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Donald Rothberg's Dharma Talks
Donald Rothberg
Donald Rothberg, PhD, has practiced Insight Meditation since 1976, and has also received training in Tibetan Dzogchen and Mahamudra practice and the Hakomi approach to body-based psychotherapy. Formerly on the faculties of the University of Kentucky, Kenyon College, and Saybrook Graduate School, he currently writes and teaches classes, groups and retreats on meditation, daily life practice, spirituality and psychology, and socially engaged Buddhism. An organizer, teacher, and former board member for the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Donald has helped to guide three six-month to two-year training programs in socially engaged spirituality through Buddhist Peace Fellowship (the BASE Program), Saybrook (the Socially Engaged Spirituality Program), and Spirit Rock (the Path of Engagement Program). He is the author of The Engaged Spiritual Life: A Buddhist Approach to Transforming Ourselves and the World and the co-editor of Ken Wilber in Dialogue: Conversations with Leading Transpersonal Thinkers.
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2024-07-08 Connecting Wisdom and the Awakened Heart 62:29
A central way to describe our practice is to say that we aim to touch and deepen in wisdom and in the awakened heart (particularly through cultivating the “divine abodes”: lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity), and to live and act increasingly from wisdom and the awakened heart. This is like the well-known image of the teachings and practices being like the bird with two wings—wisdom and compassion (the latter signifying the different qualities of the awakened heart). In the talk, we cover five areas exploring particularly how we connect wisdom and the awakened heart: (1) the aspiration to grow in wisdom and the awakened heart and the nature of wisdom and the awakened heart; (2) our social conditioning (including gender conditioning) about wisdom and the heart and how they can be separate in our lives or one or both may be relatively undeveloped; (3) some ways that they seem separate even in Buddhist teachings and practices, particularly in how metta has sometimes been understood; (4) how to have from different teachings of the Buddha a deeper sense of wisdom and the awakened heart as connected and integrated; and (5) how we might integrate the two in our practices, particularly focusing on the practices we explored in the guided meditation. The talk is followed by discussion.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday Night Live with Donald Rothberg
2024-07-08 Guided Meditation: Connecting Wisdom and the Awakened Heart in Concentration, Mindfulness, Metta, and Radiating Metta Practices 42:33
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday Night Live with Donald Rothberg
2024-07-03 Toward Freedom and Awakening--Individually and as a Society: A Fourth of July Talk 62:10
A day before the Fourth of July and two days after Canada Day, commemorating establishing Canada, we explore the possibility of connecting the vision of individual awakening and freedom and the vision of social freedom and justice. We look at the "shadows" of these visions, of how greed, hatred, and delusion, whether individual or collective, as well as other factors, stand in the way of realizing these visions. We point to the importance of staying connected to these two visions in difficult and challenging times, and of how they can be brought together. After the talk, we have a group discussion.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2024-06-19 Practicing with Views, Beliefs, and Positions 2 63:52
We start with a brief reflection on today's holiday, Juneteenth. Then we review last week's initial exploration of practicing with views, including (1) identifying the main teachings on views given by the Buddha, and (2) three basic ways to practice with views, including developing mindfulness of views, inquiring when there is a charge related to another's view, and developing careful listening. This review is followed by bringing in several further ways to understand and practice with views, including working with a specific teaching and letting the "view [coming from the teaching] be the meditation," exploring how sometimes to rest in a kind of unknowing, and then how awakening lies beyond views and concepts. The talk is followed by discussion.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2024-06-19 Guided Meditation: Practicing with Views 36:07
After initial instructions in developing stability and concentration, and then mindfulness, there are further instructions, given after 10 and after 20 minutes, on developing more mindfulness of views, stories, and narratives (related to the talk given after the meditation). At the end, there is an invitation to reflect on views or stories that have been prominent in the last few days.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2024-06-12 Practicing with Views, Beliefs, and Positions 1 61:19
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2024-05-22 Developing Concentration (Samadhi) 2 65:57
We review some of the main themes from last week's talk on developing concentration (samadhi), including the importance of such practice for the Buddha and his teachings; without samadhi, the Buddha says, there is no freedom. We examine ways of practicing (including outside of formal meditation) and look at some of the factors that indicate a deepening of samadhi (the jhanic factors). We then review the main challenges of developing samadhi, particularly over-active minds, sleepiness and low energy, and over-efforting. We also explore further challenges to the development of samadhi, including working with background thoughts, the ways that more unconscious material can surface in cultivating samadhi, and attachment to concentrated states. The talk is followed by discussion.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2024-05-22 Guided Meditation: Developing Concentration (Samadhi) 2 35:36
After a short overview about the nature of concentration (samadhi), there is basic guidance on cultivating samadhi along with some more advanced instruction in the last third of the guided meditation.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2024-05-15 Developing Concentration (Samadhi) 1 64:02
There are two main forms of meditation as taught by the Buddha: Developing concentration and developing insight. We explore how they go together, the nature of concentration (samadhi), and the different ways of developing samadhi. We also look at some of the typical challenges of developing samadhi, particularly over-active minds, sleepiness and low energy, and over-efforting. Throughout there is an emphasis on finding ways to integrate active effort with ease and relaxation. The talk is followed by discussion.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2024-05-15 Guided Meditation: Developing Concentration (Samadhi) 36:25
At the beginning, there is a short discussion of the nature and importance of cultivating concentration or samadhi, followed by practical meditative guidance at the beginning and during the session.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks

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