitchel is a therapist, educator and meditation instructor. He is a long-term meditator, primarily in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and has a strong interest in the intersection of traditional contemplative practices and modernity. He has formally trained in and been certified several meditation teacher training programs including Mindfulness Based Emotional Balance (MBEB) , Stanford's Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) and Dharma Moon's Mindfulness Meditation Teacher program. He is the author of Pursuing Purpose: Finding meaning Through Meditation.
01:11:26
October 12, 2022
Types of Buddhism: Vajrayana
Types of Buddhism: Vajrayana
If you've heard of the three types of Buddhism (Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana), you might wonder: What are the origins of Vajrayana Buddhism? How is it similar to and different from Mahayana and Theravada? What are the practices and beliefs of Vajrayana Buddhists? In this video, I'll cover the historical origins of the Vajrayana forms of Buddhism and talk about the one region where this type of Buddhism is dominant: Tibet and the Himalayan regions. If you’ve ever wondered what Buddhist tantra is, you’re in the right place because it’s Vajrayana Buddhism. But there’s no sex involved, lol! I recorded this video from a live Insight Timer teaching; you can find me there and get notified of future talks: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal To get the resources associated with this teaching series on types of Buddhism and get notified of upcoming live events, join this mailing list: https://bit.ly/typesBuddh May all beings be well.
42:47
October 04, 2022
Luminous Darkness: Buddhist teacher Deborah Eden Tull on rest, receptivity, and not knowing
Luminous Darkness: Buddhist teacher Deborah Eden Tull on rest, receptivity, and not knowing
We’ve all heard of “enlightenment” in the context of spiritual practices like Buddhism. But in this episode, my colleague Deborah Eden Tull walks us through the equally important practice of “endarkenment” and other wonderful explorations from her new book, Luminous Darkness: An Engaged Buddhist Approach to Embracing the Unknown. I very much enjoyed reading this book and appreciated her invitation to explore the realms of mind outside of our “daytime” consciousness as we practice receptivity and learn to be more comfortable as we encounter what’s unknown to us.   Buy the book today on Shambhala’s site: https://www.shambhala.com/hello-darkness.html  Or find it on Amazon: https://geni.us/5cqQ  Read the transcript here: https://www.clairevillarreal.com/post/luminous_darkness May you and all beings be well.
58:43
September 27, 2022
Psychedelics and the death process: Pam Stockton
Psychedelics and the death process: Pam Stockton
Y'all, get ready to meet a good friend and dharma sister of mine, Pam Stockton, as we discuss psychedelics and how they can be helpful on the spiritual path—in the right context, with the right preparation, for folks who can benefit from them, which isn't everyone. You can learn more about Pam at her website, which is linked below. And if you'd like to learn more about the basic teachings of Buddhism, there's a link to my free courses, too. Pam Stockton is licensed as a professional counselor in Texas and New Mexico, and is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner in private practice. Formerly a business lawyer, she was certified by Grof Transpersonal Training as a practitioner of Holotropic Breathwork in 2009 and is now a Grof Breathwork practitioner. In addition to degrees in law and counseling, she holds a Master of Theological Studies degree and Certificate in Women’s Studies from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. I hope you enjoy our conversation. More about Pam: https://www.pamelastocktonlpc.com Check out my free courses on Buddhist basics: https://geni.us/freecourses May you and all beings be well.
49:16
August 10, 2022
The spirituality of personal finance with Emily Anchia
The spirituality of personal finance with Emily Anchia
Y'all, I'm so happy to share a conversation I had with Emily Anchia, the Digital Manager at my home sangha, Dawn Mountain. Her degree is in personal finance, so we talked money stuff, and she comes at the topic from a more spiritual angle that reminds me of Marie Kondo more than the finance bros on YouTube.   If you'd like to learn more about the basics of Buddhism, please see the links below to my free courses for beginners and to my favorite comprehensive intro courses on Buddhism and Buddhist meditation.   Emily is the manager of all things digital and broadcast at Dawn Mountain Buddhist Temple. She facilitates spreading the dharma as a profession, but she also has a passion for spreading financial literacy! She loves the art of storytelling in every form and especially all things spooky.   You can find her on a Dawn Mountain livestream: dawnmountain.org   Free mini-courses on Buddhist basics: https://geni.us/freecourses  Great intro to the Buddhist traditions: https://geni.us/BSO101  Similarly great intro to Buddhist meditation: https://geni.us/BSO102  May you and all beings be well.
37:24
July 27, 2022
Intuitive wisdom: Moriah Williams
Intuitive wisdom: Moriah Williams
Hello, friends, and welcome to this interview with Moriah Williams, who's going to share with us some of their wisdom about the world we can see and how it connects to the unseen. If you've ever felt like there's more to the human experience than what our senses show us, you'll probably enjoy getting to meet this remarkable healer. If you'd like to learn more about the basics of Buddhism, please check out the links below to my book, The Buddhist Path to Joy, and my free online courses for beginners. Moriah Williams is a holistic practitioner who offers somatic and spirit-based online sessions education. They support people in making friends with themselves, deepening their connection to their bodies and their intuition, reclaiming their energy from old wounds and ongoing structural oppression, and trusting their own power. Moriah believes that the more we trust our capacities for healing, the more we can live lives of joy, wonder, and kindness. Check out Moriah's website: moriahjwilliams.com And connect with them on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter: @mjwintuitive The Buddhist Path to Joy (a practical guide to the Four Noble Truths): https://geni.us/buddhistpathtojoy My free online courses & resources: https://geni.us/freecourses May you and all beings be well.
51:17
July 13, 2022
The generosity of the bodhisattva
The generosity of the bodhisattva
A bodhisattva is one who has vowed to train to become fully awakened (enlightened) in order to benefit all beings. This spiritual aspiration has inspired countless people to devote their lives to developing their capacities for wisdom and compassion. The starting assumption for Mahayana Buddhism is that all living beings have the same potential for awakening. Thus, we are all capable of becoming bodhisattvas. In Mahayana Buddhism, the quality the bodhisattva cultivates is "bodhicitta": 'the mind (citta) of awakening (bodhi)'. The more common translation is 'enlightenment mind' or 'awakening mind'. The awakening being's experience leads to the end of all suffering or dukkha whatsoever; hence, the bodhisattva's ultimate goal is to eliminate all suffering, the most profoundly compassionate motivation. In this podcast episode, I’ll talk about one of the bodhisattva’s most important qualities: generosity. That doesn’t just meaning giving money or resources but also time and protection from danger. And I’ll share some verses from the Bodhicaryavatara, the classic guide to walking the path of the spiritual hero. Curious about the basics of Buddhism? Please check out my book The Buddhist Path to Joy (https://geni.us/buddhistpathtojoy) and my free courses for beginners: https://geni.us/freecourses May you and all beings be well.
31:09
June 30, 2022
My new favorite intro to Buddhism course: Dr. Kate Hartmann and Buddhist Studies Online
My new favorite intro to Buddhism course: Dr. Kate Hartmann and Buddhist Studies Online
Hello, friends. If you're interested in the basics of Buddhism and want a fun introduction to the history, beliefs, and practices of the various Buddhist lineages, I have a great new learning platform to share with you: Buddhist Studies Online or BSO. Today I'm talking with Dr. Kate Hartmann, a Harvard PhD in Religious Studies and one of the folks behind Buddhist Studies Online and the instructor for BSO 101 about the history, philosophy, and practice of Buddhism. Kate is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wyoming. She received a PhD in Religious Studies, focused on Tibetan Buddhism, from Harvard University in May 2020. Her research focuses on the history of pilgrimage to holy mountains in Tibet. She also helped develop and launch Buddhist Studies Online, an educational platform aimed at making academic courses on Buddhism more accessible to the public. If you'd like to hear more about her story of connecting with Buddhism as an undergrad, then traveling around Asia in the course of her studies, you can find a link in the show notes to an interview she did with Seth Powell who helped found BSO. I hope you enjoy the conversation, and if you'd like to learn more about BSO 101 or 102, Buddhist Meditation in Theory and Practice, you can find links to both those courses in the show notes. BSO 101 (intro to Buddhist history, philosophy, & practice): https://geni.us/BSO101 BSO 102 (Buddhist meditation in theory and practice): https://geni.us/BSO102 (Those are affiliate links. There's no cost to you when you click them, but you do support this channel/podcast.) Listen to Kate's story: https://geni.us/katehstory May you and all beings be well.
01:00:52
June 30, 2022
How to practice Tibetan Buddhism (how beginners can start)
How to practice Tibetan Buddhism (how beginners can start)
If you’ve ever wondered how to “get serious” about practicing Tibetan Buddhism, you might be relieved to know that you don’t have to become a monk or nun, and you don’t have to spend the rest of your life in a cave. In this episode, I’ll talk with Aaron of the organization Dharma Gates on what’s involved when you want to become a serious student of Tibetan Buddhism, including how to connect with a teacher and community. We’ll have a live conversation about this on June 30, and you can find registration info in the show notes. Plus if you’re new to Buddhism, I have some free mini-courses you might be interested in. There’s a link to them, too. I hope this conversation answers some of the questions you might have about getting started in this wonderful tradition. Register for the live call on June 30 (donations welcome): https://www.dharma-gates.org/upcomingevents Check out my free mini-courses & resources: https://geni.us/freecourses Recommended dharma centers and teachers in Tibetan traditions: Dawn Mountain (dawnmountain.org) Tara Mandala (taramandala.org) Natural Dharma Fellowship (naturaldharma.org) Mayum Mountain (mayummountain.org) Lama Rod Owens (lamarod.com) May you and all beings be well.
