Schedule


prints_lg_imagination

April 2, 9, 16 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).

April 6, 13 (Sunday): Marin Sunday Sangha, San Rafael, 6 to 8 p.m.: Meditation, talk, discussion, meditation. Usually led 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/sangha/.

April 17-23 (Thursday to Wednesday), Spirit Rock: Awakening in Service and Action: A Study Retreat on Socially Engaged Buddhism (with David Loy). The path of socially engaged Buddhism is a path connecting inner and outer transformation. It is about coming to see that our real work is the same whether we are in silent practice, with our families or communities, or helping to transform our larger society and ecosystems. It is to be aware and present to what is happening, to respond wisely and compassionately to suffering, to understand our interdependence, and to act with grace, equanimity, and passion in difficult circumstances. This retreat will help us to understand and to walk this path more skillfully. It will include two talks a day, discussion, guided meditations, interactive exercises, and individual meetings with the teachers, all in the context of about two-thirds of each day in silent practice.

We will explore a number of central themes related to contemporary socially engaged Buddhism, such as: its roots in traditional teachings and practices; the relationship of individual, group, and community practices to collective transformation; the nature of a Buddhist social analysis (particularly focusing on economics, ecology, and war and peace); how the three poisons (greed, hatred, and delusion) are institutionalized; principles and practices to guide our speech, communication, and work with media; responses to suffering, conflict, and oppression (such as related to race, gender, class, sexual orientation, etc.); non-dual approaches to social action; and visions of the dharmic society.

David Loy is a Zen teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan lineage. His books include Nonduality, Lack and Transcendence, A Buddhist History of the West, 
The Great Awakening, Money Sex War Karma, and The World Is Made of Stories.

April 20 (Sunday): Spirit Rock: Loving the Earth: Awareness Action, and Celebration (with James Baraz, Jennifer Berezan, Bob Doppelt, Paul Hawken, Jack Kornfield, David Loy, Wes Nisker, Ayya Anandabodhi, Ayya Santacitta, and Ayya Santussika): Join us for Spirit Rock’s second annual Earth Day event! On this Easter Sunday we bring awareness to the Earth’s deep suffering even as we dedicate ourselves to renewal and rebirth for the planet and all beings. This will be a day of learning, reflection, meditation, and music. We will bring our attention to the urgency of climate change, and the capacity of our community to respond appropriately and compassionately. We hope you will go home inspired to act! Seniors, young adults, and activists are invited to attend at a special rate of $25 per person. People age 18 and under are free. Please bring your lunch. Local environmental groups will be available during lunch with information on issues and initiatives.

April 28-29 (Monday, Tuesday): Spirit Rock: Two-Day Non-residential Lovingkindness Retreat (with Heather Sundberg). Lovingkindness, or Metta, is the practice of cultivating a warm, open heart towards ourselves and others, as a basic way of being in the world. It is also a path to wisdom. We cultivate metta as a meditation practice in order for it to manifest in an ongoing way in our daily lives. We grow in self-acceptance and compassion, work through our harsh judgments of self and others, and become better able to act from our awakened hearts in daily life. 



In this non-residential retreat, we will learn the formal practice of metta along with some of the companion practices of compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude. All of these practices strengthen self-confidence, self-acceptance, and steadiness of mind and heart, revealing our fundamental kindness. 



This meditation intensive is intended for people interested in a period of sustained practice for whom being away from home overnight is not easily possible: people with young families, people with health or mobility challenges, or people with caregiver responsibilities. Of course, the retreat is also open to anyone who simply would prefer to return home in the evening. 

The retreat will be held in the context of silence, with periods of sitting meditation alternating with periods of walking meditation. Full instructions will be offered, along with dharma talks, question and answer periods, and several short optional sessions of guided movement. Participants are asked to bring their lunch each day so that there can be an uninterrupted day of practice that includes instructions in mindful eating. 

Teachings and practices are appropriate for individuals and health care professionals. Continuing Education (CE) credit available. Young Adults (18-26) and Seniors (65+ with limited and fixed income) are invited to attend this daylong at a rate of $35.

