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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.
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2015-09-05 The “Thinning” of the Self: Exploring and Practicing Anattā (“Not-Self”) 1: Introduction and Overview 45:58
The teaching of anattā (“not-self”) points to one of the three fundamental areas of liberating insight taught by the Buddha (along with the teachings on impermanence and on suffering or dukkha). Yet anattā can very challenging and confusing for contemporary practitioners. Is there “no self” (as anattā is sometimes translated)? How do we make sense of our feelings of individuality, identity, ancestry, and vocation? How do we address our own personal experiences of woundedness, trauma, and oppression? Are these all simply to be “transcended”? How is a sense of self actually in many ways important for contemporary spiritual development, and how is working with our own individual conditioning, whether psychological or social in origin, central to our liberation? How do we integrate attending to such conditioning with opening as well to the power and energy of experiences beyond the habitual sense of self? In this daylong, we will explore these vital questions primarily in a practical way. Using the metaphors of “thinning the self” and working with a “thick” sense of self, we will cover three aspects of practice: (1) cultivating, in several ways, the “thinning” of the self, both in meditation and in everyday life, including working with the Five Skandhas or “aggregates” of experience; (2) tracking and working with different manifestations of a “thick” sense of self, both as appearing in experience and as hidden to awareness; and (3) opening to experiencing beyond a fixed sense of self, as awareness, compassion, and responsiveness deepen.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2015-09-05 The “Thinning” of the Self: Exploring and Practicing Anattā (“Not-Self”) 5: Not-Self & The Five Skandhas 13:28
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2015-09-05 The “Thinning” of the Self: Exploring and Practicing Anattā (“Not-Self”) 4: Guided Meditation on the Five Skandhas 41:10
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2015-08-19 Practicing the Middle Way 65:27
We explore the balance of active and receptive effort and letting go and other expressions of the middle way--as a general principle in concentration and insight practice in everyday action and in accessing the depths of our being.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2015-07-22 Practicing the Fourth Precept 2 - Empathy 68:35
In the context of our ethical practice we took a look at a second aspect of speech practice - practicing empathy through an overview and a practice with guidance in the last part of the session. Roughly 68 minutes in duration.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2015-07-15 Practicing the Fourth Ethical Precept - Wise (or "Right") Speech 1 63:31
We continue with our exploration of ethical practice, set in the context of the overall training to awaken. We focus in this first session on Fourth Precept ("Right" or "Wise" Speech) on the four core ethical guidelines for speech (truthfulness, helpfulness, speaking from the heart, and good timing/appropriateness of the speech), in the context of the general importance of speech practice, suggesting a number of ways of practicing.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2015-07-01 Practicing the Second Ethical Precept - Not Taking That Which Is Not Given 60:06
After a brief review of the general nature of ethical practice, we look at outer, inner, and social dimensions of practicing the Second Precept - not taking that which not given - including a song and discussion of some of the challenges of such practices.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2015-06-24 Practicing the First Ethical Precept--Non-Harming 65:11
Set in the larger contexts of the importance of ethical practice, we focus on the meaning and practical of non-harming, with some reflections on responding to the killings of nine African Americans at a bible study class in Charleston, South Carolina.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2015-06-18 From Insight Practice to Spacious Awareness 60:49
We examine practicing with the Three Characteristics, particularly with Dukkha (suffering) and anatta (not-self). Then we explore "spacious awareness," a type of non-conceptual awareness beyond the splits of knower and known, particularly in the teachings of the Buddha and the Thai Forest tradition, with some reference to Tibetan and Zen traditions. Thirdly, we outline a number of ways to access this kind of awareness.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center From the Breath to Spacious Awareness
2015-06-16 Concentration (Samadhi) Practice 58:01
A practically-based exploration of the nature of concentration and its place in practice, how to practice concentration (complementing the morning instructions), five challenges of concentration practice and how to work with them, and the relationship of concentration and insight practice.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center From the Breath to Spacious Awareness

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