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Retreat Dharma Talks

Monday and Wednesday Talks

Regular weekly talks given at the lower Spirit Rock meditation hall

Spirit Rock Meditation Center

2023-11-13 Remembering Ajahn Chah 1:55:50
2023-11-22 Practicing with Conflict: Foundations 3 66:27
Donald Rothberg
We start by reviewing briefly the two times' accounts of the foundations for practicing with differences and conflicts, first giving a definition of "conflict" as a difference of values, goals, or strategies, and not necessarily involving hostility or aggression. There's an invitation to focus on a conflict in one's life that is in the moderate range of difficulty, and bring this to mind as we work with ten foundations of skillful practice with conflict. We look again briefly at the multiple reasons why bringing our practice to conflicts is often difficult, and then review the more "inner" four foundations of skillful practice with conflict (1-4). We then bring in six further foundations which are more "outer," including (5) developing guidelines and agreements, especially in groups or organizations, but also with individuals; (6) clarifying a vision of a "win-win" or "both-and" approach to conflicts that meet the underlying interests or needs of all concerned; and (7) developing empathy. We offer two brief empathy practices, including one done in the context of one's own conflict. Three further foundations are offered: (8) grounding in Buddhist ethics, particularly the precepts and the understanding that one should bring care and kindness to all, and that all have Buddha Nature; (9) skillful speech (part of ethical training); and (10) the bringing of these ethical dimensions into collective life, through nonviolent action and the concept, in Dr. King's work, of the beloved community. After the talk, there is a discussion.
Attached Files:
  • Johan Galtung's Win-Win Model of Conflict Transformation by Donald Rothberg (PDF)
  • Feelings Inventory from NVC by NVC (added by Donald Rothberg) (PDF)
  • Needs Inventory from NVC by NVC (added by Donald Rothberg) (PDF)
  • Empathy Map by Donald Rothberg/Oren Jay Sofer (PDF)
2023-11-27 From Nature to Dharma, To Dharma Nature 1:33:34
Mark Coleman
2023-11-29 Brief Guided Meditation Exploring One's Experiences of Conflicts 12:06
Donald Rothberg
2023-11-29 Practicing with Conflict 4: Applying the Ten Foundations of Conflict Practice to Israel/Palestine 66:34
Donald Rothberg
We begin with a brief review of the framework of ten foundations for practicing with differences and conflicts (defining conflicts as differences of goals, values, views, strategies, etc. and not necessarily involving hostility or aggression). Then we apply the ten foundations as guides for seeing how we can bring our practice (both more "inner" and more "outer") to the seemingly complex and intractable conflict of Israel/Palestine. After the talk, there is discussion of a number of areas and questions.
Attached Files:
  • Ten Foundations for Practicing with Conflict by Donald Rothberg (PDF)
2023-12-04 The Dharma of Engaging These Times 1:36:59
2023-12-20 The Dharma in Times of Crisis 1:20:00
Donald Rothberg, Stephen Fulder
Stephen Fulder, the founder and senior teacher of Tovana (the Israel Insight Society), is in conversation with Donald Rothberg. We hold the understanding of "crisis" broadly, remembering that we are in the midst of multiple crises, while giving more attention to Israel/Palestine. Such crises are a major challenge to our dharma practice. In this context, we explore a number of different themes, including bringing our practice to difficult experiences that often arise in a crisis, such as fear, emotional pain, reactivity, numbness, and the presence of repetitive negative narratives and views. We also identify, during the conversation, a number of resources, including qualities of compassion, empathy, equanimity, and the importance of finding a "refuge"and deep support in different ways. The conversation is followed by discussion, and a closing guided meditation. [During the conversation, we see a short (3:28) video of Tovana teachers speaking a sentence each about the current crisis, in Hebrew, with English sub-titles. The video can be seen at]
2024-01-01 How the Dharma Empowers Making Change in Our Daily Lives 1:55:17
Phillip Moffitt
2024-01-15 MLK Day: A Perspective on Socially Engaged Buddhism 1:44:05
Tuere Sala
2024-01-24 Metta and Mindfulness: Guided Practice 38:47
Donald Rothberg
We begin with the basic instruction in metta (lovingkindness) practice, using the silent repetition of phrases. Then we move to a period of mindfulness practice, followed by metta practice, where the metta is most accessible, followed by an invitation to return to mindfulness practice, integrated with the energy and intentions of metta practice.
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