May 3 (Saturday): Spirit Rock: Working with Judgments: Judgments of a reactive and compulsive nature are very strong in most of our lives, and in the dominant culture. They can distort our perceptions, make relationships with others difficult and undermine our work in the world. In this daylong, we will examine what judgments are and how to work with them, using mindfulness and lovingkindness practices (and a number of periods of silent practice), inquiry, dyad work, and role play. These will help us to transform the energy of judgments--preserving the intelligence and discernment often found in judgments, while working through the destructive and compulsive aspects of judgments. We will also include exploration of how we may also internalize the prevailing judgments of our society in a number of ways, particularly related to race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, employment status, etc. Those attending the daylong will have an option of continuing with monthly evening follow-up sessions. See below for general information about Spirit Rock daylongs.

May 7, 14 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).

May 9, 16 (Friday evenings), Oakland: East Bay Meditation Center, 6.30 to 8.30 p.m.: Movement, meditation, and talk. 285 17th St (near 19th St. Oakland BART), 510-268-0696, http://www.eastbaymeditation.org/, no fee, support for center and teachers all on a dana (generosity or donation) basis.

May 18-23, Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California: Transforming the Judgmental Mind. Judgments of a reactive and often automatic nature are very strong in most of our lives, and also in the dominant culture. They can distort our perceptions, make relationships with others difficult, and undermine our work in the world. In this workshop, we will explore the nature of such judgments (and their difference from non-reactive discernment) and how to transform them. We will cultivate mindfulness, inquiry, and heart practices such as lovingkindness, forgiveness, gratitude, joy, and compassion. We will also explore the somatic dimension of judgments, the role of cultivating awakened qualities in transforming judgments, and how to cultivate skill in speech and interaction in the midst of situations involving judgments, whether our own or those of others. These tools will help us to preserve the intelligence and energy often found in judgments, using them for discernment and compassionate action, while working through judgments' destructive and compulsive aspects. The workshop will be held partly in silence, with periods of discussion (in small and large groups) and some interactive exercises, as well as optional one-on-one meetings with the instructor. Those attending the workshop will have the option of continuing with monthly follow-up sessions (most likely by phone) after the workshop. For more info: http://www.esalen.org/workshop/week-may-18-23/transforming-judgmental-mind.

June 4, 11 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).

June 7 (Saturday): Spirit Rock: Mindfulness & Lovingkindness 101, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You are invited to join us for the morning, for the afternoon or for both sessions. Suitable for beginners or for people wanting a refresher on Mindfulness and/or Lovingkindness.

Mindfulness 101: 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (morning session). A half-day retreat with alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation and sequential instructions in mindfulness practice. There will be direction in mindfulness of the breath, body, emotions, thoughts, and broader patterns of experience, both more personal and more universal. This half-day will be held mostly in silence with some short talks, and will generally focus on establishing more firmly a mindfulness practice, both on the cushion and in the flow of daily life.

Lovingkindness 101: 1:30 – 5 p.m. (afternoon session). In lovingkindness (metta) practice, we cultivate a warm, open heart towards ourselves and others. We grow in self-acceptance and compassion, work through our judgments of self and others, and become better able to speak and act from our hearts in daily life. This half-day of lovingkindness practice will include instructions, alternating periods of silent sitting and walking meditation, short talks, discussion, and a focus on supporting lovingkindness in the midst of our lives.

Young Adults (18-26) and Seniors (65+ with limited and fixed income) are invited to attend this day for $25.

June 15-21 (Sunday to Saturday, Spirit Rock: Mindful Communication: A Wise Speech Retreat (with Oren Sofer). Integrating our meditation practice with our speech and communication is one of the main ways to bring our deeply-held values into our daily lives and our interactions and actions in the world. In this retreat, we will connect mindfulness and lovingkindness practice, the Buddha's teachings on wise speech, relational awareness practices, and the contemporary discipline of Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Collectively, these practices form a powerful foundation for cultivating insight, awareness, self-understanding, and empathy; developing our capacity to listen and speak from the heart; and strengthening our ability to stay present and be more skillful in challenging situations. The retreat will begin with a day of silent practice; further days will include morning and afternoon sessions of interactive speech practice along with continued silent practice. This retreat is designed both for those who want to bring more attention to speech as a spiritual practice, and for those who have emphasized communication and want further grounding in meditation. NVC will be taught at a basic level; reading Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication is recommended.  Participants will have the option of continuing with follow-up sessions after the retreat (for more information, go to: http://www.orenjaysofer.com/communication/classes and http://www.orenjaysofer.com/practice-groups). 

