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.


Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation with Mark Nunberg

Six Tuesdays: September 10 – October 15, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.    Register Here

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

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.

Our Next Class:

The Buddha’s Liberating Teachings on Dukkha – The Unsatisfactory Nature of Sense Experience

In this eight-week course on Dukkha, we will examine the second of three underlying truths that characterize all experience. We will use a stable and continuous present-moment awareness to better investigate the unsatisfactory, uncertain, and ungovernable nature of experience. This underlying nature may be unpleasant, but it doesn’t have to be a personal problem. The Buddha taught that the mind can be trained to see the nature of dukkha clearly in a way that uproots the habits of resistance and/or denial. With practice, it is possible to meet unsatisfactoriness with equanimity, thus opening the door to insight and freedom.

Eight Mondays, September 9th – October 28th, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.  Optional sitting period, 7:00 – 7:30 p.m.  Register Here


Befriending Death Course with Kyoko Katayama

Six Thursdays, September 26th – October 31st, either 10:30 am – 12:30 pm or 6:30 – 8:30 pm

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. Both morning and evening options are offered.

Kyoko Katayama, a psychotherapist for over 30 years, has made an intention and practice of integrating her spiritual life, her professional work, and personal experiences towards ease and integrity in all that she does. She has been a student of dharma, practicing at Common Ground since 1999. She has completed a two-year study and practice on Satipatthana (The Foundations of Mindfulness) with Matthew Flickstein.


Mindful Self-Compassion with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst

8 Tuesdays: September 10th – October 29th, 12:30 – 3:00 p.m.; Half-Day Retreat on Sunday, October 13th, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.  Register Here 

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.

Jean Haley is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with a private practice in St. Paul. She also volunteers at the Walk-in Counseling Center and teaches Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction at the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota. Jean has been a Common Ground community member and teacher for many years.

Jane Rauenhorst is a licensed Psychologist who integrates mindfulness into her work as a therapist in private practice in St. Paul. She has pursued a meditation practice and studied mindfulness and Buddhism for the last 15 years. She has taught mindfulness related classes and workshops at the University of St. Thomas, Macalester College, and the University of Minnesota.



Daylong Workshop with Bhikkhu Cintita: Mindfulness: where Dharma hits the road of practice

Saturday, October 12th, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Register Here

The Pali word sati (mindfulness) literally means “memory.” We will explore how “recollection of the Dharma” is consistent with its use in the foundations of mindfulness, in right mindfulness and almost all other uses in early Buddhism.

Bhikkhu Cintita is an American-born Burmese-ordained Theravada monk who winters in monastery in Austin, TX, and summers in Chisago City, MN. He received a Ph.D. In linguistics from the University of California at San Diego, and was in his younger days in turn a scholar of linguistics, cognitive science and artificial intelligence, a professor, an inept businessman and a corporate researcher and developer. He dropped out of professional life to become a Soto Zen priest for some years, before entering fully into Theravada monastic life in 2009. He posts writings on-line at


Workshop with Ajahn Punnadhammo: Understanding and Transforming our Heart & Mind: How the Early Buddhist World View Informs the Buddha’s Path of Awakening today

Saturday, October 19th, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Register Here

Ajahn Punadhammo is the abbot of Arrow River Forest Hermitage near Thunder Bay. He has been a monk in the Thai Forest Tradition of Theravada Buddhism since 1991.


Cultivating a Compassionate Heart with your Beloved: Workshop for Couples with Cheri Desmond-May and Jane Rauenhorst

Sunday, October 27th, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.  Register Here

Please carve out this half day to devote to your relationship. It can be a challenge to continually find ways to be compassionate with our partners on a daily basis. Set aside this time to just focus on each other, and come away renewed and nourished in new ways, ready for a fall and winter of tender loving.

This one half day workshop is designed for couples to explore ways to use their mindfulness practice to learn about being present in relationship, listening deeply and cultivating more kind understanding when dealing with differences.

Couples will have ample time to practice together during the workshop. Come with your beloved and give yourself the gift of time to deepen your intimacy skills in a supportive and caring environment.

Cheri Desmond-May, MSW and Licensed Psychologist, has been a psychotherapist for over 35 years and has dedicated herself to helping couples learn how to deepen and strengthen their commitment to each other in a wholehearted way. She has been a practicing meditator for over 35 years, at MZMC, Compassionate Ocean and now, Common Ground. She has studied with Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Jack Kornfield. She has been a Heart to Heart couples leader in the Twin Cities and is currently teaching quarterly Couples workshops for Common Ground with Jane Rauenhorst.

Jane Rauenhorst is a licensed Psychologist who integrates mindfulness into her work as a therapist in private practice in St. Paul. She has pursued a meditation practice and studied mindfulness and Buddhism for the last 15 years. She has taught mindfulness related classes and workshops at the University of St. Thomas, Macalester College, and the University of Minnesota.


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 We welcome feedback on any aspect of this policy.