31:43
June 27, 2022
Awakening the heart-mind of the spiritual hero: the bodhisattva, bodhichitta, and the Bodhicaryavatara
Awakening the heart-mind of the spiritual hero: the bodhisattva, bodhichitta, and the Bodhicaryavatara
A bodhisattva is one who has vowed to train to become fully awakened (enlightened) in order to benefit all beings. This spiritual aspiration has inspired countless people to devote their lives to developing their capacities for wisdom and compassion. The starting assumption for Mahayana Buddhism is that all living beings have the same potential for awakening. Thus, we are all capable of becoming bodhisattvas. In Mahayana Buddhism, the quality the bodhisattva cultivates is "bodhicitta": 'the mind (citta) of awakening (bodhi)'. The more common translation is 'enlightenment mind' or 'awakening mind'. The awakening being's experience leads to the end of all suffering or dukkha whatsoever; hence, the bodhisattva's ultimate goal is to eliminate all suffering, the most profoundly compassionate motivation. In this podcast episode, I explain the terms bodhisattva and bodhichitta, and I'll share some inspiring verses from the Bodhicaryavatara, or Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life, a famous text on how to become a bodhisattva by the great Indian saint Shantideva in the 8th century CE. The Bodhicaryavatara is one of the best introductions to the subjects of bodhicitta and compassion in Mahayana Buddhism. Curious about the basics of Buddhism? Please check out my book The Buddhist Path to Joy (https://geni.us/buddhistpathtojoy) and my free courses for beginners: https://geni.us/freecourses May you and all beings be well.
21:34
June 16, 2022
Short meditation practice for someone who's recently died
Short meditation practice for someone who's recently died
The previous episode was a live talk I offered on Insight Timer with some ideas for doing meditation practice for those who have died. Here's the guided meditation from the end of that talk so you can come back to it easily. My free mini-course on the Tibetan teachings on death and rebirth: https://geni.us/bardoscourse Amitabha’s mantra: OM AMI DEVA HRI Watch this on YouTube: https://youtu.be/DwTaIWqwvtY More on Amitabha: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amit%C4%81bha More mantras: https://youtu.be/PuyE_S1UZhs Check out my book on Buddhist basics: https://geni.us/buddhistpathtojoy Write me: claire@clairevillarreal.com May all beings be well.
20:26
June 08, 2022
How to practice for someone who's died (live talk and practice)
How to practice for someone who's died (live talk and practice)
If you've lost a friend or loved one recently -- or just want to offer some practice to help folks you hear about on the news who've recently passed -- here are a few simple suggestions, plus a little background from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. This is a longer, live version of the previous episode, for those who prefer a short talk. I’ll explain how to prepare to support your loved one (or a stranger) who’s recently died, based on Tibetan Buddhist teachings as well as modern research on near death experiences and cases of reincarnation. I’ll also show you how to use the mantra of Amitabha, the buddha of limitless light whose pure land is easy to be reborn into. And if the person you’re supporting isn’t Buddhist, you can use a variation of the practice. My free mini-course on the Tibetan teachings on death and rebirth: https://geni.us/bardoscourse Amitabha’s mantra: OM AMI DEVA HRI Watch this on YouTube: https://youtu.be/DwTaIWqwvtY More on Amitabha: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amit%C4%81bha More mantras: https://youtu.be/PuyE_S1UZhs Check out my book on Buddhist basics: https://geni.us/buddhistpathtojoy Write me: claire@clairevillarreal.com May all beings be well.
40:45
June 08, 2022
How to pray for someone who passed away (Buddhism)
How to pray for someone who passed away (Buddhism)
If you know someone who’s recently died (or want to help the people we all hear about on the news every day who die of COVID, in wars, or in gun violence), here’s an explanation and a short practice. I’ll explain how to prepare to support your loved one (or a stranger) who’s recently died, based on Tibetan Buddhist teachings as well as modern research on near death experiences and cases of reincarnation. I’ll also show you how to use the mantra of Amitabha, the buddha of limitless light whose pure land is easy to be reborn into. And if the person you’re supporting isn’t Buddhist, you can use a variation of the practice. Amitabha’s mantra: OM AMI DEVA HRI Watch this on YouTube: https://youtu.be/DwTaIWqwvtY More on Amitabha: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amit%C4%81bha More mantras: https://youtu.be/PuyE_S1UZhs Check out my book on Buddhist basics: https://geni.us/buddhistpathtojoy Write me: claire@clairevillarreal.com May all beings be well.
15:07
May 27, 2022
Thank you, Romania, Bhutan, Ukraine, Mexico, and all listeners to this show
Thank you, Romania, Bhutan, Ukraine, Mexico, and all listeners to this show
This is an audio version of a bow of respect to everyone who's listening to this show. Today I want to appreciate you, especially folks in countries where this podcast has been ranked high on the charts for all Buddhist shows for months now. Thank you to everyone who's supported this show with your time and attention. 🙏🏻
01:41
May 20, 2022
Buddhist teachings for beginners on impermanence (anicca)
Buddhist teachings for beginners on impermanence (anicca)
If you've ever wondered what the most important teaching in Buddhism is, now you know! If you understand impermanence -- that things are constantly changing -- then the rest of Buddha's teachings make sense.   There are two levels to this constant change or flow: "gross" and subtle. The first level refers to the changes we notice, like when a wildfire burns through a community, transforming it overnight. At the subtlest level, science shows us that the subatomic particles that make up the atoms of our cells are constantly flashing into and out of existence.  🤯   For more information on my new course on this topic, Ease into Change, click here: https://geni.us/changecourse.   May you and all beings be well.
17:17
May 10, 2022
Buddhism & nihilism: what's the difference? 🤔
Buddhism & nihilism: what's the difference? 🤔
I was listening to a Radiolab episode recently (link & description below) that was all about nihilism and why it seems to be having a moment right now.   It got me thinking about the difference between Buddhism, with all its talk about how nothing is inherently existent, we're all going to die, etc., and proper nihilism.    The difference? Buddha nature! After we strip away everything, there's still a luminous layer of reality according to Buddhist teachings.   Radiolab episode: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/articles/dust-planet-2204   "Horror, fashion, and the end of the world … In this episode, first aired in 2014, but maybe even more relevant today, things get weird as we explore the undercurrents of thought that link nihilists, beard-stroking philosophers, Jay-Z, and True Detective." Check out my book, The Buddhist Path to Joy: https://geni.us/buddhistpathtojoy May all beings be well.
08:05
May 06, 2022
May the 4th be with you | Star Wars and Buddhism
May the 4th be with you | Star Wars and Buddhism
Happy May the 4th, fellow Star Wars nerds! 🤓   If, like me, you've ever wondered, "Is the Force real?" then this video is for you! I'll share a few thoughts on ideas from Buddhism and Asian martial arts about the life force energy (qi, chi, prana, etc.) that circulates through the body and through the world around us.   And did you know that when George Lucas came up with the Jedi, he was inspired in part by Zen Buddhism? Yep.   So nerd out with me, and if you have other Star Wars/Buddhism questions, please write me at claire@clairevillarreal.com!   May all beings be well. 🙏
07:13
May 04, 2022
Jesus in the bardo: happy Easter, y'all!
Jesus in the bardo: happy Easter, y'all!
Every Easter, I think about the similarities between the Tibetan teachings about the transition from one life to the next -- that we die, experience an in-between state called the bardo of becoming, and then take shape again in our next lifetime. I hope the story of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection helps you reflect on what you're ready to leave behind and how you'd like to be reborn.
01:45
April 17, 2022
Awakening, nirvana, buddhahood: the ultimate freedom
Awakening, nirvana, buddhahood: the ultimate freedom
The Buddha taught that awakening is our ticket out of an endless round of deaths and rebirths. But these days, many folks don't believe in rebirth and wonder if nirvana is real. So let's talk about what full awakening means and the ways different traditions describe it. For more on karma, rebirth, nirvana, and more basic Buddhist teachings, see my book, The Buddhist Path to Joy: https://geni.us/buddhistpathtojoy The previous teachings in this mini-series: Karma and how to tidy yours up: https://youtu.be/yWrOvRUodck Rebirth: https://youtu.be/flJtSQkrAaE May you and all beings be well.
28:26
April 15, 2022
Rebirth: how karma shapes our lifetimes
Rebirth: how karma shapes our lifetimes
There's no "self" in Buddhism, so what gets reborn? Do we keep connecting with loved ones lifetime after lifetime? And most important: what can we do now to optimize our chances of a good rebirth? For more on karma, rebirth, nirvana, and more basic Buddhist teachings, see my book, The Buddhist Path to Joy: https://geni.us/buddhistpathtojoy The previous teaching in this mini-series (karma and how to tidy yours up): https://youtu.be/yWrOvRUodck May you and all beings be well.
32:31
April 08, 2022
Guided meditation: Noticing dukkha (unease) and offering yourself compassion
Guided meditation: Noticing dukkha (unease) and offering yourself compassion
Dukkha (unease or unsatisfactoriness) is the main problem the Buddhist tradition helps us solve. In this meditation, you'll be guided to notice mental and physical states of unease, stress, or discomfort and offer yourself compassion in response. For more on Buddhist basics, see my new book, The Buddhist Path to Joy, available free through April 1 (2022): https://geni.us/buddhistpathtojoy May you and all beings be well.
14:18
March 29, 2022
What is karma? Buddhist teachings on improving your future
What is karma? Buddhist teachings on improving your future
If you’ve ever wondered what karma is or how to get rid of bad karma, you’re not alone. We all have felt the effects of bad karma in our life, but what is it and how do you get rid of it? The term karma is a Sanskrit word that refers to a causality in Buddhism. Karma is not something that you can see; just like electricity, it is invisible. It is a process, a law of nature. The good news is that we can counteract negative karma from the past when we cultivate positive karma. For more on karma, rebirth, nirvana, and more basic Buddhist teachings, see my book, The Buddhist Path to Joy: https://geni.us/buddhistpathtojoy May you and all beings be well.
14:18
March 29, 2022
My book is free today through Friday (4/1)!
My book is free today through Friday (4/1)!