Oren Sofer has been a practitioner and student of Theravada Buddhism since 1997, and holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University.  He began studying Dharma in Bodh Gaya, India with Acarya Anagarika Munindra and Godwin Samararatne, and has since studied extensively with Joseph Goldstein, Michele McDonald, and Venerable Ajahn Sucitto. He is also a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner for healing trauma and a Collaborative Trainer with BayNVC (Nonviolent Communication). Nyaniko is a current trainee in the IMS-Spirit Rock Vipassana Teachers Training Program.  For more information about his teaching please see www.orenjaysofer.com.

June 23-24 (Monday and Tuesday), Spirit Rock: Embodied Awakening through Meditation and Sacred Dance: A Two Day Non-residential Retreat, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days (with Heather Munro-Pierce). Join us for an experientially-based exploration of awakening in and through the body for two days in the summer! Such an embodied awakening is crucial for contemporary Western practitioners, living in a culture in which we are often disembodied, virtual, and disconnected from the earth body. This embodied awakening is also foundational in the teachings of the Buddha: “Which one thing is to be developed? Mindfulness of the body” (Digha Nikaya 34)!

In this two-day non-residential retreat, we will weave together several types of body-oriented meditative practices with spaciously guided free-form dance (with a musical background) led by Heather Munro Pierce, an acclaimed teacher of sacred dance. Through both formal sitting and walking meditation and moving dance meditation, we will awaken and stabilize body awareness in a number of ways, including exploring the four elements of earth, water, fire, and air—in order to invite awakening in our bodies and to nourish a joyful, grounded awareness.

Both beginning and experienced meditators and movers are welcome, including those with limited movement capacities. Attendance for both days is strongly encouraged, but attendance for just Monday is possible. CEU are available. Please bring a lunch!

Heather Munro Pierce is an inspirational leader in the conscious dance movement. She is the creator of a form of movement meditation/ecstatic dance called TransDance which she leads both nationally and internationally at events dedicated to nurturing awakening and igniting joy.  As well as producing her own workshops, circles, and retreats, Heather leads events for many groups and organizations.  Her passion and commitment springs from her own experience with dance as a path to healing, health, and wholeness.

July 19 (Saturday), Nevada City, California: Wisdom and Heart Practices for Challenging Situations, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. In this daylong, we’ll look at the importance of the different parts of our practice—developing clear intentions, living ethically, grounding in the body, and cultivating mindfulness, wisdom, and the awakened heart—for responding to difficult situations, whether individual, interpersonal, or related to the wider world. There’ll be a particular focus on practices related to mindfulness and wisdom, on the one hand, and heart practices such as forgiveness and compassion, on the other. We’ll combine silent practice with teaching and discussion, particularly looking at the integration of formal meditation practice and our daily life practice in responding to challenges and difficulties. Location: 710 Zion Street in Nevada City. For further information, go to http://www.mtstream.org/.

August 3, 10 (Sundays): Marin Sunday Sangha, San Rafael, 6 to 8 p.m.: Meditation, talk, discussion, meditation. Usually led 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/sangha/.

August 17-22 (Monday to Friday): Rhinebeck, New York: Omega Institute: Mindful Communication: The Path of Wise Speech (with Oren Sofer). Course 4005. Integrating our spiritual practice with our speech and communication is one of the main ways to embody deeply-held values in our daily lives. This retreat offers practical training and concrete tools to help us embody these values in our speech.

During our week together, we integrate mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation, the Buddha’s teachings on wise speech, and the contemporary discipline of Nonviolent Communication. Collectively, these practices form a powerful foundation for cultivating awareness and empathy, strengthening our ability to be skillful in challenging situations, and developing our capacity to listen and speak from the heart.

Oren J. Sofer and Donald Rothberg offer a unique, seamless, and dynamic approach to this work, appropriate for both experienced and newer students of meditation and communication, as well as helping professionals. Through the combination of silent meditation practice, guided reflections, and interactive exercises, participants will develop a stronger sense of presence, greater access to compassion, and more versatile and clearer communication.  For further info, go to http://www.eomega.org/. Oren Sofer's bio above, for the June 15-21 retreat. Registration opens April 1. PLEASE NOTE A CHANGE IN PLANS: OREN SOFER WILL TEACH THIS RETREAT BY HIMSELF; DONALD WILL NOT BE TEACHING THIS RETREAT.

