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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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2021-06-07 Doing, Not-Doing, and The Doing That Comes from Not-Doing: In Meditation and in Daily Life 64:49
We inquire into doing and not-doing in five ways: (1) identifying the importance of a number of different kinds of "doing" and skillful effort in meditation; (2) pointing also to the centrality of a kind of not-doing (or letting go of doing) and receptivity in meditation; (3) the importance of investigating the "doer" and one's identity as a doer, in a number of different ways, in meditation and daily life; (4) the vision of a doing that comes out of being, that comes out of a deep not-doing, a vision that we find in different spiritual traditions--here we mention ways that this vision is found in Jewish, Christian, Taoist, and Buddhist traditions; and (5) how we explore and cultivate this doing coming out of a deep not-doing in daily life, in "flow experiences," in activities in which we are deeply grounded, and in such areas as sports, music, art, and dance.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-05-19 The Development of Faith, Confidence, and Trust 2 69:11
We continue to explore the nature of faith (or confidence or trust), how it is developed, and the challenges that arise. We look at the traditional teachings on faith (or saddha) in several contexts, and examine how faith or confidence develops in our practice and in our lives We particularly look at some of the challenges that arise, both in the everyday experience of the Eight Worldly Winds, and in more protracted experiences of something like the "Dark Night of the Soul." The last part of the talk points to what mature faith, confidence, and trust look like, a kind of faith in our own depths and in our own deep resting in the nature of things. We then have a period of discussion and sharing.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-05-12 The Development of Faith, Confidence, and Trust 1 1:11:36
Our practice points toward a deep kind of faith (or confidence or trust) that is possible, in which there is faith both in our unique being and in our connection to being itself. We explore how we develop such faith, starting with a brief account of how faith (saddha) is understood in the teachings of the Buddha, and then exploring how faith is developed at different stages of our practice, particularly beginning and intermediate.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-04-21 Doing and Not-Doing in Meditation and Daily Life 5: Talk, Guided Meditation, Discussion 1:15:23
We briefly review the main themes of our practice in the last sessions: The importance of "doing" and skillful effort in our formal practice and in our daily lives; the parallel importance of "not-doing" (particularly receptivity) in these areas; some ways to inquire into the nature of our identities as "doers"; some ways of bringing these practices into daily life; the experience of "flow" and being an "expert" in a given area as pointing to a kind of "doing" coming out of a deep not-doing; and the theme of not-doing in Taoist tradition (emphasizing the work of Chuang Tzu) and Buddhist tradition. We suggest that all of practice points toward this deep non-doing as an expression of awakening. We then explore this territory in a 20-minute guided meditation, followed by discussion.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-04-21 Guided Meditation on Doing and Not-Doing in Our Meditation Practice 30:29
A thirty-minute or so guided meditation, lightly guided, with three successive instructions: (1) to set intentions in light of whether one needs in general to emphasize "doing" more or less, and then to focus initially on settling, connecting with the primary object and noticing when one is distracted; (2) to emphasize receptivity as a dimension of not-doing in being with what is predominant, after an initial period of settling; and (3) opening to a kind of "choiceless awareness," simply noticing what is occurring moment by moment.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-04-14 Doing and Not-Doing in Meditation and Daily Life 4: Talk, Guided Meditation, and Discussion 1:13:33
We review briefly the basic perspectives that we've explore in preceding sessions: the importance of active "doing" in meditation and daily life, the importance as well as receptivity and "not-doing" in meditation and daily life, and ways in which to inquire into our more fixed identity as a "doer." We then look at two broad perspectives on a doing coming out of a deep not-doing: (1) in "flow" experiences and the experiences of "experts" in a given area, with examples from art, music, sports, and everyday life; and (2) in spiritual traditions, with a particular emphasis on Taoist and Buddhist sources. Then there is a second guided meditation, about 20 minutes long, and beginning at 35:55, grounded in the earlier guided meditation before the talk, in which we explore a progressive letting-go of both more gross and more subtle dimensions of meditative doing, opening up to a deeper non-doing, which can be the basis for the "doing coming out of a deep not-doing" we explored in the talk. Finally, we have open discussion.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-04-14 Doing and Not-Doing in Meditation and Daily Life: Guided Meditation 1 28:40
About a 30-minute guided meditation emphasizing the balance of more active "doing" and more receptive awareness (a kind of "not-doing") in meditation. We start with intentions and then settling of attention and awareness, followed by opening up to what is predominant, integrating both more active and more receptive dimensions of practice. This session is followed by a talk on the theme of doing and not-doing in meditation and daily life, and a second guided meditation, which goes more deeply into not-doing.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-03-31 Doing and Not-Doing in Meditation and Daily Life 3 68:17
We start with a brief review of what we’ve explored in the last two sessions on this theme, including the importance of both doing and not-doing in Buddhist practice and the nature of identification with the “doer” (and the related themes of self, time, and the future). We then go into more depth inquiring into the nature of the “doer,” including a brief guided meditation looking into the experience of “doing” and opening to not-doing in meditation. We lastly further investigate traditions (Jewish, Christian, Taoist, and Buddhist) that point to the importance of a doing coming out of not-doing, and ways that we can experience and explore this doing coming out of not-doing in daily life, including in the experiences of creativity in art and music, and being “in the zone” in sports.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2021-03-19 Continuing with Mudita Practice, Introducing Equanimity (Upekkha) Practice 62:42
First, we consider further some of the qualities of mudita, how joy is central to the teachings of the Buddha, how the cultivation of joy is crucial for being able to address difficulties and painful situations, how joy can be understood as a deep expression of our fundamental nature, and how joy can be present even in the midst of difficulties. Then we explore the nature of equanimity, pointing to several of the qualities of equanimity, including balance, evenness, unshakability, undetstanding and wisdom, warmth, and responsiveness. We also examine some of the typical distortions of equanimity and importance of the interconnection of the four brahmavihara as one to avoid such distractions.
InsightLA :  Cultivating the Wise Heart on the Cushion and in the World: Practicing Mindfulness and the “Divine Abodes” (Lovingkindness, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity)
2021-03-17 Some Further Pointers in Cultivating Metta, and An Introduction to Compassion and Compassion Practice 60:11
We first explore some further suggestions in the practice of metta, particularly related to working with distraction and an active mind, and then related to practicing when difficult states of mind, body, and emotion come up. We then begin to clarify the nature of compassion as the expression of the awakened heart in the presence of pain and difficulty. We link compassion to the understanding of the nature of how the conditioned mind reacts to what is painful, referring to the sequence from contact to grasping in the teaching on Dependent Origination, and the explication of the teaching of Dukkha (or "reactivity") and the end of Dukkha. We then explore further the receptive and active dimensions of compassion, some difficult distortions of compassion, and ways that compassion manifests toward self and others.
InsightLA :  Cultivating the Wise Heart on the Cushion and in the World: Practicing Mindfulness and the “Divine Abodes” (Lovingkindness, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity)

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