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fieldstone stupa at BCBS Upcoming Courses

March 5, 2015 full moon

Back Porch of Farmhouse with Snow

Going Forth

Talking with David Chernikoff

Insight Journal: Tell us something about your path to the Dharma.

David Chernikoff: I was initially introduced to meditation practice when I began the study and practice of yoga in January of 1971. At the time, I was an undergraduate psychology major in my junior year at Tulane University in New Orleans. My first two years at school were largely about sowing wild oats and exploring what I had learned from the mainstream culture about how to be happy. Sadly, and also fortunately, I came to see that hedonism simply didn’t work. I’d been sold a false bill of goods and I went through several months of depression and anxiety when I realized I had no map or model for how to go forward.

On my 21st birthday, I borrowed a book on yoga from a friend and experienced what felt like a gentle yet powerful conversion experience. I began to study and practice hatha yoga with great intensity and commitment. An interest in meditation followed naturally and I soon met a teacher, Swami Satchidananda, who became my first spiritual guide. After graduating from Tulane, I trained as teacher of Integral Yoga, an integrated approach that includes asanas, meditation, service, and devotion.

In 1974, primarily because Ram Dass was teaching a course on the Bhagavad Gita, I moved to Boulder, Colorado to be a student at the inaugural summer program offered by Naropa Institute, now Naropa University. It was there that I met and trained with Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, who introduced me to Buddhist teachings and practices. While I felt very drawn to the teachings and the practice of Buddhist meditation in particular, I felt confused much of the time about the sangha scene that had grown up around Chogyam Trungpa.

In 1977, I came across Joseph Goldstein’s book, The Experience of Insight, and I felt an immediate resonance with the way Joseph presented the teachings. I started practicing insight meditation on my own, with Joseph’s book as a guide, and eventually began attending retreats at IMS. In the fall of 1980, I participated in the three-month course with Joseph, Jack, Sharon, and other teachers, and that deepened my practice in a way that words don’t adequately describe. I realized I’d found my “home path” and that realization was accompanied by heart-felt joy and gratitude.

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Bird Prints in Snow

February 3, 2015
The Buddha doesn’t do “cozy”
A Conversation with John Peacock

January 4, 2015
A Philosophical Assessment of Secular Buddhism
By Dale S. Wright

December 6, 2014
Mapping the Mind
A presentation by Andrew Olendzki

November 6, 2014
Wise Attention
A conversation with Sayadaw U Jagara

October 8, 2014
Secular mindfulness: potential & pitfalls
By Jenny Wilks

September 8, 2014
Some (mostly secular) thoughts on Emptiness
By Gay Watson

August 10, 2014
Neuro-Bhavana: The Mindful Cultivation of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
A video series with Rick Hanson

July 12, 2014
The Evolving Sangha
Talking with Jay Michaelson

June 13, 2014
Awareness of Thinking: Recollective Awareness Practice
Talking with Jason Siff

May 14, 2014
Jhāna Practice and True Happiness
Talking with Shaila Catherine

April 15, 2014
Natural Buddhism
By Gil Fronsdal

March 16, 2014
How is the Medium Changing the Message?
By Ken McLeod

February 14, 2014
Buddhist Roots & Ethics
Talking with Lynn Monteiro & Frank Musten

January 15, 2014
Silent Illumination
By Guo Gu

December 17, 2013
New Horizons: Talking with Andrew Olendzki

November 17, 2013
Not Knowing, Bearing Witness, & Compassionate Action
Robert Chodo Campbell and Koshin Paley Ellison

October 18, 2013
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening
a conversation with Joseph Goldstein

September 19, 2013
MIT Meets the Monastery
a conversation with Rajesh Kashturirangan

August 20, 2013
Secular Buddhism: New vision or yet another of the myths it claims to cure?
By Akincano Weber

July 22, 2013
The Essence of Dhamma
By Ajaan Thanissaro

June 23, 2013
Seeing the Āsavas
By Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia

May 25, 2013
Meeting your thoughts at a resting place
By Jason Siff

April 25, 2013
New rivers, new rafts
By Chris Talbott

March 27, 2013
Wheels of Fire: The Buddha’s Radical Teaching on Process
By Kate Lila Wheeler

February 25, 2013
True & False: Dharma After the Western Enlightenment
Talking with Rita Gross

January 26, 2013
Honoring a Life & Legacy in the Dhamma
Talking with Mirka Knaster about Munindra

See Archive page for some older editions.