You can check out my new book about the Four Noble Truths, The Buddhist Path to Joy, for free this week! Available worldwide. https://geni.us/buddhistpathtojoy
01:01
March 28, 2022
How to prepare to take refuge? (part 3 of 3)
How to prepare to take refuge? (part 3 of 3)
If you’ve decided to take refuge (become a Buddhist), what should you do to get ready? It’s not rocket science, but this is a significant commitment, so here are some ideas for anyone who wants to take this step. If you’ve ever wondered how to become a Buddhist, this episode is for you! My friend and colleague Loppon Yudron Wangmo shares her insights on what refuge means – and if you want to take refuge with her, live on Zoom, then register at the link below. Register to take refuge: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/o1p1l8 Watch part 1: https://youtu.be/wfxfQNiaj-Y Watch part 2: https://youtu.be/Z2IVf6yKmPQ Some recommended reading (affiliate links): What Makes You Not a Buddhist, https://amzn.to/3D5cMpi Words of My Perfect Teacher, https://amzn.to/36bZN9j Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience, updated: https://amzn.to/36kvIEn, older (less expensive): https://amzn.to/3JzjBll Loppon-la’s refuge video: https://youtu.be/R8LCpYo-ARQ Learn more about Mayum Mountain and join their mailing list: https://www.mayummountain.net/ And get Loppon-la’s wonderful novels (they’re written for young adults, but I enjoyed them a lot!): https://amzn.to/3KNiFdb May you and all beings be well.
05:08
March 26, 2022
My first book is coming out Monday -- for free!
My first book is coming out Monday -- for free!
Happy Saturday, friends, and keep an eye on your feed this Monday (March 28) for a link to grab my first book, The Buddhist Path to Joy, for free! May you and all beings be well.
00:29
March 26, 2022
Taking refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha: what changes when you take refuge? (part 2 of 3)
Taking refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha: what changes when you take refuge? (part 2 of 3)
Taking refuge is how you become a Buddhist and commit to waking up out of samsara (the endless cycle of deaths and rebirths). You can meditate and get lots of benefit from Buddhist practices without taking refuge, but deciding to walk the dharma path is a significant moment in the spiritual path. If you’ve ever wondered how to become a Buddhist, this episode is for you! My friend and colleague Loppon Yudron Wangmo shares her insights on what refuge means – and if you want to take refuge with her, live on Zoom, then register at the link below. Register to take refuge: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/o1p1l8 Watch part 1: https://youtu.be/wfxfQNiaj-Y Some recommended reading (affiliate links): What Makes You Not a Buddhist, https://amzn.to/3D5cMpi Words of My Perfect Teacher, https://amzn.to/36bZN9j Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience, updated: https://amzn.to/36kvIEn, older (less expensive): https://amzn.to/3JzjBll Loppon-la’s refuge video: https://youtu.be/R8LCpYo-ARQ Learn more about Mayum Mountain and join their mailing list: https://www.mayummountain.net/ And get Loppon-la’s wonderful novels (they’re written for young adults, but I enjoyed them a lot!): https://amzn.to/3KNiFdb May you and all beings be well.
11:36
March 25, 2022
What is refuge in the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, & Sangha)? (part 1 of 3)
What is refuge in the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, & Sangha)? (part 1 of 3)
What does it mean to take refuge in the three jewels (Buddha, dharma, and sangha), and what’s the benefit of taking refuge? Do you have to be Buddhist to practice meditation?   If you’ve ever wondered how to become a Buddhist, this episode is for you! My friend and colleague Loppon Yudron Wangmo shares her insights on what refuge means – and if you want to take refuge with her, live on Zoom, then register at the link below.   Register to take refuge: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/o1p1l8  Some recommended reading (affiliate links):   What Makes You Not a Buddhist, https://amzn.to/3D5cMpi   Words of My Perfect Teacher, https://amzn.to/36bZN9j Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience, updated: https://amzn.to/36kvIEn, older (less expensive): https://amzn.to/3JzjBll   Loppon-la’s refuge video: https://youtu.be/R8LCpYo-ARQ    Learn more about Mayum Mountain and join their mailing list: https://www.mayummountain.net/  And get Loppon-la’s wonderful novels (they’re written for young adults, but I enjoyed them a lot!): https://amzn.to/3KNiFdb  May you and all beings be well.
40:39
March 23, 2022
How to connect with a spiritual teacher: Loppon Yudron Wangmo interview, part 3
How to connect with a spiritual teacher: Loppon Yudron Wangmo interview, part 3
In the third part of my conversation with my dharma friend Loppon Yudron Wangmo, she explains how to request teachings and make a good connection with a spiritual teacher. Did you know that it’s traditional to ask a teacher for instructions on a certain topic? And Loppon-la shares why it’s good not just to learn from famous teachers (like the Dalai Lama, Pema Chodron, and so many others) but also to have a teacher who knows you personally. I hope you’ll join us for more of this conversation with a wonderful contemporary female Buddhist teacher. Part 1 (this is part 3): https://youtu.be/I38-aTSceiY Part 2: https://youtu.be/rSrxUSmEbiA Loppon-la is on YouTube! Find her here: https://www.youtube.com/c/YudronWangmo Learn more about Mayum Mountain and join their mailing list: https://www.mayummountain.net/ And get Loppon-la’s wonderful novels (they’re written for young adults, but I enjoyed them a lot!): https://amzn.to/3KNiFdb May you and all beings be well.
19:24
March 21, 2022
Loppon Yudron Wangmo on the Dudjom Tersar and foundational (preliminary) practices
Loppon Yudron Wangmo on the Dudjom Tersar and foundational (preliminary) practices
In the second part of my conversation with my dharma friend Loppon Yudron Wangmo, she explains the lineage she teaches in, the Dudjom Tersar, and her approach to teaching at Mayum Mountain, her foundation. Plus she shares the benefits of ngondro or the foundational/preliminary practices students of Tibetan Buddhism do before engaging in Vajrayana practices, Dzogchen, or Mahamudra.    I hope you’ll join us for more of this conversation with a wonderful contemporary female Buddhist teacher.  Part 1 (this is part 2): https://youtu.be/I38-aTSceiY Loppon-la is on YouTube! Find her here: https://www.youtube.com/c/YudronWangmo  Learn more about Mayum Mountain and join their mailing list: https://www.mayummountain.net/  And get Loppon-la’s wonderful novels (they’re written for young adults, but I enjoyed them a lot!): https://amzn.to/3KNiFdb  May you and all beings be well.
12:15
March 18, 2022
Creativity and passion: meditating on the fire element
Creativity and passion: meditating on the fire element
In this meditation, we start with connecting to the earth to cool down excessive fire, then use the breath to fan the embers of deficient fire. Finally, we rest in a warm heart.
23:58
March 18, 2022
How I became a Buddhist: Loppon Yudron Wangmo shares how she began serious dharma practice & became a teacher
How I became a Buddhist: Loppon Yudron Wangmo shares how she began serious dharma practice & became a teacher
Y’all, I’m so pleased to introduce you to a dharma teacher I follow and admire, Loppon Yudron Wangmo. She’s a Western-born teacher who’s now based in California, and in this conversation she shares how she became a Buddhist in the first place, how her practice deepened, what it’s like to do long retreat in the Tibetan tradition, and what it’s been like becoming a teacher (Loppon) in the Nyingma lineage. Stay tuned for next week’s conversation with Yudron Wangmo about what it means to take refuge in the Buddhist tradition. And spoiler alert: she’s going to offer refuge online to anyone who’s interested! Stay tuned for more details. Learn more about Mayum Mountain and join their mailing list: https://www.mayummountain.net/ And get Loppon-la’s wonderful novels (they’re written for young adults, but I enjoyed them a lot!): https://amzn.to/3KNiFdb May you and all beings be well.
31:55
March 15, 2022
Grounding with earth energy: meditation for centering and grounding
Grounding with earth energy: meditation for centering and grounding
This past Thursday I offered an afternoon meditation for the Mind Body Spirit Institute of the Jung Center Houston. It was all about using earth energy at the end of a workday, and I want to offer it to you now! If you'd like to sign up for the live weekly meditations the MBSI offers, click here: https://bit.ly/3KF1gmK And to register for my free Four Noble Truths course, click here: https://bit.ly/4NTsBuddh May you and all beings be well.
26:07
March 11, 2022
The power of vast aspirations: talk and meditation
The power of vast aspirations: talk and meditation
For the next two weeks, it's Losar (Tibetan New Year), a special time to reflect on who we want to "grow up" to be this year. In this quick talk and meditation (starting at 6:08), I'll explain why it's not just spiritual narcissism to aspire to become a fully awakened being. Instead, a vast aspiration like that points us in the direction of our true selves. Then I guide a meditation to lead you through the process of connecting with your deepest aspirations and receiving blessings from your wise inner self to help you practice in alignment with your buddha nature. Happy Water Tiger Year! May we all be safe, well, and free from suffering.
19:20
March 03, 2022
Happy Losar (Tibetan New Year)! And a mindset "challenge"
Happy Losar (Tibetan New Year)! And a mindset "challenge"
Happy Losar (Tibean New Year)! May this new year bring you and yours safety, growth, wisdom, and all auspicious things. ⁠ ⁠ These next two weeks are a perfect time to reconnect with your own sacred energy and cultivate positive qualities as much as possible. If you're making a donation to support Ukraine, take a moment to rejoice in the difference it can make in someone's life. If you're sitting down to meditate, set an intention not just to get calmer for the next 20 minutes but to transform your mind -- and with it, your world.⁠ Your "challenge": try this shift in mindset or motivation for the next two weeks and see what happens.  :D ⁠ Wishing you all the best for the Year Of The Tiger!
04:01
March 03, 2022
Meditation on cleansing negativities and receiving blessings: getting ready for Losar (Tibetan New Year)
Meditation on cleansing negativities and receiving blessings: getting ready for Losar (Tibetan New Year)
Tomorrow Losar begins, so let's shed some negativities to start the year right!  This guided meditation uses imagery of luminous blessings flowing down through the body, energy system, and mind to cleanse our entire system. It's also an opportunity to open to our deep wisdom. Happy Water Tiger Year! May you be well, safe, and planting the seeds of happiness.
