The greatest gift is the
gift of the teachings
Retreat Dharma Talks at Spirit Rock Meditation Center

Monday and Wednesday Talks

Regular weekly talks given at the lower Spirit Rock meditation hall

Spirit Rock Meditation Center

2022-11-14 Waves of Experience Meditation | Monday Night 19:57
Jack Kornfield
Inviting listeners to breathe softly and naturally amidst it all, Jack helps us flow through waves of thoughts, emotions, and sensations in order to come to rest in loving awareness, the timeless witness dwelling in each of us—who we truly are. “When you notice that a wave has pulled your attention from the breath, receive it. Let go of the attention to the breath, and receive it with the same loving awareness, as if to bow to it gently.”
2022-11-16 Taking All Experiences as Opportunities for Learning 63:16
Donald Rothberg
One of the central intentions of our practice is to learn from all experiences. This is not easy, both with difficult experiences or with wonderful experiences; we might in both cases revert to habitual forms of consciousness and behavior. We explore ways that we might "turn all obstacles into the path of practice" (as is said in the Tibetan Lojong teachings), or see "the obstacle as the path" (as in Zen). Central is our practice particularly with unpleasant or difficult experiences, studying and transforming our reactivity. We also see how sometimes there are important gifts that come from painful and/or difficult experiences; we share together in the group some of these kinds of experiences. We end with an invitation to practice with this basic intention to learn from everything in the next week!
2022-11-23 Guided Meditation: Taking Everything As An Opportunity for Learning 37:28
Donald Rothberg
After foundational mindfulness instructions, there is guidance, just after the core instructions and then briefly twice more during the session, on approaching the silent sitting in the spirit of our talk theme, taking every moment as practice, as an opportunity for learning.
2022-11-23 Talk: Taking Everything As An Opportunity for Learning 2 66:18
Donald Rothberg
We explore how to practice with the intention to take everything as the opportunity for learning--an approach which is named in different ways in Buddhist and other traditions, including the Zen saying, "The obstacle is the path," and the Tibetan Lojong teaching, "Turn all obstacles into the path of practice." How do we follow this intention as individuals, groups or communities, or whole societies? We look particularly at ways to take everything as practice as individuals and some of the challenges of such an approach. A key is opening to challenging or difficult experiences when they are in the "workable" range and not overwhelming, with mindfulness, wisdom, and compassion. Out of such a process may come gifts and the "cleaning up" of our residues of compulsive greed, aversion, and delusion!
2022-11-30 Creating a Culture of Gratitude, a Culture of Reciprocity 1:44:36
Heidi Bourne
2022-12-07 What Makes Mindfulness Wise 1:28:24
Heidi Bourne
2022-12-14 Lightly Guided Meditation: Practicing with Views and Beliefs 35:59
Donald Rothberg
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.
2022-12-14 Talk: Practicing with Views and Beliefs 1 67:26
Donald Rothberg
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.
Attached Files:
  • The Buddha on “Views: Four Texts by Donald Rothberg (PDF)
2022-12-21 Talk: Practicing with Views and Beliefs 2 64:27
Donald Rothberg
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.
2023-01-04 Nothing but Kindness 1:44:44
Sylvia Boorstein
A mixture of meditation, a dharma talk, and group discussion
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