Toward Light is committed to continuing the tradition of the Buddha by making Early Buddhist teachings accessible to all who are interested in them. We offer multiple tools to help people cultivate and maintain a meditation practice and a spiritually-oriented life. Toward Light was founded to fill a gap in Early Buddhist meditation offerings, which have often been passed down through patriarchal lineage, and do not always take feminist and 21st century perspectives into account.
Why Toward Light?
“And how is one moving toward light? One practices good conduct of body, speech, and mind.”
Tamonata Sutta AN 4.85
This emphasis on practice is essential to the Buddhist path. There is no outside force to do the work for us, we must commit to doing the work that helps us move Toward Light. Sometimes moving toward light can be blinding or disorienting, and sometimes on a cloudy day we don’t even know if we are moving toward light. But the teachings give us a clear map of steps to take to help us move in that direction.
Good Conduct of Body
Non-harming underlies all our actions and helps cultivate good conduct. The precepts are the guidelines to support this endeavor. We refrain from taking life, taking what is not freely offered, sexual misconduct, and intoxication that leads to heedlessness. We cultivate safety, generosity, wise sexuality, and clarity. We are committed to living these precepts, knowing that it is a practice, and when we do cause harm we must take responsibility and learn from our mistakes. Each of these precepts are a personal exploration and we emphasize the importance of embodying these precepts throughout every aspect of life.
Good Conduct of Speech
Non-harming also underlies good conduct in our speech. We are committed to refraining from lying, harsh speech, gossiping, and idle chatter. We practice cultivating speech that is honest, kind, timely, and useful. We can explore all forms of communication to understand if we are causing harm or creating harmony with our words.
Good Conduct of Mind
We have many teachings that help us train our mind toward good conduct. With mindfulness we train our mind to prevent unwholesome mind states from arising or abandon them when they do arise, and to cultivate wholesome mind states and sustain them. We train our mind and heart toward kindness, compassion, appreciation and equanimity. We know that when we are skillful with our mental conduct, it supports good conduct of our speech and our body. All these practices are interconnected.
Kate Spina began practicing Buddhism in 2006 but did not fully orient her life toward the path until 2012 when she found the teachings of Early Buddhism. Kate has been trained to lead Buddhist meditation groups by JoAnna Hardy and Vinny Ferraro and Kate’s primary teacher is Matthew Brensilver. She is committed to sitting silent retreat at least 15 nights a year.
Kate is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (CA LCSW 77975); she received her Masters in Social Work in 2008 from Simmons College in Boston. Kate has worked in a variety of clinical settings including private practice, community mental health, addiction treatment centers, and schools. She finds that her clinical training helps enhance her understanding of the Dharma. Kate is deeply passionate about helping the Early Buddhist teachings be accessible to all.
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