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The greatest gift is the
gift of the teachings
Donald Rothberg's Dharma Talks
Donald Rothberg
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 member for the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Donald has helped to guide three six-month to two-year training programs in socially engaged spirituality through Buddhist Peace Fellowship (the BASE Program), Saybrook (the Socially Engaged Spirituality Program), and Spirit Rock (the Path of Engagement Program). He is the author of The Engaged Spiritual Life: A Buddhist Approach to Transforming Ourselves and the World and the co-editor of Ken Wilber in Dialogue: Conversations with Leading Transpersonal Thinkers.
2009-11-25 Distraction 61:52
We look at the nature of distraction- not attending to what is our intended focus- in three main ways, each of which we can respond to: 1) our distraction moment to moment and how we train in mindfulness, 2) our distraction in our everyday lives, and 3) how our lives become distracted in relation to our deeper intentions.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2009-11-18 Emptiness & Compassion Part IV 61:04
After a short account of emptiness and how we cultivate a deeper understanding of it in very practical ways, we explore the nature of compassion. We look at how it can be developed and what forms it can take, all the time pointing to how mature compassion invloves a deep sense of emptiness and interconnection (and vice versa).
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2009-11-11 Emptiness & Compassion III 64:01
We review the teachings on emptiness in the context of the broader teachings on the centrality of developing wisdom and compassion, expanding our examination of these teachings from last time. The last part of the session involving doing several exercises, partly explaining experience as a flowing "stream" (and seeing what obstructs the flow) and partly doing a series of four exercises with "ordinary objects" designed to take us out of our ordinary way of constructing things.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2009-11-06 The Mature Heart - the Integration of the Four Brahmaviharas 1:12:48
Preceded by a short chant by Rebekkah La Dyne, our yoga teacher for the retreat, we explore two main modes of transformation - one going into suffering, one involving beautiful states. We then focus on the latter, as expressed in the practice of the Brahmaviharas, the cultivation of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity - examining their near and far enemies, and how the four interpret each other in the mature heart.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Cultivating Clear Seeing, Opening the Heart
2009-11-05 Wisdom 66:49
We examine how mindfulness is distinguished from, yet leads to wisdom. We explore wisdom especially through the life story of the Buddha, moving from comfort and and illusion to deep wisdom and compassion, and through his first teaching of the Four Noble Truths - the most basic expression of wisdom in the tradition.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Cultivating Clear Seeing, Opening the Heart
2009-11-03 The Secret Beauty of Hearts: Transformations Through Metta 62:34
Transformation in practice, whether in mindfulness or metta practice, occurs through repetition, patience, understanding and faith, in a sometimes mysterious way. Using poems and stories, we explore the nature of lovingkindness (metta) and the kinds of transformation that occur as we practice.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Cultivating Clear Seeing, Opening the Heart
2009-11-02 Mindfulness - What It Is and What Makes It Difficult 64:30
On this first evening of the retreat, we explore the nature of mindfulness in general and how we practice mindfulness of the body in particular. We then examine the five "difficult energies" (nivarana or "hindrances"), and how they make mindfulness difficult and how to practice when they are present.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Cultivating Clear Seeing, Opening the Heart
2009-10-28 Emptiness & Compassion Part II 64:52
We first review basic perspectives on emptiness and compassion and then explore three basic ways to access emptiness: 1) being with inner flow of experience and seeing where self and fixation occur, 2) opening to the "flow experience" in activities and relationships and 3) cultivating a sense of interconnection
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2009-10-21 Emptiness and Compassion Part I 48:00
We examine the teaching of seeing the emptiness of self and things and how this, in its mature expression, is compassionate activity. We suggest simple practices to explore this sometimes confusing teaching, and everyday examples of how emptiness and compassion come together.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2009-09-30 Service and Work as Practice III: The Centrality of Intention 58:16
In the context of previous talks, we explore intention practice in three ways: 1.) understanding the importance of intention in our practice and in life 2.) cultivating intention as aspiration- being in touch with deeper intentions, and 3.) working with intentions moment to moment and in specific activities.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks

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