38:37
March 02, 2022
"Burning away" the negativity of the old year: getting ready for Losar (Tibetan New Year)
"Burning away" the negativity of the old year: getting ready for Losar (Tibetan New Year)
#TibetanNewYear (#Losar) is a time for reflection and for setting new intentions. A great way to start the New Year is by purifying any negativities from the old year, and you can do this by writing out all of the negativities from the old year on a piece of paper, then burning the paper in a ritual fire.⁠ ⁠ This ritual can help to clear out any negative energy, and it can also help to set the tone for a fresh start in the New Year. If you’re interested in performing this ritual, here are the steps:⁠ ⁠ 1. Write out all of the negativities from the old year on a piece of paper.⁠ ⁠ 2. Burn the paper in a ritual fire.⁠ ⁠ 3. As you burn the paper, visualize all of the negative energy from the old year being consumed by the fire and transformed into light and warmth.⁠ ⁠ 4. Feel yourself becoming lighter and more free as you let go of the negativity from the past year and share the positivity of the ritual with all living beings.⁠ ⁠ Performing this simple ritual can help you to start the New Year with a clean slate, and it can set the tone for a happy, positive year ahead.⁠ May you and all beings be well.
06:11
March 02, 2022
How I became a Buddhist: Kyohei Mikawa and Rissho Kosei-Kai, me and Tibetan Buddhism
How I became a Buddhist: Kyohei Mikawa and Rissho Kosei-Kai, me and Tibetan Buddhism
Probably the question I get asked the most is: “How did you end up Buddhist?” And I get it! Coming from a Christian family in small-town Texas, Tibetan Buddhism isn’t where you might think I’d end up finding my spiritual home. But here we are!    And Kyohei (whose channel is great! link below) grew up Japanese but wasn’t seriously drawn to practice until he was in college, too. We were both drawn in by teachings on emptiness and dependent origination – and maybe we both had previous lives that gave us certain predispositions in this lifetime.   Check out Kyohei’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Wagenai5  Start learning about Buddhism with my free mini-course on the Four Noble Truths: https://bit.ly/4NTsBuddh  May you and all beings be well.
22:05
March 01, 2022
"Washing away" old emotional patterns with water: getting ready for Losar (Tibetan New Year)
"Washing away" old emotional patterns with water: getting ready for Losar (Tibetan New Year)
Washing away the old is a great way to get ready for the Tibetan New Year (Losar). Whether you're purifying yourself spiritually, mentally, or emotionally, water can help you wash away the old and make way for the new. You can take a bath, go for a swim, or even wash your car. Whatever helps you feel refreshed and ready to start anew is the right way for you.⁠ ⁠  Join me for a live Losar meditation on YouTube Wed., 3/2, at 3 p.m. EST. And join my mailing list to get invited to a live Zoom call on March 3 at 1 p.m. EST. May you and all beings be well.
10:57
March 01, 2022
Getting ready for Tibetan New Year (Losar): clearing negativity
Getting ready for Tibetan New Year (Losar): clearing negativity
As we approach Losar this year (March 3), there's so much gunk from the old year to clear out! Between political division and now the invasion of Ukraine, the world needs cleansing now more than ever. In this short episode, I talk about the magic of clearing out what's no longer serving us well, then holding space for our innate positive qualities to emerge instead. What do you want to clear from your life? Tag me on Instagram (@namastehyall) and let's talk! Grab a free course to start this new year with meditation or learning the basics of Buddhism: https://www.clairevillarreal.com/free-courses Check out Marie Kondo's work: https://konmari.com/ Listen to my talk on the space element: https://plinkhq.com/i/1531179284/e/1000551320892
06:39
February 28, 2022
The Matrix, Tibetan Buddhism, and how we know what’s real, with Kyohei Mikawa
The Matrix, Tibetan Buddhism, and how we know what’s real, with Kyohei Mikawa
Kyohei and I continued our conversation about Buddhism, pop culture, and philosophy. In this episode, he asks me about my earlier video on the 1999 Keanu Reeves film The Matrix, and I get nerdy about Tibetan epistemology (the study of how we know what we know).   Check out Kyohei’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Wagenai5   Start learning about Buddhism with my free mini-course on the Four Noble Truths: https://bit.ly/4NTsBuddh   May you and all beings be well.
12:29
February 25, 2022
How to meditate in daily life? (Pomodoro timer and other ideas)
How to meditate in daily life? (Pomodoro timer and other ideas)
Everyone knows meditation is good for you, but how do you make time to meditate in daily life? In this video, I’ll share how to meditate with the pomodoro timer to get regular 5-minute breaks you can use for meditation, mindful breathing and stretching, prayer, or any other contemplative exercise.   Listen to the full talk on organizing your meditation practice: https://bit.ly/3LH23VL Check out the pomodoro technique: https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique  Get my free course on Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths: https://bit.ly/4NTsBuddh  Join my mailing list: https://bit.ly/CVmailing  May you and all beings be well.
02:19
February 18, 2022
How to structure your meditation practice (full talk)
How to structure your meditation practice (full talk)
Mindfulness, compassion, insight: there are so many kinds of meditation and often it feels like there’s not enough time in our busy lives to fit them all in!    Too often, people feel like they have to meditate for hours every day in order to start reaping the benefits of mindfulness. But that's not the case!    In this video, we explore how to structure your meditation practice -- both daily and long-term -- so that you can get the most out of it, no matter how busy you are.   Grab the weekly planner to set your practice aspirations and track your progress: https://bit.ly/3LGZR0k  Join my email list to get resources and invitations to live events: https://bit.ly/CVmailing  Check out the pomodoro technique: https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique  Get my free course on Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths: https://bit.ly/4NTsBuddh  May you and all beings be well.
39:29
February 18, 2022
Luminous emptiness: the space element in Tibetan Buddhism
Luminous emptiness: the space element in Tibetan Buddhism
In Tibetan Buddhism, the space element is understood as emptiness or the nature of mind, and it is this emptiness that allows for everything to manifest in its own unique way. Space is an essential part of our existence, the field in which all things exist. Because space is empty, anything can manifest in it. In meditation, practitioners may focus on the space around them as a way of becoming aware of their own mind and the vast potential for transformation that exists within it. When we experience space and emptiness deeply, it can be quite liberating. We let go of our attachments and see things as they are, leading to a sense of freedom and peace. Join the five elements mailing list: bit.ly/5elemts Blog post with teachings on all five elements: bit.ly/3oW7LcK Guided space meditation: bit.ly/3uTAkeq May you and all beings be well.
33:41
February 16, 2022
How to love like a Buddhist: guided metta meditation
How to love like a Buddhist: guided metta meditation
Maybe you've heard that Buddhism teaches that attachment is the root of suffering. In that case, how can you love someone or be in a relationship? Don't worry, you can still love the important people in your life, and with this short Buddhist meditation on loving-kindness (metta) you can cultivate true love and caring for yourself and others. Buddhist Practice on Western Ground by Harvey Aronson: https://amzn.to/3gIOQgL Kristin Neff's work on self-compassion: https://self-compassion.org/ Get my free course on Buddhism's four noble truths: https://bit.ly/4NTsBuddh Learn more about the basics of Buddhism: https://bit.ly/3nvo3Hi May you and all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
09:26
February 14, 2022
Intellect and transformation: the air element in Tibetan Buddhism
Intellect and transformation: the air element in Tibetan Buddhism
Intellect, curiosity, change, and transformation: these are all important qualities on the spiritual path, and in Tibetan Buddhism they’re related to the air element. The air element can help us to move with greater flexibility and grace through life, making changes in our lives when we need to and releasing that which is no longer serving us. Too much air energy can lead to constantly swirling thoughts and anxiety as we meet life’s challenges. Too little air and we have trouble making changes and greeting life with curiosity and the willingness to learn. In its subtle aspect, air is the energy that flows through the channels of our subtle body and connects the physical body with the mind. To balance your air energy, gentle chi kung exercises are great! To connect with the air element in the natural world, you can go outside and feel the breeze on your skin, notice the air you breathe in, or watch leaves dancing in the wind. Get the free email course: https://bit.ly/5elemts Get the book (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3GPUx83 Get my free course on the basic teachings of Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths: https://bit.ly/4NTsBuddh May you and all beings be well.
36:49
February 09, 2022
The Lotus Sutra, Tibetan Buddhism, and the Matrix: Kyohei Mikawa
The Lotus Sutra, Tibetan Buddhism, and the Matrix: Kyohei Mikawa
My new friend and PhD student in the University of Chicago's Divinity School Kyohei Mikawa explains the ideas of the immanent and transcendent in the philosophy of religion and how they apply to Buddhism. Then we use those terms to talk about our two fields of interest and expertise… and how they relate to The Matrix! Along the way, Kyohei will also explain the Lotus Sutra (which is very famous and important for Mahayana Buddhism) and how his practices based on it help him live a happier life. Even when it comes to dealing with rude drivers! Find all of Kyohei’s videos applying the Lotus Sutra to modern life: https://bit.ly/kyoheilotus And connect with him on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kevinmccauer/ Get my free intro course on the Four Noble Truths: https://bit.ly/4NTsBuddh May you and all beings be well.
36:31
February 05, 2022
Passion and creativity: the fire element in Tibetan Buddhism
Passion and creativity: the fire element in Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism describes five elements and their qualities as a way of understanding ourselves and the world around us. Fire drives our creativity and enthusiasm, and when it's balanced we naturally find an energized, blissful joy. We'll talk about cultivating balanced fire in our lives. In meditation, if the fire element is too strong we'll have thoughts and ideas popping up constantly. There are different techniques for dialing back the fire element, but one effective way is to do practices that cultivate the earth element, like a body scan or breath meditation that enhances your mind's ability to rest on its object. This will turn down the intensity of thoughts appearing constantly. To enhance the fiery quality of your practice, explore new kinds of meditation (like mantra practice or guided visualizations), new teachings, or a new spiritual podcast. To cultivate balanced fire energy in daily life, you can try: - spending time outside in the sun - thinking about what excites you creatively and then taking steps to pursue it - noticing the warmth of your body Get the free email course: https://bit.ly/5elemts Get the book (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3GPUx83 Get my free course on the basic teachings of Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths: https://bit.ly/4NTsBuddh May you and all beings be well.
