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Immersion in Daily Life

 

Spring 2020 Home Retreat, Wed-Sun April 1-5

 

The world as we know it has been turned upside down. We are sheltering in place, trying to figure out how to ride out the Coronavirus emergency. This is a beautiful time to pause, to restore our strength, release into our tenderness, and renew our skills for practice in daily life. This is a moment for home retreat.

 

Retreat has started, but you can still join. Contact us.
Welcome, and blessings on your path.

This site contains resources for Buddhist practice, trauma healing, and social action, as well as Dr. Oakes’ teaching schedule. If you benefit from the material collected here, you can support us with a gift of any amount. Thank you for your generosity.

Sean Feit Oakes, PhD

Performance Studies
Organic Intelligence
Insight Meditation
Haṭha Yoga

A note as we meet the unfolding Coronavirus crisis

Blessings & mettā to everyone, and prayers that our families and communities are as safe as possible, and have what they need to shelter in place for the month (at least).
 
Like many teachers, I’m happy to offer support whatever I can in service of inner well-being and resilience through what may be a long emergency. While our hyper-connected modern society is startled out of complacency by the pandemic, practitioners in many contemplative traditions may find ourselves with skills and a perspective that can be helpful in this time. If you’ve been practicing with Buddhist or Yogic material for some time, you may be better equipped to deal with this — emotionally, spiritually, or existentially — than you think. The teachings of the Buddha remind us again and again of the impermanence of conditions, including the seductive conditions of comfort, health, wealth, and power. And they remind us of the death of interconnection we are immersed in, which we may often forget, or take for granted.
 
Here’s some writing I did recently, suggesting a shift in perspective that may be important in this moment:
 
 
I take this moment as an invitation for our human cultures to learn something that is hard to admit, and even harder to stabilize and truly begin to act from: our way of life, globally, is not only unsustainable but dangerous, and the root causes of our current moment are obvious to anyone willing to look. Greed is praised as a virtue in the worlds of commerce and neoliberal Capitalism; hatred is praised as a virtue in the forms of nationalism, racism, and the many systemic oppressions; and delusion is praised as a virtue in the growing distrust of public norms, information, science, and material truth itself. When greed, hatred, and delusion are not universally acknowledged as defilements, but even praised as appropriate responses to the world, crises like this will be far worse than they might otherwise have been.
 
Blessings to everyone reading this, for your own safety and peace of heart, and that of your families, communities, culture, and the beloved Earth we all share.
 
With love & mettā,
Dr. Sean Oakes
 
Below in my teaching schedule are several opportunities to practice, study, and stay connected to sacred community in this time. At the moment, my main ongoing online offerings are:
 
 
This week several of us will do the experiment of practicing together, separately, in a “home retreat.” You can do as much or little as works for your schedule. Check out the idea and details here.
 
Everything I do is offered in the Gift Economy model, and I’m grateful for your generous support in this work. Thank you. You can give to support our work here.

This month at Satsang (March-April 2020)

We’ve been talking for a few weeks now at Satsang about right livelihood, the fifth limb in the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. We were just getting into the implications of this limb of practice, expanding our lens outward from the basic ethics of how we earn our living and then how we spend that living. 

We’re talking about the flow of resources, about their origin, their movement around the world, and how humans make choices (saṅkhāra) at every moment in that process. Choices are always either skillful or unskillful (or a mix of the two, of course), and so the entire web of interconnectedness can be seen as bonded by ethical responsibility. We are all accountable to each other, all the time. We might call the realization of this accountability, and the dedication to liberation that comes with it, bodhicitta — the awakening mind.

This moment’s manifestation of interconnection — a global pandemic —is shot through with unskillful human choices, born of greed, hatred, and delusion. The foundations of the global economy are implicated, and so in a strange way, our topic was right on time. The virus is a manifestation of wrong livelihood, globally! And of course in more individual ways, this moment is a livelihood problem, as many of us find our livelihoods threatened or diminished by the crisis. We’ll keep talking about all of this as we meet virtually, as we have been doing.

Satsang is now online for the immediate future, on the Zoom platform so that we can interact. The most up-to-date info on events, and all links, can be found in the Facebook Group: In It To End It. Join us in this “virtual saṅgha” for study, discussion, and spiritual community.

Insight Meditation Satsang
Tuesdays 7:15-9pm
Click here to join online

 

We begin with chanting a short Refuge & Precepts pūjā from the Theravāda Buddhist tradition, followed by 30 minutes of meditation, part guided and part silent. After a break, there’s a talk and discussion on an aspect of Buddhist practice. Beginners are welcome anytime, and the group is offered fully on donation, in the beautiful and ancient practice of Gift Economy.

History of Yoga Course
A 20-hour online course diving into the ocean of ideas, practices, and culture that evolved into modern Yoga. Designed for serious students of Yoga and meditation, and for use in YTT programs, this is a university-level introduction to Yoga history from an engaging scholar-practitioner.
An exploration of one of the most gorgeous and enigmatic Mahāyāna Buddhist texts, The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom, or “Heart Sūtra.” The course, hosted by our friends at The Sutra Project, combines a new practitioner-oriented translation by Dr. Oakes and Dr. Christopher Wallis, drawing on their decades of practice and study.

Teaching Schedule

Ongoing

Tuesdays 7:15-9pm PST

Zoom link to join event.

Meditation with instructions based in the Insight Meditation tradition and its sources in Thai and Burmese Theravāda Buddhism, as well as chanting, text study, and discussion. The focus of the group is on deepening in both traditional Buddhist practice as understood in the Theravāda traditions, and exploring the links between individual & systemic liberation in the form of social justice and collective healing practice.

Learn more.

Our FB Group, called “In It To End It,” is a “place” for communal study and discussion of Buddhist ideas, focusing at least as we begin on my areas: the Pāli Canon of the Theravāda lineage, the Prajñāpāramitā vision that is the heartwood of the Mahāyāna, and the profound and liberating social inquiry of deconstruction.

I’m starting with a series of free videos for advanced beginners who want to dive into the beauty and richness of the Buddha’s discourses. This will be a space for inquiry and study together; ideally a virtual saṅgha

Join the Group.

Home Yoga & Meditation Retreat
Online retreat

Wed-Sun, April 1-5, 2020

The world as we know it has been turned upside down. Many of us all around the world are “sheltering in place,” barely leaving our homes, trying to figure out what we — and everyone else — will do to ride out the Coronavirus emergency. Work, money, school, childcare, relationships, politics… everything has changed. Let’s take this moment, with all the skills and perspective we can gather, to recommit to our path. This is a beautiful time to pause, to restore our strength, release into our tenderness, and renew our skills for practice in daily life. This is a moment for home retreat. Join us.
 
I’m honored to teach with these beautiful communities & organizations
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