I will be on sabbatical from April 15 to October 15, 2016., with my only teaching being on some Wednesdays at Spirit Roc. I'll especially be working on a book on “Transforming the Judgmental Mind."
April 20, 27 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end). Probable themes: Transforming the Judgmental Mind.
May 4 (tentative), 18, 25 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end). Probable themes: Transforming the Judgmental Mind.
June 1, 29 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).
July 6, 13, 20 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).
August 31 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).
September 7, 14 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).
October 12, 19, 26 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).
October 15 (tenative, Saturday afternoon): Oakland: You & The Mat, 1:30 to 5 p.m.: U & Mindfulness 101: Location: 3966 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, CA 94611. A half-day retreat with alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation and sequential instructions in mindfulness practice. For further information: www.youandthemat.com.
October 28-November 4 (Friday through Friday), Southern Dharma (North Carolina): Settling, Seeing, and Spacious Awareness: A Retreat for Experienced Practitioners, 7-Day Retreat. In the context of a small and intimate retreat, we will train in three inter-related modes of practice over the course of a week. First, we will settle and stabilize our minds and bodies, becoming more concentrated, through both sitting and moving forms of meditation, including regular Qigong. As we settle, we then become better able to examine closely both the different dimensions of our experience—our bodies, thoughts, and emotions—and the general patterns of experience, both more personal and more universal. We “see” more clearly where we are reactive, where we suffer, where there is a “thick” sense of self, and learn to be more with the impermanent flow of experience, transforming our reactivity and habits. We can also tune in more, as we settle and see, to an increasingly unconfined and luminous awareness beyond reactivity, that is a source of freedom, wisdom, and compassion, both in retreat practice and daily life. Prerequisite: Retreatants must have completed at least 2 5-day or longer silent insight meditation retreats or have permission of the Coordinating Teacher. For further information: http://www.southerndharma.org/retreat_rothberg.shtml.
November 4 (Friday), Asheville, North Carolina 7 to 8:30 p.m.Talk and discussion. Location: Baha’i Center, 5 Ravenscroft Dr., Asheville, NC. For further information: http://www.ashevillemeditation.com/.
November 14 (Monday), Louisville, Kentucky, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Meditation, talk, and discussion. Location: Clifton Unitarian Church, 2231 Payne Street. Further information: www.louisville-vipassana-community.org.
November 19 (Saturday), Santa Cruz, California: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.: The “Thinning” of the Self: Exploring and Practicing Anattā (“Not-Self”). The teaching of anattā (“not-self”) points to one of the three fundamental areas of liberating insight taught by the Buddha (along with the teachings on impermanence and on suffering or dukkha). Yet anattā can very challenging and confusing for contemporary practitioners. How do we make sense of our feelings of individuality, identity, ancestry, and vocation? How do we address our own personal experiences of woundedness, trauma, and oppression? Are these all simply to be “transcended”? In this daylong, we will explore these vital questions primarily in a practical way. Using the metaphors of “thinning the self” and working with a “thick” sense of self, we will cover three aspects of practice: (1) cultivating, in several ways, the “thinning” of the self, both in meditation and in everyday life, including working with the Five Skandhas or “aggregates” of experience; (2) tracking and working with different manifestations of a “thick” sense of self, both as appearing in experience and as hidden to awareness; and (3) opening to experiencing beyond a fixed sense of self, as awareness, compassion, and responsiveness deepen. Insight Santa Cruz, 1010 Fair Avenue, further info at http://www.insightsantacruz.org/.
November 20 (Sunday), San Rafael: Marin Sunday Sangha, 5:45 to 8 p.m.: Meditation, movement, talk, discussion. Sangha founded by Phillip Moffitt and held at St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church, 10 Bayview Drive, San Rafael, CA 94901. For further info, go to www.marinsangha.org.
November 28-December 4 (Monday to Sunday), Spirit Rock: From Mindfulness of Breath to Radiant Mind (with Susie Harrington and Erin Selover). In this retreat, we will explore, both through teachings and through silent meditation practice, a sequence of training that has three main parts, connecting our foundational mindfulness practice with opening to deeper awareness and greater freedom:
(1) Stabilizing attention and cultivating concentration, particularly through mindfulness of breathing;
(2) Developing insights into the "three characteristics" of experience (impermanence, suffering, and "not-self") -- into where and how the mind fixates or grasps, leading to suffering and a lack of a sense of the flow of experience, particularly related to our sense of self and our habitual patterns -- and learning to deconstruct and release such fixations;
(3) Opening to a spacious awareness beyond fixation and grasping, to moments of freedom, through a number of specific steps and practices, informed by teachings from the Buddha as well as the Thai Forest tradition and other Buddhist traditions. Prerequisite: Retreatants must have at least 7 days of silent insight meditation retreat practice or permission of the Coordinating Teacher.
December 18-23 (Sunday to Friday), Spirit Rock: Insight Meditation Winter Solstice Retreat (with Heather Sundberg, John Travis), 5-Day Retreat. In this retreat, we will emphasize centering ourselves at the time of the holidays and the New Year, quieting our minds, grounding in our bodies, opening up our hearts, and using inquiry to help give energy to our practice. There will be a special emphasis on opening to the darkness, including to our difficulties and challenges, as well as to the coming light--such as beauty, joy and love. We will have a winter solstice ceremony. The retreat will include complete meditation instructions, sitting and walking meditation, daily lovingkindness practice, evening talks, and interviews.
December 28-January 3, 2017, Cloud Mountain (north of Portland, OR): Cultivating Clear Seeing, Opening the Heart (with Heather Sundberg), 6-Day Retreat: In this New Year's retreat we will emphasize the development of wisdom and the awakened heart through practices that help us to quiet our minds, ground in our bodies, open our hearts, and strengthen mindfulness leading to insight. For further info, go to http://cloudmountain.org. For further info, go to http://cloudmountain.org. Waiting list only.
Ongoing Wednesdays Class, Spirit Rock, Woodacre, CA: 9 to 11 a.m. morning class: Co-teach with Sylvia Boorstein (most Wednesdays, either Sylvia or I will teach): 45 minute meditation, talk and discussion. Class cost $8-10, teaching is by donation (dana). Donald will be teaching April 20, 27; May 4 (tentative), 18, 25; June 1, 29; July 6, 13, 20; August 31; September 7, 14; October 12, 19, 26; further dates TBD.
Donald’s Talks Are Available At:
Dharma Seed (www.dharmaseed.org /)
Audio Dharma (www.audiodharma.org/)
Benicia Sangha (www.bsangha.net/)
and other sites.