English

मोक्ष

Welcome to Sandhya (Rakefet) Bar-Kama's site  

I practice and teach the Dharma – the path of wisdom and compassion: mindfulness, Buddhism and vipassana silent meditation for about 25 years, using tools from the Theravada Buddhist tradition and from the non-dual tradition.

I teach and facilitate workshops, retreats, courses and weekly groups; I hold personal meetings with individuals and couples – all in the purpose of bringing clarity, ease, inner peace, harmony and joy to people's lives.

I believe:

* That "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all" – Helen Keller;

* That "None of us are free until all of us are free" – Martin Luther King Jr.;

* That freedom is possible – in this life (not in the afterlife), in our homes (not necessarily in India), in a relationship (not necessarily in a monastery or a cave in the Himalaya);

* That we can all access a deep place in us of love, compassion and generosity, a place that is awake.

My journey:

I Began the spiritual adventure in 1986 with a long journey to the Andes Mountain in Peru, where I practiced various esoteric practices. Then, for 7 wonderful and intensive years, I made Kripalu Ashram my home, and yogi Amrit Desai (Gurudev) my Guru. There I practiced yoga, meditation, devotion, celibacy and service.

In 1990 I had a powerful encounter with Buddhism with my first vipassana course, which turned into a long lasting love affair. Life's generosity allowed me to deepen my practice with long periods of practice in various places around the world (mostly India, but also Thailand and Israel). I'm constantly inspired by the words of my mentor and Dharma teacher Christopher Titmuss, "Dharma teachings and practices have one goal – they point to an awakened life".

So, after 5 years of intense fun in Manhattan, 7 years of intense practice in the ashram, and 2 years of intense being lost in California, I returned to Israel to integrate the mundane with the spiritual, the profound with the profane, the intense with the playful.

Today:

*  I live in Israel anmeditationd teach retreats, courses and workshops, in groups and one-on-one meetings;

*  I share my life with my beloved partner, cat and dog;

*  I'm Involved in 'Engaged Dharma' – dharmic activism and in Women Civil Disobediance;

*  I almost never say no to chocolate.

Dharma-Therapy:

I hold personal meetings with individuals and couples – sessions of support, counseling and empowerment in what I call Dharma-Therapy: emotional and process work, integrating Buddhist and Western psychology. (To read more please press here)

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Poems

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:Posts

[To listen to Dharma talks in English I've given in various vipassana retreats – please scroll down to the end]

A Bow – With Gratitude

ArunachalaI want to express my deep and eternal gratitude for all my spiritual teachers, who throughout my life serve as the feet at which I continue to take refuge. Those who continuously open my eyes, showing me the way, sharing with me their wisdom and experience, pointing to the moon and say: It is possible. (To read more press here)

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The Path To The Pathless Land

If truth is a pathless land, then isn't meditation practice an attempt to create a path to that which has no path? And if there are no paths that lead towards truth – why practice? And why did the Buddha teach a way, a path? (To read more press here)

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Questions and Answers on Impermanence

Questions from Christopher, answers by Sandhya:

After seeing and understanding impermanence, what next?  Impermanence is relevant or applicable only to the conditioned reality. After seeing and understanding impermanence – there has to be an understanding of the non-impermanent, the unborn, the deathless, that which is not subject to impermanence.  (To read more press here)

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Parting From My Mother   

Mom and IMy mother, Esther Bar-Kama, left her body one week ago at the ripe age of 90. She was healthy, lucid and full of vitality. One evening last week she didn’t feel well. She spent the night in the hospital, and the following morning, while fully conscious, simply stopped breathing. Over the years she gave me many gifts, other than the gift of life itself  (To read more press here)

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Free Sample: Drugs vs. Meditation on the Path Towards Awakening

The marijuana bushes we grew on the porch in the kibbutz, the coke lines in the glamorous parties in LA, the Bedouin hashish on the dunes in Sinai, the magic mushrooms on the mountains of Ecuador, MDA on the Cape Cod shore, ecstasy in the clubs of New York, half a pill of LSD with a friend, even a Shamanic Ayahuasca ceremony – none of these compare, in my personal experience, to that of meditation.  (To read more press here)

