April 8 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon. This will be online via Zoom.
Sliding Scale: $0 -30 (usually 15 – $30). Please offer dana here. Code zWED. Online Only: We are now offering this program online only through May, via Zoom so you may join us remotely. We invite you to try this creative form of practice as we navigate the unfolding of the COVID-19 coronavirus situation. We are continuing to respond by evolving our practices and policies to keep everyone safe and supported, while still serving as a place of refuge and honoring our community’s commitment to the Dharma and sangha. Join via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/635273935
1) Zoom video tutorial (1 min): here.
2) Zoom instructions (1 page): here.
45-minute sitting, talk, and practice-oriented discussion, suitable for beginners, as well as experienced practitioners.
April 4-5 (Saturday, Sunday): Near San Luis Obispo, California. White Heron Sangha: Dharma Practice in a Time of Collective Challenge and Crisis: Developing a Toolkit of Perspectives and Practices. How do we continue and develop further our spiritual practice in a time of multiple interwoven crises related to the climate, political polarization, economic inequality, and an increase in racism and xenophobia? In this two-day non-residential retreat, we will follow and also “update” the traditional model of Buddhist training—in wisdom, meditation, and ethical integrity. We will articulate helpful wisdom perspectives that give us orientation in these times. We will identify key meditative practices for these times—both more inner practices, grounded in mindfulness and awakening, and lovingkindness and compassion; and more relational and community-based practices. Together these practices help us work with reactivity, difficult (and often buried) emotions, and negative narratives, and help us to cultivate skill and empathy in our speech and actions, and in our navigating differences and conflicts. The practices help us each to stay balanced in these times, and to find one’s own way of responding to the needs of our times. The two days will include silent meditation, interactive practices, short talks, and discussion related to each of these three areas of training. https://whiteheronsangha.org/event-3763937. Location: White Heron Sangha Meditation Center, 6615 Bay Laurel Place, Avila Beach, CA. CANCELLED, WILL BE RE-SCHEDULED (TENTATIVELY IN EARLY AUGUST)
April 20 (Monday), Asheville, North Carolina: Asheville Insight, 7 to 8:30 p.m.Talk and discussion. Location: 175 Weaverville Road, Suite H, Asheville, NC 28804. For further information: http://www.ashevillemeditation.com/. WILL BE OFFERED VIA ZOOM.
April 22-26 (Wednesday to Sunday): Southern Dharma (near Asheville, NC): Cultivating Clear Seeing, Opening the Heart. In this retreat, we will emphasize the development of wisdom and of the awakened heart of kindness and compassion, through practices that help us to quiet our minds, strengthen mindfulness and lead to insight, use inquiry to help give energy to our practice, open our hearts, and ground us in our bodies. There will be a emphasis on the cultivation of liberating insight into the nature of experience and into our basic nature as awakened, compassionate awareness, as well as on lovingkindness practice—cultivating a warm, open heart toward ourselves and others, as a basic way of being in the world at a time of great challenges. As we develop these two foundational practices, there is increasingly an integration of wisdom, kindness, and responsiveness. There will be complete meditation instructions, sitting and walking meditation, meetings with the teacher, daily Qigong, and evening talks, all in the context of a small, supportive community. The retreat is open to new as well as experienced practitioners. IN-PERSON RETREAT CANCELLED, MAY HAVE ONLINE RETREAT.
April 26 (Sunday), Talk at Shambhala Center, Lexington, Kentucky, 7 to 9 p.m. CANCELLED.
April 27 (Monday), Louisville Insight, Louisville, Kentucky, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Meditation, talk, and discussion. Location:Clifton Unitarian Church, 2231 Payne Street. For further information: www.louisville-vipassana-community.org. CANCELLED.
May 1-3 (Friday to Sunday): Evansville, Indiana. Cultivating the Wise Heart: Practicing the “Divine Abodes” (Lovingkindness, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity), weekend residential retreat.The Divine Abodes (Brahmaviharas) of loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, are the places of the open, awakened heart. In this retreat, on the foundation of mindfulness, we will learn the formal practices of loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. We will also offer guidance for bringing these practices into daily life, including in challenging situations. All of these practices strengthen clear seeing and wisdom, self-confidence, self-acceptance, generosity of spirit, steadiness of mind and heart, and skillful action, revealing our fundamental kindness and wisdom, in a culture in which heart and mind are often disconnected. The retreat will generally alternate silent sitting meditation and walking meditation. Core instructions in the different practices will be offered, along with talks, discussion, and brief daily guided movement sessions. For further information: http://mhbsangha.com. TO BE DETERMINED, WILL UPDATE SOON.
May 22 (Friday): Spirit Rock, Cultivating Wise Speech: Becoming More Skillful in Your Speech Practice. 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
May 27 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon. OFFERED VIA ZOOM
May 28 – June 4 (Thursday to Thursday): Spirit Rock, Settling, Seeing, and Spacious Awareness. 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: Completion of at least two 5-night or longer silent Insight Meditation retreats or permission of the teacher. OFFERED VIA ZOOM.
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, The Dark Night of the Soul (with Marisa Handler). Many of us at some time pass through a “dark night of the soul,” an extended encounter with pain, confusion, and disorientation, sometimes manifesting as depression or breakdown or loss of functioning. In the West, such experiences are often hidden and regarded with shame. In some other cultures, they are viewed as central to individual evolution, bringing transformation, purification, and amazing gifts. On this daylong, we will explore this phenomenon through meditation, short talks, and sharing. We will offer a map of the dark night as part of awakening, identifying perspectives and practices that help us with this process.
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.
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 January 29; February 19, 26; March 4; April 1, 8; May 6, 13; June 17, 24; further dates TBD.