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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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2018-08-08 Practicing with Difficulties and Challenges 2: The Eight Worldly Winds 63:20
After a review of the six ways of practicing with difficulties and challenges presented last week, we explore the important teaching of the “Eight Worldly Winds” that keep us caught in reactivity—pleasure and pain, gain and loss, fame and disrepute, and praise and blame. Working with this teaching gives us another very helpful lens for working with difficulties and also with our tendencies to grasp—onto pleasure, gain, fame, and praise. We suggest several ways of practicing with this teaching, as a further way to deepen and energize our practice.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2018-08-01 Six Ways of Practicing with Difficulties and Challenges 64:45
One of the glories of our practice is the capacity to respond skillfully, with wisdom and compassion, to difficult, challenging, and/or painful experiences. In this talk and discussion, we explore six ways to practice skillfully with difficulties, focusing more in 1-5 on “inner" practices: (1) Stay connected with core teachings and perspectives, particularly about working with reactivity; (2) develop mindfulness in these situations, which helps us with non-reactivity and knowing what is happening; (3) have a few ways to come back to balance and non-reactivity after one is reactive, lost, stuck, or overwhelmed; (4) take the difficult situation as an opportunity to go more deeply, potentially uprooting some of the roots of reactivity and habitual tendencies; (5) continue to cultivate awakened qualities, helping us to shift our center of gravity from reactivity to responsiveness; and (6) cultivate ways of responding more skillfully in “outer” ways, including speech and interactions.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2018-07-11 Ethical Practice 3: Transforming the Roots of Harming in Greed, Hatred, and Delusion 63:47
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2018-07-04 Ethical Practice 2: Ten Ways of Deepening the Practice of Non-Harming 66:07
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2018-06-27 Ethical Practice 1: Five Ways of Practicing Non-Harming 68:10
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2018-06-06 Practicing Skillfully with Difficult Experiences of Body, Heart, and Mind, in the Context of Aging and Dying (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 51:55
After first naming some of the challenging bodily, emotional, and mental experiences that arise in a human life, and particularly in the context of aging and dying, we explore the different “tools” for responding skillfully to these challenges, including clarity of intention, assessing the intensity of the experience and coming back to balance after overwhelm, mindfulness, body practices, heart practices, and wisdom perspectives.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Aging, Dying and Awakening
2018-05-23 Seven Perspectives on Aging and the Stages of Life, Dying, and Spiritual Practice 62:50
Focusing on aging, the stages of life, and dying is a major “dharma door” or gateway. We examine a number of different perspectives to orient us as we go in that door, including how such a focus helps us to clarify the centrality and urgency of spiritual practice, working through social conditioning regarding aging and dying, using the lenses of teachings and practices investigating impermanence and the nature of the self, and awakening.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2018-05-16 Not-Self (Anatta) in the Context of the Three Ways of Seeing Leading to Liberating Insight (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 62:26
After clarifying further the fundamental practices of our retreat, particularly the three ways of seeing leading to liberating insight, we examine the third way of seeing—seeing anatta (or not-self). We focus less on understanding this way of seeing conceptually, and more on identifying two main ways of practicing—(1) opening to being mindful of the flow of experience, increasingly with a “thinned out” self or lack of self, and (2) noticing and being mindful of when there is a “thick” sense of self.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Settling, Seeing and Spacious Awareness Retreat
2018-05-14 The Practice of Developing Samadhi (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 63:10
After examining the nature and importance of samadhi practice, we focus on how to practice samadhi and the main challenges to developing samadhi (and how to work with these challenges).
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Settling, Seeing and Spacious Awareness Retreat
2018-05-02 Things Are Not As They Appear 6: Duality and Non-Duality 63:45
After a brief review of the previous sessions in this series, particularly the last one, we explore a fifth way that things are not as they appear, looking at the habitual tendency to separate oneself and everything else, to experience on the basis of a core duality of subject and object, knower and known, self and other, and the problematic nature of this habitual tendency.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks

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