Thinking Out Loud: Conversations on Early Buddhism – Recordings

To support your practice and study during this time, Bodhi College is currently offering a weekly dialogue and reflection led by two of our teachers, focused on a particular topic with a follow-up discussion later in the week.

In case you missed the sessions and would like to access the recordings you can register for all recordings to date or for individual sessions as listed below. The recordings will be released on an ongoing basis following each week’s session.


  • Your confirmation email will include a link to access both an audio and video recording for the main session and an audio recording for the Q&A session.
  • If you register for all recordings before the end of the 8 weeks, please feel free to revisit the link in your order confirmation so as to obtain the latest files.
  • This series’ recordings are offered on a Dāna basis (pay what you can afford).
  • The link to the Dāna can be found here or in your confirmation email. Select the currency of choice and select Online Series Dāna from the Event drop down list. If your local currency is not listed, you can still make a payment, the equivalent amount in your local currency will be deducted from your account, you can search online the current exchange rate. If nothing is specified in the notes provided, your donation will be equally split between the teachers and Bodhi College.
  • Parts of the video recordings may contain stills of the teachers to protect the privacy of our students.

Event description

We, at Bodhi College are offering our sangha a weekly opportunity to connect, and continue the process of study and practice together with our teachers. As many of our retreats this Spring are not able to go ahead in person, we realise how important it is to continue to resource ourselves at a time where it’s never been more needed.

With this in mind, we have picked themes for the sessions that will continue to support you and your practice in coming to terms with the new reality of our daily lives.

To register for the remaining live sessions, please click here.

Each session consists of:

A two-hour Zoom Broadcast

Two teachers of Bodhi College will present reflections on a chosen theme related to Early Buddhism. They will give their responses to each other’s presentations, and participants will be invited to engage with the topic in break-out groups. There will also be an opportunity for questions and comments from the audience.

The session will conclude with suggestions for deepening one’s practice and contemplative inquiry in the days ahead.

A one-hour follow-up Session with questions and answers

One or both of the teachers will discuss with each other and the audience their insights into the theme presented the previous Sunday. They will explore further ways of interpreting the material, while offering practical advice to help us embody its content in daily life.

Please click here to register for all recordings to date


Individual recordings available below: 

Session 1: 

Please click here to register for Session 1 Recordings

5th April at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 9th April at 7pm BST
The Brahma Viharas: Cultivating the four qualities in uncertain times

With Martine Batchelor and Chris Cullen

Join our teachers for a rich dialogue on how orientating towards, or remembering these qualities of kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity can contribute to ours and others’ wellbeing in fearful times.
Explore the ways that these four orientations can enable and protect each other, providing practical support for resilience, resourcefulness and compassionate responding midst times of crisis and difficulty.
We’ll also look at ways we can cultivate them and offer opportunities to discuss your experiences alongside peers and teachers, as well as a period of silent reflection.

Session 2:

Please click here to register for Session 2 Recordings

12th April at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 16th April at 7pm BST
Gotama and Socrates on Ethics: An enquiry into the nature of the ethical life as understood in discourses from the Pali Canon and the Socratic dialogues written by Plato.

The speakers will share their understanding of the convergences and differences between Gotama, the Buddha, and his Greek contemporary Socrates. Both of these seminal teachers, it will be proposed, advocate a philosophy that is essentially concerned with leading an ethical way of life rather than establishing a dogmatic system of belief. Both likewise emphasize the importance for each person to become autonomous in his or her own life by means of critical enquiry and embodied practice.

With Stephen Batchelor and John Peacock

Session 3:

Please click here to register for Session 3 Recordings

19th April at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 23rd April at 7pm BST
Radical Awareness – Directing attention to the roots (yonsio manasikāra)

With Akincano Weber and Christoph Köck

An invitation to join Christoph and Akincano in unravelling one of key teachings of Early Buddhism: how to develop the faculty of directing attention to the roots. As seminal aspect of both appropriate understanding and the growth of wisdom, the skill of yonsio manasikāra plays a crucial role in developing ethics, calm, insight and empathetic resonance. The teachers will draw on both scriptural and oral traditions and share their personal understanding of the twin-virtues in “nurturing skill in tracing conditions” and “finding skillful means”.

Session 4:

Please click here to register for Session 4 Recordings

26th April at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 30th April at 7pm BST

The urgency of the heart (saṁvega) : Deepening the existential response: an enquiry into the qualities of motivation, non-distraction and heartful perseverance.

With Akincano Weber and Yuka Nakamura

In this session Yuka and Akincano reflect on the emotional and motivational aspect of walking the Path and invite participants to deepen their own enquiry into an existential response that Buddhist Teachings call “the urgency of the heart”: saṁvega. The experience referred to by this term is universal while its layered notions are hard to capture in translation with any single term. The teachers will explore the imagery and role of saṁvega in Early Buddhist Psychology and trace its transformation into the Path factors of motivation, non-distraction, release and heartful perseverance.

