About Anushka Fernandopulle:
I am a lifelong spiritual practitioner who has trained for over 20 years in the Theravada Buddhist tradition in the U.S., India and Sri Lanka. I live in an urban area and consider how the practices can translate for my fellow citizens with a busy modern life; I am most interested in bringing these ancient teachings to the contemporary world, informed by my love of creative arts, technology, politics, and pop culture. I also have an MBA and am particularly interested in the practice as it relates to leadership development — how we can each see through the things that hold us back from manifesting our unique gifts and talents in the world. I am on the Spirit Rock Teacher’s Council and teach at other meditation centers, but also do a lot of teaching & coaching in tech companies, nonprofit organizations, and less overtly spiritual settings.
This this time of the day on the schedule, it says Dharma Talk. And in this is all enough for 40 years or so, people have been giving something called Dharma Talk. I have sat here and listened to many of them myself in many locations and different retreats. And as I come here, I was thinking, you know, it’s actually something like an activity that I enjoy that I also—somewhat of a spiritual practice for me, which is I’m singing karaoke, in which, you know, there’s a karaoke bar near my house in which, it’s a ___ karaoke bar actually, in which ___ to come there and then you pick songs and then sing them in their own styling in some way and one of the great things about this place is that people will come up and they’ll do their very original versions of pop songs, or Broadway songs, or Disney songs, or something. Kind of bringing their own spin on it, and often playing with gender and words, and some people on key, some people off key. But it’s very beautiful to see this kind of manifestation in these different songs of these people’s lives, like the life force. So in some way, I feel like we all come up here and for 2,600 years, we’ve been talking about the same thing—the Dharma, you know, and then now, this human being gets up here with all of that conditioning and shows up and sings in some way the same song, hopefully. Consistent. But in some ways, there’s some new way. So, I hope I’m on key enough for today.
So, ___, I’d like to start as well. Often, I’d like to start the Dharma talk, which is what is Dharma itself, these teachings of the—called Dharma. And one of the translations of it is about the truth of the way things are. So, about nature. So, it can seem like hard work what it is that we’re doing here in the meditation and like we’re trying to figure something out and trying to understand something that’s difficult or hidden or trying to change your mind or train it. And some of it helps to hold that—what we’re doing is we’re trying to understand our nature. And this is something that we have done in different ways in our life—learning about nature, learning about the truth of the way things are, and then trying to live in alignment with that as best as we can.
So the examples of ways in which we’ve already done this, and we ___ to do this in our lives, and one common example is through the love gravity. So, a baby is, for example, don’t know about the love gravity. And you can see them sometimes playing with, experimenting with this love gravity, and that is usually around the baby who is doing this. One of my cousin’s kids. So they’re being fed, and then they threw things off and watch them fall. When you see, like, oh, look, okay, that fell, right? And then, like what happens on the side, like oh yeah, occasional thing okay. And then what happens when you’re not looking at, ___. The same thing happens. And so after a while, you get the picture. Like, this seems to be something about the way the universe works—is that, when you try to place things there if you drop them, they seem to be drawn inexorably to the ground for some reason, and it doesn’t even matter what the reason it. It doesn’t matter when someone running it. It doesn’t matter if you know that Mathematical formula for it. It only matters that you understand that oh, yeah, this is some aspect of the way things are. And so then, you try to live in accordance with it. So if I want to place this ___ somewhere, I know it’s going to be more successful to place it on the table rather than it will be there. And if you have something like a glass of water, that’ll be even more important. If you place it there, it breaks, there’s a mess, there’s splashing, and broken glass, and–.
So we learn aspects of this truth of the way things are, through our practice, through paying attention and what the Buddha understood was through his own experimentation, his own checking out, his own learning about this. And the more that we become aligned with this, the more we lead lives that are in harmony, that have less suffering for ourselves and for others, the less messes there are in our lives, less broken glasses and splash water and so on. And if we understand this, then even if it happens sometime, for example, as you know, accidentally, this pen got stuck off here. Because I understood that, that particular love gravity, then it doesn’t surprise me that, that happened. And I don’t have to relate to that in the same way as when it was a total surprise. So it doesn’t have to be like, why me? Why now? Why did this happen? You know. It happened, and so then you understand this, you can just pick it up, put it back, and minus the added dramatic add-ons that are unnecessary in our life.
So, let’s talk a little bit about what it is these things that we have to discover. You know, this is what we are learning about that’s important, because there are many different things that we could learn about. So particularly, in the Vipassana practice, we’re tuning in with mindfulness with awareness to what’s happening in our mind and body. To do the sixth ___, and we’re trying to cultivate the clarity about what it is that’s happening in each moment. I’m particularly interested in this process. The process of the unfolding of life. And the process of unfolding who I call myself. What is true about this? And one of the different things about this is that usually, we’re fully engaged in the content of that.
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Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]
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