“If you’re invested in security and certainty,
you are on the wrong planet.” 
– Pema Chödrön


Opening the Heart to Joy & Sorrow – Danadasa Chan

Oct 1, 2023

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When we open our heart, we open it to all experiences: our greatest joys and our deepest sorrows.

Danadasa opens this talk by reading a poem from the book by Dawna Markova, “I Will Not Die an Unlived Life

He shares an image that represents the meaning of Vadrasana – the “Diamond Throne,” on which the Buddha is said to have gained enlightenment under the bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, India. Not just a literal place, the Vadrasana also resides within each of us, as a place that we can come to in order to experience awakening.

Danadasa shares that we must move beyond pursuing only the fruits of our meditative practice. It is only when we address those aspects that may distress us that we begin to recognize injustice, anger, grief and sorrow.

He compares the wisdom that results from striving upward with that which arises from below. Striving upward does work, but then we have no roots. We must become open to just receiving without trying to achieve something. This is what happens when we learn from experiences that distress us; it gives rise to emotional resilience.


Dhammachari Danadasa has been practicing with the San Francisco Buddhist Center (SFBC) community since 1993 and was ordained in 2011. His current area of exploration is the cultivation of metta (universal loving kindness) as a response to all the hatred, discrimination, and bigotry in the world out there.