Exploring the Satipatthana Sutta with Diana Clark

Course 1: Aspects of Satipatthana  Tuesdays, Mar 31, Apr 7, Apr 14, Apr 21, 7:30 – 9:00 pm

Course 2: Foundations in the Satipatthana  Tuesdays, May 12, 19, 26, June 2, 7:30 – 9:00 pm

Join us as we do a detailed exploration of the Satipatthana Sutta, a foundational text for meditation practice in our tradition.  Based on Bhikkhu Analayo’s influential book, Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization (Windhorse Publications, 2003), two different four-week courses are being offered.  While it may be supportive, it is not required to take the first course before taking the second course.  However, attendance to all four meetings of a course is recommended.  The courses are freely offered and will be held at the IMC Annex (1040 Brewster, Ste D, 1040 Brewster Ave, Redwood City), thus registration is required – please register below.  Note: the courses will be primarily discussion, with little actual meditation instruction or practice.

The first four-week course, “Aspects of Satipatthana,” based on chapters 1, 2, 3, 5 of the textbook, will explore the definitions of key terms (e.g. satipatthana, sampajana and sati) and concepts (e.g. “direct path” and “bare knowledge”).  To help prepare for the discussion, please read Chapter 1 before the first class meeting.

The second four-week course, “Foundations in the Satipatthana,” will be based on chapters 6 – 13 of the textbook.  This course will explore the four foundations of mindfulness meditation: body, feelings, mind and dhammas.  To help prepare for the discussion, please read Chapter 6 before the first class meeting. 

Diana Clark has a MA in Buddhist Studies from the Graduate Theological Seminary, is a graduate of the Sati Center chaplaincy program and has spent cumulatively over a year in silent meditation retreats. She also co-teaches with Gil Fronsdal on the early Buddhist texts at the Institute of Buddhist Studies. As a long time practitioner at IMC she is participating in the IMC Dharma Mentoring Training Program.

Please register for this course (this link send an email to Diana – please include your name and contact information).

March 14, 2015 − The Life of the Buddha taught by Diana Clark

Saturday, Mar. 14, 2015
9:00am – 4:30pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

Was the Buddha really a prince before he became Awakened? What was his life like before and after his awakening? What happened to his wife and son he is reported to have left behind for his spiritual quest? Please join us as we explore the answers to these questions and more during this day of lecture and discussion. Together, we will examine the narrative of the Buddha’s life in the early Buddhist texts and later commentarial and modern works. We will discuss how we can use the model of the Buddha’s life to guide and perhaps inspire us in our own practice.

Diana Clark has a MA in Buddhist Studies from the Graduate Theological Seminary, is a graduate of the Sati Center chaplaincy program and has spent cumulatively over a year in silent meditation retreats. She also co-teaches with Gil Fronsdal on the early Buddhist texts at the Institute of Buddhist Studies. As a long time practitioner at IMC she is participating in the IMC Dharma Mentoring Training Program.

This class is offered on a donation basis. Pre-registration not required. Please bring a bag lunch.

March 1, 2015 − Buddhist Personality Types: A legacy from the past. A practice for now! taught by Steve Armstrong

Sunday, Mar. 1st, 2015
1:00pm – 4:30pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

In addition to a theory of personality types, Theravada Buddhism psychology has a well-developed description of the underlying factors and dispositions that influence us.  Some of this is the result of how past experiences can remain present throughout our lifetime.  The combination of underlying mental factors and past conditioning come together to condition the appearance of what we sometimes call the “self”.    

On this afternoon, we will identify the underlying mental factors and past experiences that contribute to our sense of self.  We will also discuss the impact these have on our personality structures. After identifying our own elaborate “Personality Type,” specific dhamma practices will be identified to assist each individual to further develop the mind.

Included in the discussion will be

  1. Parāmi profile: 10 wholesome qualities of mind to be developed
  2. Index of Potential Problems: the qualities of mind that most cause suffering
  3. Primary Mentality: the 6 foundations of identification

Steve Armstrong has studied the dhamma and practiced insight meditation since 1975. He was a monk for five years in Burma under the guidance of Sayadaw U Pandita where he undertook intensive, silent practice of insight and lovingkindness meditations. He studied the Buddhist psychology (abhidhamma) with Sayadaw U Zagara in Australia and presents it in practical and easily understood terms. He continues his practice under the guidance of Sayadaw U Tejaniya at the Shwe Oo Min Meditation Center in Rangoon. He has been leading meditation retreats internationally since 1990.

