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Weekly Talks 2014

The Dharma of Scrooge (2014)

Published on Dec 21, 2014

Dickens' wonderful tale, "A Christmas Carol," is a very human story that we can all relate to. Whether one is studying and practicing on a spiritual path or not, this story reminds us that in the end, life is really about human kindness and how we relate to one another. While Scrooge is an extreme character, a man totally lost in the world of himself, we all have seeds of Scrooge in us. To see this and leave the unhappy world of self for the joyous experience of practicing generosity with others is to truly awaken.

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Core Values of the Florida Community of Mindfulness

Published on Dec 8, 2014

The Florida Community of Mindfulness has a very clear vision and mission that it seeks to realize. It also has eight essential principles, or "core values," that underlie, motivate, shape and guide the community. In this talk to students of FCM, teacher Fred Eppsteiner more deeply describes the core values of Awakening and Community. He also shares the community's gratitude to one of our Bodhisattva brothers, Sam Warlick.

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The Practice of Gratitude

Published on Dec 1, 2014

In this talk to students of the Florida Community of Mindfulness, Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner teaches that gratitude is a view of life that results in a feeling of openness, warmth, ease, fulfillment and wellbeing. We can learn to generate this view by reflecting on the innumerable acts of kindness that have been given to us in this lifetime, from the gift of life given by our parents and ancestors, to the many who have provided shelter, food, healthcare, friendship and many other types of love and support in our lives. The opposite is to live with a view of ingratitude, or dissatisfaction with life, a view that results in a feeling of aloneness, separation, and constriction. This opposite view is very focused on "self," whereas a deepening practice of gratitude helps us dissolve this sense of separation and realize our interconnection with all of life.

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Taking Your Practice to Work

Published on Nov 10, 2014

Many people have recently asked Fred questions about difficulties they experience in practicing mindfulness in what is often considered to be a stressful environment - the workplace. In response, Fred spoke to FCM students about "Taking Your Practice to Work: Mindfulness, Understanding and Compassion in the Workplace."

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The True Meaning of Mindfulness

Published on Oct 28, 2014

In this talk to students of FCM, Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner talks about the true meaning of mindfulness and the need to make it our constant practice if we seek transformation. Our Dharma will only grow if we take the seeds out of the packet and plant them. Fred discusses the importance of three of the Seven Factors of Awakening: mindfulness, concentration, and joyful effort.

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Cultivating Joy in the Joy of Others and Equality with the Seven Factors of Awakening

Published on Oct 8, 2014

As part of a series of talks on the Seven Factors of Awakening, Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner continues his teachings about t cultivating love (this week, specifically taking joy in the joy of others, and loving with equality) along side of the Seven Factors of Awakening.

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Cultivating Loving Kindness and Compassion with the Seven Factors of Awakening

Published on Sep 28, 2014

As part of a series of talks on the Seven Factors of Awakening, Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner pauses this week to discuss how, when developing all factors, we want to simultaneously cultivate loving kindness and compassion. The more we lead an awakened life, the more our egocentricity diminishes and the more we notice the interconnection of all life. Loving kindness and compassion will naturally arise, and we will move beyond indifference to empathy, and beyond empathy to action.

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Buddhism and the March to War: Practicing Non-violence

Published on Sep 15, 2014

In this talk to students of the Florida Community of Mindfulness, Fred Eppsteiner teaches that the Buddhist precept of non-violence is not simply a theoretical ideal to be recited. As the Buddha and so many other wise teachers from many traditions have taught throughout time, "Hatred will not cease by hatred, but by love alone." We must use the tools of mindfulness and investigation to look deeply into the very troubling and complex situations that we face today, examining the root causes and effects of conflict. Violent actions to produce short term results without consideration of the bigger picture can only produce the seeds of more future violence.

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Seven Factors of Awakening: Diligence

Published on Aug 31, 2014

The Buddha enunciated a spiritual path for awakening, one where we manifest goodness, wisdom, and compassion. Buddhism is a path of wellness, and as we nourish the positive qualities of mind, negative afflictions will naturally diminish. In this Dharma talk to students of FCM, Fred Eppsteiner talks about the importance of diligence, or energy, in creating transformation.

