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/