From Friday to Sunday, July 15th - 17th, 2016, Embodied Philosophy presented
its second online conference.
After a successful online conference exploring the Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita in April 2016, in July 2016 our esteemed panel of speakers explored the teachings, traditions, and practices of Buddhism.
Our friends at the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science sponsored this event.
The Radical Presence Conference is now available as a downloadable course, with videos, MP3s, and a certificate for 15 Continuing Education Credits and Embodied Philosophy Credits.
An Integrated Awakening: From Separation to Seamless Reality // THANISSARA
Through 2,600 years of geographical and cultural adaptations, the heart of the Buddha’s message still remains relevant for our times. This is because it points to timeless truths, the primacy of mind as a force for good or ill, and the deeper nature of mind as indivisible and timeless consciousness. Realization of the unchanging nature of mind alleviates many of our fears, and puts the challenges of life into perspective. However, this doesn’t preclude us from engaging a world on fire, which urgently calls for our attention. This is done through training as a Bodhisattva, one who serves the Dharma, sentient beings, and the Earth, through embodied, compassionate activity.
This talk will explore core Buddhist practices of ethics, mindfulness, wise understanding, and the transformation of suffering through compassion and authenticity.
Standing for Love: Courage and the Generous Heart // JOSHUA BEE ALAFIA
In these times of mass incarceration, police violence, institutional racism, homophobia, xenophobia, extremist politics, and on and on, how do we stand for Love and have the courage to maintain a generous heart? Love that is fortified with the awakening of the sense of inter-being that brings all of us together. This loving sense of unity. Oneness. How do we resist the mainstream's push to divide with extreme aversion and consume to fill the void of separation?
Exploring the Buddhist practice of Metta and discussing Virya (energy), Saddha (trust) and Bhavana (cultivation, meditation), this talk follows the journey of the heart in its quest to be authentic, bold and generous.
Beyond McMindfulness // DR. MILES NEALE
Mindfulness meditation has entered mainstream American culture. While secular versions of the practice offer well researched health benefits for a wide variety of conditions, there is also a backlash against the potential dilution, commodification, and mass-marketing of mindfulness as a panacea. In this talk Dr. Miles Neale offers his critique of mcmindfulness and explores the clinical application, underlying psychological mechanisms and efficacy of secular mindfulness. He contrasts these two approaches with the way mindfulness is used traditionally in Buddhist psychology where it is combined with ethical lifestyle and a quantum view of reality for the purpose of conscious evolution and awakening.
Honey on a Razorblade : Desire as a Path of Practice // ADREANNA LIMBACH
In traditional Buddhist texts, desire and craving have a pretty bad reputation. In the best case scenario, desire is spoken about as one of our greatest obstacles to freedom. In the worst case scenario, desire is painted as the root of all of our suffering. Which makes it easy to understand why we might misinterpret desire as something that needs to be sanitized or suppressed. That ridding ourselves of wanting is the “Buddhist” thing to do. But what if playing with -and participating in- our desires was the path of practice itself?
In this talk we’ll tease out the traditional Buddhist view of desire and craving, examine how desire plays into our personal relationships and society at large, and take a fresh view on how understanding and integrating our appetite for more can inform, and inspire our practice.
How to Love Yourself (And Sometimes Other People) // LODRO RINZLER
Most of us think that love is something out there - something to be attained - yet the Buddha taught that underneath our layers of self-doubt and criticism is peace and love within each of us. Join best-selling author and Shambhala Buddhist teacher Lodro Rinzler for an exploration of how meditation is the tool that allows us to access more love in our lives, first for ourselves and then in our dating life, long-term relationships, sex lives, and even in heartbreak. Lodro maps the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism to the way we consider relationships and highlights how the Four Limitless Qualities give us the energy to love more fully on and off the meditation cushion.
Mindful Consumption and Sobriety: The 5th Precept as a Practice in Generosity of Spirit // SYDNEY ROSE
As Buddhist practitioners, we work towards the realization of a peacefulness tha's always available and cultivated from within. The Buddha talks about this as the "happiness associated with letting go of fruitless quests." We start our meditations by closing our eyes or lowering our gaze, physically bringing our attention inwards. Symbolically, we're also letting go of constant stimulation by the world that acts on us from the outside, impacting our mood and nervous systems.
