Dharma Punx NYC is a secular Buddhist community led by guiding teacher Josh Korda. It is respectful of other lineages and institutions, though wholly unaffiliated and entirely self-sustaining through the contributions of those who attend our meetings, or listen to the recorded talks online

Our upcoming 2019 retreats
Garrison (September) Find out more

Won Dharma (October) Find out more

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oin us for our 7th Annual DharmaPunx NYC Fall Retreat with Josh Korda and Kathy Cherry.  Hosted at the beautiful Won Dharma Retreat Center in the Hudson Valley.

oin us for our 7th Annual DharmaPunx NYC Fall Retreat with Josh Korda and Kathy Cherry.

Hosted at the beautiful Won Dharma Retreat Center in the Hudson Valley.

Josh Korda has been the presiding teacher at Dharmapunx NYC for the last decade (his talks can be found at dharmapunxnyc.podbean.com). Over the last five years he’s been a visiting teacher at Zen Care and Against the Stream. Josh teaches multiple retreats each year, mentors a wide array of spiritual practitioners; his meditations can be found on the popular mindfulness app insighttimer. Josh writes for a number of publications, including many pieces on Huffington Post. Tricycle Magazine has recently featured a short documentary film about Josh’s teaching, which you can find here: Watch the documentary on dharma punx NYC hosted by tricycle.com.

Articles are by the community's guiding teacher, Josh Korda.
Click on the blog link at the top for the full listing of posts.



Dana Helps SUPPORT
the Teacher



Monthly recurring donations:
Donation amounds

Classes on Mondays & Tuesdays
are led by
Josh Korda, Guiding

MONDAYS, 7-8:30 pm 
Maha Rose Yoga
97 Green St. Brooklyn
Greenpoint, Brooklyn

TUESDAYS, 7-8:30 pm 
Kula Yoga
85 N 3rd Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Affiliated Meetings in the Region:

MOST THURSDAYS, 7-8:30 pm 
Insight Breathwork Meditation w/ Kathy Cherry

(Check the calendar & register in advance. space is limited.) Padma NYC
14th Street/5th Ave, NYC

If you’ve checked the calendar and still have questions--email dpxnyc@gmail.com

from the book “Unsubscribe:

Chapter One:

Click Here for PDF Version

TO LIVE WITH PURPOSE requires that we take a risk to create meaning for ourselves.
In his memoir of surviving in Nazi concentration camps, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl concluded that sur- vival rests upon the realization that life, despite its absurdity, holds an authentic purpose that invariably extends beyond ourselves:

Being human always points . . . to something, or someone, other than oneself—be it a meaning to ful ll or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself—by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love—the more human he is.

It’s worth noting that pleasure and elation are not synonymous with purpose or authentic meaning. The single-minded pursuit of comfort and ease is an ulti- mately sel sh behavior, best described as a form of drive-reduction behavior: We all have drives, such as thirst, hunger, sex, a search for survival advantage. If these drives are not heeded, they cause stress until they are acted upon. When they are nally acted upon, we feel a sense of satiation and release. For instance, I’m presently thirsty. When eventually I satisfy my thirst with a drink, I’ll feel rewarded. I feel sim- ilar things when I buy something that I want, or even check my phone for text messages. These materialistic and reward- oriented behaviors trigger an almost disproportionate emo- tional response. While eating and drinking might seem to simply ful ll survival instinct, they actually give me the same kind of hedonistic satisfaction as buying something fun; I feel strong and secure.

Unfortunately the buzz—neurally similar to a hit of crack, a toot of cocaine, a line of crystal meth (all of which I explored for myself, thank you very much)—doesn’t last. Like any other drug, eventually the high wears off and we are invariably left feeling hollow, yearning for more. What goes up must come down, especially our emotions. It is the foundation of the second noble truth of Buddhism that even acquiring that which we desire will ultimately always leave us craving—and consequently, suffering—more.

Since we are social creatures, joining a group can help us maintain our emotional well-being. But to preserve our con- nection with the group, we might nd ourselves conforming to its social norms. In extreme cases we can virtually aban- don ourselves just to stay connected. If we deviate from the norms of our group, we’ll experience pressure to conform, whether explicitly or implicitly.

Seeking to t in and belong can cause our estimation of satisfaction and happiness to devolve into nothing more than the pursuit of status symbols and social recognition. But the happiness such achievements provide are short-lived. Con- necting with others is important for survival and a general sense of well-being, but the urge simply to conform and com- ply is ultimately just another pursuit of short-term advantage and pleasure. It doesn’t give our lives any real purpose.