This class is offered on a donation basis. Pre-registration not required.

Feb. 21, 2015 − Introduction to Vajrayana Buddhism for Those Unfamiliar with It − Theory and Practice taught by Acharya Rita M. Gross

Saturday, Feb. 21st, 2015
9:00am – 4:30pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

In this daylong workshop, scholar-practitioner Rita M. Gross will present an introduction to Vajrayana  – the form of Buddhism most strongly associated with the Buddhism of Tibet.  The day is meant for those curious about this valuable form of Buddhism but know little about it. She will explain both those aspects of Vajrayana Buddhism that most distinguish it from other forms of Buddhism and its underlying similarity with better-known forms of Buddhism.  Regarding what is most distinctive about Vajrayana Buddhism, she will explain some of its most common rituals involving visualization practices and mantra recitation.  She will also explain its deeper teachings about the nature of mind and reality that Vajrayana shares with other forms of Buddhism.  Furthermore, she will explain how the two major aspects of Vajrayana Buddhism, often called the “development stage” and the “completion stage,” are linked with each other and provide an overarching path to awakening.   

Rita Gross, or Acharya Rita as she is known, has been studying, practicing and teaching Vajrayana for forty years.  Known as a warm, humorous and very clear teacher, she teaches with a rare combination of academic and dharmic perspectives. She is internationally known for her innovative work on gender and religion. She also has extensive training and experience as a professor of comparative studies in religion and is a Buddhist Dharma teacher, appointed to that position by Her Eminence Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche.

This class is offered on a donation basis. Pre-registration not required. Please bring a bag lunch.

Jan. 31, 2015 – Renunciation in Lay Life: What, Why, and How with Kim Allen and others

Saturday, Jan 31st, 2015
9:30am – 4:30pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

In the Buddhist teachings, renunciation, or letting go, is associated with contentment, ease, simplicity, and relational harmony. It supports the development of the Eightfold Path and is considered an expression of the Middle Way.

While renunciation is commonly associated with Buddhist monastics, a growing number of Western lay practitioners are interested in how to live a nourishing life of lay renunciation. This daylong will explore the possibilities, benefits, and challenges of renunciation in lay life.

The idea of lay renunciation raises such questions as:

  • What kinds of renunciation are most conducive to Dhamma practice as lay people?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of a lay life that honors the intention to let go?
  • How have dedicated lay practitioners lived in Asian cultures? What is most relevant for Western culture?
  • What teachings and practices can guide a layperson seeking to live from a simpler, non-grasping frame of mind?

The day will include a number of guest speakers, group discussion, and sitting practice.

It is an opportunity to learn and share ideas about the topic, and is appropriate for all interested or curious practitioners.

Confirmed guests include:

  • Mirka Knaster, author of Living This Life Fully, about the life and teachings of Anagarika Munindra. Mirka has been practicing in the Theravada tradition since her first retreat in India in 1981. She has a Ph.D. in Asian and Comparative Studies and is the author of “Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra” (Shambhala). At IMC, she organized and facilitated an interfaith symposium on ethical speech, conducted a series on wise speech, and has given talks on other topics.
  • Oren J. Sofer, a teacher who lived as an Anagarika in the Thai Forest tradition and was a student of Munindra-ji. Oren has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1997, and is a long-time student of both Joseph Goldstein and Ven. Ajahn Sucitto. He is a current participant in the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training, and also a Somatic Experiencing practitioner for healing trauma.
  • Ruby Grad, whose sangha, Portland Friends of the Dhamma, offers practice as upāsika/upāsaka in the Thai Forest tradition of the Ajahn Chah lineage, guided by Abhayagiri Forest Monastery. Ruby has practiced Insight meditation since 1988 with monastic and lay teachers and is currently a student of Ajahn Pasanno, abbot of Abhayagiri Forest Monastery. She practices with Portland Friends of the Dhamma and for several years has observed the Uposatha (lunar phase) days each week by keeping the Eight Precepts. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioner and Community Dharma Leader programs and the Sati Center’s Buddhist Chaplaincy training program, and was recently ordained as a Theravada lay minister by Gil Fronsdal. 

