Practice Resources

San Francisco Bay Area sitting groups

Sit with others! Friends on the path, called kalyana mitta, and regular contact with a teacher you trust are the best supports you can have for consistent practice.

Here’s a selective list of meditation groups in the SF Bay Area.

The list is mostly Theravāda Buddhist, with some Zen and Tibetan I know and value. It’s not exhaustive, but curated. If a group is on this list, I either know the teachers or their lineage, and feel comfortable recommending them. My group is on Tuesday nights in Berkeley.


My Talks & Guided Meditations

I began recording talks in 2016, and will continue as much as I can. Posted talks are primarily from the Tuesday evening Satsang, and other workshops given in Buddhist contexts. For recordings from closed groups, like Teacher Training workshops, contact me.

Talks, Meditations, and Chants

Other Teachers’ talks & meditations

Talks from a large cohort of (mostly) Western Theravāda and Insight Meditation teachers are collected by a non-profit website called Dharma Seed, and stream for free. I also respect and recommend Gil Fronsdal’s talks on Insight Meditation Center’s site Audio Dharma, and for study of the original texts, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi’s lectures on suttas from the Pāli Canon. All three of these organizations/teachers are sustained by donations. Please consider donating to support their work.


Buddhist study resources

Syllabus: Intro to Theravāda Buddhism through the Pāli texts

Here’s a syllabus for serious beginners to start reading the Pāli Canon, the earliest Buddhist texts that have been preserved, in the form used by the Theravāda (Way of the Elders) tradition of Śri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand. The discourses in this list are among the most central and important in the tradition, and are a great intro to the beauty and depth of the Canon.

The best general introduction to the Pāli Canon is Bhikkhu Bodhi’s anthology, In the Buddha’s Words (Wisdom). Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translations of the full sutta collections are the current gold standard, and have made the power of this literature available to lay people and non-specialists in the West for the first time. If you’re new to these collections, and have finished In the Buddha’s Words, continue with the Majjhima Nikāya. Bodhi’s new anthology, The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony, collects texts from the Pāli Canon to support engaged Buddhist activism, relevant for everyone working for peace, social justice, civil rights, and resistance to neoliberal hegemony.

These resources are mostly Theravāda focused, so for a traditional primer to Tibetan Buddhist practice, see Patrul Rinpoche’s Words of My Perfect Teacher (Shambhala, though it seems to be out of print), or Kalu Rinpoche’s Luminous Mind (Wisdom). For a primer to Soto Zen, see Suzuki Roshi’s classic Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (Shambhala). If you want suggestions for how to start or deepen in either Tibetan or Zen practice, ask me and I’ll refer you to the best folks I know.


Handouts for study: Buddhist

Here’s a variety of handouts I’ve made for study. Feel free to download and use. If you want to use them in a teacher training or other commercial setting, that’s cool, but please let me know. A lot of work went into these, and I’m happy to offer them in the spirit of Gift Economy.

Abhisanda and Sigālaka Suttas (guidelines for lay practitioners)
Notes on the Sigālaka Sutta

Satipaṭṭhāna (Foundations of Mindfulness) Sutta (tr. Anālayo)
Notes on the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta

Kāyāgatasati Sutta (Mindfulness of Body)
Notes on the Kāyāgatasati Sutta

Ānāpānasati (Mindfulness of Breathing) Sutta (tr. Fronsdal)
Commentary on the Ānāpānasati Sutta (Ñānamoli)

Turning the Wheel of the Dhamma (Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta) with notes (short)
Turning the Wheel of the Dhamma (Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta) with notes (longer & more detailed)

Mettā (Loving-Kindness) Sutta in Pāli & English
Mettā & Brahmavihara practice notes

A chart of Theravāda meditation lineages [author unknown – if you know, lmk!]


Mahāyāna/Zen texts

The Heart Sutra in Sanskrit & English (tr. Red Pine) with notes

The Platform Sutra of Hui-Neng, excerpts (tr. Red Pine)


Chant sheets: Buddhist

A Theravāda daily practice liturgy

Basic Theravāda chants (Pāli) with some Mahāyāna (Sanskrit) mantras

The mettā chant and sutta, in Pāli and English
Mettā Sutta in Pāli and English (formatted for English chanting)


Online

Sutta Central: all the Theravāda text resources you didn’t know you needed.
Dharma Seed: thousands of dharma talks to listen to for free. Stream to cross the stream.


Hindu & Yoga study resources

Notes on the history of yoga, with primary texts

This is an essay I published in the Encyclopedia of Asian American Religious Cultures (ed. Nakasone, et al 2015), with text examples interwoven. I use it in Yoga Teacher Training programs. Feel free to read, but if you want to quote or use it in any other context, please cite.

Yoga Reading List for Beginning to Intermediate Practitioners


Handouts for study: Classical Yoga

Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali (full Sanskrit & English, tr. Hartranft) (compact version of this)
Notes on the Yoga Sūtra
A meditation practice based on Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra

The 25 Tattva of the Saṃkhya and Yoga systems

Bhagavad Gītā, excerpts (tr. Mitchell)
Notes on the Gītā


HANDOUTS FOR STUDY: Tantra and Haṭha Yoga

The Heart of Recognition (tr. Wallis) with notes
Notes on Śaiva Tantra: lists, vocabulary

The Śiva Sutras (Laksmanjoo & Dyczkowski trans. in parallel)

Notes on the Haṭha Yoga Pradipika
Notes on the subtle body in Yoga: vāyu, nādi, cakra, kośa, granṭhi, guṇa, antaḥkaraṇa


Chant sheets: Hindu

Hindu (Vedic and devotional/mantra), with a few Buddhist, chants

The Hanumān Cālīsā (Hindi-English)


Organic Intelligence

Notes on the Nervous System and basics of Organic Intelligence


Centers

Here are links to centers I have practiced at or work with.

Insight Meditation: SF Bay Area

Spirit Rock: Our magnificent retreat and workshop center.
East Bay Meditation Center: Focused on dharma and social justice.
San Francisco Insight: Led by Eugene Cash & Pam Weiss. My longtime SF sangha.
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley: Led by James Baraz & Kate Munding.
Insight Meditation Center: Led by Gil Fronsdal and others.
Insight Retreat Center: Fronsdal & co’s donation-based retreat center.


INSIGHT MEDITATION: Elsewhere

Insight Meditation Society: the mothership of American IM (Barre, MA).
Metta Forest Monastery: Ajahn Thanissaro (San Diego, CA).
Open Dharma: ditch your business suit, backpack in India or Spain, find these brilliant teachers.


Tibetan & Zen

Dharmata: Anam Thubten, Rinpoche. Point Richmond, CA.
Pundarika: Tsoknyi Rinpoche.
Tara Mandala: Lama Tsultrim Allione, near Durango, CO.
Mt Baldy Zen Center: my first intensive training. Mt. Baldy, CA.
SF Zen Center & Green Gulch: from beat roots to beet roots. SF & Marin, CA


Yoga

Yoga Tree SF (Berkeley, CA)
Piedmont Yoga Studio (Oakland, CA)
Yoga Garden SF (San Francisco, CA)

These are the 3 studios where I primarily teach, largely in their Teacher Training programs. Yoga Tree hosts my Satsang, Piedmont is innovating powerful social justice conscious trainings, and Yoga Garden runs one of the most efficient and well-crafted trainings around. Im happy to be associated with these lovely studios.