December 2019

07Dec10:00 AM4:00 PMHonoring All Life: Exploring the First Precept of Non-Harming10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Community Meditation Center Teacher(s): Bob Stahl; Richard Shankman; James Baraz; Thanissara; Bob Isaacson; Patti Breitman; Will Tuttle; Jina Shah; and via video: Tara Brach; Konda Mason; Dawn Mauricio No prerequisiteOpen

Event Details

Date: Saturday, December 7, 2019; 10:00am – 4:00pm.
Sliding Scale: $75 – 200. Code BS2D19.
Presenters: Bob Stahl, Richard Shankman, James Baraz, Thanissara, Bob Isaacson, Patti Breitman, Will Tuttle, and Jina Shah, and via video: Tara Brach, Konda Mason, and Dawn Mauricio.

This day retreat will be devoted to exploring the first precept of not killing or non-harming, which is the basis, or foundation for the remaining four precepts of not stealing, not causing sexual harm, not hurting with speech, and not getting intoxicated.

It is interesting to note that within the Western Insight and Theravada tradition, there is a philosophical divide between vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters. The first precept clearly states not killing any living being, which implies that all of life is sacred. Yet how is it that many of us still eat animals? And also what about climate change, can shifting to a plant based diet help? Is it possible to reconcile these conundrums?

In the Rhinoceros Horn Discourse, the Khaggavisana Sutta, the Buddha says: “Renouncing violence for all living beings, harming not even a one”… In light of the first precept of non-harming, which literally means to not take away one’s breath (panatipata), how do you reconcile eating meat or wearing leather? How do we deal with termites, mosquitoes, flies, mice, rats, bacteria, or other creatures? How do we feel about using products that may hurt animals?

What is our highest aspiration for living a life of non-harming? What can support us to live more in fully in alignment with those aspirations? Is it possible to live without harming, or reduce harm in our society?

This day will explore non-harming (ahimsa) in our modern world. We will show the film, “Animals and the Buddha” and then have a panel discussion and Q & A moderated by Bob Stahl and Richard Shankman with: James Baraz, Thanissara, Bob Isaacson, Patti Breitman, Will Tuttle, and Jina Shah. There will also be video presentations from Tara Brach, Konda Mason, and Dawn Mauricio.

Bob Stahl
Bob has founded eight Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs in medical centers in the SF Bay Area and is currently offering programs at Dominican Hospital, El Camino Hospitals in Los Gatos and Mt. View, and Good Samaritan Hospital.  He serves as a Senior Teacher for Brown University Mindfulness Center and the Oasis Institute for Mindfulness-Based Professional Education and Training at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Bob teachers MBSR Teacher Trainings and Insight Meditation retreats worldwide and is the guiding teacher at Insight Santa Cruz and a visiting teacher at Spirit Rock. He is coauthor of 5 books:  A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Living With Your Heart Wide Open, Calming the Rush of Panic, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook for Anxiety, and MBSR Everyday.  Bob holds deeply that all life, the earth and universe is sacred and has been a vegan for nearly 30 years…

Richard Shankman
Richard Shankman has been a meditator since 1970, and teaches at Dharma centers and groups internationally. He is guiding teacher of the Metta Dharma Foundation, and cofounder of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies and of Mindful Schools. He practices and teaches meditation that integrates compassion, mindfulness, concentration and insight as one path of practice. Richard is the author of The Art and Skill of Buddhist Meditation and The Experience of Samadhi.

James Baraz
James has been a meditation teacher since 1978. He is creator and teacher of the Awakening Joy course (since 2003). He leads retreats, workshops and classes in U.S and abroad. Co-founding Teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA.Co-author of Awakening Joy, the book based on the course (with Shoshana Alexander).He is a Guiding Teacher for One Earth Sangha, a website devoted to expressing a Buddhist response to Climate Change.  James lives in Berkeley, California with his wife, Jane.   He has two sons and three grandchildren

Thanissara spent 12 years as a nun in the Forest School of Ajahn Chah as a founding member of the UK monasteries. She has taught meditation retreats internationally for 30+ years and has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice. With Kittisaro, she co-founded Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat in South Africa in 2000 and co-initiated several HIV/Aids response projects in there. Together, they founded Sacred Mountain Sangha, which now has a presence in the USA as a California based Non Profit. She currently lives in Sebastopol. Her latest book is Time To Stand Up, An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth.