September 7-12 (Sunday to Friday), Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California: The Dancing Buddha: Embodiment and the Awakened Heart (with Heather Munro Pierce), 5-day retreat. In this retreat, we will combine traditional Buddhist practice of the “Divine Abodes” (brahmavihara) of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, with movement meditation and ecstatic dance, to help us access and cultivate these wonderful and transformative qualities of the open heart. We will particularly focus on developing embodied expressions of these four abodes based on our understanding that embodied practices are key to making the qualities real in our daily lives. Most of the workshop will involve silent practice and spaciously guided freeform movement meditation and ecstatic dance to music, complemented by talks. Come join us in celebration and inspiration as we evoke the depths of our hearts through silence and sound, stillness and movement. Movers and meditators of all levels are welcome. CEU available. For further information, go to http://www.esalen.org/workshop/week-october-13-18/dancing-buddha-meditation-movement-and-divine-abodes-heart. Heather Munro Pierce's bio above, June 23.

September 19-21 (Friday to Sunday), Santa Cruz, California: Transforming the Judgmental Mind, Cultivating the Wise Heart: A Weekend Non-Residential Retreat. Friday, 7 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Judgments of a reactive and often automatic nature are very strong in most of our lives, and in the dominant culture. They can distort our perceptions, make relationships with others difficult, and undermine our work in the world. In this weekend retreat, we will explore the nature of such judgments (and their difference from non-reactive discernment) and how to transform them. We will cultivate mindfulness, inquiry, and heart practices such as lovingkindness, forgiveness, and compassion. We will also explore the somatic and social dimensions of judgments and the role of cultivating awakened qualities in transforming judgments. These tools will help us to preserve the intelligence and energy often found in judgments, using them for discernment and compassionate action, while working through judgments' destructive and compulsive aspects. This retreat will include sitting and walking meditation, including instructions for several guided practices, talks and group discussion, and some basic movement practices, all in the context of a small, supportive community. Insight Santa Cruz, 1010 Fair Avenue, further info at http://www.insightsantacruz.org/.

October 4-5: Reno/Carson City: Two daylongs. Themes to be determined.

October 11 (Saturday), Spirit Rock: The Buddha’s Path to Freedom: The Second Foundation of Mindfulness (Mindfulness of Feeling-Tone: Pleasant, Unpleasant, and Neutral), 9.30 to 5 p.m. daylong. The Buddha taught that there is a direct way for alleviating suffering and discovering peace, wisdom and happiness, and that is through cultivating the Four Foundations of Mindfulness or Satipatthana. In this course, two Spirit Rock teachers will explore this liberating teaching that forms the basis for Insight meditation practice.

During this daylong, the second in the series on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, we will explore the bare nature of our experience and discover that every moment is colored by a feeling-tone of pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. As we bring mindfulness to this truth, we begin to uncover the deeply conditioned instincts and reactivity of the mind -- grasping, aversion and delusion, and learn how to break free from the patterns that cause us so much suffering. The Buddha taught that insight into the feeling-tone of our experience was so important that he named mindfulness of feeling-tone as one of the Four Foundations of our mindfulness practice.

Prerequisite: Beginning meditation class or the equivalent.                

October 20-21 (Monday and Tuesday), Spirit Rock: Awakening the Heart: Practicing the “Divine Abodes” (Lovingkindness, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity): A Two-Day Non-Residential Retreat, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. both day (with Heather Sundberg). The “Divine Abodes” (brahmavihara) of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, are the places of the awakened heart. Practicing to cultivate these four abodes helps us to access these wonderful and transformative qualities of the open heart. 

-  Lovingkindness (or metta): We practice cultivating a warm, open heart towards ourselves and others, as a basic way of being in the world. It is also a path to wisdom. 

-  Compassion: The wise heart becomes compassion when it encounters pain or suffering. 

-  Joy: The friendly heart becomes joy when it encounters happiness or beauty. 

-  Equanimity: We develop a balanced heart that can increasingly hold all the joys and sorrows of life with care and wisdom.

In this non-residential retreat, we will learn the formal practices of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, and offer guidance for bringing these practices into daily life. All of these practices strengthen self-confidence, self-acceptance, generosity of spirit, and steadiness of mind and heart, revealing our fundamental kindness.

The retreat will be held in the context of silence, with periods of sitting meditation alternating with periods of walking meditation. Core instructions in the different practices will be offered, along with dharma talks, question and answer periods, and several short optional sessions of guided movement. Participants are asked to bring their lunches each day so that there can be two uninterrupted days of practice that include instructions in mindful eating.

Teachings and practices are appropriate for individuals and health care professionals. Continuing Education (CE) credit available. Young Adults (18-26) and Seniors (65+ with limited and fixed income) are invited to attend these daylongs at a rate of $35.

