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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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2023-02-19 Ten Ways of Practicing Skillfully with the Challenges of Our World 57:00
We continually are aware of so much that is painful in the world, whether related to police violence, war, earthquakes, the challenges to democracy, or the climate crisis. How can we be with and respond to what is painful (and also hopeful) from the perspective of our practice? What is “wise view” in relationship to the pain of the world? How do we get caught in unskillful views? How can we respond skillfully? Inspired by many wonderful teachers and exemplars, in this talk and discussion, I want to explore ten foundational ways of responding to these questions that can orient us in these challenging times.
White Heron Sangha
2023-02-08 Cultivating Metta (Lovingkindness, Love, Friendliness) 2 62:26
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.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2023-02-08 Guided Meditation: Metta (Lovingkindness) Practice with Phrases and Radiating Metta 39:21
We start with a short overview of practicing metta practice with phrases, followed by about 8-9 minutes of settling with mindfulness practice. Then we practice metta with phrases with beings with whom the metta flows most easily. This is followed by a period of guided practice of radiating metta.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2023-02-01 Cultivating Metta (Lovingkindness, Love, Friendliness) 1 63:18
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.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2023-02-01 Guided Meditation: Metta (Lovingkindness) Practice 40:15
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.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2023-01-15 Day 5 Evening Talk: Metta Practice and the Life and Work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 63:28
On Dr. King's birthday, we explore three broad areas connecting metta practice, Buddhist wisdom teachings, and other heart practices, with the life and approach of Dr. King: (1) the deep resonance between metta practice and the grounding in love and the beloved community that is central for King; (2) the close parallels between the development of non-reactivity aiming at the end of dukkha in Buddhist practice and the teachings and practices of nonviolent action; and (3) the other aspects of the awakened heart central for Dr. King, including empathy, compassion, forgiveness, joy, and equanimity. Included is the playing of three short recordings of Dr. King speaking.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Metta Retreat: Cultivating the Wise, Awakened, and Responsive Heart
2023-01-11 Day 1 Evening Talk: An Overview of Metta Practice: How Practicing Metta Transforms Us 61:38
Metta practice offers a radical and yet simple approach and training: To bring kind and wise presence and response to every situation. We incline toward an expansive friendliness, and see what gets in the way of metta. This is an approach centering on kindness and love which finds many echoes in many other spiritual traditions. And yet it can be a very challenging training; we look at a number of the common difficulties of metta practice and how to work with them, particularly distraction and lack of stability of attention, sleepiness and restless energy, difficulty in accessing the kind heart, and the arising of difficult emotions, thoughts, and body-states. As we practice, we integrate mind, heart, and body, increasingly touch our depths and learn how to manifest metta in the world.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Metta Retreat: Cultivating the Wise, Awakened, and Responsive Heart
2022-12-21 Talk: Practicing with Views and Beliefs 2 64:27
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.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2022-12-14 Talk: Practicing with Views and Beliefs 1 67:26
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.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
Attached Files:
  • The Buddha on “Views: Four Texts by Donald Rothberg (PDF)
2022-12-14 Lightly Guided Meditation: Practicing with Views and Beliefs 35:59
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.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks

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