Bob Isaacson
Bob Isaacson is the co-founder and president of the only international Buddhist animal rights/advocacy organization in the world, Dharma Voices for Animals (DVA). He has practiced the Dharma in the Vipassana/Theravada tradition for over twenty years. He was a civil rights-human rights attorney for twenty-five years, specializing in defending people against the death penalty. Bob currently teaches the Dharma, leads two Sanghas, and leads day-long and weekend retreats in the San Diego area, having been trained in Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Community Dharma Leader Program.  

Dr. Will Tuttle
Dr. Will Tuttle is author of the acclaimed best-seller, The World Peace Diet, published in 16 languages. A recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award and the Empty Cages Prize, he is also the author of several other books on spirituality, intuition, and social justice, as well as the creator of online wellness and advocacy programs. A vegan since 1980 and former Zen monk, he is featured in a number of documentary film The co-founder of the Worldwide Prayer Circle for Animals, he is a frequent radio, television, and online presenter. With his spouse Madeleine, a Swiss visionary artist,he lectures extensively throughout North America and worldwide.

Jina Shah
Dr. Jhankhana Jina Shah is a member of the Order of Inter-being in the Plum Village tradition of Thich Nhat Nhat,  the Chair of the Ahimsak Eco-Vegan Committee of the Federation of Jain  Associations of North America and a Climate Realities Leader.  She is  Board Certified in General Preventive Medicine and in Family Medicine, with experience in global public health, vaccine and drug development, lifestyle medicine and the field of bioethics. Raised as a vegetarian, she decided to go vegan 29 years ago for ahimsa and, in her professional training, has come to appreciate and teach about the health benefits of a whole foods, plant based diet. She contributes to the blog

Patti Breitman
Patti Breitman is a co-founder of Dharma Voices for Animals and director of The Marin Vegetarian Education Group. She is the co-author of many books including How To Eat Like A Vegetarian (Even  If You Never Want to Be One); Never Too Late to Go Vegan: and Even Vegans Die (with a foreword by Dr. Michael Greger).   She is on the advisory council of Jewish Veg.  In 2016 she was honored to receive the Lisa Shapiro Award for Unsung Vegan Heroes.  Patti lives in Fairfax, CA where her neighbors and friends include coyotes, foxes, rabbits, bobcats, spiders, birds, snakes, deer, and countless other beautiful creatures.

Tara Brach
Tara Brach is a leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening. She has practiced and taught meditation for over 35 years, with an emphasis on vipassana (mindfulness or insight) meditation. Tara is the senior teacher and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. A clinical psychologist, Tara is author of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha and the book, True Refuge–Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart(Bantam, 2013).  Find these, as well as her meditation CD “Mindfulness Meditation: Nine Guided Practices to Awaken Presence and Open Your Heart” on her products page. Tara’s podcasts are downloaded nearly 1 million times each month from over 150 countries.

Konda Mason
Konda Mason was introduced to Tibetan Buddhism in 1982. Her love for Vipassana began in 1996, working with Jack Kornfield at the Vallecitos Retreat Center. She has been a regular yoga teacher at Spirit Rock since 1997, teaching many retreats including the annual Metta Retreat and many of the POC retreats.
Konda’s dharma training includes the East Bay Meditation Center Commit to Dharma program, Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader and she is currently in the 2020 Spirit Rock Teacher Training program. Konda has taught daylongs, retreats and workshops. She sits on the Board of Directors of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and is on the Advisory Board of the Namchak Foundation Learning Circles.
In addition to her spiritual pursuits, Konda is a social entrepreneur, earth and social justice activist. She is the Co-Founder and former CEO of Impact Hub Oakland, a beautiful co-working space that supports socially engaged entrepreneurs and changemakers.

Dawn Mauricio
Dawn Mauricio has been practicing and studying Insight Meditation since 2005, sitting silent residential retreats in Canada, United States, Thailand, and Burma. Since discovering the Dharma, she has graduated from Spirit Rock’s Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation Training and the Dedicated Practitioners’ Program, as well as the first teacher development group of True North Insight. Dawn teaches with a playful, dynamic, and centered approach, currently leading a weekly sitting group, daylong retreats, and mindfulness workshops. She is a meditation retreat teacher for teenagers with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education and is currently in Spirit Rock’s 4-year Teacher Training.

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