33:49
February 02, 2022
Ease and connection: the water element in Tibetan Buddhism
Ease and connection: the water element in Tibetan Buddhism
We all want to flow more easily through life, with grace and ease. Did you know that flow in Tibetan Buddhism is associated with the water element? In this talk, I'll explain the basic qualities of the water element in Tibetan Buddhism (ease, flow, and emotional connection), what happens when this element is imbalanced, and how we can balance our water in daily life and meditation practice. Just like the other elements (earth, fire, air, and space), water has a wisdom that can support our meditation practice. Because water represents the qualities of flow and comfort, it can help us settle joyfully into life and meditation practice. Water is also associated with heart-opening meditation practices like loving-kindness or compassion meditations, or with opening to the blessings of our practice lineage. When we meditate with the water element, we can become more aware of when we are holding back from true connection and when we feel integrated with the rest of our world. Get the free email course: https://bit.ly/5elemts Get the book (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3GPUx83 Get my free course on the basic teachings of Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths: https://bit.ly/4NTsBuddh
31:05
January 27, 2022
The earth element in Tibetan Buddhism (full teaching)
The earth element in Tibetan Buddhism (full teaching)
The "heaviest" of the elements, earth symbolizes stability, equanimity, and rootedness. Love and acceptance are fundamental elements of earth energy. By connecting with this energy, you can access a deep sense of stillness and peace. You can connect with the earth element in daily life by immersing yourself in a natural environment, such as a forest, field, desert, or mountain. Try walking barefoot, sitting on the ground, or lying on the earth. When we meditate on earth, we strengthen our ability to focus the mind and let it settle into its own rich, abundant nature. Practices like focusing the mind on the breath, bodily sensations, or a mantra can help generate earth-like stability. And meditating on equanimity strengthens that aspect of earth energy. In this teaching, I talk about the qualities of balanced earth energy -- and the drawbacks of unbalanced energy, like feeling scattered or sluggish. Get the free email course: https://bit.ly/5elemts Get the book (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3GPUx83
50:59
January 20, 2022
Buddhist guided meditation for anxiety
Buddhist guided meditation for anxiety
If you've ever tried to overcome anxiety through mindfulness alone, you might know it's not so easy. But according to Tibetan Buddhism, all emotions are expressions of the elements -- earth, water, fire, wind, and space -- and each has its own wisdom.   We can learn a lot about ourselves when we allow ourselves to feel our difficult emotions. Anxiety, for instance, can alert us to negative messages we may have internalized when we were young, but we can now use awareness to overcome those limitations.   In this meditation, we'll call on sacred support to explore and undo anxiety.   Learn more about the basics of Buddhism with a free course on the Four Noble Truths: https://bit.ly/4NTsBuddh   I recorded this video from a live Insight Timer teaching; you can find me there and get notified of future talks: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal   To support my work, you can join my Patreon insiders (https://bit.ly/3Dm14p2) or make a one-time donation (https://bit.ly/CVPayPalMe).   May all beings be well.    clairevillarreal.com
22:52
January 12, 2022
DIY meditation retreat: 3 tips for beginners
DIY meditation retreat: 3 tips for beginners
What do you need to do to set yourself up for success for your first time doing a DIY meditation retreat? Here are a few DIY retreat ideas you can use, even if you've never tried this before! And you can sign up to get notified of other resources for DIY meditation retreats and be the first invited if I offer a group retreat experience: https://bit.ly/DIYretreat22 1) Integrate retreat into your practice Before you leave for retreat, start reading about and practicing the topic you're going to practice on retreat (like calm abiding, loving kindness, or whatever you'd like to work on). 2) Go somewhere else Life at home is different from life in a monastery or community setting, and if possible, go somewhere else (like a cabin or even tent in nature) to do your retreat. If you need to do your meditation retreat at home, create a special space for it -- not where you work or play daily. 3) Go offline Don't waste your precious retreat hours stirring up the same old concerns in your mind! Put your phone in airplane mode and let your mind settle. 00:00 Intro  01:46 Integrate retreat into daily practice  02:42 Go someplace different  04:45 Go offline
07:06
January 06, 2022
New mindfulness course starts Monday (no meditation required!)
New mindfulness course starts Monday (no meditation required!)
If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to start meditating… for years now… then this course is for you! We’ll do short practices together as a group, all of them oriented toward helping you experience moments of waking up out of a distracted, rushed state of mind into the present moment. Then you’ll experiment with one practice each week as you go through your days and share at our next meeting what’s happened. We’ll focus on the breath, movements of the body, and even words that can help us get centered again in the midst of daily life. With your new set of tools to bring mindfulness to daily life – whether you ever sit on a cushion or not! – you’ll be ready to kick 2022 off right. Learn more and register: https://bit.ly/3F0AkuF When: Mondays at 6-7:30 p.m. CST Where: Zoom How much: $100 ($80 for Dawn Mountain members), no one turned away for lack of funds
01:07
January 05, 2022
The Matrix is Buddhist, y'all!
The Matrix is Buddhist, y'all!
The Matrix is full of Buddhist themes! In the movies, we're dreaming, not interacting with the real world because the machines (read: AI) are using humans as batteries and actively keeping us asleep. In Buddhism, it's because we have countless lifetimes' worth of mistaken assumptions about the world. We see everything through the tinted lenses of our past. But you can wake up! In The Matrix, you have to know the right person and get lucky to wake up, and when you do, the real world is grim and grey and no fun. In Buddhism, you don't have to rely on anyone to wake up. Each of us contains basic luminosity, and Buddhist path shows us how to wake up. As we walk the spiritual path, the real world is amazing, splendid, and the more we clear off our lenses, the more vivid the world gets. May you and all beings be well.
05:50
December 24, 2021
Living each moment: the bardo of this life
Living each moment: the bardo of this life
In traditional Tibetan Buddhist teachings on the bardo states, the bardo of this life is the first one mentioned. It’s the one we’re in now, and it’s the best time to train our minds. But in the process of transitions, it’s the part of the process that seems to get the least attention, maybe because we never seem to realize we were in a stable period of life until that ends. So we’ve left it until last on this podcast because often we appreciate this lifetime – or a stable period in it – most fully only after it’s over. We’ve talked and imagined our way through the bardos of death, clear light, and becoming now (see previous episodes if you missed those talks), so hopefully we can appreciate the bardo of this life properly. This episode mentions a free mini-course I put together with resources on training calm abiding and special insight in meditation. Here’s the link to enroll: https://clairevillarreal.teachable.com/p/essential-tools-for-meditation The book that’s mentioned in this episode is Mind Beyond Death by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. And here’s the link to register for my free email course on Tibetan rebirth teachings: https://bit.ly/bardocourse
29:57
December 23, 2021
The in-between state: the bardo of becoming
The in-between state: the bardo of becoming
Today’s episode is all about the most famous part of the death and rebirth cycle in Tibetan Buddhism: the bardo between death and rebirth, also called the bardo of becoming. We start with a summary of the traditional description of this bardo state, in which we’re said to have a mental body. We start off still connected with the identity of the life that just finished and end up connecting with the life we’re about to begin. This bardo is said to be a dreamlike state in which we’re blown around by our thoughts and emotions (which sounds like daily life sometimes, but moreso). There are two books I highly recommend if you want to read more on this bardo: Tulku Thondup’s Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth and Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s Mind Beyond Death. If you’re new to all this, Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth is an easier one to start with. And here’s the link to register for my free email course on Tibetan rebirth teachings: https://bit.ly/bardocourse
24:20
December 23, 2021
Discovering our true luminosity: the bardo of clear light
Discovering our true luminosity: the bardo of clear light
The bardo of clear light is the one moment in our life-death-and-rebirth cycle when we naturally have a direct experience of our true nature. It’s a moment we can prepare for during this lifetime by getting in the habit of noticing and appreciating the glimpses we get of our deeper nature. (Meditation helps with that.  ;) Recommended reading for this episode is from Mind Beyond Death by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. And here’s the link to register for my free email course on Tibetan rebirth teachings: https://bit.ly/bardocourse
17:12
December 23, 2021
The process of dissolution: Tibetan teachings on dying
The process of dissolution: Tibetan teachings on dying
Tibetan teachings on the death process are profoundly inspiring. Yes, it’s a sad and possibly scary time of letting go of our ordinary sense of self – but what really dies is everything except our true self, which gets to shine through clearly into our experience. Today’s teaching episode centers on Tibetan teachings about the death process, but we’ll also discuss why it’s difficult to let go into transitions and how we can prepare daily. And here’s the link to register for my free email course on Tibetan rebirth teachings: https://bit.ly/bardocourse In the episode, I mention a couple of books and an important concept, so here are links: William Bridges, Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Mind Beyond Death Bruce Feiler, Life is in the Transitions And you can read more about Max Weber’s concept of disenchantment here.
33:07
December 23, 2021
Tibetan teachings on rebirth -- and their wisdom for life's transitions
Tibetan teachings on rebirth -- and their wisdom for life's transitions
Transitions often take us through loss and darkness, but we come out the other side transformed and more in touch with our light.  In this episode, I briefly outline the four bardo (in-between) states that the Tibetan Buddhist tradition uses to talk about death and rebirth, the biggest transition we face.  And I introduce the structure of transitions, a way of applying these teachings to the “deaths and rebirths” we all experience within this lifetime. And here’s the link to register for my free email course on Tibetan rebirth teachings: https://bit.ly/bardocourse May you and all beings be well.
