Joseph Goldstein – Insight Hour – Ep. 74 – Turning the Wheel of the Dharma: The Middle Path

the middle path

Joseph begins a series of talks based on the Buddha’s first discourse after enlightenment with a discussion of taking the middle path in life and learning the subtle art of relaxation.

The Freshly Enlightened Buddha

Joseph starts by sharing his appreciation of the Buddha and what taking refuge in the Buddha means to him. He talks about what happened with the freshly awakened Buddha, who was worried nobody would understand his great discovery.

“The essence of Buddha-hood is not that person, the essence of Buddha-hood is the awakened mind, and that awakening is the potential within all of our minds.” – Joseph Goldstein

Sharon Salzberg explores taking refuge on Metta Hour Ep. 34
The Middle Path (16:37)

Joseph breaks down the Buddha’s first message from his Sutta on Turning the Wheel of the Dharma. Somewhere between indulgence in the sense objects and devotion to self mortification lies a middle path that we all can walk.

 “We can practice mindfulness of pleasant feelings and desires as they arise, and see clearly the difference between awareness of pleasant feelings and indulgence in them. It’s not that pleasant feelings stop, it’s that we become aware of them.” – Joseph Goldstein

The Art of Relaxation (34:43)

What is the middle path in terms of wise effort and how we practice? Joseph talks about how this takes a lot of subtle discernment on our parts. He investigates the difference between being relaxed and being casual with our practice, and the art of relaxation that is the key to a skillful practice.

“Relaxation is the key to concentration. It’s a settling back into the moment with openness, with receptivity, with ease. Relaxation is letting things be.” – Joseph Goldstein

the middle path

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Images via Wikimedia Commons and Pxhere