Guest Teacher Dharma Talks

Please join us for these special evenings of dharma (spiritual teachings) and connection with the Common Ground community. These drop-in programs are an opportunity to hear guest teachers and experienced community members speak about their practice. The evening begins with a 30-minute meditation period followed by a talk and discussion.

Guest Talk with Santikaro: Styles of Meditation- Serving our Spiritual Needs

Friday, January 18, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Our species has developed a vast array of meditation and contemplative approaches. Buddhism, especially, is rich in such practices and teachings that support them. As we encounter types of meditation beyond what we started with, a key questions looms: What is the purpose of any practice or approach that we try or hear about? What needs does each practice or approach meet and how does each do so? Having an overview of the meditative terrain, with all its diversity and at times competitions, will be helpful in assessing one’s true needs and choosing approaches that suit those needs.

Santikaro lived with Ajahn Buddhadasa during the last nine years of his life and became his primary translator. Ordained as a Theravada Bhikkhu in 1985, Santikaro spent most of his monastic life at Suan Mokkh. During this time he led Dawn Kiam, a small monastic community for foreigners. He is the founder of Liberation Park, a modern expression of Buddhist practice, study, and social responsibility, located in rural southwestern Wisconsin. There he continues to teach, explore nature, and translate the work of his teacher. He teaches Buddhism and meditation with an emphasis on the early Pali sources and is a lucid interpreter of the original teachings and discourses.

Guest Talk with Okogyeamon: Culture, Race, and the Dharma, through Subaltern (one of a subordinated lower status or post) Eyes

Friday, January 25, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Explorations of sub-alternity within the place of Refuge: The possibility of freedom from delusion for the subaltern; the Teachings in the context of the Relative and Absolute; the Sangha (the practicing community) as culturally vested; the seeking refuge in an out of cultural spaces; the problematics of places of refuge for the “many” invited into a “unity.”  Meditation and dialogue on Larry Yang’s “Refuge in a Multicultural World” (Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community, 2017).  Please click here for this suggested reading by Larry Yang in preparation for this talk.


Guest Teacher Talk with Rebecca Bradshaw: Exploring anatta (not-self) frees the love in our hearts

Thursday, February 14, 7:00 – 9:oo p.m.

The teachings on not self are one of the things that make Buddhism unique as a world religion. Often when we hear this word anatta or not-self we get perplexed (how can it be there is no self?) and go into our conceptual brains trying to understand it. I would like to propose that we let go of trying to understand this intellectually but rather feel it in our physical and energetic body. We can experience this understanding viscerally in our own bodies and hearts, rather than as some concept which does little for our transformation. Ultimately we experience not-self as the deeply freeing truth that it is. (My voice recognition software used the word “freaking” instead of “freeing,” which is how we may experience it when we think about it!) Our inquiry explores the self in the ways that we barricade the heart through grasping, aversion, and delusion, and encourages ways that we can melt this rigidity and let the love and compassion in our hearts connect deeply with this world.


Guest Teacher Talk with Chas DiCapua: Patience & Perseverance

Friday, February 22, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.


All Common Ground programs are offered freely in the spirit of generosity. To learn more about supporting the center and our teachers, click here.