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Donald Rothberg, PhD, has practiced Insight Meditation since 1976, and has also received training in Tibetan Dzogchen and Mahamudra practice and the Hakomi approach to body-based psychotherapy. Formerly on the faculties of the University of Kentucky, Kenyon College, and Saybrook Graduate School, he currently writes and teaches classes, groups and retreats on meditation, daily life practice, spirituality and psychology, and socially engaged Buddhism. An organizer, teacher, and former board me ...
 
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(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) In this second exploration of the nature of inquiry or investigation, we first review some of what was covered in the first talk. We situate inquiry or investigation within the teaching of the Seven Factors of Awakening, as one of the three "energizing" factors. After outlining five modes of inquiry and reviewing the…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) After a period of settling, we work with two main forms of inquiry or investigation (one of the Seven Factors of Awakening). The first is inquiry through mindfulness when an experience has some duration: Asking what's happening and exploring what's going in the body, the emotions, and the story-line or narrative. The…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) Inquiry is one of the Seven Factors of Awakening, and can be a crucial factor in our practice, leading to greater energy, interest, and learning. Yet we may believe that meditation should be about "not thinking." We explore how we need to be able to not be ruled by thinking; this can make it possible then to use thin…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) After some basic instructions in settling with an anchor, and on being with and seeing clearly what's predominant when somewhat settled, we can also explore several instructions for bringing inquiry (or investigation) into practice, through (1) asking what is present right now; (2) exploring with mindfulness an exper…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) Our practice aims at awakening (and awakened beings help others awaken). We review briefly the nature of awakening for the Buddha and later Buddhist traditions, and the centrality of the teaching of the Seven Factors of Awakening. We then explore the two foundational factors--mindfulness and equanimity--identifying t…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) After we set the context of the holiday of Thanksgiving, including Native perspectives, we explore the inter-related qualities of generosity and gratitude. Gratitude is especially in relationship to acknowledging the generosity of others, and of life. We clarify a number of ways to cultivate these two qualities. The …
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) Remembering the teaching about there being 84,000 "Dharma Doors," we explore a number of such "doorways to awakening." The interest is especially in inviting us each to have a sense of what at the current time brings one's practice alive, identifying one's "edge of current learning." This may be to identify a current…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) There’s an outline of how in concentration practice and insight practice, there is deconstruction of some of the structures of ordinary experience, including the separation of knower and known, the solidity of the object, and the will (which is absent in choiceless awareness). We then explore the nature of awakened a…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) We explore further the nature of samadhi and samatha practice, cultivating samadhi, pointing to the importance of samadhi and samatha practice, the different ways of practicing, and some of the challenges of such practice. We identify five main challenges and suggest some of the ways of working with the challenges.…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) After a brief review of the last two sessions that Donald has offered on traditional teachings about awakening and contemporary maps of the path of awakening, we explore the core teaching of the Seven Factors of Awakening: mindfulness, investigation, resolve or energy, joy or rapture, tranquility, concentration, and …
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) While much of our interest in practice may be focused on finding some degree of peace and understanding, or on making workable challenging states of body, mind, and heart, it's helpful to keep the vision of how practice aims at awakening (bodhi). In this talk, we explore how the Buddha understood awakening and the pa…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) We first review last week's theme of traditional understandings of awakening and the path to awakening, focused on the teachings of the Buddha, of the Thai Forest tradition, and of Tibetan Dzogchen and Mahamudra. Then we explore the question whether we have need as well of contemporary maps of paths to awakening, to …
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) After a number of sessions focused on practicing with reactivity and with challenges, we focus on awakening and awakened qualities. We survey the Buddha's main understanding of awakening as the ending of greed, aversion, and ignorance, as well as his pointing to a "signless, boundless, luminous" awareness at times. W…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) We start with the intention to cultivate awakened qualities, then have a period of settling, followed by opening up experience and particularly noticing any reactivity (habitual grasping and pushing away) and awakened qualities, such as mindfulness, concentration, equanimity, joy, etc.…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) We name some of the personal, relational, and collective challenges of our current times, and point to a number of guidelines and support that help us to skillfully take such challenges as part of our practice of awakening. Discussion follows the talk.By Donald Rothberg
