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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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2021-12-01 The Seven Factors of Awakening 2: Cultivating Mindfulness and Equanimity in Formal Meditation and in Daily Life 69:14
Our practice aims at awakening (and awakened beings help others awaken). We review briefly the nature of awakening for the Buddha and later Buddhist traditions, and the centrality of the teaching of the Seven Factors of Awakening. We then explore the two foundational factors--mindfulness and equanimity--identifying their core qualities, as well as how to practice to cultivate each of these factors, both in formal meditation and in the movement of daily life. There is a talk and then discussion.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-11-24 Cultivating Generosity and Gratitude at the Time of Thanksgiving 65:05
After we set the context of the holiday of Thanksgiving, including Native perspectives, we explore the inter-related qualities of generosity and gratitude. Gratitude is especially in relationship to acknowledging the generosity of others, and of life. We clarify a number of ways to cultivate these two qualities. The talk integrates some discussion and is followed by a longer period of discussion.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-11-17 Doorways to Awakening 66:22
Remembering the teaching about there being 84,000 "Dharma Doors," we explore a number of such "doorways to awakening." The interest is especially in inviting us each to have a sense of what at the current time brings one's practice alive, identifying one's "edge of current learning." This may be to identify a current challenge or difficulty and approach it as part of one's practice, and/or to emphasize a dimension of formal and/or informal practice that brings interest, joy, and aliveness.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-11-07 Talk #4: Introduction to Awakened Awareness. 65:07
There’s an outline of how in concentration practice and insight practice, there is deconstruction of some of the structures of ordinary experience, including the separation of knower and known, the solidity of the object, and the will (which is absent in choiceless awareness). We then explore the nature of awakened awareness, with references to how this appears in the teachings of the Buddha, the Thai Forest tradition, and the Tibetan Dzogchen and Mahamudra traditions. Finally, some of the main accessing techniques to open to awakened awareness are described.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Settling, Seeing, and Luminous Awareness
2021-11-04 Evening Dharma Talk #1: The Nature of Samadhi and Samatha Practice (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 59:12
We explore further the nature of samadhi and samatha practice, cultivating samadhi, pointing to the importance of samadhi and samatha practice, the different ways of practicing, and some of the challenges of such practice. We identify five main challenges and suggest some of the ways of working with the challenges.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Settling, Seeing, and Luminous Awareness
2021-10-06 The Seven Factors of Awakening 68:45
After a brief review of the last two sessions that Donald has offered on traditional teachings about awakening and contemporary maps of the path of awakening, we explore the core teaching of the Seven Factors of Awakening: mindfulness, investigation, resolve or energy, joy or rapture, tranquility, concentration, and equanimity. We look both individually at each of the seven, and also suggest a number of ways of practicing with this teaching, whether in a particular meditation session, in daily life, or over a sustained period of time. At the end, there is some discussion.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-10-06 Guided Meditation: The Factors of Awakening 36:31
A lightly guided meditation, linked with today's talk, inviting one or more of the Seven Factors of Awakening.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-10-04 The Nature of Awakening: Traditional and Contemporary Maps 1:11:48
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.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-09-08 Awakening and Paths of Awakening: Traditional and Contemporary 67:03
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.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-09-01 Awakening 67:45
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.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
Attached Files:
  • Awakening Slides by Donald Rothberg (PDF)

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