17:03
December 23, 2021
Overcoming anxiety: a Tibetan Buddhist approach
Overcoming anxiety: a Tibetan Buddhist approach
If you've ever tried to overcome anxiety through mindfulness alone, you might know it's not so easy. But according to Tibetan Buddhism, all emotions are expressions of the elements -- earth, water, fire, wind, and space -- and each has its own wisdom. We can learn a lot about ourselves when we allow ourselves to feel our difficult emotions. Anxiety, for instance, can alert us to negative messages we may have internalized when we were young, but we can now use awareness to overcome those limitations. In this talk, I'll explain the connections between anxiety and the elements of air and space. I recorded this video from a live Insight Timer teaching; you can find me there and get notified of future talks: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal To get the resources associated with this teaching series on types of Buddhism and get notified of upcoming live events, join this mailing list: https://bit.ly/typesBuddh To support my work, you can join my Patreon insiders (https://bit.ly/3Dm14p2) or make a one-time donation (https://bit.ly/CVPayPalMe). May all beings be well. clairevillarreal.com
32:18
December 22, 2021
History Encoded: The origins of Buddhism
History Encoded: The origins of Buddhism
In this introduction to the origins and basic beliefs of Buddhism, Karim Ali interviews monk Ajahn Punnadhammo and me (Claire Villarreal). Listen for his take on the Buddha’s life story, the Four Noble Truths – and some questions I’ve never thought to address, like is there a Buddhist “creation story”? Check out Karim’s podcast, History Encoded, to learn more about the world’s religions. And you can find more of Ajahn Punnadhammo here: https://www.dharma.org/teacher/ajahn-punnadhammo/ Get my free email course on the Four Noble Truths: https://bit.ly/4NTsBuddh
19:23
December 22, 2021
Buddhism on difficult emotions: meditating on sadness
Buddhism on difficult emotions: meditating on sadness
If you've ever tried -- and failed -- to "let go" of anxiety, anger, or sadness, you might know it's not so easy. Buddhism offers a different way to deal with these emotions. First we need to recognize the wisdom within them, and then we can learn to express that energy in a healthy way. Rather than trying to push them away, we can investigate the wisdom they offer. In this guided meditation, we'll invoke protective blessings before exploring sadness in our own experience. Beneath the surface messages of sadness or loneliness (e.g., "No one loves you," "You'll never be happy again") is a deeper intuition of connection and the capacity for love.  I recorded this meditation from a live Insight Timer teaching; you can find me there and get notified of future talks: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal To get the resources associated with this teaching series on types of Buddhism and get notified of upcoming live events, join this mailing list: https://bit.ly/typesBuddh To support my work, you can join my Patreon insiders (https://bit.ly/3Dm14p2) or make a one-time donation (https://bit.ly/CVPayPalMe). May all beings be well. clairevillarreal.com
17:16
December 21, 2021
Buddhist approach to sadness: wisdom of the water element
Buddhist approach to sadness: wisdom of the water element
Many people try to avoid sadness and even judge ourselves when we feel sad. But it's an important emotion, and when we feel it with full attention, it may offer us unexpected wisdom.   In Tibetan Buddhism, the water element is a symbol of connection and feelings; in the Western imagination, it's related to emotions and the unconscious. Drawing on these related understandings of water, we can look for its wisdom in our moments of loneliness and sadness.   Join my email list and get invited to Monday's group call (and future ones): https://bit.ly/CVmailing  In this episode, I mention this beautiful understanding of sadness: https://onbeing.org/programs/katherine-may-how-wintering-replenishes/  This video was recorded from a live session on Insight Timer. Follow me there to get notified of future live talks and meditations: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal
22:13
December 17, 2021
Meditating with anger: Tibetan Buddhist approach to difficult emotions
Meditating with anger: Tibetan Buddhist approach to difficult emotions
Recorded live from an Insight Timer meditation, this session is all about meditating with anger. According to Tibetan Buddhist teachings, emotions contain wisdom, and rather than trying to suppress the ones we don't like, this approach emphasizes feeling emotions and working skillfully with them instead.
16:50
December 16, 2021
Zen and Pure Land Buddhism: emptiness and buddha nature
Zen and Pure Land Buddhism: emptiness and buddha nature
How does Zen Buddhism connect emptiness and buddha nature? What is Pure Land Buddhism, and how do its followers practice?   Zen and Pure Land Buddhism (like all other branches of Mahayana Buddhism) teach that emptiness and buddha nature are the basic qualities of reality. "Emptiness" means that we're empty of inherent existence -- in other words, the small selves we identify with aren't our true nature. Instead, all beings have buddha nature, a luminous aspect of our being that is what we truly are.   In this video, I'll explain how these two major schools of Mahayana Buddhism bring the doctrines of emptiness and buddha nature into their practice to help followers wake up to joy.   New to this series? Listen to my intro to Mahayana history (https://plnk.to/buddhist-wisdom/e/1000543892579) and emptiness and buddha nature (https://plnk.to/buddhist-wisdom/e/1000544097915).   I recorded this video from a live Insight Timer teaching; you can find me there and get notified of future talks: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal  To get the resources associated with this teaching series on types of Buddhism and get notified of upcoming live events, join this mailing list: https://bit.ly/typesBuddh  To support my work, you can join my Patreon insiders (https://bit.ly/3Dm14p2) or make a one-time donation (https://bit.ly/CVPayPalMe).   May all beings be well.  clairevillarreal.com
06:54
December 14, 2021
Tibetan Buddhism on difficult emotions: guided meditation
Tibetan Buddhism on difficult emotions: guided meditation
If you've ever tried -- and failed -- to "let go" of anxiety, anger, or sadness, you might know it's not so easy. Buddhism offers a different way to deal with these emotions. First we need to recognize the wisdom within them, and then we can learn to express that energy in a healthy way. In this guided meditation, I’ll guide you through settling the mind and energy, then intentionally bringing up a difficult emotion so you can feel it, understand its wisdom, and then let it go. This meditation is part of a series on understanding the wisdom of emotional energy; if you'd like to read more on this topic (and about the energies used in profound Tibetan practices), please check out Healing With Form, Energy and Light by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. Here's an affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3DAYlrz. (If you click it and buy the book, you don't pay extra, but you support this podcast.) To support my work, you can join my Patreon insiders (https://bit.ly/3Dm14p2) or make a one-time donation (https://bit.ly/CVPayPalMe). May all beings be well. clairevillarreal.com
21:00
December 07, 2021
Mahayana Buddhism beliefs: Emptiness and buddha nature
Mahayana Buddhism beliefs: Emptiness and buddha nature
Mahayana Buddhism has a lot in common with earlier forms of Buddhism (like belief in samsara and nirvana, lack of inherently existent self, dukkha, impermanence, etc.). But in this episode I'll explore two of the distinctive philosophical innovations that make Mahayana Buddhist schools like Zen and Pure Land distinctive: emptiness and buddha nature.   These two philosophical ideas work together: buddha nature is our true "self," and the small sense of self that we usually grasp at doesn't really exist (i.e., it's empty of true existence).   If you missed my earlier video on the origins of the Mahayana schools, you can catch that here: https://youtu.be/R7Gc2rDbgb4  I recorded this video from a live Insight Timer teaching; you can find me there and get notified of future talks: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal  To get the resources associated with this teaching series on types of Buddhism and get notified of upcoming live events, join this mailing list: https://bit.ly/typesBuddh  To support my work, you can join my Patreon insiders (https://bit.ly/3Dm14p2) or make a one-time donation (https://bit.ly/CVPayPalMe).   May all beings be well.   Chapters:  00:00 Intro  00:33 Connections between Mahayana and Early Buddhism  02:25 Emptiness  07:55 Buddha nature
10:46
December 06, 2021
Mahayana Buddhism: Origins and history
Mahayana Buddhism: Origins and history
Welcome to this introduction to the origins and history of the Mahayana schools of Buddhism! I’ll discuss how the Mahayana grew organically from earlier Buddhist teachings and the connections it shares with what’s now called the Theravada lineage.    Plus I’ll briefly explain how this tradition spread throughout North and East Asia and how it’s adapted to the various cultures it’s encountered.   I recorded this video from a live Insight Timer teaching; you can find me there and get notified of future talks: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal  To get the resources associated with this teaching series on types of Buddhism and get notified of upcoming live events, join this mailing list: https://bit.ly/typesBuddh  To support my work, you can join my Patreon insiders (https://bit.ly/3Dm14p2) or make a one-time donation (https://bit.ly/CVPayPalMe).   May all beings be well.
18:10
December 03, 2021
Types of Buddhism: Mahayana
Types of Buddhism: Mahayana
If you've heard of the three types of Buddhism (Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana), you might wonder: What are the origins of Mayahana Buddhism? How is it similar to and different from Theravada? What are the practices and beliefs of Mahayana Buddhists? In this video, I'll cover the historical origins of the Mahayana schools, the historical development of the Mahayana and how it grew organically out of early Buddhism. Then I’ll introduce two major Mahayana innovations, emptiness and buddha nature, before explaining how two important lineages – Zen and Pure Land – and how their practices integrate emptiness and buddha nature. I recorded this video from a live Insight Timer teaching; you can find me there and get notified of future talks: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal To get the resources associated with this teaching series on types of Buddhism and get notified of upcoming live events, join this mailing list: https://bit.ly/typesBuddh To support my work, you can join my Patreon insiders (https://bit.ly/3Dm14p2) or make a one-time donation (https://bit.ly/CVPayPalMe). May all beings be well.
21:13
December 02, 2021
Meditation for beginners: Kindness and curiosity
Meditation for beginners: Kindness and curiosity
Being gentle with yourself as you begin to practice meditation, then staying curious as your mind shows you what's really going on in your head -- these two qualities together can keep meditation fun and help you stick with it until it becomes a habit. To support my work, you can join my Patreon insiders (https://bit.ly/3Dm14p2) or make a one-time donation (https://bit.ly/CVPayPalMe). May all beings be well.
09:40
November 30, 2021
Meditation for beginners: Giving yourself permission to practice
Meditation for beginners: Giving yourself permission to practice
Often folks new to meditation feel as though they have to do it "right" from the get-go, which can be super frustrating. In this episode, I'll share some tips for relaxing into practice. To support my work, you can join my Patreon insiders (https://bit.ly/3Dm14p2) or make a one-time donation (https://bit.ly/CVPayPalMe). May all beings be well.
