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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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2020-07-29 Deepening Our Daily Life Practice in the Pandemic 3 66:09
After a brief review of what we've explored in the last two sessions, in terms of ways of deepening daily life practice in terms of formal practice, informal practice, and one's work, service, and/or activism, we go more deeply into two areas. We look at how to practice with exploring and seeing intentions, and some ways to make connections between formal and informal practice--in the flow of daily life. The talk has a few references to the life of Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights activist and Congressperson, who died on July 17, 2020, and is followed by discussion..
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2020-07-23 Buddhist Practice and the Transformation of Racism 3: Ethical Commitment and Action (Talk) 40:56
We explore the nature of ethical commitment and how our commitment not to harm also implies, following some of the teachings and actions of the Buddha and of other teachers, such as Thich Nhat Hanh, a commitment not to let others harm (or kill). On this basis, we then outline a number of possible ways to act to address the harm of racism, clarifying an important aspect of such action--that our actions to address harm as much as possible not cause further harm themselves. We end by remembering that we need perspectives and capacities, inner and outer, that help us to be engaged for the "long haul."
Insight Meditation Tucson :  Buddhist Practice and the Transformation of Racism
2020-07-22 Deepening Our Daily Life Practice in the Pandemic 2 67:09
We begin with a brief review of the previous week's talk and discussion, in which we explored a number of ways to deepen (1) our formal practice; (2) our informal (daily life) practice; and (3) our service, work, and/or activism as practice. This exploration points to a broadened sense of practice. We then examine in some depth three inter-related foundational areas for deepening practice in all three areas: (1) developing mindfulness of the body; (2) working to transform reactivity (here as a translation of "dukkha"), including as it manifests in challenging or difficult experiences; and (3) pausing and setting intentions. Our discussion particularly goes into being skillful with challenging experiences.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2020-07-16 Buddhist Practice and the Transformation of Racism 2: -Meditation and Inner Work 1:19:17
In this second talk in the series, we first review the main "wisdom" perspectives presented last week, that give us some orientation toward understanding and transforming racism. Then we explore the second area of training: meditation and inner work, identifying four main themes and practices, the first three of which are supported significantly by working in small groups: (1) understanding and working with "implicit bias"; (2) cultivating mindfulness of our racial conditioning and the experiences which arise in investigating race and racism; (3) heart practices like compassion and empathy; and (4) the importance of continuing to access, as best we can, deeper experiences of our being.
Insight Meditation Tucson :  Buddhist Practice and the Transformation of Racism
2020-07-15 Deepening Our Practice in a Pandemic: Discussion, Q&A 17:41
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2020-07-15 Deepening Our Daily Life Practice in the Pandemic 1 38:28
Our current crises present both challenges and opportunities. We look at three main ways to deepen our practice at this time, focusing on (1) formal practice; (2) more "informal" (or "daily life" practice); and (3) our work, service, and/or activism. For each of these areas, a number of suggestions are made, inviting the listener to discern the one or two or three ways that most resonate and connect with one's own edge of learning.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2020-07-09 Buddhist Practice and the Transformation of Racism 1: Training in Wisdom and Developing Wise Perspectives on Racism 1:14:35
In this first talk in a three-part series, we work with the traditional model of a threefold training in wisdom, meditation, and ethics, beginning with identifying three perspectives that can guide our understanding and practice. The first is to remember the Buddha's rejection of the caste system and its core claims, and the welcoming of all, from any caste or from no caste, into his community. The second is to understand how greed, hatred, and delusion, the transformation of which is at the center of our practice, are not just individual but also institutional and systemic in nature. The third is to see how race, in terms of blackness and whiteness, is a social construction without biological reality, appearing in history at a certain point a little over three centuries ago (we look in some detail at how whiteness appeared in colonial Virginia at the end of the 17th century); it is a construction very clearly connected with divide-and-conquer strategies by the wealthy elite, which then has terrible consequences.
Insight Meditation Tucson :  Buddhist Practice and the Transformation of Racism
2020-06-24 Buddhist Practice and the Transformation of Racism 2 65:20
Traditional Buddhist training occurs through development in wisdom, ethics, and meditation. We use this model to help us to understand Buddhist practice that aims to transform racism. We start by reviewing briefly the first three perspectives offered in the previous week, which fall under training in wisdom. Then we look at how ethical practice and in particular the practice of non-harming can be the basis for action, based on an understanding of ethical practice as guiding both one's personal behavior and one's responses to harm in one's communities and society. Lastly, we explore meditative training and how in particular mindfulness and compassion play central roles in the transformation of racism.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2020-06-17 Buddhist Practice and the Transformation of Racism 1: Five Perspectives 66:26
We open up five perspectives, the first three of which have more to do with understanding and the last two of which have more to do with practice and action. The five perspectives are: (1) remembering the Buddha's elimination of caste within his community; (2) understanding how greed, hatred (including racism), and delusion are not just personal but are also institutionalized; (3) understanding through looking at US history how race is a construction (with terrible consequences)-- both initially in the 17th century and later, commonly linked with divide-and-conquer strategies by those with economic and political power; (4) how our ethical practice calls us not just not to harm in our personal actions, but also not to let harm be done by others; and (5) the identification of different dimensions of transformative practice. The talk is followed by discussion.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks
2020-05-27 From the Ordinary Habitual Mind to the Buddha-Mind 19: Transforming Reactivity 3 65:50
After a review of our last two sessions exploring the nature of dukkha as reactivity and how to practice to transform reactivity, in the context of the Buddha's teachings of Dependent Origination and the Two Arrows, we explore a third aspect of practice. Some of our experiences of reactivity, particularly those in which there are repetitive and habitual patterns, sometimes open up to reveal old and relatively unconscious material, part of our "ignorance," giving us the chance to access and transform such material. This can occur, for example, when there is trauma, or when there are limiting beliefs originating from childhood (or sometimes later) related to psychological and/or social conditioning. A general model is given of four steps in the transformation of such material.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Monday and Wednesday Talks

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