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.

Courses

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation with Mark Nunberg

Six Tuesdays: Next Course TBA, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. 

Mindfulness meditation leads to insight into the nature of our hearts and minds, revealing an inherent clarity, openness, and ease. This course includes exploration of the intention behind practice, an introduction to insight (vipassana) meditation techniques, instructions for working with common obstacles, an overview of the practice of lovingkindness, and a discussion on how mindfulness can be part of one’s daily life.

 

Buddhist Studies Program

Join in an exploration of the physical and mental processes that comprise the totality of our conditioned experience and how directly and clearly seeing them can lead to freedom. 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. This ongoing program is designed to deepen our understanding through the study and application of the teachings of the Buddha. Each class will include a short talk, small-group discussions, and guided sitting time. Participants will be expected to use the teachings as a focus of their daily practice.  Led by Mark Nunberg.  Find current class information including handouts and articles here.

Our Next Class:

Buddhist Studies Course with Shelly Graf: The Five Aggregates

Three Mondays, November 11th – 25th, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.  Optional sitting period, 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. Register Here

Our Winter Class:

The winter Buddhist Studies Course will be, Anatta: The Impersonal Nature of Experience led by Mark Nunberg, January 13 – March 2. Registration will be ready by the end of November.

In this eight-week course, we will investigate the Buddha’s teachings on the impersonal nature of experience. Insight into the changing and conditioned nature of phenomena weakens all fixed views including the mind’s habit of taking things personally. We often live our lives through the lens of self-centered fear and longing. We are so busy pursuing our attachments that we miss how much stress is involved when the mind identifies with thoughts and emotions. As the mind’s understanding deepens it is possible to live with ease, natural compassion and skill.

 

Workshops

 

The Skillful and Unskillful Use of Identity(ies): How the Buddha’s Teachings on Conceit and Views Support Skillful Engagement and Freedom in our Lives Today

Saturday, November 23rd, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Register Here

Led by Mark Nunberg, Shelly Graf, Wynn Fricke, and Gabe Keller Flores.   The Buddha says that any position one takes including being attached to not having any fixed views is “a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. It is accompanied by suffering… and does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation; to calm, direct knowledge, full Awakening…”

In this daylong workshop we will reflect together how necessary and unavoidable it is to use identity to illuminate the social dynamics of our lives, and at the same time how easy it is to become attached and confused by identity, taking it to be more than what it is. The same is true in terms of how the mind relates to any views. There is no way to function in the world without views about this and that. The relevant question is how one can use views without the suffering that comes with attachment.

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. These workshops will include talks about the Buddha’s teachings related to specific topics, time for guided reflection, small and large group sharing and process work, and guided meditation periods. The lunch break will include time for informal discussion and social time.

Insight Writing Workshop with Roseanne Pereira

Sunday, November 24th, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.  Register Here

This workshop will focus on in-class generative writing. By using guided meditations, short readings, and writing prompts, we will together create a contemplative atmosphere where discovery-oriented writing can emerge. Words by Alice Walker, Alexander Chee, and Banana Yoshimoto, among others, will assist us along the way.

 

Wise Concentration Workshop with Ramesh Sairam

Saturday, December 14 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Register Here

This series of workshops will be an opportunity to study the components of the Noble Eightfold Path in some detail, with a focus on their application in our daily lives. The workshops will be spread through the calendar year 2019, with one held every 6-7 weeks. We will follow the traditional sequence of the teachings, starting with Right view, followed by Right intention, Right speech, Right conduct, Right livelihood, Right effort, Right mindfulness, and Right concentration.
Register here for this workshop, on Wise Speech, Wise Action, and Wise Livelihood.

These workshops will be suitable for those who have engaged in Vipassana meditation practice for at least 6 – 12 months and have done some reading of the core teachings, such as the 4 Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold path (detailed study in not a requisite). While it may be helpful to attend all the workshops as part of a comprehensive study of the Eightfold Path, this is not mandatory and practitioners may attend the workshops selectively.

Each workshop will include guided meditation, brief talks on the main topic, Q&A sessions and group discussions.

Ramesh has been part of the Common Ground sangha since 2006 and joined the Board of Directors in 2016. He is a Geriatric psychiatrist and has a deep professional interest in understanding the complex and dynamic interplay between our minds and bodies that often underlie many physical and mental health illnesses. His spiritual practice too is guided by the Buddha’s advice about the deep wisdom inherent in our bodies – “within this very fathom-long body, with its perceptions and inner sense, lies the world, the cause of the world, the cessation of the world and the path that leads to the cessation of the world.” He shares some of his experiences through workshops at Common Ground on mindfulness and chronic pain, and finding wisdom in our bodies.

 

 


Registration Priority Policy

Common Ground is committed to giving registration priority to members of some communities that have experienced historical oppression: people of color, transgender, and genderqueer folks. We hope this increases the likelihood of a sense of safety and belonging for all members of our community. 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 gabe@commongroundmeditation.org. We welcome feedback on any aspect of this policy.