10:03
November 25, 2021
Types of Buddhism: Theravada
Types of Buddhism: Theravada
What is Theravada Buddhism? It's the oldest surviving school of Early Buddhism, and it's still centered on the earliest teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha.  But now it's spread throughout South and Southeast Asia and the rest of the world, and because it's the basis for the mindfulness movement, modern Theravada teachings have had a huge impact on spiritual practice globally.   In this video I'll talk about the history of Theravada Buddhism, its core beliefs and practices, and the ways it influences modern life.   I recorded this video from a live Insight Timer teaching; you can find me there and get notified of future talks: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal  To get the resources associated with this teaching series on types of Buddhism and get notified of upcoming live events, join this mailing list: https://bit.ly/typesBuddh  To support my work, you can join my Patreon insiders (https://bit.ly/3Dm14p2) or make a one-time donation (https://bit.ly/CVPayPalMe).   May all beings be well.
40:55
November 09, 2021
Origins of the mindfulness movement: Theravada Buddhism
Origins of the mindfulness movement: Theravada Buddhism
What are the origins of mindfulness meditation? The mindfulness movement has become so ubiquitous that it seems as though it's always been around! But actually the roots of mindfulness meditation are in the forms of Theravada Buddhist practice found in South and Southeast Asia. In this video, I'll explain how the founders of the Insight Meditation Society (Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, and Jacqueline Mandell) adapted what they learned in Asia to benefit modern Western society. Of course, there's more to the story of the adaptation of Buddhist meditation into the mindfulness movement, but I think the story of the IMS founders -- and then further adaptations by Jon Kabat-Zinn and others -- is a good illustration of the way people have brought some parts of the Buddhist tradition West and secularlized them. This audio comes from a video I recorded during a live Insight Timer teaching; you can find me there and get notified of future talks: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal To get the resources associated with this teaching series on types of Buddhism and get notified of upcoming live events, join this mailing list: https://bit.ly/typesBuddh To support my work, you can join my Patreon insiders (https://bit.ly/3Dm14p2) or make a one-time donation (https://bit.ly/CVPayPalMe). May all beings be well. #theravada #buddhism #mindfulness
09:02
November 09, 2021
Buddhist meditation: samatha (calm abiding) and vipassana (special insight)
Buddhist meditation: samatha (calm abiding) and vipassana (special insight)
The Theravada Buddhist tradition has wonderful resources on meditation, like the Four Foundations of Mindfulness in the Satipatthana Sutta. But put simply, what makes meditation Buddhist? Or Theravadin?   In this video, I'll talk about two basic factors: samatha (calm abiding) and vipassana (special insight). These two work together and can be difficult to distinguish from each other, so I'll clarify their meaning a bit. I learned about all this in the Thai forest tradition, so my explanation might sound different from what a student of Burmese or Sri Lankan dharma traditions would say.   Also, because the mindfulness movement has borrowed so heavily from Theravada meditative traditions, it can be difficult to get back to the original intent of meditation in a Buddhist context: to notice our mistaken assumptions about the world and ourselves and begin to uproot them. If meditation leads in the direction of awakening, it's probably drawing on samatha and vipassana.   I recorded this video from a live Insight Timer teaching; you can find me there and get notified of future talks: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal  To get the resources associated with this teaching series on types of Buddhism and get notified of upcoming live events, join this mailing list: https://bit.ly/typesBuddh  To support my work, you can join my Patreon insiders (https://bit.ly/3Dm14p2) or make a one-time donation (https://bit.ly/CVPayPalMe).   May all beings be well.
08:28
November 03, 2021
samsara and nirvana, the three characteristics of phenomena: Buddhist basics
samsara and nirvana, the three characteristics of phenomena: Buddhist basics
The core teachings of Buddhism are all here! Samsara is the Buddhist term describing the cycle longing for something or someone we think will make us happy, getting what we want, and being dissatisfied again before too long -- and then we start the cycle over again. Nirvana (Pali nibbana) is what happens when we wake up out of that cycle to find lasting joy. And what do we wake up to? The three characteristics of phenomena! Teachings on impermanence, lack of inherently existent self, and unsatisfactoriness help us wake up our of our trance. Grab the "handout" with more context on Theravada Buddhism: https://bit.ly/311Xm67 Sign up to get notified of live teachings and other resources: https://bit.ly/typesBuddh Support my work on Patreon: https://bit.ly/3Dm14p2 Buy me a virtual coffee: https://bit.ly/CVPayPalMe
11:57
October 25, 2021
Types of Buddhism // Overview of Buddhist history
Types of Buddhism // Overview of Buddhist history
If you've ever wondered how the different types of Buddhism developed -- like Zen, Tibetan, Theravada, Pure Land, etc. -- and what their basic similarities are, this video will walk you through an overview of that history! I'll explain the Buddha (when he lived and an overview of his teachings), major points in the development of the Buddhist traditions (like the spread of the dharma through what's now India and Nepal, the emergence of Mahayana and Vajrayana, and the Buddhist encounter with the West). I created a handout to go with this video, and you can get it for free here: https://www.clairevillarreal.com/insight-timer 00:00 Intro 01:26 Important terms 01:29 Who is the Buddha? 02:15 What is the dharma? 02:41 What is the sangha? 03:52 What is the Theravada? 04:36 What is the Mahayana? 06:31 What is the Vajrayana? 08:26 Some important dates 08:47 Life of the Buddha 10:36 Rule of King Ashoka 12:16 Beginning of Mahayana 12:48 Review of the Four Noble Truths 14:34 Mahayana developments 16:05 Buddhism spreads to China 18:22 Beginning of Buddhist tantra 21:13 Decline of Buddhism in India 23:55 Buddhism spreads to Tibet 24:42 Buddhist contact with the West
30:17
October 15, 2021
What happens when we die? Buddhism's answer
What happens when we die? Buddhism's answer
What happens when we die? It's one of the biggest mysteries of human life, and all spiritual traditions offer an answer. But Tibetan Buddhism has incredibly extensive teachings about the death and rebirth process.    You might have heard of the "Tibetan Book of the Dead" (actually a whole genre of literature and practices), and in this video I'll walk you through the process it describes of living this life with intention, passing through the death process as our body shuts down, then coming face to face with our deepest nature at the end of the death process before entering the bardo state between death and rebirth.   Want my quick guide to this process, with links to longer teachings on each state? Grab it here: https://bit.ly/2Zl80UA  Check out Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth: https://amzn.to/3Bs933d (affiliate link)
17:37
October 13, 2021
Green Tara introduction and mantra meditation
Green Tara introduction and mantra meditation
Green Tara's mantra (OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA) is famous and beloved in Tibet and elsewhere. In this short teaching and meditation practice, I'll give a brief introduction to Tara, and then (about minute 7) we'll chant her mantra together. So join me and get your green on! Want a free quick guide to rebirth in Tibetan Buddhism (e.g., the teachings of The Tibetan Book of the Dead)? Grab it here now: https://bit.ly/2Zl80UA
16:33
October 05, 2021
Bodhichitta: The heart of Mahayana Buddhism
Bodhichitta: The heart of Mahayana Buddhism
If you're interested in the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism, you've surely heard the term "bodhichitta." It's supposed to be the aspiration behind all of our dharma practice -- but what does it actually mean? "Bodhichitta" (also spelled bodhicitta) means the aspiration to wake up fully (i.e., realize our buddhahood or "become enlightened") in order to help everyone else wake up, too. The practices we do with this motivation might look similar to what we'd do if we just wanted more happiness in our lives: cultivating mindfulness and compassion, for example. But if we're practicing not just to alleviate our own unhappiness but ultimately to alleviate everyone else's, too, we can find more motivation to keep going when practice gets tough. Want to learn more about the core teachings of Buddhism? Check out my free course by email: https://bit.ly/4NTsBuddh
27:03
October 05, 2021
What is karma? Ask a Buddhist
What is karma? Ask a Buddhist
Karma is one of the most important teachings of Buddhism, but it's often misunderstood! Let's talk about what karma is (actions and their results), how mindfulness practice can help us create good karma, how hard times can help us burn off bad karma, and more. This video was recorded from a live Insight Timer teaching. To find me there and join future teachings live -- for free -- see: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal Free email course on the Four Noble Truths (for beginners): https://bit.ly/4NTsBuddh
35:36
September 17, 2021
Buddhism's Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha
Buddhism's Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha
In Buddhism, the Three Jewels are the Buddha (the one who shows us the way to awakening), the Dharma (the teachings that wake us up), and the Sangha (our guides and friends on the path to awakening). Traditionally, Buddhists have taken refuge in these daily because they orient us toward the highest truth and help us remember there's more to life than the daily grind. Whether you're Buddhist or not, you can make the Three Jewels a part of your life to keep yourself oriented toward what's ultimately meaningful. I gave this talk live on Insight Timer. To join future live teachings there (for free), see:http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal
25:22
September 03, 2021
Meditation retreat as a way to deepen spiritual practice
Meditation retreat as a way to deepen spiritual practice
Meditation retreats are a wonderful way to deepen your practice -- so in this video I'll share what retreat is, how you can do retreat, and the benefits this kind of practice brings.  Whether you're curious about Buddhist retreats, interested in a 10-day vipassana retreat course, or just looking to unplug sometimes in daily life, the practice and attitude of retreat can help!   Learn more about Elaine Aron’s research on highly sensitive people (HSPs) at her site: https://hsperson.com/  And find info about S.N. Goenka’s vipassana courses (retreats) or apply to join a course at his organization’s website: https://www.dhamma.org/en-US/index  00:00 What is retreat?  01:00 Boundaries  03:45 Benefits of retreat  06:15 How to do retreat  09:15 Retreat mindset in daily life
10:10
July 29, 2021
Mantras in Tibetan Buddhism: what they are and how to use them in meditation
Mantras in Tibetan Buddhism: what they are and how to use them in meditation
In Tibetan Buddhism, mantras are sacred syllables that evoke the energy of a buddha. We say them to wake that divine energy up in ourselves.  Mantras are intended to protect the mind from falling asleep to our true nature by reminding us that we have buddha nature. When we say them, we're calling on the energy of the buddha whose mantra we're saying (like Green Tara with OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA, or Avalokiteshvara with OM MANI PADME HUM).   In this audio from a talk I did on Insight Timer, I'll explain what mantras are and how to use them in your meditation practice, even if you're a beginner.   You can find me on Insight Timer to participate in future live talks: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal
34:01
July 23, 2021
Emptiness and buddha nature (from Insight Timer live talk)
Emptiness and buddha nature (from Insight Timer live talk)
Emptiness and buddha nature might sound like two different topics, but actually they're deeply interconnected, and both are vital to Mahayana Buddhism.  "Emptiness" means that everything we experience in the world -- including our selves -- is empty of existing from its own side. Our bodies, for instance, are made of DNA from our parents and molecules from food, air, etc.   But there's more to us than our bodies and even our conventional minds. We have buddha nature, and the way we can experience it is by searching for a true self in the conventional world, not finding it, and finally landing in the spaciousness and awakeness of buddha nature.   Questions? Post them in the comments! Want a video on a topic you've always wondered about? I'd love to hear your suggestions! Please post them in the comments.   This talk was originally offered on Insight Timer; to follow me there and get invitations to my live talks, click here: http://insig.ht/clairevillarreal   Want to join my Buddhist basics newsletter for thoughts, downloadable resources, and invitations to live events? Click here: https://bit.ly/3nvo3Hi
26:01
July 13, 2021
The "dukkhometer" -- noticing what causes unease
The "dukkhometer" -- noticing what causes unease
Dukkha is an important word in Buddhism. It can mean anything from subtle unease -- thinking life could somehow be better -- to outright suffering. In this guided meditation, we'll notice what brings us dukkha and what doesn't. You might be surprised at what you discover!