Kim Allen has practiced Insight meditation since 2003, with Gil Fronsdal as her primary teacher. She is interested in how laypeople practice and express renunciation. She leads the Los Gatos Insight sangha and teaches at other local sanghas. Her practice also includes intensive retreat, sutta study, and managing retreats at the Insight Retreat Center. She has completed the Sati Center Buddhist Chaplaincy training program and volunteers as a hospital chaplain.

This class is offered on a donation basis. Pre-registration not required. Please bring a bag lunch.

October 18, 2014, The Burmese and Thai Roots of Western Insight Meditation taught by Donald Rothberg

Saturday, October 18, 2014
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

What are the roots of our Western practice of insight meditation? Why do we practice in the ways that we practice? In this daylong, we’ll explore the fascinating and sometimes surprising evolution of Insight Meditation—from the Buddha to 19th and 20th century Burma and Thailand—and then to its widespread practice in the West. Western Insight Meditation along with “secular” applications of mindfulness and lovingkindness, is now proliferating in many settings. We’ll look at the influence of these different lineages and roots to gain a clearer perspective about key decision points and issues related to how we practice Insight Meditation today.

We’ll examine the influences of the lives, social contexts, teachings, and practices of key Burmese teachers, such as Ledi Sayadaw and Mahasi Sayadaw, and Thai teachers, particularly teachers in the Forest Tradition such as Ajahn Mun, Ajahn Maha Boowa, Ajahn Chah (especially), and Ajahn Buddhadasa. In particular, we will look at how our core practice of mindfulness is based on Burmese teacher Mahasi Sayadaw’s technique of noting, and at the rather different understanding of practice that we receive from the Thai Forest Tradition.

The day will include talks (with images from 19th and 20th century Burma and Thailand, including practice places and teachers, and from Donald’s time in Thailand); periods of sitting and walking meditation; and discussion.

Please bring a bag lunch. This class is offered on a donation basis.

Donald Rothberg, Ph.D., a member of the Teachers Council at Spirit Rock, has practiced Insight Meditation since 1976, and has also received training in Tibetan Dzogchen and Mahamudra practice. He writes on and teaches mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation, and the application of these practices to transforming the judgmental mind, speech and communication, working with conflict, social service, and social action. He is the author of The Engaged Spiritual Life. See Donald’s webpage at: donaldrothberg.com/

August 16, 2014, Love in the Suttas with Diana Clark

Saturday, August 16, 2014
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

How is the metta sutta, which we often chant while on a meditation retreat, related to metta meditation?  And how is metta meditation related to insight and concentration meditation?  Please join us as we explore the answers to these questions and more during this day of lecture, practice and discussion. Together, we will examine and practice with the teachings on lovingkindness in the early Buddhist texts and later commentarial works.  We will explore how these inspirational teachings have evolved over time and how we can apply this understanding to our current practice.

Please bring a bag lunch. This class is offered on a donation basis.

Diana Clark has been practicing since 2005. Her practice includes long meditation retreats, the scholarly study of Buddhism and Buddhist texts and exploring the science of mindfulness and compassion. She is trained as a scientist and serves the dharma community by being the former treasurer of IMC and the current treasurer of IRC. She is also on the board of the Buddhist Insight Network. She is a graduate of the Sati Center Buddhist Chaplaincy program and has an MA in Buddhist Studies from the Institute of Buddhist Studies.

July 26, 2014, Faith in the Suttas with Diana Clark

Saturday, July 26, 2014
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

Is faith used in the Buddhist tradition the same as in other religious traditions?  Is there a specific place for faith in a Buddhist path of practice?  When Buddhists say they have faith, what do they have faith “in”?  Please join us as we explore the answers to these questions and more during this day of lecture and discussion.  We will examine how faith and it’s role in Buddhist practice is portrayed in the early Buddhist texts and discuss how we can interpret this with our own practice.  Also, we will look at the relationship between faith, knowledge and wisdom as well as the relationship between faith, love and devotion.  Everyone, with or without faith, is welcome.

Please bring a bag lunch. This class is offered on a donation basis.

Diana Clark has been practicing since 2005. Her practice includes long meditation retreats, the scholarly study of Buddhism and Buddhist texts and exploring the science of mindfulness and compassion. She is trained as a scientist and serves the dharma community by being the former treasurer of IMC and the current treasurer of IRC. She is also on the board of the Buddhist Insight Network. She is a graduate of the Sati Center Buddhist Chaplaincy program and has an MA in Buddhist Studies from the Institute of Buddhist Studies.

