Nikki is of Persian heritage, and was introduced to contemplative practices and yoga in the early 1980's, to meditation in 1991, and to Theravada Buddhism in 2003. She has studied with various Western and Eastern teachers, with a keen interest in intensive silent retreats. She studied jhanas and detailed analytical vipassana with the renowned meditation master Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw who instructed her to teach. She is also a Spirit Rock authorized retreat teacher, a Stanford trained compassion cultivation instructor, and a UCLA certified mindfulness facilitator. She teaches Buddhist meditation and contemplation nationally, and in particular, at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, where she also serves on their Board of Directors. Nikki holds a Ph.D. in computer science from UC Berkeley and has had an active career as an Artificial Intelligence scientist in academia and industry for over two decades.
In this guided meditation, we explore connecting with our intention, relaxing the body, and then devote ourselves to the first two jhanic factors: vitakka and vicara, initial application and sustained application, or connect and continue. The guidance ends with planting the seeds for gladness and joy by noticing the absence of the hindrances, as taught in the satipatthana sutta.
What is samatha Practice (concentration)? Why practice samatha? What is the different between samatha (a practice), samadhi (the state), and vipassana (insight practice)? What are the five jhanic factors? And how do we work with the five hindrances, or rather, "coverings," in samatha practice as opposed to insight practice?
In this guided meditation, we explore voidness/emptiness through the absence of observed phenomena. Our habitual self-referential frame of reference is also invited to be seen and examined, and momentarily let go of to notice the freedom of the way of seeing free of self-ing.
In this guided meditation, we explore emptiness as a way of seeing the dreamlike nature of what we assume to be our fixed reality. "Thus shall you think of all this fleeting world: As star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, A flash of lightning in a summer cloud, A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream."