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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

2023-04-05 Awakening and Habitual Tendencies 2 60:59
Donald Rothberg
We continue to explore a theme coming out of Donald's recent month-long retreat, of how we can hold and work with the understanding that there is both a process of awakening, often seen as mostly gradual, and a typically everyday experience of our habitual tendencies, including our difficulties and challenges. We review and expand some of what we examined in the previous session, including looking more at how the Buddha understood the nature of samsara and nirvana, and at the seven practices suggested last week for navigating this area (available to be downloaded--see the previous week's talk). We then go somewhat further and deeper, pointing to further ways of practicing, such as inquiring into the sense of self found in different habitual tendencies, and developing a devotional attitude toward both our ordinary lives and our habitual tendencies, as making possible the awakening process. We also touch on Mahayana and Vajrayana perspectives--that samsara and nirvana are not different (articulated by Nagarjuna), and that awakened awareness and habitual tendencies are not different (from Tibetan Dzogchen). These practices and perspectives help us to maintain confidence and faith in awakening in the midst of things!
2023-04-10 Exploring the Middle Path 1:48:53
JD Doyle
2023-04-17 What can I do in these times of complexity? 68:21
Ayya Santacitta
2023-04-19 What Lifts up your Heart? 1:52:07
Sylvia Boorstein
2023-04-24 Everyday is Earth Day 1:27:23
Mark Coleman
2023-04-26 What is the Key to Open the Heart 1:53:48
Sylvia Boorstein
2023-05-01 not yet titled 64:11
Kate Johnson
2023-05-08 Seven Stages of the Spiritual Journey 1:18:10
Donald Rothberg
We work with the metaphor of the spiritual "journey" and distinguish seven successive stages of this journey, using as main reference points the poem by Mary Oliver called "The Journey" (read near the beginning and at the end of the talk), the life of the Buddha, the lives of several great practitioners in the Thai Forest Tradition (Ajahn Mun, Ajahn Chah, and Mae Chee Kaew), and our own lives. The stages begin with taking life for granted, move through some sense of unsatisfactoriness or inadequacy about our ordinary and habitual lives and a call for something more. They lead to some kind of departure from the ordinary and habitual, opening, typically with difficulties, challenges, and purification, to our more authentic being and awakening, at least to some degree, and returning in a way to our everyday lives. This journey can take many forms, and the stages can sometimes be successive, and sometimes all appear in a short period. After the talk, we have about 20 minutes of discussion.
2023-05-10 Guided Meditation: Cultivating Presence and a Devotional, Appreciative Attitude to Each Moment 40:37
Donald Rothberg
2023-05-10 Being with Daily Life Experience As Sacred: Some Ways of Practicing 60:45
Donald Rothberg
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