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Audio Notes

Most of the videos have audio-only versions which can be found through the Videos menu (click: Video Notes). All the podcasts appear on three platforms: Apple, Buzzsprouts, and Insight Timer.

Most of the talks are grouped under the venues in which they were presented. Some talks were delivered in several places.

Below are notes on a few of the longer recordings.


High Altitude Meditation, Part 1

January 22, 2023 talk to the Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group: 67 minutes

Topics: Advanced meditation followed by questions and discussion about the nature of samadhi; tension and chanda; homeostasis and desire; range of practices, impersonal; attachment; Dependent Origination; enlightened futility, reality doesn’t care, it just is. nothingness, nirodha, procrastination.


Wellsprings of Consciousness

February 27, 2022 talk to the Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group: 62 minutes

Topics: What is consciousness and how does it work • Doug's early interest in consciousness and how it led him to meditation • The neurological roots of consciousness in seven affective emotions • How working wisely with affective emotions can give a big boost to meditation • Questions and discussion


Deep Listening and Befriending the Mind

December 6, 2020 talk to the Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group: 62 minutes

Topics: Turning toward, Relaxing into, Deepening, and savoring. Beneath suffering, there is tenderness. Beneath tenderness is openness. Beneath openness is the possibility of freedom from suffering. This talk runs through this process with detailed examples. As Martin Heidegger put it, “Imagine an awareness which sees to the heart of suffering with no need to fix anything. Imagine this awareness to be the opposite of indifference.”


Three Essential Practices

January 7, 2018 talk to the Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group: 60 minutes

Topics: When the Buddha woke up it took him a while to decide if he should teach. Using stories and examples, it unpacks the practice he developed and passed down to us a the Four Noble Truths. At it's core it consists of three essential practices: turning toward, relaxing into, and savoring.


On Being Nobody

January 8, 2017 talk to the Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group: 75 minutes

Topics: There is no freedom for ourselves. There is only freedom from a self. Beginning meditation instructions. This dhamma talk descibes the Buddhist understanding self, what it is and what it isn't. It also talks about why this is important in our meditation practice and in everyday life.



From September, 2014 talk at the Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group: 63 minutes

Topics: The jhanas are simple stages of direct meditative experience as taught by the Buddha. This talk describes all eight stages and how they unfold. As meditation goes deeper, the instructions shift to take advantage of the experiences we've had.


Beginning Meditation Instructions

From June, 2014 retreat, Day 1: 65 minutes

Topics: Kindness is an attitude of friendliness to living beings. Wisdom is seeing clearly and impersonally. Kindness without wisdom is not kind. Wisdom without kindness is not wise. These are not separate qualities but different ways of approaching a unified whole that could be called metta-panna or kindness-wisdom. Kindness and wisdom meditation uses two different practices that are deeply intertwined. This talk gives the details of how they work.


Morning Q and A

From June, 2014 retreat, Day 2: 54 minutes

Topics: A range of questions and discussion on deepening meditation.


View of Hindrances

From June, 2014 retreat, Day 2: 1 hour 15 minutes

Topics: An aikido student on a Tokyo train encounters a belligerent drunk and an elderly gentleman. The story illustrates a few of the ways we relate to the distractions and distortions that arise naturally in the mind-heart. What we do with these “hindrances” has a profound effect on our meditation practice and life. If we view them as a problem to be defeated or fixed, life becomes difficult. If we view them with kindness, they cease to be a problem. This talk explores three ways of viewing them: (1) as mixed intentions, (2) as spiritual trainers with Asperger’s syndrome, and (3) as a split between self and other. It also explores the Upakkilesa Sutta where the Buddha spoke about 11 common hindrances. If we view the contents of the mind-heart clearly and impersonally, there are no hindrances.


Turning Toward: Four Ennobling Truths

From June, 2014 retreat, Day 3: 1 hour 19 minutes

Topics: Buddhism is not a religion, philosophy, or even spirituality as much as it’s a way of engaging life. It’s a way of looking with a quiet, unflinching smile at whatever comes along. It’s turning toward the waves that crash toward us. The Buddha described this as four ennobling truths: (1) Life is sometimes unsatisfactory; (2) The source of our experience of discomfort is craving (tanha), (3) When we abandon the craving, suffering ceases; (4) There is a path we can follow to cultivate wellbeing.


Awareness Jhanas

From June, 2014 retreat, Day 4: 1 hour 42 minutes

Topics: In the earliest texts the Buddha described a path to awakening that goes through several stages called "jhanas." These are not the absorption jhanas that have been talked about in the West so often. Rather they are stages of deepening awareness. On this path, the meditation techniques change as we progress. They led to a powerful wellbeing that is more accessible than most people imagine. This talk traces this path from joy to peace to spaciousness to cessation to freedom.


Dependent Origination

From June, 2014 retreat, Day 5: 1 hour 39 minutes

Topics: Impersonal natural laws set the parameters within which we live. When we see these laws clearly, we see the impersonal nature of all phenomena. But many of these laws are so subtle and complex that it’s difficult to understand them. When we don’t understand, we take things personally and suffer. To help us understand how life works, the Buddha drew a map called "the laws of dependent origination." This talk explores how this map works in the nitty-gritty of life and in meditation. The handout mentioned in the talk can be found here: Dependent Origination Notes


It Ain't Personal

From June, 2014 retreat, Day 6: 68 minutes

Topics: If suffering is the illness, the Buddha's diagnosis is sobering: the disease is incurable. Anguish is an inherent part of the relative world in which we live. So he proposed a radical solution. If we can't get rid of the disease, let's get rid of the patient. If there is no one to suffer, there is no suffering. Brilliant! But hardly the answer we were looking for. We shy away from the topic. Meanwhile, many of the difficulties we face as a species are rooted in a hyper-developed sense of self. This talk considers ways to take ourselves more lightly.


Compassion, Confession, and Forgiveness

From June, 2014 retreat, Day 7: 1 hour 16 minutes

Topics: With compassion, the place where the rubber meets the road is when someone who is suffering has done something wrong to bring it on themselves. The place where self-compassion is most difficult is when we are hurting because of something we’ve done wrong. To go deeply into compassion we must go deeply into forgiveness. And forgiveness without confession is tepid. So on the last evening before returning to our lives in the world, this talk explores compassion, confession, and forgiveness.


6 Precepts and 7 Rs

From June, 2014 retreat: 1 hour 20 minutes

Topics: The 6Rs are a tool for meditation. In meditation, there is nothing actively to be done but deepen awareness. But in life in the world, sometimes we must engage actively. The 7Rs add an extra step that allows the 6Rs to be bought into an active life. On the last day of the retreat we discuss the 7Rs and 6 precepts in everyday life.