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) We begin by naming some of the important supports for daily life practice and by exploring further the importance of practicing with reactivity (compulsively and habitually grasping after or pushing away). It's helpful to focus on the center of practice: Transforming reactivity and learning better how to respond skil…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) After some general instructions for settling and seeing clearly and a period of practice, there is guidance for practicing with the Eight Worldly Winds (pleasure or pain, gain or loss, fame or disrepute, and praise or blame). We focus first on being attentive to moderate or greater levels of pleasant or unpleasant ex…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) We begin with a review of the last two sessions related to deepening daily life practice, including identifying some of the challenges of contemporary daily life practice and some basic ways of deepening such practice, the importance for such practice of mindfulness of the body, and the centrality of practicing with …
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) In this guided meditation, we start with about 10 minutes of settling. We then attend to when there is a moderate or greater pleasant or unpleasant feeling-tone, bringing some investigation as to what occurs in ones' experience, including tendencies to reactivity (grasping or pushing away). Toward the end of the guid…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) We begin with a review of last week's opening exploration of deepening daily life practice, naming some of the challenges of daily life practice, some initial ways of deepening such practice, and the centrality for such practice of mindfulness of the body. We then, for the rest of the session, explore how we can prac…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) In this guided meditation, we start with about 10 minutes of settling. We then attend to when there is a moderate or greater pleasant or unpleasant feeling-tone, bringing some investigation as to what occurs in ones' experience. Toward the end of the guided meditation, there's an invitation to track for any moment of…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) In an important sense, daily life practice is central and vital; it is where we live! Yet at times in the non-monastic Insight Meditation approach as it's developed in the West, such practice has been somewhat marginalized, with retreat practice and formal meditation practice at the center. We explore first the chall…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) A year after the massive demonstrations in the US following the killing of George Floyd, we reflect on different aspects of the integration of Buddhist practice and transforming racism, identifying nine key themes.By Donald Rothberg
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) We inquire into doing and not-doing in five ways: (1) identifying the importance of a number of different kinds of "doing" and skillful effort in meditation; (2) pointing also to the centrality of a kind of not-doing (or letting go of doing) and receptivity in meditation; (3) the importance of investigating the "doer…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) We continue to explore the nature of faith (or confidence or trust), how it is developed, and the challenges that arise. We look at the traditional teachings on faith (or saddha) in several contexts, and examine how faith or confidence develops in our practice and in our lives We particularly look at some of the chal…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) Our practice points toward a deep kind of faith (or confidence or trust) that is possible, in which there is faith both in our unique being and in our connection to being itself. We explore how we develop such faith, starting with a brief account of how faith (saddha) is understood in the teachings of the Buddha, and…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) We briefly review the main themes of our practice in the last sessions: The importance of "doing" and skillful effort in our formal practice and in our daily lives; the parallel importance of "not-doing" (particularly receptivity) in these areas; some ways to inquire into the nature of our identities as "doers"; some…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) A thirty-minute or so guided meditation, lightly guided, with three successive instructions: (1) to set intentions in light of whether one needs in general to emphasize "doing" more or less, and then to focus initially on settling, connecting with the primary object and noticing when one is distracted; (2) to emphasi…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) We review briefly the basic perspectives that we've explore in preceding sessions: the importance of active "doing" in meditation and daily life, the importance as well as receptivity and "not-doing" in meditation and daily life, and ways in which to inquire into our more fixed identity as a "doer." We then look at t…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) About a 30-minute guided meditation emphasizing the balance of more active "doing" and more receptive awareness (a kind of "not-doing") in meditation. We start with intentions and then settling of attention and awareness, followed by opening up to what is predominant, integrating both more active and more receptive d…
 
(Spirit Rock Meditation Center) We start with a brief review of what we’ve explored in the last two sessions on this theme, including the importance of both doing and not-doing in Buddhist practice and the nature of identification with the “doer” (and the related themes of self, time, and the future). We then go into more depth inquiring into the n…
 
(InsightLA) First, we consider further some of the qualities of mudita, how joy is central to the teachings of the Buddha, how the cultivation of joy is crucial for being able to address difficulties and painful situations, how joy can be understood as a deep expression of our fundamental nature, and how joy can be present even in the midst of diff…
 
(InsightLA) We first explore some further suggestions in the practice of metta, particularly related to working with distraction and an active mind, and then related to practicing when difficult states of mind, body, and emotion come up. We then begin to clarify the nature of compassion as the expression of the awakened heart in the presence of pai…
 
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