Jan. 5-11

“The key to developing tolerance is to separate the validity of an idea from the validity of the person holding the idea. Behind every idea is a motivation that is shaped by hopes and fears. If we are able to identify this underlying motivation, we will see the wish to find happiness and to be free from suffering.”

-Khentrul Rinpoche

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss how you might apply tonight’s quote when dealing with difficult people. If you analyze whatever position or action they’re taking to find the underlying motivation behind it, how might that facilitate a more productive interaction?”

Dec. 15-21

“We assume that what we’re seeking isn’t already present. And of course, that’s why we’re seeking it: we believe that peace, happiness, and freedom aren’t already right here where we are right now. The assumption that what we’re seeking, some state of completion, isn’t here right now is what causes us to look for it, to start the search.”


This Week’s Discussion Topic
If peace, happiness, and freedom are available right here, right now, what gets in the way of you realizing this completeness and perfection that is ever-present?

Dec. 8-14

“Forgiveness is really not about someone’s harmful behavior; it’s about our own relationship with our past. When we begin the work of forgiveness, it is primarily a practice for ourselves.”

-Gina Sharpe

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss what tonight’s quote means when it describes forgiveness as being “about our own relationship with the past.” What does the process of forgiveness actually entail? What needs to happen in order for you to truly forgive?

Dec. 1-7

“In terms of life, I think any of us can honestly examine our lives and see that lots of things turned out better for us because we did not get what we wanted.”

–Brad Warner

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss a time in your life when what you were hoping would happen did not happen, yet the outcome was ultimately more beneficial for you than if your wishes had been fulfilled. What does this seem to imply about our expectations, and how might we adjust our perspective to account for this apparent paradox?

Oct 20-26

“Without cultivating love for ourselves, regardless of how much discipline we have, regardless of how serious we are about practice, we will still stay stuck in the subtle mercilessness of the mind, listening to the voice that tells us we are basically and fundamentally unworthy.”

-Ezra Bayda

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss how the vast majority of your thoughts are subtle—and not-so subtle—judgments of yourself and how this constant negative reinforcement creates and affirms the belief that you’re inherently flawed and in need of fixing. Indeed, isn’t this the core reason most of us turn to spiritual practice?

Oct 13-19

“This is the paradoxical nature of our struggle—we can’t win by fighting. The very thing that fights, that resists what is, is the thing we seek to overthrow. Only in surrender can we find victory.”

-Jed McKenna

This Week’s Discussion Topic
If you’re trying really hard to act spontaneously, you’ll never succeed. That’s because, by definition, you’re not being spontaneous if you’re “trying” to do something. Your very effort gets in the way of what you’re seeking to achieve. Discuss how this scenario relates to tonight’s quote, and how true “surrender” might work in real life.

Oct. 6-12

“Words are not experience. The story about experience is not experience. Experience is what’s happening through sense perception: seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, feeling, and thinking. What is happening beneath the words is what the words are pointing to.”

-Ilona Ciunaite

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Consider the word “fun.” What does “fun” mean? On first glance, the word appears completely recognizable. But look at what the word actually points to, and it becomes far less solid. The word seems to represent a unique combination of pleasant physical and emotional sensations we collectively label as “fun.” Now consider what the word “self” points to, and discuss the collection of sensations it represents.

Sept 29-Oct 5

“When I put too much stock in formal meditation, I forget that it’s only one way of helping me see the magic that surrounds me—and that is me. Redefining meditation simply as ‘the opportunity to notice’ opens up a world of possibilities.”

-Barry Evans

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss how viewing meditation as just something you do while sitting on a cushion tends to make practice dull. What’s stopping you from resting in lucid awareness at other times—even right now? When viewed this way, isn’t meditation really about being what you are, rather than something you do?

Sept. 22-28

“My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.”

-Michel De Montaigne

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss how you’ve created suffering in your own mind that has no basis in your actual experience. Going deeper, discuss how all thoughts, whether positive or negative, are illusory in that they cannot ever accurately represent reality as it actually exists.

Sept. 8-14

“The teaching is merely a vehicle to describe the truth. Don’t mistake it for the truth itself. A finger pointing at the moon is not the moon. The finger is needed to know where to look for the moon, but if you mistake the finger for the moon itself, you will never know the real moon.”

-The Buddha (as translated by Thich Nhat Hanh)

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss the meaning behind this famous quote, and describe how Buddhist teachings differ from traditional teachings, which are primarily focused on acquiring more intellectual knowledge.