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The Seven Factors of Enlightenment:Investigation

Published on Aug 25, 2014

Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner continues his teachings on the Seven Factors of Enlightenment, with both a general discussion of why we cultivate these factors as well as a deeper look at the factor of Investigation.

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The Seven Factors of Awakening: Mindfulness

Published on Aug 18, 2014

The Buddha enunciated a spiritual path for awakening, one where we manifest goodness, wisdom, and compassion. Buddhism is a path of wellness, and as we nourish the positive qualities of mind, negative afflictions will naturally diminish. In this Dharma talk to students of FCM, Fred Eppsteiner talks about the importance of the path, and teaches about the fundamental factor of mindfulness.

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Right Speech: Wisdom and Practices for Healthy Relationships

Published on Aug 4, 2014

In Thich Nhat Hanh's offering of the fourth Mindfulness Training, Loving Speech and Deep Listening, we acknowledge that much suffering is caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, and we commit to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in ourselves and among other people. This commitment is so clear and wise; why do we often not practice it, particularly with those we are closest to? In this teaching to students of the Florida Community of Mindfulness, Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner talks about the importance of a clear, powerful conscious intention that is upfront and central in our daily lives. As well, we must understand and be ever vigilant for the negative habit energy, or what Eckhart Tolle calls the "pain body," that can arise and without mindfulness, bring much suffering into our speech and relationships.

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Pith Zen Teachings

Published on Jul 20, 2014

Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner shares wisdom from three great pith teachings by Dogen and others: 1) You should stop pursuing words and letters and learn to withdraw and reflect on yourself. When you do so, your body and mind will fall away naturally and your original Buddha-nature will appear; 2) Sitting quietly doing nothing, spring comes, grass grows by itself; 3) To cry and not be carried away by tears, to laugh and not be carried away by laughter, is the Way.

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"Let Go or Be Dragged"

Published on Jul 7, 2014

This Independence/Freedom Day, Fred spoke about the meaning of true personal freedom and the implications for society, from a Buddhist perspective. He answered questions from students, many of which focused on the theme of "letting go," with Fred sharing the famous Buddhist saying, "Let Go or Be Dragged."

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The Answer from the Bird's Nest Monk

Published on Jun 24, 2014

There is a story about a Chinese Zen master who was called Bird's Nest Monk because he often meditated in a tree. One day an eminent man, the governor, paid him a visit, arriving while the Bird's Nest Monk was up in his tree. When the governor found him, he asked, "What is the teaching of Buddhism?" The Bird's Nest Monk recited a verse from the Dhammapada: "Not to commit wrong actions, But to do all good ones, And keep the heart pure, This is the teaching of all Buddhas." When the governor heard this, he was not impressed and said, "Any child of three years knows that." The Bird's Nest Monk replied, "Any three-year-old child may know it, but even an eighty-year-old man cannot do it."

In this Dharma talk to students of FCM, Fred explained the meaning of this simple but profound teaching, and how we bring this practice into all aspects of our lives.

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Creating Peace in Ourselves and in the World (Memorial Day 2014)

Published on May 25, 2014

Each Memorial Day, our nation honors those who have made sacrifices on behalf of their country. Perhaps the ultimate honor we can offer is to strive tirelessly to create peace in the world, beginning with creating peace in ourselves. As Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner explains to students of FCM in this inspirational Memorial Day 2014 talk, good intentions for peace will never be actualized if we do not begin at the most basic level, creating peace within ourselves and in all of our relationships.

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The Path of Dharma: Seeing Clearly

Published on May 19, 2014

In the winter of 2014, Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner led students on an Intensive to cultivate clear seeing and correct view, exploring and meditating on the core teachings of Buddhism to support our transformation. The Intensive focused on the fundamental teachings and practices of the Buddhist path of awakening, including a survey of the following: The Four Mind Turnings, Five Hindrances, Five Remembrances,Four Noble Truths, Three Marks of Existence, Four Immeasurables, Seven Factors of Enlightenment, and the Bodhisattva Way. In this talk, Fred concludes the Intensive, summarizing the wisdom of these teachings.

