Rocky Casillas Aguirre – The Doorway I’d Never Seen Taught Me to Let Anxiety In

On June 20, 2021 Rocky gave a talk about the challenging journey that led him to join the Northfield Buddhist Meditation Center in 2019, and how the sangha and meditation changed his life. As someone who was able to overcome intense anxiety through sitting, he asks how we (the sangha) can help others who may be suffering and who might not know of meditation as a path to real healing?

Ben Connelly – Show Up In A Good Way

On October 10, 2021, Ben Connelly gave a talk entitled:  Show Up In A Good Way – Lessons from Zen practice at Indigenous Led Water Protector Camps.

About Ben:  Ben Connelly is a Soto Zen teacher and Dharma heir in the Katagiri lineage. He also teaches mindfulness in a wide variety of secular contexts including police training and addiction recovery groups. Ben is based at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, travels to teach across the United States, writes for Tricycle and Lion’s Roar magazines, and is author of three books for Wisdom Publications including Inside the Grass Hut.  

Shodo Spring – Refuge

Recorded on Zoom on April 11, 2021. The subject of Shodo’s talk was refuge.

About Shodo Spring: Shodo Spring is the founder of Mountains and Waters Alliance, dedicated to working together with all beings to protect and restore the earth. She is also a Zen priest, Dharma heir of Shohaku Okumura Roshi, mother and grandmother, leader of the 2013 Compassionate Earth Walk, and author of Take Up Your Life: Making Spirituality Work in the Real World (Tuttle 1996).

Ben Connelly – Mindfulness and Intimacy

Mindfulness is an ancient and powerful practice of awareness and nonjudgmental discernment that can help us ground ourselves in the present moment, with the world and our lives just as they are. But there’s a risk: by focusing our attention on something (or someone), we might always see it as something other, as separate from ourselves. To close this distance, mindfulness can be paired with a focus on intimacy, community, and interdependence.

About Ben Connelly: Ben Connelly is a Soto Zen teacher and Dharma heir in the Katagiri lineage. He also teaches mindfulness in a wide variety of secular contexts including police and corporate training, correctional facilities, and addiction recovery and wellness groups. Ben is based at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, travels to teach across the United States, writes for Tricycle magazine, and is author of three books for Wisdom Publications. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Doug McGill – Practicing Through the Pandemic

How should we practice through the Covid-19 pandemic? In a recent interview  Sayadaw U Tejaniya, the Burmese monk and meditation teacher, answered simply, “the same as we always practice.” Yet the intensity of the crisis, he said, reveals many aspects of Dhamma in unusually high relief, including the need to “quarantine not only the body but the mind;” the ultimate safety of sangha; the ubiquitous trap of thinking; and the power of loving-kindness aimed at all beings including the coronavirus, and Donald Trump.

About Doug: Doug McGill is the guiding teacher of the Rochester Meditation Center in Rochester, MN, which he founded in 2004. A former reporter for The New York Times and bureau chief for Bloomberg News, he’s taught and written about Dhamma and meditation since 2013. A student of the insight meditation teachers, Steve Armstrong and Kamala Masters, and the direct path teacher, Rupert Spira, his teaching blends elements from both traditions. In 2019, he edited and wrote the Introduction to “Relax and Be Aware: Mindfulness Meditations for Clarity, Confidence and Wisdom,” by Sayadaw U Tejaniya. Since 2013, he has published “The Daily Tejaniya,” a daily email practice message from Sayadaw U Tejaniya; and taught a six-week “Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation” class several times a year.

Gabe Keller Flores – Gathering, Stewarding, and Directing Energy for Awakening

About Gabe Keller Flores: Gabe Keller Flores is Common Ground Meditation Center’s Office Manager and serves on the Board of Directors, as well as the Advisory Committee on matters of equity and accessibility. He is a dedicated dharma practitioner, having spent about one year of his life doing intensive retreat practice. He’s been practicing at Common Ground since 2008, and his appreciation for the dharma continues to deepen. He approaches teaching as an opportunity to practice honest and compassionate reflection on current inquiries, insights, and challenges in his practice. Gabe is a graduate of Carleton College and is excited to return to NBMC, where he practiced while in school.