In modern society, it makes sense that many of us feel reactive when we talk about sobriety. It's common in our culture to hold associations with sacrifice and substance use that feel heavy or shaming. Believe it or not, the Buddhist texts saw renunciation of intoxication as an opportunity for deep, sustaining joy. They introduce ethical practices as opportunities to offer freedom to all living beings and consider them to be subversive, going against the grain. In this lecture, we'll explore the possibilities for abundant mind states and societal transformation that can we can open to through conscious engagement with the 5th precept.
Our Pristine Mind // ORGYEN CHOWANG RINPOCHE
The true nature of our mind is brilliant, clear, and joyful. But we don't experience this reality amid the swirl of stresses, thoughts, and emotions of day-to-day life. This talk will offer practical suggestions on uncovering our naturally comfortable state of mind and reconnecting with the unconditional happiness that is already within us. Using straightforward, accessible language, Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche discusses the path of Pristine Mind meditation, a practice from the profound teachings known as Dzogchen. This path is a realistic, natural process that can be practiced and experienced by anyone.
Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation // REV. ANGEL KYODO WILLIAMS
Thrust into the Western socioeconomic framework that puts profit above all, coupled with a desire to perpetuate institutional existence, the Dharma has become beholden to commodification as inescapable and de rigueur. Radical Dharma is one that insists we investigate not only the unsatisfactoriness of our own minds but also prepares us for the discomfort of confronting the obscurations of the society we are individual expressions of.
Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation, is a catalyst to initiate a long-overdue conversation: How do we have conversations about social transformation while facing the truths of racism and privilege on and of the cushion? It is an invitation to look at how the legacy of racial injustice plays out in our Buddhist communities. We are called upon to dig deeper to discover the radical dharma that truly makes room for the liberation of all.
With national attention focused on the recent killings of unarmed black citizens and the response of the Black-centered liberation groups such as Black Lives Matter, Radical Dharma demonstrates how social transformation and personal, spiritual liberation must be articulated and are inextricably linked.
In this talk Rev. angel will share her experience while exploring how the teachings that transcend color, class, and sexual orientation have been hindered by discrimination and the dynamics of power, shame, and ignorance.
The Third Wave of Contemplative Life: The Embodied Art and Science of the Tantras // DR. JOE LOIZZO
In the midst of the mindfulness revolution and on the cusp of the new age of loving kindness, many who encounter the colorful imagery, prayerful chanting, and ritualized breath-work of the Hindu and Buddhist Tantras find themselves challenged. Given the rich symbolism and complexity of these practices, they often strike us as too busy for meditation, or too religious for today. In this discussion, contemplative psychiatrist and Nalanda Institute Director Dr. Joe Loizzo explores some of the recent breakthroughs in neuroscience that help explain how these practices work, and why they may become the most popular forms of meditation in our age. Dr. Loizzo will also share his clinical research on these methods, and link them to recent work on the mirror neuron empathy system and the vagal nerve social engagement system. And he will explore the evidence that positive imagery, soothing vocalization, and intensive breathing may have deeper, quicker, and more powerful effects on the brain than seemingly more "meditative" techniques. Finally, Dr. Loizzo will address how such practices might protect our minds and brains from the barrage of digital messages and multi-tasking demands we face today, and speed the global spread of empathy and prosocial engagement on which our future depends.
Touching the Earth: The Neuroscience of Natural Awakening // RALPH DE LA ROSA
The Buddha taught that truth and liberation are to be found not in complex philosophies, but rather in our bodies, each other, and in the natural world around us. More recent discoveries in the field of neuroscience have not only confirmed this truth, but have helped further the conversation. In this talk, we will explore the origin story of the Buddha's enlightenment, the implications it contains for our own personal journeys, and what neuroscience has to say in concert about the unfolding process of our own conscious evolution. We will also explore techniques for bringing these theories into direct experience through meditation.
About the Speakers
Joshua Bee Alafia
Joshua Bee Alafia graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 1995 with a BA in Theatre Arts/Film. He currently is a filmmaker and has worked as a teaching artist teaching film, capoeira, tai chi and teaches mindfulness practice through the Lineage Project. He is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders training through Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He currently teaches at New York Insight Meditation Center, MNDFL and leads the Brooklyn People of Color and Allies Meditation bimonthly sit every 2nd and 4th Monday at the Brooklyn Zen Center.
Adreanna's first encounter with Buddhism was in a high school philosophy class where the discourses on The Heart Sutra rocked her worldview in an uncomfortable and exhilarating way.
