Listening to the Dharma
with your entire being,
can transform your entire being.
The teachings of the Buddha are called the Dharma. If you attend a retreat at a practice center, or if you go to a sitting group or class in your neighbourhood that is led by a lay teacher, you will have the opportunity to hear a Dharma talk. Arrive early for the talk so that you may have enough time to find a seat and establish yourself in a peaceful state of mind. Listen to the talks with an open mind and a receptive heart.
If you listen only with your intellect, comparing and judging what is said to what you already think you know or what you have heard others say, you may miss the chance to truly receive the message that is transmitted. The Dharma is like rain. Let it penetrate deeply into your consciousness, watering the seeds of wisdom and compassion that are already there. Absorb the talk openly, like the Earth receiving a refreshing spring rain. The talk might just be the condition our tree needs to flower and bear the fruits of understanding and love.
Out of respect for the teachings and the teacher, you are asked to sit on a chair or a cushion during the teachings and not to lie down. If you feel tired during the talk, mindfully shift your position and practice deep breathing and gentle massage for one or two minutes to bring fresh oxygen to your brain and the areas of fatigue in your body. Refrain from talking or making disturbing noises during the Dharma talk. If it is absolutely necessary to leave during the talk, please do so with a minimum of disturbance to others.