May 22 (Friday): Spirit Rock, Cultivating Wise Speech: Becoming More Skillful in Your Speech Practice, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific). Connecting our meditation practice with our speech and communication is one of the main ways to bring spiritual values further into our everyday lives. In this daylong, we will support this intention by integrating periods of sitting and walking meditation with talks, communication exercises, and discussion. We will focus on (1) the basic teachings of the Buddha on wise speech, (2) cultivating mindfulness during speaking and listening, and (3) learning how to practice wise and compassionate speech in difficult conditions--such as when there are difficult emotions, when there is conflict, or when there are challenging interpersonal or group dynamics. OFFERED VIA ZOOM. Register at spiritrock.org.
May 27 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon. Join via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/635273935
May 28 – June 4 (Thursday to Thursday): Spirit Rock, Settling, Seeing, and Spacious Awareness (with John Travis). CANCELLED.
June 2 - 7 (Tuesday to Sunday): Southern Dharma: Deepening Daily Life Practice in a Time of Crisis: A Retreat for Experienced Practitioners. At this time of crisis, there are gifts as well as challenges. One potential gift is the possibility of looking much more deeply into what matters to us, as individuals and as a collective, and making significant shifts. As individuals, this may be especially in how we live our daily lives and offer our gifts and services to the world. In this online retreat, we will emphasize the integration of formal meditation practice and daily life, in a number of ways, helping each of us to find what works best for ourselves in deepening daily life practice, and seeing more clearly what the next steps are.
There will be emphases on mindfulness of the body, working with intentions and clarifying priorities, developing lovingkindness and compassion, cultivating Wise Speech, becoming more aware of and transforming reactivity, and bringing mindfulness, wisdom, the open heart, and the above areas of emphases more into everyday activities, including work. Each person may especially focus on one or two areas. There will be brief meditation instructions, sitting and walking meditation, meetings with the teacher, Qigong, and evening talks, all in the context of a small, supportive community. There will be an optional follow-up group, on a dana basis, to support continuing practice after the retreat.
Prerequisite: One four-day or longer mindfulness retreat or permission of the instructor. The main aim of the prerequisite is to ensure that everyone has received and practiced for some time basic mindfulness (and if possible, lovingkindness) instructions; if you meet the spirit of the prerequisite and are interested, but haven’t done a four-day or longer retreat, please inquire. This retreat is suitable both for those wanting a dedicated at-home retreat, much like a residential retreat, and for those with some responsibilities wanting a home retreat with many hours of formal practice but also time for other activities. For all, there will be an emphasis on bringing practice both into our time together and our time away from the group. For further information: http://www.southerndharma.org.
June 13 (Saturday), Marin Sangha, The Three Ways of Seeing That Bring Liberating Insight, 9:30 to 4:30 p.m.: An Online Daylong Retreat.
“Before long, knowledge and insight into impermanence, suffering, and emptiness will arise. This is the beginning of true wisdom, the heart of meditation, which leads to liberation. Follow your experience. See it. Strive continuously. Know the truth.” – Ajahn Chah, Thai Forest Tradition Teacher (1918-1992)
In this online daylong retreat, we will explore, through teachings, discussion, and silent meditation practice, the three fundamental modes of freeing insight in Buddhist insight meditation. With a foundation in first stabilizing our attention, we will then focus our mindfulness practice on three areas (sometimes called the “Three Characteristics” of phenomena): (1) Impermanence (anicca), (2) reactivity (dukkha, often translated as “suffering”), and (3) not-self (anatta). When we do not see these three areas clearly, the mind, emotions, and body become fixated, habitual, and reactive, leading to suffering, confusion, and a lack of the free flow of our experience. When we are more aware of these areas, we learn to deconstruct and release such fixations, habits, and reactivity, opening more to a spacious and luminous awareness, to greater compassion, responsiveness, and freedom. We will explore several practices for each of these three areas and identify ways to bring these practices into daily life (a resource packet will also be given out). The daylong retreat will include periods of silent and guided meditation, talks, and discussion, with a number of periods for breaks (or walking meditation) away from the screens. For further information, go to http://marinsangha.org. On a dana (generosity) basis.
June 15, 22 (Sundays): Marin Sangha, 6 to 7:40 or so. Meditation, short break, talk, and discussion. For further information, go to http://marinsangha.org. On a dana (generosity) basis.
June 17, 24 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon.
June 26 (Friday), Oakland: East Bay Meditation Center, 6.30 to 8.30 p.m., with Chinh Nguyen: Movement, meditation, and talk. 285 17th St., Oakland (near 19thSt. Oakland BART), 510-268-0696, no fee, support for center and teacher on a dana(generosity or donation) basis. Info:http://www.eastbaymeditation.org/.
June 28 (Sunday): Spirit Rock, Transforming the Judgmental Mind, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific (with several breaks). Judgments of a reactive and compulsive nature are very strong in most of our lives. They can distort our perceptions, make relationships with others difficult, and undermine our work. In this day retreat, we will examine what judgments are and how to work with them, using mindfulness, “heart” practices, and inquiry, helping us to preserve the discernment often found in judgments, while working through the destructive aspects of judgments. We will also explore how we internalize the judgments of our society in a number of ways, particularly related to race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. You will have the option of regular one or more follow-up sessions. OFFERED VIA ZOOM. Register at spiritrock.org. CANCELLED.
July 19 (Sunday morning): San Francisco, Gay Buddhist Fellowship 10.30 to 12 noon, held at San Francisco Buddhist Center, 37 Bartlett Street (near 21st St. between Mission and Valencia).
July 20-25 (Monday to Saturday): Berkeley, Mindful Communication: A Wise Speech Retreat (with Oren Sofer), non-residential 6-day retreat, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Integrating our meditation practice with our speech and communication is one of the main ways to bring deeply-held values into our daily lives and actions in the world. In this retreat, we will connect mindfulness and lovingkindness practice, the Buddha's teachings on wise speech, and the contemporary discipline of Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Collectively, these practices form a powerful foundation for cultivating awareness and empathy, strengthen our ability to stay present in challenging situations, and develop our capacity to listen and speak from the heart. The retreat will include periods of silent meditation and interactive speech exercises. Participants will have the option of continuing with follow-up sessions after the retreat.Location:Sacred Streams, 2149 Byron St., Berkeley, CA (15 minute walk from North Berkeley BART). Estimated Cost: $350 + Donation to teachers-- some partial scholarships available. WILL CLARIFY STATUS OF RETREAT IN LATE MAY, GIVEN CURRENT SHELTER-IN-PLACE.
July 26 (Sunday evening): Benicia Sangha: 6 to 8 p.m.: Usual location: The Parrish Hall, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 120 East J Street, Benicia. Further info: http://www.beniciameditation.com/index.html. Online.
Ongoing Wednesdays Class, Spirit Rock, Woodacre, CA: 10 a.m. to noon morning class:Share teaching with Sylvia Boorstein (most Wednesdays, either Sylvia or I will teach): 45 minute meditation, talk and discussion. Donald will be teaching May 27; June 17, 24; further dates TBD.