October 25-November 1 (Saturday to Saturday), Spirit Rock: Lovingkindness Retreat (with Sylvia Boorstein and Larry Yang).

November 2 (Sunday), Spirit Rock: The Buddha’s Path to Freedom: The Third Foundation of Mindfulness (Mindfulness of Thoughts and Emotions), 9.30 to 5 p.m. daylong. The Buddha taught that there is a direct way for alleviating suffering and discovering peace, wisdom and happiness—and that is through cultivating the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. The Buddha said, “No other thing do I know which brings so much suffering as an uncultivated and undeveloped mind. No other thing do I know which brings so much happiness as a cultivated and developed mind.” The Third Foundation of Mindfulness is particularly concerned with helping us to cultivate awareness of emotions and thoughts; the focus in the text is on mindfulness of citta, usually translated as “mind,” but including what we in English call “emotions” and “thoughts.” We train to become better able to be mindful both of difficult states such as fear, anger, sadness, strong aversion, wanting, self-centered thoughts, delusion, and the judgmental mind, and of states expressing more awakened qualities such as generosity, lovingkindness, wisdom, concentration, joy, equanimity and compassion. The Third Foundation is like the operating manual for the mind, revealing to us what we can achieve through exploring the mind in all its manifestations. We will study the text in which the Buddha describes the practice of mindfulness of the mind, and also give some attention to how to combine mindfulness with other ways of working meditatively both with responses to difficult states, and with cultivation of more awakened states, in formal meditation and in daily life.

November 8-14 (Saturday to Friday), Southern Dharma, Hot Springs, NC: Transforming the Judgmental Mind Retreat, 6-day retreat.  Judgments of a reactive and often automatic nature are very strong in most of our lives, and in the dominant culture. They can distort our perceptions, make relationships with others difficult, and undermine our work in the world. 

In this retreat, we will explore the nature of such judgments (and their difference from non-reactive discernment) and how to transform them. We will cultivate mindfulness, inquiry, and heart practices such as lovingkindness, forgiveness, gratitude, joy, and compassion. We will also explore the somatic dimension of judgments, the role of cultivating awakened qualities in transforming judgments, and how to cultivate skill in speech and interaction in the midst of situations involving judgments, whether our own or those of others. These tools will help us to preserve the intelligence and energy often found in judgments, using them for discernment and compassionate action, while working through judgments' destructive and compulsive aspects. 

The retreat will be held mostly in silence (with the first day fully in silence), with some periods of discussion (small and large group) and some interactive exercises (particularly the last full day), along with group and individual interviews. Those attending the retreat will have the option of continuing with monthly follow-up sessions after the retreat. Info at http://www.southerndharma.org/.

November 14-16 (Friday to Sunday), Louisville Vipassana Community, Louisville, KY, Non-residential Weekend Retreat. Theme to be determined. For further information, contact Glenda Hodges-Cook at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or go to www.louisville-vipassana-community.org.

November 30 (Sunday): Marin Sunday Sangha, San Rafael, 6 to 8 p.m.: Meditation, talk, discussion, meditation. Usually led 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/sangha/.

December 7 (Sunday): Marin Sunday Sangha, San Rafael, 6 to 8 p.m.: Meditation, talk, discussion, meditation. Usually led 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/sangha/.

December 16-23 (Tuesday to Tuesday), Spirit Rock: Insight Meditation at the Solstice: Embracing the Dark, Inviting the Light Solstice, 7-day retreat with Heather Sundberg and John Travis). 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 29 to January 3 (Monday through Saturday), New Year's Retreat (with Heather Sundberg), 5-day retreat: Cloud Mountain (north of Portland, OR):  For further info, go to http://cloudmountain.org

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 2, 9, 16; May 7, 14; and June 4, 11. The schedule for the second half of 2014 is still to be determined.

Information for Spirit Rock Retreats and Daylongs: Registration: For more information, call 415-488-0164 or go to www.spiritrock.org/. Daylongs cost $50-108 sliding scale, plus a donation (dana) for the teacher. Volunteer opportunities are available; contact the Spirit Rock volunteer coordinator, at 415-488-0164, x224.

Donald’s Talks Are Available At:

Dharma Seed (www.dharmaseed.org /)

Audio Dharma (www.audiodharma.org/)

Benicia Sangha (www.bsangha.net/)

and other sites.