Feeling a sense of purpose is very different from merely feeling pleasure. A sense of purpose, or meaning, arises in me when emails arrive from complete strangers who have listened to my podcasts and are seeking some words of com- fort. I don’t simply enjoy the emails. Reading them gives me a call to action, a desire to do something for others. While pleasure provides my self what it thinks it wants, purpose transcends my narrow sense of self. Purpose, a reason for being, must connect to one’s authentic experience.

We transcend meaninglessness only when we think and act beyond merely trying to satisfy our needs. We become authentic, in part, by extracting ourselves from the norm, adopting values that question rather than mimic, and taking on work that reaches beyond ourselves.

The pursuit of meaning and purpose doesn’t support the illusion of security. To nd purpose we must take a risk. Helping someone with an illness or addiction, starting a rela- tionship, raising children, or pursuing a meaningful career can require risking both our external and internal resources.

Once we’ve invested efforts into people and areas outside of our narrow self-interest, we may experience some periods of greater anxiety than people who chase after security and approval. Teaching at a Buddhist community, for example, creates meaning for me but requires sacrifice. I live hand to mouth, making a fraction of the money I made in advertising. And while many believe—incorrectly—that advertising is a glamorous profession, few even have a clue what being a Dharma teacher means, much less display any admiration when I tell them it’s what I do. Making life authentic and meaningful doesn’t always make us feel secure or comfortable.

Trying to live a life of meaning also connects my pres- ent experience to considerations of karma: my thoughts and actions have future implications, as the Buddha noted in the Kalama Sutta:

Suppose there is rebirth as a result of skillful or unskillful actions. Then it is possible that after death someone who acts skillfully will arise in a heavenly realm with a peaceful mind. But suppose there is no rebirth, there are no future lives that result from skillful or unskillful actions. Still, in this lifetime, one will live free from hatred, ill will, feeling secure and at peace.

A purpose involves considering the future implications of our actions, rather than looking good or sounding pleasant to others in the moment. I am better able to sort out what my purpose will be on the basis of honesty and a dispassionate assessment of myself.

Our lives don’t come with a user’s manual or even a stated goal. We arrive into consciousness with a will to live, but no real purpose beyond continued existence. None of us are provided a reason for being beyond survival of the species, which is often less than inspiring. So how do we nd meaning in a seemingly meaningless universe? We must create meaning for ourselves. To develop a genuine direction in life we must accept the challenge: We were born without a purpose, so we must create one. I am creating my own purpose, right here. I am creating a meaningful life in writing these words, as this organizes my existence toward the project’s completion.

We can take the groundless absurdity of life as a challenge by asking, “How can I create a purposeful life?” Here are some questions that can help us choose our purpose by examining some of our natural inclinations:

  • If you had a diagnosis of only months to live, what would you change? What obligations and responsi- bilities would you put aside? How would you behave differently?

  • Re ect on the times you experienced the greatest peace. What do these experiences have in common?

  • What are the great ideas you respect from the canon of philosophy or literature or culture? How can you live from this perspective?

  • What actions did you undertake ve years ago that you feel proud of? What can you learn from these actions?

  • What would be your nal speech to the world? How would you summarize the important things you’ve learned in life? What have you discovered about life worth expressing to others?

    The answers to these questions can help us gain some insight into our meaningful priorities, higher values, and authentic choices. If we want to establish real meaning for ourselves, the meaning has to come from within. As the Buddha taught, we should not base our beliefs and priorities on what is said to be true, what we’ve heard from others, but what we know to be true based on our own experience. The Buddha taught that, if our beliefs and values are to be authentic, we must verify them for ourselves. Similarly these investigations should be free from the undue in uences of social pressure. As such, quiet, secluded contemplation can provide a worthwhile setting for these core investigations.

    Once we test and develop reliable values, we live our lives guided by them, rather than simply surviving in the roles we’ve acquired at work, or in our families, hobbies, etc. We may nd that we are guided by compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, and equanimity.


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Josh Korda • Buddhist teacher, writer, buddhist spiritual counseling

Josh has been the dharma teacher at the New York and Brooklyn Dharmapunx meetings since 2005, has a large spiritual counseling private practice, and has written for the buddhist magazines Shambhala Sun, Tricycle and Buddhadharma. He is the author of the book 'Unsubscribe' and has been profiled by The New York Times, Village Voice and CBS News (interviewed by Dr. Jon LaPook). For over 10 years Josh has also given talks at ZenCare.org, a non-profit organization that trains hospice volunteers


Kathy Cherry

Kathy Cherry •
teacher • Breathwork, buddhist coaching

With almost two decades of dedicated mindfulness practice in the Insight Meditation tradition, Kathy is a founding member of DharmaPunx NYC and has been teaching in the community for the past 8 years.  

Since 2012 Spirit Rock Teacher Heather Sundberg has been her primary teacher, supporting practice & providing ongoing mentoring in her capacity as a teacher.