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“Every Moment Can Be Either a Prison or a House of Prayer”

I am standing in the lobby of the prison, one thick grey metal door has already slammed behind me, another grey metal door, still locked, lies ahead. A long row of grey steel metal doors await my journey inside. The tall prisoner with the tough face beside me reaches over to his waistline, slowly unbuckles his belt and begins removing it from his pants… (To read more press here)

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The Desire for Liberation

The phrase ‘desire for liberation’ seems like a contradiction in terms: how can desire, which is regarded as a root cause of all suffering and bondage, be associated with liberation… (To read more press here)

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Dharma talk: What The Liberated Mind Knows

I would like to start with a story from my childhood: I was born and grew up in a kibbutz, and as probably most of you know, we didn't live with our parents, the children lived and stayed in a children house and the parents would come at night, put us to bed, tell us a story, kiss us goodnight and go home… (To read more press here)

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The Wonderful Dance of Life

dance - Dianna MortonEvery moment is a new beginning. Every moment is sentenced to eternal newness. Every moment is a new, unexpected, original experience. What will the new moment evoke? Who will I be in the next moment? (To read more press here)

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 "He Who Wants to Take, Must First Give"

For many years I was carless. I got around on buses and trains, until a friend taught me how to hitchhike effectively… (To read more press here)

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The Construction of the Spiritual Self

The Dharma teaches us about the possibility of freedom, of being free from our conditionings, views and preconceived ideas about reality, of the possibility of seeing things as they are and responding to them in a free way, as appropriate to each moment.
It seems to me that one of the obstacles on the path as spiritual seekers is that while attempting to leave behind and let go of our concepts, we tend to construct yet another concept… (To read more press here)

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"Inner Freedom is a Social Responsibility"

I've always loved Passover the most.  Of course the Kibbutz' Seder did not stretch as long as the Nile and was not as grave and solemn as perhaps God had meant it to be, but had a more of a socialistic approach, with an emphasis on spring, liberation and harvest. Nonetheless we too experienced, along with the rest of the Jewish people, the creeping hunger as the reading of the Haggada went on and on, we too gloated with joy with the Ten plagues, and we too wondered what the heck was Karpas… (To read more press here)

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Karma Bandana

During the past twenty years I’ve gone through various life periods, that swung from one extreme end of the pendulum to the other… Many questions arose, many answers appeared and dropped away, but one thing weaved as a thread and a constant presence through all these different “life-times”: my love for meditation as an experience and as a main tool for an awakened life. (To read more press here)

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On Emptiness

What I love about the concept and the practice of Emptiness and the Heart Sutra is that it seems to bridge the Buddhist no-self & interdependence with the Advaitist non-dual & interconnectedness.

In The Heart Suttra it’s says that form is empty, and emptiness is form. What exactly does it mean, and – most importantly – how does this relate to our daily lives? (To read more press here)

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We Need a Healthy Ego in order to Let It Go

Many times I’ve ran into the question of what exactly is a spiritual process, and how is it different from other conscious raising processes. From my own experience I can say that one very significant ingredient in the spiritual process is that it is a process that brings deconstruction, not construction. Differently from the psychological process, the spiritual process…  (To read more press here)

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Compassion that Moves to Action

In the Dharma circles there seems to be this dichotomy between the cushion and the doing. It seems as if the view is that meditation is a private matter, a very personal event that one does with oneself. Most of us came to be on the path not to change the world but to transform our own minds… (To read more press here)

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For fun – Self Importance

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Links to audio dharma talks in English:

(After about 5 minutes the sound gets better)

The Desire for Sensual Pleasure

To the Light House

The Mind as a Tool for Liberation

The Way is Not Found in The Sky, The Way is Found in The Heart

What The Liberated Mind Knows

במנזר סוואן מוק בתאילנד

Wearing nun uniform in a Thai monastery

Wondrous Life

Wondrous Life

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