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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

2022-12-14 Lightly Guided Meditation: Practicing with Views and Beliefs 35:59
Donald Rothberg
After some foundational mindfulness instructions, there's an invitation to track for views and beliefs when they appear, whether just for a few moments or in a more sustained way, linked perhaps with reviewing an interaction with someone or something that happened. Near the end, there's guidance to bring to mind a situation in the last few days in which there was a strong sense of a view taken and then explore the experience of holding a strong view.
2022-12-14 Talk: Practicing with Views and Beliefs 1 67:26
Donald Rothberg
Practicing with views, beliefs, opinions, and narratives is a central part of our practice (in relationship to ourselves, to others, and in the larger society and world) and was strongly emphasized in the teachings of the Buddha. In this talk, we explore how the Buddha taught on views, emphasizing four core teachings. We then inquire into what is particularly problematic in our relationship to views is the way that we potentially are reactive in relation to views--habitually grasping and pushing away with our views. We then suggest three foundational practices for working with views and beliefs. There is finally about a twenty-minute discussion period.
Attached Files:
  • The Buddha on “Views: Four Texts by Donald Rothberg (PDF)
2022-12-21 Talk: Practicing with Views and Beliefs 2 64:27
Donald Rothberg
We begin with an acknowledgment of the Winter Solstice, and the importance, in a time that is often very busy, of slowing down, like the earth in the Northern Hemisphere, of being relatively still and opening to the generative dimensions of darkness. We then review the main elements of what we explored last week, pointing to the main aspects of the Buddha's teaching on "views" (including belief, positions, etc.), explored through four core texts, and three ways of practicing with views. We then bring some further ways of practicing with views. One is opened up by working with the model, from Chris Argyris, of the "Ladder of Inference," in noticing tendencies to go from direct experience to generalizations (obviously very useful at times), and how sometimes reactivity drives us "up the Ladder" to generalizations. A second is in working with relatively unconscious or half-conscious views, whether about oneself, others, or the nature of things. We close with discussion, intentions, and the dedication of merit.
2023-01-04 Nothing but Kindness 1:44:44
Sylvia Boorstein
A mixture of meditation, a dharma talk, and group discussion
2023-01-09 Living Right Action in a Complex World 0:00
Mark Coleman
(Recording not available) 
2023-01-23 Dana and Caga: The Buddha's First Teachings 1:48:25
Leslie Booker
2023-01-25 Listen to the Rain & Knit 1:47:26
Sylvia Boorstein
Short meditation, dharma talk, and group discussion
2023-02-01 Guided Meditation: Metta (Lovingkindness) Practice 40:15
Donald Rothberg
We start with a short introduction to Metta (Lovingkindness) Practice, working with phrases that tend to evoke Metta, kindness, good will, etc. Then there's a 10-minute period of settling (with mindfulness practice), followed by about 20 minutes of Metta Practice, with beings with whom Metta flows well.
2023-02-01 Cultivating Metta (Lovingkindness, Love, Friendliness) 1 63:18
Donald Rothberg
The aim of our practice is to develop wisdom, love, and skillful action in our lives. We commonly cultivate these capacities separately and then integrate them. In this session, we first explore the nature of Metta, its etymology in words suggesting "friendliness" and "friendship," and the ancient vocation, found in multiple spiritual traditions of cultivating Metta or love or kindness. We then look at the multiple ways of developing Metta, both in formal practice and in daily life, and examine briefly some of the challenges in cultivating Metta. Then we have a guided meditation the last 15 minutes exploring "Radiating Metta," a way of practicing likely closer to how the Buddha taught Metta. We follow this with discussion.
2023-02-06 Embodied Presence Meditation | Monday Night 22:40
Jack Kornfield
Jack offers a flowing guided meditation helping us skillfully move past the thoughts, emotions, and images of the mind, and into a state of stillness, spacious loving awareness, and relaxed embodied presence. "The invitation of meditation is to come into the present, to quiet the mind, to open the heart, to find an embodied presence and loving awareness." – Jack Kornfield This meditation was originally live-streamed by Spirit Rock for the Monday Night Dharma Talk on 2/6/2023.
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