On Thursdays, Michele and I usually go to a Sitting and Dharma talk at our local meditation center. IMC, as it bills itself, says that it is a community-based urban meditation center for the practice of Vipassana or Insight meditation….dedicated to the study and practice of Buddhist teachings. One of the things most striking about the Dharma talks is the simplicity of their form. We enter the space quietly, sit on the floor or in a chair facing the teacher on a dais, meditate for about an half hour, then the teacher gives a Dharma talk for about an hour and an half – actually, exactly an hour and an half – then we put our hands together and bow – Gassho – to the teacher, and leave.
If we like, we can stay and mingle with fellow members of the Sangha, help put chairs away, make a donation for the teacher or the Center, and then leave. There is no music, no pomp, no passing of the donation plate, no chatting about the weather with the teacher at the door on the way out. In my imagination, the Dharma talk hasn’t changed in form since the Buddha gave the first Dharma talk or, for that matter, since Jesus gave a Dharma talk on the mount.
I love that. I love the subtle power of the tradition. I love the subtle change that the Dharma talks have made in our lives.