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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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2023-02-08 Cultivating Metta (Lovingkindness, Love, Friendliness) 2 62:26
Donald Rothberg
In this second talk on Metta (lovingkindness) practice, we first review the foundational nature of the practice and its connection with the cultivation of wisdom and bring our practice into our lives and action in the world, with a reading of a poem from one of the early Buddhist nuns. We examine in some depth some of the challenges to Metta practice, what makes it challenging to manifest kindness and love, and point to some of the way to practice Metta in daily life.
2023-02-22 Guided Meditation: Connecting Metta (Lovingkindness), Mindfulness, and Awareness 39:08
Donald Rothberg
We start with a short period of metta or some other heart practice, noticing how mindfulness brings us back to the practice when we are distracted. Then there is a longer period of mindfulness, hopefully infused some with metta, in the spirit of Sylvia Boorstein's wonderful invitation: “May I meet this moment fully. May I meet this moment as a friend.” We then have a second sequence of relatively brief metta practice followed by a longer period of mindfulness practice. The last part of the session is a guided practice of radiating metta, moving toward an integration of metta and a boundless awareness. b. Let it infuse mindfulness: Sylvia’s phrase. See how this is. c. Check periodically. Maybe do 2-3 minutes of metta. d. Radiating metta exploring a loving awareness.
2023-02-22 Cultivating Metta 3: Integrating Metta and Clear Seeing 64:31
Donald Rothberg
In this talk of a series of talks on developing metta or lovingkindness, we look at the question of how we connect and integrate metta with our development of clear seeing, with our mindfulness and wisdom. This is an important question, particularly given that most Western practitioners of insight meditation have separate practices in which they develop metta, on the one hand, and mindfulness and wisdom, on the other. Are they integrated? How? In the talk, we explore: (1) related strong cultural tendencies to separate mind and emotions, as in, for example, science, and much education; (2) how in the basic teachings of the Buddha, there seem to be separate practices; (3) how, both in the teachings of the Buddha and in later Buddhist traditions (as well as in other traditions), there is often a deeper vision of the unity of the awakened heart and mind; and (4) how we can practice to integrate metta, mindfulness, wisdom, and awareness.
2023-03-06 My Civil Rights Road Trip 1:42:06
Ruth King
2023-03-20 A Teacher’s Trauma Resolution Journey 1:47:51
Pawan Bareja
2023-03-22 How to See the Big Picture when Times are Tough 1:19:38
Kaira Jewel Lingo
Includes a meditation & dharma talk (the participant Q/A has been removed)
2023-03-27 Love, Let, Loosen: Wise Intention 1:44:41
Dawn Mauricio
2023-03-29 Awakening and Habitual Tendencies 1 63:59
Donald Rothberg
Donald shares some of the main themes of his experiences from a four-week retreat that finished four days before the talk. The talk focuses on one of the themes from the retreat--how there is an awakening process and yet how there remain habitual tendencies and times of greed, hatred, and delusion. How do we understand the relationship between seeing our "true nature" to be love and wisdom, and the fact that habitual tendencies appear frequently? We explore this theme in a few ways. We look at some of the understandings and stories in different religious traditions of something like this dynamic: How can there be "evil" when there is an all-powerful and all-good God? What accounts for this dichotomy? How are nirvana and samsara related? What guidelines and suggestions help us to practice so as to hold the aspiration to awaken and keep practicing with the acknowledgement of our habitual tendencies? Seven practice suggestions are given (see the attached file).
Attached Files:
  • Seven Suggestions for Practice: Awakening Amidst Habitual Tendencies by Donald Rothberg (Word File)
2023-04-03 Happiness and the Path of Practice 1:58:45
Nikki Mirghafori
2023-04-05 Awakening and Habitual Tendencies 2 60:59
Donald Rothberg
We continue to explore a theme coming out of Donald's recent month-long retreat, of how we can hold and work with the understanding that there is both a process of awakening, often seen as mostly gradual, and a typically everyday experience of our habitual tendencies, including our difficulties and challenges. We review and expand some of what we examined in the previous session, including looking more at how the Buddha understood the nature of samsara and nirvana, and at the seven practices suggested last week for navigating this area (available to be downloaded--see the previous week's talk). We then go somewhat further and deeper, pointing to further ways of practicing, such as inquiring into the sense of self found in different habitual tendencies, and developing a devotional attitude toward both our ordinary lives and our habitual tendencies, as making possible the awakening process. We also touch on Mahayana and Vajrayana perspectives--that samsara and nirvana are not different (articulated by Nagarjuna), and that awakened awareness and habitual tendencies are not different (from Tibetan Dzogchen). These practices and perspectives help us to maintain confidence and faith in awakening in the midst of things!
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