Kathy is an Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Community Facilitator, and has completed a 400 hour coaching certification through iPEC. She is trained to offer Breathwork Circles and will be starting Somatic Experiencing training in 2019 to better meet the needs of the community.  Kathy’s mentoring style emphasizes embodiment, compassion and practical wisdom both on and off the cushion.

See kathycherry.com. for guided meditations, information on mentoring, and a schedule of upcoming classes.

Suggested Resources


Buddha Style 

Bringing Peace to the Mind at War   

How to Speak and Hear the Truth 

Buddha, by Karen Armstrong
An excellent, powerfully written (and relatively short) biography of the Buddha.

An End to Suffering: the Buddha in the World, by Pankaj Mishra
Weaves together politics, travel, biography and philosophy in a quest to understand Buddha's life and teachings.

For a Future To Be Possible: Commentaries on the Five Mindfulness Trainings, by Thich Nhat Hanh
Great expanded reflections on The Five Precepts by one of the world's leading Buddhist teachers (excerpts available online.

A Gradual Awakening, by Stephen Levine

Buddhism: A Concise Introduction, by Huston Smith and Philip Novak

Unattended Sorrow, by Stephen Levine

Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom, by Joseph Goldstein
Key teachings, favorite stories, and answers to commonly asked questions about insight meditation by the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society.

The Mind Like Fire Unbound: An Image in the Early Buddhist Discourses, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff)
Describes Nirvana (well, makes an attempt anyway) and what one must do to attain it according to the Suttas. Also puts the phrase in historical context so that you know a bit more about what the Buddha achieved and what he meant for others to achieve. [Freely available online atwww.accesstoinsight.org]

Noble Strategy: Essays on the Buddhist Path, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff)
Presents views on basic elements in the Buddhist path — the attitudes, concepts, and practices that lead to total freedom for the mind. [Freely available online at www.accesstoinsight.org]

Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, by Tara Brach
Excellent and very accessible introduction to Buddhist practice by the founder and senior teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D. C.

Small Boat, Great Mountain, by Ajahn Amaro
Those finding the suttas difficult to interpret might want to sneak a peek at Ajahn Amaro's awe-inspiring Small Boat, Great Mountain, which has served as a guide for me during my rereadings of the Udana. The second chapter, The Place of Nonabiding, will blow your mind. [Freely available as a PDF]

The Udana and the Itivuttaka, Translated by John D. Ireland
The Udana is a wonderful collection of short stories followed by a verse. Wise, interesting and excellent for meditative reflection. See Tips on Reading the Pali Discourses [Also freely available online at www.accesstoinsight.org]


Perhaps the best Theravada Buddhist resource on the web. Free Suttas, articles, books, study guides, and links to other resources.


Hundreds of free books and articles for download.

Theravada Buddhist site with a Burmese feel – the English can be rough, but there is good stuff to be found here.

Suttas selected and read aloud by teachers and senior Dhamma practitioners in the Theravada Buddhist tradition.


Dharma talks are one of the best ways to listen to the Dhamma, associate with wise people (in a way), and to feel supported in the practice when live teachers go missing...

Buddhist Meditation Centers in the US

Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies

Spirit Rock Meditation Center http://www.spiritrock.org/
Great meditation center near San Francisco in Marin County, California.

www.dhamma.org http://www.dhamma.org/
The organization which offers courses in Vipassana Meditation in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin as taught by S.N. Goenka.

Metta Forest Monastery http://www.watmetta.org/
Thai forrest monastery near San Diego, California.


The Bhavana Society
Sri Lankan Forest Monastery near Washington, D.C.

New York Insight Meditation Center http://www.nyimc.org/
Highly recommended resource to stay aware of; NYIMC offers many workshops and speakers from around the world.

Downtown New York Meditation Community (http://www.dnymc.org/)
Peter Doobinen's group. Peter is one of New York's leading meditation teachers.


When browsing these websites please look at their schedule of events and plan a visit with friends if you are able.

American Burma Buddhist Association http://www.mahasiusa.org/
Burmese monks in Brooklyn

American Sri Lanka Buddhist Association: Staten Island Buddhist Vihara
Sri Lankan temple in Staten Island http://www.sibv.org/

New York Buddhist Vihara http://www.newyorkbuddhist.org/
Sri Lankan temple in Queens. The Queens Vihara offers meditation and a Dhamma talk on Wednesday evenings.


Bodhi Monastery 
Monastery in Lafayette, New Jersey Bhikkhu Bodhi, prolific translator of the Pali Canon into English, lives here. Take advantage of talks on the web, weekly classes and meditations at the monastery. One of the few monasteries where Mahayana and Theravada monks and nuns live together.

Wat Buddha Thai Tavorn Vanaram http://www.watbuddhathai.org/
Thai Monastery in Queens