Following a decade of flirtation with meditation, she found her home at The Interdependence Project in NYC, where she completed their year-long training immersion, and continues to study, practice and teach alongside those who inspire her path.
She’s taught meditation as a practical tool for clarity and resilience to corporate offices, middle school students, and served as a lead coordinator of the Meditation Working Group at Occupy Wall Street, bringing daily practice to the volunteers at Zuccotti Park in 2011.
You can find her teaching regularly at MNDFL, New York City’s premier drop in meditation studio located in the heart and hustle of Greenwich Village.
When she's not on the cushion, Adreanna serves as an Executive Coach at The Institute for Compassionate Leadership, a Student Coach at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and catalyzes women to rally their resources so that they can find more freedom in business + life in her private practice.
Come say Hello to her and download resources at AdreannaLimbach.com
Joe Loizzo, M.D., Ph.D. is a contemplative psychotherapist, clinical researcher, and Buddhist scholar-teacher who integrates ancient contemplative science and technology with current breakthroughs in neuroscience and optimal health. After training in psychiatry at Harvard and completing a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies at Columbia, he founded Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, a non-profit that helps people build sustainable happiness, compassion, and leadership through integrating science-based contemplative skills into their daily lives.
On faculty at the Weill Cornell Center for Integrative Medicine and the Columbia University Center for Buddhist Studies, Dr. Loizzo lectures widely on the role of meditative learning in the future of heath, education, and leadership, and teaches regular public classes and workshops at his Nalanda Institute, and Tibet House US. In 2007, he published Nagarjuna’s Reason Sixty with Chandrakirti’s Commentary, a translation study of contemplative self-analysis in Buddhism. His second book, Sustainable Happiness: The Mind Science of Well-Being, Altruism, and Inspiration, appeared in the Routledge Behavioral Science Series in 2012. He has published dozens of chapters and articles on contemplative science in peer reviewed books and journals including The Journal of Religion, the Annual Review of Psychiatry, and the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. Loizzo has a private psychotherapy practice in Manhattan, where he lives with his wife, Gerardine, and their sons Maitreya and Ananda.
Miles Neale is a Buddhist psychotherapist in private practice, Assistant Director of the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, Clinical Instructor of Psychology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and contributing expert on mindfulness meditation for the BBC World Service. Miles earned a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and has spent twenty years studying Buddhism under American Buddhist scholars Joe Loizzo and Robert Thurman as well as Tibetan masters Gelek Rimpoche and Lama Zopa. Dr. Neale’s approach to personal healing and transformation isinformed by contemplative neuroscience, an eclectic hybrid of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist psychology and meditative arts, depth psychotherapy, and the current neuroscience of trauma resilience.
Lodro Rinzler is a teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage and the author of five books on meditation including the best-selling “The Buddha Walks into a Bar…" and the award-winning books “Walk Like a Buddha” and “The Buddha Walks into the Office…” Over the last sixteen years he has spoken at meditation centers, businesses, college campuses, and locations as diverse as Google, Harvard University, and the White House. Lodro’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. In addition to serving as the Chief Spiritual Officer of M N D F L, NYC's premier drop-in meditation studio, Lodro is the founder of the Institute for Compassionate Leadership. lodrorinzler.com
Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche
Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche, a meditation master in the Nyingma lineage of the Buddhist tradition, has a passion for presenting teachings in a practical and experiential way for modern audiences. His primary teacher was Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche, one of the greatest Dzogchen masters of the last century. A long-time resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche is the author of Our Pristine Mind: A Practical Guide to Unconditional Happiness, and the founder and spiritual director of Pristine Mind Foundation.
Ralph De La Rosa
Ralph De La Rosa is a heart centered psychotherapist, meditation instructor, writer, and transformative life coach. In 2008, he founded Rebel Heart Meditation, a weekly class that blends meditation, psychology, and neuroscience, to form discussion about the transformative potential of our messy modern lives. Ralph also teaches at MNDFL, NYC's premier drop-in meditation studio, and with Susan Piver's online community, the Open Heart Project.
His work has appeared in Elephant Journal, GQ, Women's Health, Wanderlust, TimeOut NY, AFAR Magazine, New York Yoga + Life Magazine, and Refinery 29.
Ralph began practicing meditation in 1996 within the bhakti yoga tradition and became a student of Amma (Mata Amritananda Mayi) in 2000. He began studying Buddhism in 2005 and holds vows within the Shambhala Buddhist lineage.