25:36
May 20, 2021
Buddhism's Fourth Noble Truth: The path to freedom
Buddhism's Fourth Noble Truth: The path to freedom
Buddhism’s Fourth Noble Truth contains the entire Buddhist path to awakening (enlightenment). It states that there’s a path from unawakened existence, in which we’re always subject to dissatisfaction, to full awakening, a state beyond the understanding of our ordinary mind. We’ll talk about the eight steps along this path: skillful understanding, skillful thought, skillful speech, skillful action, skillful livelihood, skillful effort, skillful mindfulness, and skillful concentration. Get the free mini-course for beginners on the Four Noble Truths: https://bit.ly/Bddhist4NTs For a link to Ven. Henepola Gunaratana’s book on the Noble Eightfold Path and others on the Four Noble Truths, see https://bit.ly/3uYYuBB.
29:22
May 20, 2021
Meditating on impermanence via the breath
Meditating on impermanence via the breath
The Buddhist tradition teaches that everything is impermanent, but what does that mean? With this simple meditation, we'll pay attention to the flow of the breath, its pauses and its unceasing dynamism.
09:58
May 18, 2021
Pebble drops down: Guided imagery meditation for focus
Pebble drops down: Guided imagery meditation for focus
In this guided meditation, we'll imagine a luminous pebble dropping down through the ocean until it comes to rest at the bottom. In the process, we focus the mind and drop it deeper into the body. If you enjoy meditations that use your imagination, this is a great way to get focused and reduce stress.
09:52
May 18, 2021
Space meditation
Space meditation
We often focus on the objects of mind -- thoughts, sensations, feelings, etc. -- without noticing the mind itself. In this guided meditation, we'll settle the mind and then shift our focus to the space in which all experience happens. As we get more comfortable with space, we'll stop filling it up with thoughts, busyness, and everything else that keeps us overloaded.
17:42
May 18, 2021
Guided meditation: Is this me?
Guided meditation: Is this me?
Get this free mini-course that introduces you to each of the Four Noble Truths, with guided meditations, reflection questions, a reading list, and more: https://bit.ly/Bddhist4NTs Following classic Buddhist teachings, in this meditation we interrogate our experience with the simple question: "Is this me?" Is each breath, each bodily sensation, each thought really me? Or is my mind constantly weaving these together into a seemingly seamless self?
09:18
May 18, 2021
Buddhism's third Noble Truth: awakening to our true nature
Buddhism's third Noble Truth: awakening to our true nature
For a free mini-course on the Four Noble Truths and how they can help us live more fulfilling lives, visit https://bit.ly/Bddhist4NTs. The third Noble Truth presents the goal of Buddhist practice and the ultimate Buddhist belief: the mind is luminous and fully aware by nature, and when that's uncovered, we've finally cut the root of ignorance. We've woken up. Called the truth of cessation, the Third Noble Truth teaches that it's possible for all dissatisfaction and unhappiness to cease, leaving us in a state of ongoing bliss.
13:55
May 18, 2021
Buddhism's Second Noble Truth: The cause of human unhappiness
Buddhism's Second Noble Truth: The cause of human unhappiness
For a free mini-course on the Four Noble Truths and how they can help us live more fulfilling lives, visit https://bit.ly/Bddhist4NTs. In the first Noble Truth (see previous episode), the Buddha describes the human predicament: we keep chasing after things (or people or accomplishments) we think will satisfy our sense that there's something more, something better for us. But external things or relationships will never bring us lasting happiness; only connecting with our true nature can do that. In the second Noble Truth, the Buddha "diagnoses" the cause of our unhappiness: we misunderstand the nature of reality, and based on that we try to grab onto what we want and keep it, while we try to push away what we don't want. Spoiler alert, though: that never works for long.
18:54
May 18, 2021
Buddhism's first Noble Truth: unsatisfactoriness of unawakened life
Buddhism's first Noble Truth: unsatisfactoriness of unawakened life
For a free mini-course on the Four Noble Truths and how they can help us live more fulfilling lives, visit https://bit.ly/Bddhist4NTs. The first of the Four Noble Truths is the one most people think they know, but it's also the most misunderstood. Often it's translated as "Life is suffering," which isn't very accurate. Instead, the Buddha taught that as long as we don't understand the nature of reality -- as long as we unconsciously think of ourselves as permanent, as external factors as bringing lasting happiness -- we'll chase the kinds of pleasure that never quite satisfy us.
14:51
May 18, 2021
Intro to Buddhism's Four Noble Truths
Intro to Buddhism's Four Noble Truths
These teachings are the foundations of Buddhist beliefs around the world, and in this episode you'll hear the story behind the Four Noble Truths: of the Buddha's spiritual quest for enlightenment. That quest is one that each of us can still make, and it's easier now that we have a guide to the path!  Get this free mini-course that introduces you to each of the Four Noble Truths, with guided meditations, reflection questions, a reading list, and more: https://bit.ly/Bddhist4NTs
15:45
May 10, 2021
Zima warrior meditation on the Space
Zima warrior meditation on the Space
This meditation is for fans of the improvised comedy sci-fi podcast Mission to Zyxx, in which there are Jedi-like "mystical warriors" called the Zima knights. But the Zimas are more like stoner hippies who train in the Space rather than the Force, so this track is pretty silly. 😜 
09:12
December 11, 2020
Reconnect with your sacred nature through cleansing meditation
Reconnect with your sacred nature through cleansing meditation
Tibetan Buddhism offers powerful tools for cleansing our minds and bodies of stress and anxiety -- or anything else that's obscuring our luminous buddha nature.  In this short teaching and 15-ish minute guided cleansing meditation, we imagine a figure who represents groundedness and peace to us, then imagine them blessing us to release our mental detritus.   This episode is the audio from a video you can find in this playlist on YouTube, with other videos on what the Tibetan teachings offer us in 2020: http://bit.ly/TibBuddh. Meditation music is by Music of Wisdom; check out their work here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNIOO-STue044Dc7RM7OXSA
22:44
November 05, 2020
Tong-len with part of yourself
Tong-len with part of yourself
Tong-len (meditation on taking and giving) has deep roots in Tibetan Buddhism.  For this practice, we imagine a version of ourselves -- or you could imagine someone else who's difficult to deal with -- and imagine relieving their suffering and offering them happiness instead.  For a deeper dive on this type of meditation and its capacity to help us cultivate compassion, see Pema Chodron's wonderful book The Places That Scare You.
17:40
November 04, 2020
Buddhist refuge: Remembering our sacred nature
Buddhist refuge: Remembering our sacred nature
In these stressful times, it's tempting to "seek refuge" in quick fixes that distract us from uncomfortable feelings of deficiency and vulnerability (like binging social media, losing ourselves reading or watching TV, doomscrolling, etc.).  But if we can remember that we contain a sacred, luminous core, that's our true refuge from life's uncertainties. This audio comes from a video you can find here: https://youtu.be/Enh8pWuBvds.
10:07
October 30, 2020
Guided walking meditation
Guided walking meditation
Want to move your body and meditate at the same time?  This short, guided walking meditation track takes you through a timeless practice -- that makes a great break if you typically sit at a desk all day!
07:25
October 27, 2020
Guided meditation to soothe the nervous system: cozy cabin
Guided meditation to soothe the nervous system: cozy cabin
This short practice is intended to help turn down your amygdala (the part of the brain responsible for the fear and stress response), helping you find a calm center in the middle of life's storms.  It's guided, with the sounds of rain on the roof of a cabin and a cozy fire inside to help turn our attention from the stresses of the world -- the rain -- to our internal resources -- the fire.
11:56
October 27, 2020
This is what we train for: putting meditation to use
This is what we train for: putting meditation to use
f you practice the Buddhist path (Buddhadharma), it can be easy to fall into a rut and forget the real reasons we practice: to see into the nature of reality, to benefit all living beings, to throw the weight of our being against the systems that perpetuate suffering.  But times like we're living through now (Oct. 2020) remind us that spiritual practice isn't a hobby but a mission.   If you've been meditating for years but find yourself sometimes overwhelmed by what we're all living through, I'm with you!  I made this video to remind myself (and invite other folks like me) that while I sometimes need to hide and practice self-care, my practice provides tools for coping with the kinds of crazy times we're experiencing now.  For guided meditations, to join my newsletter list, read my blog, and more, please visit clairevillarreal.com.   🙏 Be well and stay safe out there, y'all.
11:34
October 15, 2020
Labeling thoughts "past," "present," and "future"
Labeling thoughts "past," "present," and "future"
This meditation helps you unplug from thoughts with a simple set of labels.  This one is great for a time when you're having trouble settling into meditation. For a free meditation mini-course, see: https://clairevillarreal.teachable.com/p/essential-tools-for-meditation Or visit my website: clairevillarreal.com
17:51
September 09, 2020