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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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2021-08-25 (Lightly) Guided Meditation: Practicing with Pleasant and Unpleasant Experiences and Tendencies toward Reactivity. 38:13
Donald Rothberg
2021-09-01 Guided Meditation: Settling, Tracking Reactivity and Awakened Qualities 36:10
Donald Rothberg
We start with the intention to cultivate awakened qualities, then have a period of settling, followed by opening up experience and particularly noticing any reactivity (habitual grasping and pushing away) and awakened qualities, such as mindfulness, concentration, equanimity, joy, etc.
2021-09-01 Awakening 67:45
Donald Rothberg
After a number of sessions focused on practicing with reactivity and with challenges, we focus on awakening and awakened qualities. We survey the Buddha's main understanding of awakening as the ending of greed, aversion, and ignorance, as well as his pointing to a "signless, boundless, luminous" awareness at times. We also explore some of the understandings of a similar "awakened awareness" found in the Thai Forest tradition and the Tibetan Dzogchen and Mahamudra traditions (in part through slides, which can be found below, at this Dharma Seed site). Finally, the suggestion is made to set the intention especially this next week to cultivate one or two awakened qualities.
Attached Files:
  • Awakening Slides by Donald Rothberg (PDF)
2021-09-08 Awakening and Paths of Awakening: Traditional and Contemporary 67:03
Donald Rothberg
We first review last week's theme of traditional understandings of awakening and the path to awakening, focused on the teachings of the Buddha, of the Thai Forest tradition, and of Tibetan Dzogchen and Mahamudra. Then we explore the question whether we have need as well of contemporary maps of paths to awakening, to get at dimensions of contemporary greed, aversion, and delusion that are not identified in traditional maps. We suggest the need for such maps, and for integrating traditional understandings with examination particularly of psychological and social conditioning. If not transformed, such conditioning can lead to many problems for all practitioners, including teachers and those with some significant taste of awakening. Discussion follows.
2021-09-15 Compassion, Through Wisdom, Is Liberation From Suffering 1:22:40
Sylvia Boorstein
2021-09-20 Forgiving Heart | Monday Night Talk 53:08
Jack Kornfield
There’s a truth and reality deeper than conflict. We are not the stories we tell ourselves. How do we touch our measure of suffering? With a forgiving heart. Step out of the tyranny of self-judgment. Forgive yourself for being a learner in this life. Three principles of wise forgiveness of others: 1. Forgiveness is not weak, naïve. It’s not "forgive or forget." It takes real courage. Forgiveness does not condone what happened nor allow it to continue. 2. Forgiveness is not quick. It is often a long, difficult, tender process of the heart digesting the pain of what happened. 3. Forgiveness is not for them—it’s for you. It’s about our own heart not being chained to the past. Sometimes it's your loving heart that opens your broken heart. We can let go. We can put down the burden of resentment. We can live with a gracious heart.
2021-09-20 Forgiving Heart Meditation | Monday Night 25:26
Jack Kornfield
If it’s helpful, you can whisper in the back of your mind “ease” or “calm,” as suggested by Thich Nhat Hanh. Try to meet every breath with lovingkindness and loving awareness. Wish calm and peace for beings everywhere, far and near. Rest in stillness and love.
2021-09-22 Compassion, Through Wisdom, Is Liberation From Suffering (Part 2) 1:32:29
Sylvia Boorstein
2021-10-04 The Nature of Awakening: Traditional and Contemporary Maps 1:11:48
Donald Rothberg
While much of our interest in practice may be focused on finding some degree of peace and understanding, or on making workable challenging states of body, mind, and heart, it's helpful to keep the vision of how practice aims at awakening (bodhi). In this talk, we explore how the Buddha understood awakening and the path to awakening, as well as perspectives on the lived experience of awakening from later Buddhist traditions. We then ask the question about whether a contemporary path of awakening simply follows the traditional path of awakening. We explore how it's important also to include as parts of the path of awakening teachings and practices that help us work with both more psychological material (such as connected with difficult early experiences, trauma, limiting beliefs, etc.) and with our social conditioning (such as around race, gender, sexuality, class, age, etc.), areas that may not be adequately transformed only with the resources of traditional paths of awakening.
2021-10-06 Guided Meditation: The Factors of Awakening 36:31
Donald Rothberg
A lightly guided meditation, linked with today's talk, inviting one or more of the Seven Factors of Awakening.
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