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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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2015-09-23 New Beginnings: Falling Short, Re-Connecting 60:47
At this time of year (Harvest Festival, Yom Kippur etc.) of new beginnings and seeing where we have "fallen short" or want to forgive in some part of our lives, we go through a series of reflections, traditional and contemporary, leading to a re-dedication to our deeper intentions.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2015-09-17 Four Stages in the Transformation of the Judgmental Mind 61:42
We first cover an overview of the two main inter-related ways that transformation of the judgmental mind occurs: (1) mindfulness and investigation of judgments; and (2) cultivating awakened states, particularly through "heart practices." In this talk, we examine four stages of the first way: investigating and transforming judgments by first noticing them and becoming more mindful of them in terms of the body, core narratives, emotional energy, etc., and then going beneath the surface of judgments, revealing and transforming the underlying habitual tendencies and core limiting beliefs, often initially unconscious.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Transforming the Judgmental Mind
2015-09-15 Transforming the Judgmental Mind: An Overview 56:26
We explore the nature of the judgmental mind, including the distinction of reactive judgments with non-reactive discernment, how judgments often carry insight and intelligence, and the two main ways of inner transformation of the judgmental mind.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Transforming the Judgmental Mind
2015-09-05 The “Thinning” of the Self: Exploring and Practicing Anattā (“Not-Self”) 2: Guided Meditation Studying the Thick Self 11:43
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2015-09-05 The “Thinning” of the Self: Exploring and Practicing Anattā (“Not-Self”) 3: Varieties of the Self 44:49
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2015-09-05 The “Thinning” of the Self: Exploring and Practicing Anattā (“Not-Self”) 1: Introduction and Overview 45:58
The teaching of anattā (“not-self”) points to one of the three fundamental areas of liberating insight taught by the Buddha (along with the teachings on impermanence and on suffering or dukkha). Yet anattā can very challenging and confusing for contemporary practitioners. Is there “no self” (as anattā is sometimes translated)? How do we make sense of our feelings of individuality, identity, ancestry, and vocation? How do we address our own personal experiences of woundedness, trauma, and oppression? Are these all simply to be “transcended”? How is a sense of self actually in many ways important for contemporary spiritual development, and how is working with our own individual conditioning, whether psychological or social in origin, central to our liberation? How do we integrate attending to such conditioning with opening as well to the power and energy of experiences beyond the habitual sense of self? In this daylong, we will explore these vital questions primarily in a practical way. Using the metaphors of “thinning the self” and working with a “thick” sense of self, we will cover three aspects of practice: (1) cultivating, in several ways, the “thinning” of the self, both in meditation and in everyday life, including working with the Five Skandhas or “aggregates” of experience; (2) tracking and working with different manifestations of a “thick” sense of self, both as appearing in experience and as hidden to awareness; and (3) opening to experiencing beyond a fixed sense of self, as awareness, compassion, and responsiveness deepen.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2015-09-05 The “Thinning” of the Self: Exploring and Practicing Anattā (“Not-Self”) 5: Not-Self & The Five Skandhas 13:28
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2015-09-05 The “Thinning” of the Self: Exploring and Practicing Anattā (“Not-Self”) 4: Guided Meditation on the Five Skandhas 41:10
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2015-08-19 Practicing the Middle Way 65:27
We explore the balance of active and receptive effort and letting go and other expressions of the middle way--as a general principle in concentration and insight practice in everyday action and in accessing the depths of our being.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2015-07-22 Practicing the Fourth Precept 2 - Empathy 68:35
In the context of our ethical practice we took a look at a second aspect of speech practice - practicing empathy through an overview and a practice with guidance in the last part of the session. Roughly 68 minutes in duration.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks

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