Renouncing evil action, cultivate the wholesome.
Clarify the mind. This is the lineage of the Buddhas.
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.
We’re working our way through the Noble Eightfold Path, and are entering the sīla (Ethics) limbs of the path. Starting on Oct 8, we’ll explore the Buddha’s powerful and radical teachings on Speech, Action, and Livelihood, the heart of relational and social action work in this lineage.
Particularly for these topics, we’ll bring in aspects of social justice discourse, communication and relationship material, economic theory, and more.
As always, talks and practices weave together personal, relational, and systemic inquiry, exploring the inseparability of individual and collective liberation.
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.
Meditation with instructions based in the Insight Meditation tradition and its sources in Thai and Burmese Theravāda Buddhism. 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.
I’ve started a FB Group, called “In It To End It,” for 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.
In a beautiful and famous discourse, the Sigālaka Sutta, the Buddha taught a framework for lay people (non-monastics) to build and sustain healthy communities. He used the model of the Six Directions, where the practitioner thinks of themself in a web of relationships: with their parents (east), teachers (south), partner and family (west), friends and colleagues (north), employees and dependents (below), and with religious renunciates and charities (above). Because very few people have intact relationships in all of these “directions,” the practice becomes a framework for healing, and processing the wounds we bear as members of families and communities of many kinds.
The model can help us feel into the gifts and support we receive from, and give to, people in all these different relationships to us. It becomes a reflection on ethics, wise action, social engagement, and the sustaining of beloved community by learning to honor the distinct gifts and challenges of each type of relationship. We will explore ways to care for and heal the harm and trauma that has come through many of these relationships through compassion and forgiveness practices. And cultivate the beautiful qualities of gratitude and generosity that are the glue that holds the whole web together.
We will explore this beautiful model through reflection, writing, discussion, meditation, and a group ritual to honor the maṇḍala of the Six Directions and the web of interdependence that is all of life.
It’s said that the moment the Buddha’s first student realized liberation, the whole universe resounded with celebration, and the “Wheel of Dharma” began to turn. Since that first turning, millions of men and women, giving their lives to practice, have realized the end of suffering, and through their dedication to practice and teaching, spread the Dharma around the world.
In this introduction to Buddhist history, we’ll look at the origin and spread of Buddhism as a world religion. We’ll weave between mythic and historical modes of understanding and storytelling: Bodhidharma crossing the ocean on a single reed, Buddhist emperors of Tibet conquering most of China then being themselves conquered, evidence in texts and art throughout Asia of the richness and complexity of Buddhist culture.
We’ll talk about cultural exchange, empire and politics, oral tradition and translation, how the monastic order spread across Asia, and how the Dharma arrived in North America with Asian immigrant communities, eventually taking root in non-Asian communities as well. Learning about the paths this beautiful tradition has taken to arrive here, whether it is our primary faith or not, depeens our practice of tolerance, cultural fluency, and gratitude that the Wheel of Dharma continues to turn for the benefit and blessing of beings in all time and space.
In addition to lecture and discussion, we will explore simple meditation practices from several of the major Buddhist lineages.
Open to 14-19 year olds in High School and beyond.
Learn meditation, relax deeply, speak your truth and develop your mind — all while hanging out with other great people your age. Through the practices of mindfulness and Insight Meditation, we take the time to reconnect to ourselves in order to experience more peace, wisdom and compassion.
Classes will include movement, community building games, meditation instruction and council — a practice of witnessing the group’s collective wisdom. The final class will include a potluck celebration and a half-day of practice among the trees on Spirit Rock land. During the class, parents are welcome to read, meditate and connect with each other in the Spirit Rock bookstore and foyer.
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