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

2024-01-31 Integrating Metta Practice with Wisdom, Awareness, and Insight Practice 2 64:31
Donald Rothberg
We continue to explore how we might practice metta (and other heart practices) in a way integrated with mindfulness, wisdom, and insight, building on last week's session. We begin looking at some of the ways historically and culturally that the "mind" and "reason" have been separated from emotion, dating from Plato and the Greeks, and continued in the modern world with the understanding of reason and science as separate from emotion (and the body). This has been a major part of our social and cultural conditioning, evident in how mainstream education occurs, and also linked with gender conditioning. We also examine how, dating from Buddhaghosa's text, the Visuddhimagga (The Path of Purification), from the 5th century, metta and compassion has been labeled as practices leading to concentration, and not as linked directly with wisdom and awakening. This has been the basis for the 20th century Burmese approaches to metta and mindfulness, which have been the main influences in the West. However, when we look to the Buddha's actual teachings, as well as later Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings, we find much more of a connection between metta, compassion, and wisdom. We can see this in a number of texts which we explore, including ones in which the heart practices are seen as leading directly to wisdom, and development in awakening. In the last part of the talk, we explore ways that we can, in our formal and informal practices, integrate metta and wisdom. The talk is followed by discussion.
2024-02-05 Compassion and Wisdom 1:19:17
bruni dávila
2024-02-07 Taking the Side of Peace 1:33:10
Heidi Bourne
Includes meditation & dharma talk. (NOTE! Group shares and participant Q/A are not included)
2024-02-19 Monday Night Meditation & Dharma Talk with Jack Kornfield | Feb. 19, 2024 1:41:30
Jack Kornfield
2024-02-21 Transforming the Judgmental Mind 1 68:12
Donald Rothberg
We frame the session in terms of there being three main inter-related aims of our practice: (1) developing wisdom and insight, (2) cultivating the kind heart and compassion, and (3) acting skillfully and ethically in all the parts of our life. In this context, it's interesting that having insight can still be connected with reactivity; it's possible to be both "right" and see something clearly, and be obnoxious. We look at one major way in which insight can be enmeshed with reactivity--what I call "the judgmental mind." We first clarify how "judgment" in English is ambiguous, sometimes meaning judgmental, sometimes meaning discerning without reactivity. The judgmental mind combines typically some kind of noticing, insight, observation, etc. with reactivity, and the key to transforming the judgmental mind is to work through the reactivity, using multiple tools. The last part of the talk outlines our major tools for transforming the judgmental mind, and invites next week's practice. We then have a discussion.
2024-02-26 Non-separation ~ Interconnection The Elements as US 1:39:01
Noliwe Alexander
2024-02-28 Guided Meditation Exploring the Judgmental Mind 37:15
Donald Rothberg
After a period of settling and general mindfulness practice, we invite noticing and being with any expressions of the judgmental mind (here called "judgments") if they occur. In the second part of the guided meditation, there is also a more direct investigation of a selected judgment, exploring it at the levels of body, emotions, and thought, and seeing whether any underlying painful or difficult experience can be noticed. We close with a brief three-part self-compassion practice (from Kristin Neff).
2024-02-28 Transforming the Judgmental Mind 2 64:50
Donald Rothberg
We begin by reviewing some and expanding last week's introduction to practicing to transform the judgmental mind, including clarifying our language and the way that in English "judgment" can ambiguously mean either an expression of the judgmental mind or a non-judgmental discernment. We identify examples of the judgmental mind, and point to how it can be understood in terms of the sequence of contact to grasping (and pushing away) in the Buddha's teaching on Dependent Origination, how negative judgments (in the sense of the judgmental mind) typically come out of unacknowledged or unprocessed pain. We also point to how our practice with the judgmental mind, as it goes deeper, begins to identify "limiting beliefs," often from childhood, that generate our most chronic judgments. We end the talk with naming a number of ways to practice with the judgmental mind. The talk is followed with discussion.
2024-03-04 In the Footsteps of the Buddha 1:44:56
Nikki Mirghafori
2024-03-06 You are Already Wise 1:31:00
Heidi Bourne
Includes meditation, dharma talk and some discussion connected to the talk.
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