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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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2019-01-20 Dukkha and the End of Dukkha: An Overview of the Teachings and Practices 45:28
The Buddha famously said, “I have taught one thing and one thing only, dukkha [suffering or reactivity or a sense of unsatisfactoriness] and the cessation of dukkha.” In this daylong, we explore this core teaching as it is expressed in the Four Noble Truths and the teaching of the Two Arrows. We suggest ways to study and implement this teaching both in formal meditation and in everyday life, through practices and reflections that bring together the wisdom of seeing the roots of dukkha, the compassion and kindness that can hold our difficulties, and skillful action to transform dukkha.This talk give an orientation for the daylong.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2019-01-16 Dharma Practice and the Life and Work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 67:13
On the day after Dr. King's birthday, we explore three themes that are central both to dharma practice and to the life and work of Dr. King, and that are interpreted in strikingly similar ways. The three themes are (1) the core of wisdom as an understanding of non-reactivity, the end of dukkha, nonviolence; (2) the centrality of love/metta or lovingkindness/compassion; and (3) integrity--the wholeness and coherence of one's life guided by these core principles and spiritual qualities.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2019-01-14 Bringing Metta Practice Home and into the World (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 60:47
We explore a number of ways to continue to deepen our metta practice, in terms of individual practice, bringing metta into relationships, and being guided by metta in our participation in the healing and transformation of the world.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center January Metta Retreat
2019-01-09 The Nature of Metta (Lovingkindness) Practice: An Overview (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 61:27
We explore the core intention of metta practice, to bring kindness, warmth, and care to every moment and every being. We examine how metta practice develops further steadiness (samadhi), how it helps us to lead with the heart and work with what stands in the way of the open, kind heart. As we practice further, we open increasingly to the radiance of our hearts and our being. We keep training, and we bring our metta practice into the world, where it is deeply needed. We close with two stories of metta practice in the world in challenging situations.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center January Metta Retreat
2018-12-18 Practicing at the Winter Solstice: Embracing the Dark, Inviting the Light 64:07
We use six metaphors for darkness to suggest ways to orient our practice, both in general and here at the time of the Winter Solstice. We look at darkness as stopping (like the earth), as being with the difficult and painful, as not knowing (and being with the mysterious), as opening to the shadow, as generative and fertile (like the earth), and as luminous.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Insight Meditation Winter Solstice Retreat: Embracing the dark and inviting the light
2018-12-12 Practicing with the Darkness of Our Time 2 65:13
We continue exploring a number of ways to “practice with darkness.” We first review of some of the themes explored last week, including understanding practicing with the darkness in terms of (1) stopping, (2) being with the difficult or painful, (3) not knowing, and (4) how the darkness is generative and fertile. We then examine the themes of the “shadow” (both individual and collective”) and how darkness can be luminous, with reference to the experience of the “Dark Night” first spoken of by St. John of the Cross.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2018-12-05 Practicing with the Darkness of Our Time 1 64:07
Inspired by the moving into the darkness of the Winter Solstice, we explore four understandings of darkness that can guide our practice at this time: (1) the importance of stopping, as seems to be the case at this time of year with the earth, disengaging for a period, and listening deeply; (2) being more skillful with what is difficult or challenging; (3) learning to be with what is unknown or unresolved; and (4) seeing how the darkness can, as is so with the earth, be generative and fertile. We apply these understandings mostly to our individual practice, but also to the difficulties and unknowns of our collective situation.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2018-12-05 Wednesday Morning Meditation 2:02:25
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2018-11-28 Practicing Generosity 62:03
We review last week’s focus on developing gratitude, and continue with the related practice of developing generosity. We explore the importance of generosity across multiple spiritual traditions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and, in more depth, Buddhism, pointing to several practices of practicing generosity and some of the challenges of such practice.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
2018-11-21 Cultivating Gratitude 63:45
Through teachings, poems, stories, and reference to the science related to cultivating gratitude, we explore the nature of gratitude and how to practice it.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center

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