Courses & Workshops

To register for all courses and workshops, please visit the calendar

Common Ground offers both multiple-week courses and one-time workshops. Topics vary by quarter. All Common Ground programs are offered freely in the spirit of generosity. To learn more about supporting the center and our teachers, click here.

Buddhist Studies Program

The Buddhist Studies Program is designed for people who have attended three or more mindfulness meditation retreats and have a commitment to daily meditation practice. The course includes dharma talks, small and large group discussions, and guided sitting time. Participants will be expected to use the teachings as a focus of their meditation and daily life practice. Led by Mark Nunberg.  Find current class information including handouts and articles here.

Buddhist Studies: The Three Refuges
Please join in for this eight week course examining the traditional three refuges as the central practice of clarifying and strengthening one’s spiritual aspiration and path. Without this ongoing deepening of understanding regarding the means and ends of spiritual practice we tend to pick and choose what we like from the many choices that exist today. The Buddhist practice of taking refuge as a conscious intentional act goes against the stream of our habit energies and our culture. We are developing an allegiance toward an intimate and clear connection with the present moment and the kind and skillful engagement that flows from that.

Eight Mondays, September 11 – October 30; 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Optional Sitting Period, 7:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

This eight-week program is an introduction to mindfulness meditation practice following the stress reduction program pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn over 30 years ago. Led by Shelly Graf.

Eight Thursdays, October 26 – December 21 (no class on November 23rd); 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. & Daylong Retreat, Saturday, December 9, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.;

Befriending Death

In this six-week class, we will explore how we relate to death and dying – our own and that of others, some of the rituals and care involved in one’s end of life, grief, embracing life, and befriending death. We will practice relating to death as a great teacher who can break our heart yet awakens us to the Truth that will liberate us. You must have some meditation experience or familiarity with Buddhist meditative traditions. The class is not appropriate for people who have recently experienced the loss of a loved one and whose grief is raw. Led by Kyoko Katayama.

Six Thursdays, September 14 – October 19, 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Mindful Self Compassion

This eight-week class is designed to help participants cultivate self-compassion skills for daily life. Based on the program developed by Christopher Germer and Kristen Neff, Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) builds on a foundation of mindfulness, kindness, and a sense of our shared humanity to help us meet the difficulties in our lives with compassion. Led by Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst.

Eight Mondays, September 18 – November 6, 1:30 a.m.– 4:00 p.m. & Half-day Retreat, Saturday October 21, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


With Gabe Keller-Flores and Shelly Graf: Racism and Awakening
By engaging the historical and present-day reality of racism in our institutions, relationships, and minds with compassion and courage, we transform habits of denial, alienation, rage, and fear into fuel for awakening.
Saturday, August 12, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m

with Ajahn Punnadhammo: The Nature of Mind
Saturday, September 9, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

with Ramesh Sairam: Mindfulness and Physical Pain
Mindfulness meditation can help practitioners understand the complex nature of pain and provide tools to reduce the suffering associated with it.
Saturday, September 16, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Workshop for Couples with Cheri Desmond-May and Jane Rauenhorst: Cultivating Compassion with Your Beloved
Saturday, September 23, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

With Spruce Krause: Laughter Yoga – A Direct Practice of Joy
Laughter yoga involves deep breathing and a deep commitment to being fully in the now. When we are laughing there is no past, no future, and no mind chatter. Laughter increases one’s sense of well-being and promotes a wholesome community.
Sunday, October 8, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Living the Practice Workshop Series

The Living the Practice Workshop Series is designed for people who have an ongoing mindfulness practice and want to integrate the practice more thoroughly into all aspects of life.

With Wynn Fricke and Mark Nunberg:
The Discipline and Freedom of Wise Speech

The Buddha has much to say about wise speech as a cause for living with integrity and building wholesome community, and as a direct opening to what the Buddha calls the bliss of blamelessness. In this workshop we will look at the Buddha’s teachings on wise speech in terms of all the relationships we navigate in our lives. We will explore the radical question, what does speech look like when it is not being motivated by greed, anger or delusion?
Saturday, October 14, 9:10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

with Spring Washam:  Wisdom Rising  – A Daylong for Women
Within each woman there is an ever-flowing fountain of creative energy and innate wisdom. Join a diverse circle of women on the path of embodied presence in this daylong retreat designed to awaken and empower ourselves. Whatever our age, ethnicity, body type, or sexual orientation, as women we share a common longing to heal our hearts, honor our interconnectedness and take empowered action in the world.
Saturday, November 18, 9:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Blooming in The Storm: A Workshop with Louis Alemayehu
Saturday, December 2, 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m.

Registration Policy

Common Ground is committed to supporting access to programs for those who identify as a person of color, a member of the queer community and/or a person with a disability.  We recognize this policy benefits us all as we practice the Buddha’s teachings in an increasingly multicultural community and engage in the ongoing work needed to create a more equitable world.  To learn more, contact Gabe Keller-Flores: 612-722-8260 or