Ralph currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his two cats, Emma Goldman and Henry.
Sydney Faith Rose
Sydney Faith Rose is a lifelong meditator, Holistic Health Coach and yoga instructor, who trained in the year-long meditation instructor and Secular Buddhist Program at The Interdependence Project. Sydney holds a B.A. in psychology from The New School and has participated in advanced training to teach trauma-informed yoga and meditation as well as being trained in evidence-based treatment practices for working with youth around issues of substance misuse and mental health. She spent 6 weeks in continuous meditative practice at Insight Meditation Society and knows the power of insight practice first-hand.
Over the past 6 years, Sydney has taught meditation and yoga -- as well as building and supporting wellness initiatives -- at large universities, in corporate offices and at small non-profits in and around NYC and across the United States.
Thanissara is Anglo-Irish, and originally from London. She trained in the Burmese school of U Ba Khin in the late 1970’s, and went on to ordain as a nun in the Thai Forest school of Ajahn Chah for 12 years. She left the monastery in 1991, married, and together with her husband and teaching partner Kittisaro, established Dharmagiri Insight Meditation Center in South Africa. She helped fund raise for, and guide several HIV/Aids response projects in rural KwaZulu Natal. She has taught numerous meditation retreats internationally, and has an MA in Mindfulness Based Psychotherapy. She is a core teacher at Insight Meditation Society, MA, and affiliated teacher at Spirit Rock, CA. She is author of several poetry books, co-author with Kittisaro of Listening to the Heart, and author of Time To Stand Up, An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth. She currently lives in the Bay area, CA.
Rev. angel Kyodo Williams
Called “the most intriguing African-American Buddhist” by Library Journal, Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei, is an author, maverick spiritual teacher, master trainer and founder of Center for Transformative Change. She has been bridging the worlds of personal transformation and justice since the publication of her critically-acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace. Her book was hailed as “an act of love” by Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker and “a classic” by Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield.
Ordained as a Zen priest, she is a Sensei, the second black woman recognized as a teacher in her lineage. She is a social visionary that applies wisdom teachings and practice to social issues. She sees Transformative Social Change as America’s next great movement. She is an early shaper and leading voice in that work and coined the name for the field. In recognition of her work, Rev. angel received the first Creating Enlightened Society Award from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. For over 15 years, she has deeply invested her time and energy to putting into practice her unwavering belief that the key to transforming society is transforming our inner lives. She has developed comprehensive systems for illuminating both practical personal change and the profoundly liberating potential of mindfulness, yoga, and somatic practices coupled with wisdom teachings. Calling for a paradigm shift that “changes the way change is done,” angel envisions the building of a presence-centered social justice movement as the foundation for personal freedom, a just society and the healing of divisions of race, class, faith and politic.
Both fierce and grounded, she is known for her unflinching willingness to both sit with and speak uncomfortable truths with love. Her work has been widely covered by such publications as New York Times, Boston Globe, Ms., Essence, Buddhadharma, Village Voice, and on the Oxygen Channel. angel notes, “Love and justice are not two. Without inner change, there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters.” Whether in writing, teaching or speaking, her voice is unique.
Gratitude to Our Beloved Sponsor...
Nalanda Institute is a non-profit community working to build a sustainable future by infusing ancient contemplative science into contemporary culture and ways of life.
Based on a tradition evolved at Nalanda University in ancient India and preserved in Tibet, Nalanda teaches a rare system of active, contemplative insights and methods called the gradual path, tailored to life in the everyday world.
About Your Host...
In a cultural climate exhibiting profound levels of anxiety and depression, stress and alienation, apathy and moral malaise, Embodied Philosophy recognizes the need for what we call embodied philosophical living. Embodied philosophy is not philosophy of the intellect alone, but is an integrated, non-dualistic living wisdom. It is a decision to live with mindfulness, insight, attention and intention - one day at a time. Drawing on the perennial wisdom of the wider yoga and wisdom traditions - largely from the East - we seek to prescribe practices, activities, and modes of living that actualize liberating patterns of thought and behavior. These new patterns break us out of the habits that continuously cause us pain and suffering and reorient our lives in empowering ways.
By letting go of that which doesn't serve us and adopting daily practices that help us to evolve and expand, levels of creativity, happiness, and health increase exponentially. Embodied Philosophy works for the transformation of our lives at the physiological, the psychological, and the spiritual level by making accessible and available the wisdom that has been improving lives for thousands of years.