The greatest gift is the
gift of the teachings
Donald Rothberg's Dharma Talks at Spirit Rock Meditation Center
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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2019-05-19 Keeping Cool in the Fire: Transforming Inner and Outer Conflict - Day 2 -Practicing with Difficult Emotions, Thoughts, and Body States 1:15:03
2019-05-18 Keeping Cool in the Fire: Transforming Inner and Outer Conflict - Day 1 - The Two Arrows, the Middle Way, and the Both-And Model of Conflict Transformation 1:11:26
2019-05-18 Keeping Cool in the Fire: Transforming Inner and Outer Conflict - Day 1 - The Nature of Conflict and Why Being with Conflict Is Difficult 46:11
2019-05-01 From the Ordinary Habitual Mind to the Buddha-Mind 4: Practicing with the Body 2 66:25
We contextualize our conditioning in relationship to the different “parts” of our experience—related to our thinking, emotions, and body—by examining some the social and cultural history of the last few hundred years, in which thinking has been increasingly differentiated from emotions and the body. We then examine further the nature of our ordinary, habitual experience of the body. The main focus is on a number of “body practices,” including mindfulness of the body in both formal meditation and daily life, ways to self-regulate when there is high activation, using the body in investigation of experience, and the body as a key to presence in speech and interaction.
Monday and Wednesday Talks
2019-04-10 From the Ordinary Habitual Mind to the Buddha-Mind 3: Practicing with the Body 1.” 1:26:32
After an overview of ten aspects of the transformation of the ordinary habitual mind, and a review of the first, examining how thinking is transformed, we look at (1) the nature of contemporary habitual experience of the body, (2) the nature of the awakened experience of the body, and (3) how we practice to enact this transformation, particularly focusing on various aspects of mindfulness of the body.
Monday and Wednesday Talks
2019-04-03 From the Habitual Ordinary Mind to the Buddha-Mind 2: Practicing with Thinking. 63:43
After an overview of ten aspects of the transformation of the habitual mind, we start with the first, examining how thinking is transformed. We look at (1) the nature of habitual thinking, with some attention to contemporary conditioning, (2) how such habitual thinking is transformed, and (3) how we practice to enact this transformation.
Monday and Wednesday Talks
2019-04-01 Seven Stages of the Spiritual Journey - Monday Night Dharma Talk 68:09
We explore the nature of the spiritual journey, using three reference points: (1) Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Journey”; (2) the life of the Buddha; and (3) the experiences of our own journeys. The journey goes from taking life for granted through questioning, looking for something deeper, leaving the habitual, going through challenges and “purification,” awakening, and then a return.
2019-03-29 Bringing the Retreat Home: "Let Your Life and Practice Be One” (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 66:09
As we are poised to return from one or two months of practice, we consider a number of supports for continuing our practice in all the parts of our life, whether more individual, more relational, or more collective, including the archetype of the Bodhisattva, which can inspire us to connect inner and outer practice.
March Insight Meditation 1-Month
2019-03-18 Practicing to Investigate Anatta (Not-Self) (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 60:24
After a brief overview of the “three ways of seeing that liberate” (into anicca, dukkha, and anatta, or impermanence, reactivity or suffering, and not-self), and how to practice investigating anicca and dukkha, we explore a practical way to understand and investigate anatta or not-self. We focus on two ways of investigation: (1) noticing when the sense of self is “thick,” and studying it; and (2) learning in a number of ways to be with the flow of experience with less or little or no sense of self, as we “thin” the self.
March Insight Meditation 1-Month
2019-03-12 Developing Samadhi (Concentration) (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 63:31
We explore how to develop samadhi or concentration in samatha practice, through examining: (1) the nature of samadhi and samatha practice, (2) their place and importance in our practice, (3) some ways to practice to develop samadhi or concentration, (4) some of the challenges of samatha practice and how to work with them, and (5) how samadhi or concentration supports insight practice.
March Insight Meditation 1-Month

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