Session 5:

Please click here to register for Session 5 Recordings

3rd May at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 7th May at 7pm BST
The Art of Solitude

Reflections will be offered on some of the themes explored in Stephen’s new book The Art of Solitude (Yale University Press): meditation, philosophy, art and solitude itself. In times of confinement, how well do we succeed in being alone by ourselves? Are we able to be enriched by our own self-sufficiency without needing the approval of others? At the same time do we have the skills to share a confined space with others over a sustained period of time? We will explore how to cultivate a caring solitude that gives space both to ourselves as well as those with whom we share our lives.

With Martine Batchelor and Stephen Batchelor

Session 6:

Please click here to register for Session 6 recordings

10th May at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 14th May at 7pm BST

Knowledge, Insight, Embodiment

With Christina Feldman and Yuka Nakamura

The teaching on the three characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anatta are new to none of us. Intellectually we agree, experientially it is far more of a challenge to truly assimilate these teachings and live in the light of their implications. In moments when our lives are radically changed by conditions outside of our control we stand at a crossroads – we can react with fear and agitation or we can again discover the peace, calm and freedom found through our ability to embody the profundity of these teachings and have these understandings guide our speech, thought and acts.

Session 7:

Please click here to register for Session 7 recordings

17th May at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 21st May at 7pm BST

Pleasure, Liking and Craving – Buddhist and Psychological Perspectives: Exploring the metaphor of thirst; understanding the dynamics of pleasure, lack, gratification and appeasement.

With Akincano Weber and Christoph Köck

Early Buddhist Teachings uses the evocative term of  “drought” and “thirst” (taṇhā) to name an existential condition that compels beings to seek gratification and appeasement. The magnitude of the affect and the pathos of the ensuing pursuit is not done justice by the usual translation of “craving” – nor is the fact that desire also lies at the heart of the quest for excellence and liberation. Christoph and Akincano, both meditation teachers, psychotherapists and former monastics, explore the metaphor of thirst and attempt to unravel the dynamics of lack, seeking, appeasement and addiction. Realistic ways to practice with craving and its con­ditions in the light of Buddhist contemplative vision and Western psychology are suggested with a passing glance at recent research on pleasure and addiction.

Session 8:

Please click here to register for Session 8 recordings

24th May at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 28th May at 7pm BST

Finding Refuge in Difficult Times

With Christian Feldman and Jaya Rudgard

Session 9:

Please click here to register for Session 9 recordings

31st May at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 4th June at 7pm BST
What is Enlightenment?

With Jake Dartington and Stephen Batchelor

In this session we’ll explore a range of ways of thinking about enlightenment and awakening. We’ll consider how we can move on from more simplistic views of enlightenment without undermining the aspirations that inspire our path.

Session 10:

Please click here to register for Session 10 recordings

7th June at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 11th June at 7pm BST
Knowing how it feels: an exploration of mindfulness of vedanas

With Martine Batchelor and Jenny Wilks

We would like to explore mindfulness of feeling tones, which is the second foundation of the practice of mindfulness. We will define feeling tones and how to be mindful of them. The Pali term vedana refers to the affective tone of experience. When we come into contact through one of our six senses with the environment, we experience a pleasant, unpleasant or neither pleasant nor unpleasant feeling tone. It is important to see that feeling tones are constructed, they are not a given, they do not reside in the object we come in contact with. It is vital to be aware of feeling tones as they arise extremely fast and have a profound impact on our behaviour.

Session 11:

Please click here to register for Session 11 recordings

14th June at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 18th June at 7pm BST
The Factors of Awakening

With Christina Feldman and John Peacock

The Buddha maintained that there were factors that already dwelt within our minds that could be harnessed to guide us towards the process of waking up. So, instead of having to develop aspects of our minds that were not present we engaged in the cultivation of seven important factors Already present that acted as a counterbalance to the destructive tendencies of mind. The factors to be identified and cultivated were those of mindfulness, investigation, energy, joy, tranquillity or relaxation, concentration and equanimity. We will examine the importance of these factors and their liberating qualities.

Session 12:

Please click here to register for Session 12 recordings

28th June at 4pm BST with follow-up discussion 2nd July at 7pm BST
The Buddha’s Middle Way

With Stephen Batchelor and Robert Ellis

How can we go about reconciling polarised debates between entrenched opponents, or intractable conflicts within ourselves? The Buddha’s Middle Way, illustrated by his early life, offers a universal approach to such conflicts that is not based on claims about the universe, but on a principle of judgement. Robert M. Ellis will introduce the argument of his recent book, ‘The Buddha’s Middle Way’, that the Middle Way offers a key to interpreting Buddhism in practical, universal, terms that can also be applied in any other tradition – terms that can also be supported by psychology and neuroscience, but have been obscured by appeals to authority in the Buddhist tradition.



