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Retreat Dharma Talks

Monday and Wednesday Talks

Regular weekly talks given at the lower Spirit Rock meditation hall

Spirit Rock Meditation Center

  
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2021-04-21 Doing and Not-Doing in Meditation and Daily Life 5: Talk, Guided Meditation, Discussion 1:15:23
Donald Rothberg
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 ways of bringing these practices into daily life; the experience of "flow" and being an "expert" in a given area as pointing to a kind of "doing" coming out of a deep not-doing; and the theme of not-doing in Taoist tradition (emphasizing the work of Chuang Tzu) and Buddhist tradition. We suggest that all of practice points toward this deep non-doing as an expression of awakening. We then explore this territory in a 20-minute guided meditation, followed by discussion.
2021-05-05 Anyone Who Understands Impermanence Ceases to be Contentious 1:42:44
Sylvia Boorstein
2021-05-12 The Development of Faith, Confidence, and Trust 1 1:11:36
Donald Rothberg
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 then exploring how faith is developed at different stages of our practice, particularly beginning and intermediate.
2021-05-19 The Development of Faith, Confidence, and Trust 2 69:11
Donald Rothberg
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 challenges that arise, both in the everyday experience of the Eight Worldly Winds, and in more protracted experiences of something like the "Dark Night of the Soul." The last part of the talk points to what mature faith, confidence, and trust look like, a kind of faith in our own depths and in our own deep resting in the nature of things. We then have a period of discussion and sharing.
2021-06-07 Doing, Not-Doing, and The Doing That Comes from Not-Doing: In Meditation and in Daily Life 64:49
Donald Rothberg
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" and one's identity as a doer, in a number of different ways, in meditation and daily life; (4) the vision of a doing that comes out of being, that comes out of a deep not-doing, a vision that we find in different spiritual traditions--here we mention ways that this vision is found in Jewish, Christian, Taoist, and Buddhist traditions; and (5) how we explore and cultivate this doing coming out of a deep not-doing in daily life, in "flow experiences," in activities in which we are deeply grounded, and in such areas as sports, music, art, and dance.
2021-06-09 There Is No Time but the Present: Reflections on Impermanence 1:50:55
Sylvia Boorstein
2021-06-16 Loving Well is the Best Response 67:56
Sylvia Boorstein
2021-06-23 Buddhist Practice and Transforming Racism: Nine Reflections from the Last Year 69:33
Donald Rothberg
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.
2021-06-30 Deepening Daily Life Practice 1 68:12
Donald Rothberg
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 challenging context of daily life practice for many Western practitioners, including not just such a lack of sustained emphasis on daily life practice, but also the challenges of living in what is often a very busy, "mental" culture and society. We then look at a number of ways to bring more awareness into daily life, inviting the listener to see what one or two ways of practicing might be emphasized in the next period of time. We give a more in-depth focus on one very central way of bringing more awareness into daily life--developing mindfulness of the body. We offer a number of different practices that support such mindfulness of the body.
2021-07-07 Deepening Daily Life Practice 2: A Guided Meditation: Practicing with Reactivity 26:04
Donald Rothberg
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 reactivity (grasping onto the pleasant in some way, or pushing away the unpleasant).
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