Donate  |   Contact

The greatest gift is the
gift of the teachings
Retreat Dharma Talks

Cultivating the Wise Heart on the Cushion and in the World: Practicing Mindfulness and the “Divine Abodes” (Lovingkindness, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity)

The Divine Abodes (Brahmaviharas) of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, are the places of the open, awakened heart. In this retreat, on the foundation of insight meditation and the development of mindfulness, we will learn the formal practices of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. We will also offer guidance for bringing these practices into daily life, including in challenging situations—whether in our relationships, our work and community lives, or in our efforts at social change. All of these practices strengthen clear seeing and wisdom, self-confidence, self-acceptance, generosity of spirit, steadiness of mind and heart, and skillful action, revealing our fundamental kindness and wisdom, in a culture in which heart and mind are often disconnected. The retreat will generally alternate silent sitting meditation and walking meditation. Core instructions in the different practices will be offered, along with talks, discussion, and brief daily guided movement sessions.

2021-03-15 (7 days) InsightLA

2021-03-15 Introduction to the Brahmavihara and to Metta Practice 54:53
Donald Rothberg
We first explore the nature of the four, interconnected brahmavihara as expressions of the "awakened heart." We then orient ourselves to the beginning of formal practice of the brahmavihara by clarifying the nature of metta (or "lovingkindness") practice.
2021-03-17 Some Further Pointers in Cultivating Metta, and An Introduction to Compassion and Compassion Practice 60:11
Donald Rothberg
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 pain and difficulty. We link compassion to the understanding of the nature of how the conditioned mind reacts to what is painful, referring to the sequence from contact to grasping in the teaching on Dependent Origination, and the explication of the teaching of Dukkha (or "reactivity") and the end of Dukkha. We then explore further the receptive and active dimensions of compassion, some difficult distortions of compassion, and ways that compassion manifests toward self and others.
2021-03-18 Embracing Strong Emotions and Practices to Grow our Joy 64:36
Kaira Jewel Lingo
We begin with a 5-step process for caring for strong emotions and then look at ways to cultivate and strengthen the Brahmavihara of mudita or joy, also in relation to working with jealousy.
2021-03-19 Continuing with Mudita Practice, Introducing Equanimity (Upekkha) Practice 62:42
Donald Rothberg
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 difficulties. Then we explore the nature of equanimity, pointing to several of the qualities of equanimity, including balance, evenness, unshakability, undetstanding and wisdom, warmth, and responsiveness. We also examine some of the typical distortions of equanimity and importance of the interconnection of the four brahmavihara as one to avoid such distractions.
Creative Commons License