April 5, 2014: Buddhist Chaplaincy: An Overview with Rev. Daijaku Judith Kinst, Ph.D. and Rev. Jennifer Block, M.A.

Saturday, April 5, 2014
10 am to 5 pm

Location:
Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch Street, Redwood City, CA

By Donation.
All are welcome.
No pre-registration necessary.

Chaplains provide spiritual care and support to people in places such as hospitals, hospices, prisons and a wide variety of other settings.  The work is wonderfully challenging and satisfying.  In recent years, dharma practitioners have been experiencing chaplaincy as a powerful opportunity to practice engaged Buddhism, and for some, as a vocation and profession.

Join us for an explanation of this field of service, which is gaining in size and scope in dharma communities.  Professional chaplains and educators will introduce aspects of chaplaincy, including: a definition of chaplaincy, the history of chaplaincy, settings where chaplains serve, and the steps one can take to become a volunteer or professional chaplain (including educational requirements) as a Buddhist practitioner.  Information about the Sati Center’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Training and the Institute for Buddhist Studies Chaplaincy Degree Program will also be provided.

Co-sponsored by:
The Sati Center for Buddhist Studies  &  The Institute of Buddhist Studies

Schedule:
9:30       Registration; Greeting; Sitting
10:00     Welcome: intros, purpose/overview of the day
10:15      What is a chaplain?; What is spiritual care?
12:00     A day in the life of a chaplain
1:00       Lunch Break
2:00      What is a Buddhist chaplain?
2:45       The path to becoming an employed chaplain:
4:00      Breakout sessions: IBS program w/Jaku and Sati training w/Jennifer
5:00      End; dedication of merit

Instructors:
Reverend Daijaku Judith Kinst, Ph.D., is the coordinator and primary professor for the Buddhist Chaplaincy program at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, a graduate school affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, and Ryukoku University, Kyoto. After ordination and formal Soto Zen priest training, Daijaku completed an MA in Western psychology, licensure as an MFT, and a PhD in Psychology and Buddhism. She is a dharma successor in the Soto Zen lineage of Shunryu Suzuki roshi and, with Rev. Shinshu Roberts is the Guiding Teacher of the Ocean Gate Zen Zendo in Capitola, California. She has taught and led retreats with teachers from a variety of Buddhist traditions, and maintains a pastoral counseling and spiritual direction practice in San Francisco.

Reverend Jennifer Block, M.A., is an Interfaith minister and Buddhist chaplain who has practiced Zen, Vipassana and Yoga since 1988.  Her life’s work is providing spiritual care to people in crisis, mentoring caregivers, and teaching people how to access their innate capacity for caring and healing. With Gil Fronsdal and Paul Haller, Jennifer teaches the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training program at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies where Buddhist practitioners are introduced to the competencies of professional spiritual care. Jennifer completed her undergraduate degree at Boston University, and her theology degree at Naropa University.

For information about chaplaincy in general, visit:
http://jenniferblock.org/jboprod/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Chaplaincy-A-Brief-Intro.pdf

March 22, 2014, Paths of Practice in the Buddha’s Teachings with Diana Clark

Saturday, March 22
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

The concept of a path of practice is one of the central features of the Buddha’s teaching.  In addition to the well-known Eightfold Path, the Buddha described a number of other models of the Buddhist path to the end of suffering. These different models are useful descriptions that describe the path of practice through different perspectives.  Join us as we explore and discuss three important paths of practice depicted in three different suttas from the Middle Length Discourses (Majjhima Nikāya, MN).  We will study the “Gradual Training” from the Simile of the Elephant’s Footprint (MN 27), the “Discovery of Truth” from the Cankī sutta (MN 95) and the “Practice that Makes One an [Arahant]” from the Greater Discourse at Assapura (MN 39).  In addition to studying the paths themselves, we will explore the context in which the Buddha taught them, and the contexts in which they may be useful for modern practitioners. The day will include lecture and small group discussion.

Please bring a bag lunch. This class is offered on a donation basis.

Diana Clark is finishing up a Master’s Degree in Buddhist Studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley.  She practices and occasionally teaches at IMC.