MARTINE BATCHELOR author of Meditation for Life, The Path of Compassion, Women in Korean Zen and Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits. Her latest works are the The Spirit of the Buddha, What is this? and The Definition, Practice and Psychology of Vedana.  She is a member of the Gaia House Teacher Council.  She teaches meditation retreats worldwide and lives in France. Recently she has been involved with the Silver Sante Study, teaching meditation, mindfulness and compassion to seniors in France to see if this could prevent ageing decline.


Chris Cullen

CHRIS CULLEN has practised and studied the Buddha’s teachings since 1994 and has been teaching Insight Meditation retreats since 2010. He is also on the teaching team of the University of Oxford’s Mindfulness Centre, teaching Buddhist Psychology on the Masters course in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and running the mindfulness programme in the UK Parliament. He has a psychotherapy practice in Oxford.



STEPHEN BATCHELOR is a Buddhist teacher and writer known for his secular or agnostic approach to the Dharma. Formerly a Buddhist monk in the Tibetan and Zen traditions, he is the translator and author of several books including Buddhism Without Beliefs, Living with the Devil and Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist. His most recent book, After Buddhism, was published by Yale University Press in 2015. He lives in southwest France with his wife Martine.


is both an academic and a Buddhist practitioner of nearly fifty years. Trained initially in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition in India, he subsequently spent time in Sri Lanka studying Theravada. After doing a doctorate in philosophy, he taught Buddhist and Western philosophy and then Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol. He went on to be Associate Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, co-direct the Master of Studies programme in MBCT(Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) at Oxford University, and teach Buddhist psychology on the same course.  John is now retired from academia and continues to teach meditation, as he has done for more than thirty-five years.


AkincanoAKINCANO M. WEBER is a Swiss Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist (MA). A former monk, he has lived and practised for 20 years in European and Thai Forest monasteries. Particular interests are early Buddhist texts, stillness and contemplative psychology. He is the guiding teacher of Atammaya Cologne, Germany, part of the CPP programme and of several Mindfulness teacher training courses, and teaches meditation and Buddhist Psychology in secular and traditional contexts in Europe and overseas.


CHRISTOPH KÖCK was born in Vienna, Austria, and spent 17 years of his life as a Buddhist monk in the Theravadin tradition. He lived mainly in monasteries connected with Ajahn Chah in Thailand and the West. Currently he lives in Vienna, working as a psychotherapist in a private practice. He teaches Buddhism and meditation internationally, and is trained to teach MBSR and MBCT.



CHRISTINA FELDMAN is a co-founder of Gaia House and a guiding teacher at Insight Meditation Society, Barre, Massachussetts. The author of a number of books, she has been teaching insight meditation retreats internationally since 1976. She is one of the teaching faculty of the CPP programme, dedicated to the study and application of the early teachings of the Buddha and is engaged in teaching the Buddhist psychological foundations of mindfulness to those training to teach mindfulness-based applications in England, Belgium and the Netherlands. Her most recent book Mindfulness: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Psychology, written with Willem Kuyken, was published in the summer of 2019.
Christina’s outside schedule


YUKA NAKAMURA has practised Buddhist meditation in different traditions since 1993, has a PhD in Developmental Psychology and is a certified MBSR-teacher. Trained as a Buddhist meditation teacher by Fred von Allmen she teaches meditation at Beatenberg (Switzerland), Gaia House (UK), Insight Meditation Society (Barre, MA) and other places. Yuka offers MBSR-courses and MBI-trainings at the CFM Zentrum für Achtsamkeit (CH).



JAKE DARTINGTON has practised Buddhist meditation since 1995. After training as a Dharma teacher with Christina Feldman, he started teaching in 2007. He has a background in Philosophy and Buddhist Studies and has trained as a teacher of MBSR/MBCT. Jake lives in Nottingham where he teaches mindfulness and Insight Meditation.




JENNY WILKS has practised in various Buddhist traditions since the late 1980s, and has an MA in Indian Religions. She has taught for several years at Gaia House, the Barn Retreat near Totnes in Devon UK, and local meditation classes. She trained in clinical psychology and works as an MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) therapist and trainer at Exeter University



ROBERT M. ELLIS is the founder of the Middle Way Society and the author of a number of books on Middle Way Philosophy – including the introductory Migglism and the more detailed Middle Way Philosophy series. His most recent book, The Buddha’s Middle Way: Experiential Judgement in his Life and Teaching was published by Equinox in 2019, with a foreword by Stephen Batchelor. He has a Ph.D. in Philosophy, is an experienced teacher, and was formerly a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order. He now regularly leads retreats for the Middle Way Society.