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The Three Marks of Existence: No Self

Published on May 7, 2014

If we take apart a flower, where do we find "flower"? Likewise, if we examine all of the parts of this human body, where do we find a "me"? In this talk to students of the Florida Community of Mindfulness, Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner teaches the third mark of existence: no self.

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Four Mind Turnings: Defects of Samsara, Cause and Effect

Published on Apr 6, 2014

Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner continues his teachings on the Four Mind Turnings.

While we know that true happiness is an internal ease, warmth, and open-heartedness, why do we continue to seek happiness through pursuit of externalities? We don't have to renounce good health, jobs, relationships, and material goods, but instead understand the volatile nature of the external world and cultivate an inner life of equanimity. This realization is what the Buddha called seeing the defects of samsara. 

As well, an understanding of cause and effect will help us to live in a way that produces true happiness now and in the future.

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The Four Mind Turnings

Published on Mar 31, 2014

Why do we hear many Dharma talks but continue to experience the same sufferings in life? In this talk to students at FCM, Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner shares wisdom of Patrul Rinpoche on how we can truly integrate two of the Four Mind Turnings, the Preciousness of Human Life and Impermanence, into our lives.

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Why Take Refuge: The Three Refuges and the Five Mindfulness Trainings

Published on Mar 26, 2014

Traditionally, students wishing to formally enter the Buddhist path take refuge and receive transmission of the five Buddhist precepts. Taking refuge means to take refuge in the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. By taking refuge we express our trust in our own capacity to awaken, in the path of practice and mindful living, and in the sangha community to provide a refuge of safety, guidance, and support. The five Buddhist precepts, updated by Thich Nhat Hanh as "The Five Mindfulness Trainings," provide the basis for living in ways that create happiness and relieve suffering for ourselves and for others. In this talk Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner explains the essence of the Three Refuges and Five Mindfulness Trainings, and how they can contribute to deep transformation in our lives.

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Liberation Through Nonattachment to Views

Published on Mar 2, 2014

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Dharma Q&As: Bowing, The Mud & the Lotus, and More

Published on Mar 2, 2014

Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner answers a variety of questions from students, including: Why do we bow to the statue of the Buddha? What is the significance of the Lotus in Buddhism? I understand wanting to free myself from the "Superiority" and "Inferiority" complexes, but what is this about the "Equality" complex? And is it better to meditate on a cushion rather than a chair, even if sitting on the cushion causes significant discomfort? Simple sounding questions, but Fred's answers point to some rather profound implications!

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Looking Deeply at the Nature of Suffering

Published on Feb 27, 2014

No one wants to suffer; all of us want peace, happiness, and ease in our lives. Yet, we turn away from the suffering of ourselves and others, denying the opportunity for liberation. In this talk to students of the Florida Community of Mindfulness, Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner instructs on how to look deeply into the nature of suffering in order to transform ourselves and the world.

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Dwelling Happily in the Present Moment

Published on Feb 3, 2014

Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner continues his teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh's (Thay's) 7th Mindfulness Training: Dwelling Happily in the Present Moment. Each of us has a daily life that is comprised of a series of moments. With a commitment to live deeply in each moment of our daily life - to be present, aware - happiness is available to each of us. We should look deeply to understand what nourishes us in order to "learn to touch the wondrous, refreshing, and healing elements that are inside and around us," as taught by Thay.

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Personal Transformation and the Transformation of Others: Non-Duality in Action (OI Talk, Jan 2014)

Published on Jan 27, 2014

As we cultivate relationships with sangha friends and others in the world, can we truly be one family, knowing and working with each other in all manner of circumstances with no separation? In this talk to members of the Order of Interbeing in January 2014, Fred offers clear advice and a direct challenge to put aside self and live a life of non-duality and joy.

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Advice for Bodhisattvas

Published on Jan 13, 2014

What are the essential qualities and views we should embody to cultivate true happiness for ourselves and others? Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner helps students clearly see the path for this cultivation through his sharing of teachings from the treasured text "The Way of the Bodhisattva" as well as Thich Nhat Hanh's 7th Mindfulness Training of the Order of Interbeing.

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