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Retreat Dharma Talks

Spirit Rock Live: Monday Night with Donald Rothberg

For over 35 years now, the Monday Night sitting group at Spirit Rock has been a welcoming refuge to gather, hear the teachings of the Buddha, and practice insight meditation together as a community. The program includes a 30-40 min guided meditation, a short break, and a dharma talk.

2023-07-17 (1 day) Spirit Rock Meditation Center

2023-07-17 Guided Meditation Exploring the Factors of Awakening 31:11
Donald Rothberg
Basic instructions in developing concentration and stability, on the one hand, and mindfulness, on the other, are given in the context of the teaching of the Seven Factors of Awakening; concentration and mindfulness are two of the seven factors. We also explore inquiry or investigation, a third factor, in the context of mindfulness.
2023-07-17 The Nature of Awakening: Traditional and Contemporary Paths of Awakening 68:04
Donald Rothberg
We examine first the Buddha’s teachings about awakening, We see how he understands the process as involving two processes. We are mindful of and work through what gets in the way of touching our natural awakening—greed, hatred, and delusion (or the two forms of reactivity—grasping after the pleasant and pushing away the unpleasant, along with ignorance about the nature of impermanence, reactivity or Dukkha, and not-self). We also develop those qualities which both support and manifest awakening, qualities identified in the teaching of the Seven Factors of Awakening. We see further how the Buddha at times identified the nature of awakened awareness as “signless, boundless, all-luminous,” and trace similar accounts of awakened awareness in the Thai Forest tradition and Tibetan Dzogchen and Mahāmudrā. Then we ask the question about whether these wonderful teachings and associated practices are sufficient for awakening in the contemporary world. We point to how such teachings and practices are crucial but also need to be complemented by and integrated with a contemporary map of awakening, identifying forms of contemporary conditioning (and greed, hatred, and delusion) that are not found in the traditional account. Broadly speaking, we can identify two inter-related core areas—a first identifying more “psychological” conditioning, and more “social” conditioning (for example, around gender, race, sexual orientation, age, etc.). The talk is followed by discussion.
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