It’s been a while since I posted anything to this blog. This post is to inform those of you who may not be on my email list about current events at Real Dharma.Lately I’ve been emphasizing teachings from the the tradition of Advaita Vedanta. Advaita Vedanta is a means of knowledge that reveals one’s self to be limitless nondual being and awareness, one with the nature of the universe. In doing so, it can remove the almost universal sense of incompleteness, lack and insecurity that is the basis of much of our suffering. Its teaching method is derived from the Upanishads, the last section of the Indian scriptures, the Vedas. It is almost certainly the oldest extant nondual tradition. I have come to believe these teachings are extremely effective. They are also incredibly clear, precise and beautiful, and not overly difficult to understand.
While these teachings have been held by the Hindu tradition, they are not in themselves religious, and require no ritual or sectarian affiliation. I was trained in Advaita Vedanta in the lineage of the late, great Swami Dayananda Saraswati of Rishikesh and Coimbatore, by Swami Dayananda himself and by my primary teacher, Dr. Carol (Radha) Whitfield.
I am currently teaching a text called Self Knowledge (Atma Bodha), by Adi Shankaracarya, the most highly regarded teacher in the Advaita Vedanta tradition. Classes are held on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at OpenEye Studio, 875 Fourth St., San Rafael, CA at 7:30p-9:00 p.m. All are welcome!
Please sign up here for the email list so you’ll be informed of classes and schedule changes. This is the main way I’m communicating with people these days.
Please also check our calendar to stay up to date on classes and events.
And you can listen to and download previous classes on our media page.
I hope to see you some of you at my class. My next class is Wednesday, December 7, 2016.
In the meantime, have a great Thanksgiving holiday!
REGULAR MEETINGS RESUME WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 19
Our regular group meetings will resume on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at OpenEye Studio, 875 4th Street, San Rafael, CA (east end of 4th St., between Cijos and Lootens, on the south side, above Sacred Tibet shop).
We will then meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month.
Our classes begin with a short meditation. We will begin studying “Self Knowledge”, a text from the Indian Advaita Vedanta tradition, written by Adi Śankaracarya. “Self Knowledge” (Atma Bodha) is a masterful unfoldment of the nature of the true self as limitless awareness and being.
Everyone is welcome.
I hope to see you there!
A new weekly group is starting on Monday, April 4, 2016, in San Rafael.
We will meet on Mondays at 7:00-8:30 p.m. at OpenEye Studio, 875 4th Street, San Rafael, CA (east end of 4th St., between Cijos and Lootens, on the south side, above Sacred Tibet shop).
In April, we will be focusing on Natural Mind Dzogchen meditation and teachings. This will include general discussion of Dzogchen and classes on the “Heart Essence of the Khandro,” a Bonpo (indigenous Tibetan) Dzogchen text containing teachings of 30 enlightened Bon lineage women.
All are welcome!
Offered freely; donations welcome.
This group will be replacing the Urban Meditation group that met Mondays at the same location. Urban meditation co-teacher Kisei Jeff Bickner will be forming a new Zen group in the Fairfax area in the near future.
More new offerings for 2016–Announcing Urban Meditation Group, San Rafael
I am happy to be a co-founder and instructor at the new Urban Meditation Group in downtown San Rafael. Beginning Monday, January 11, 2016, and happening each Monday evening 7-9 p.m., Urban Meditation Group will be held at OpenEye, a beautiful venue created by friend, co-founder and co-instructor Tarane Sayler. OpenEye is located at 875 4th St., San Rafael, CA. I’ll be leading the first evening on January 11.
The Urban Meditation Group is a place to learn and practice meditation in downtown San Rafael. Our purpose is to offer a safe non-denominational refuge in an urban environment, where anyone can find silence, inner peace, awareness, compassion and community. Meditation instruction is provided by experienced instructors. Our gathering is suitable for beginners as well as long-time practitioners. No religious belief or affiliation is required to participate and to benefit from the practice of meditation.
The group is led by Hal Blacker, Jeff Bickner and Tarane Sayler, and occasional guest instructors. The format of our gathering will include meditation, instruction in meditation and an opportunity for questions and discussion.
There is no charge for attendance but donations are graciously appreciated.
We meet at 875 4th Street—just 2 blocks from the San Rafael Public Transit Center, on the East end of 4th St., above the Sacred Tibet Shop.
I am pleased to let you know that I will be teaching a series of meditation classes at Yogakula in Berkeley, California beginning next week, Wednesday, January 13. I will be emphasizing natural mindfulness, an approach to meditation that is based on relaxation and effortless awareness. The classes on are on a drop-in basis–you can attend all of them or any individual class. This is an opportunity to learn meditation, deepen and re-inspire your on-going practice or join others for group practice. Here’s the information:
Dates: Wednesday, January 13 and February 3, 17 & 24
Time: 7:30-9:00 p.m.
1700 Shattuck Ave.
Classes will be offered on a donation basis, with a suggested donation of $10-$17.00.
That’s right. I’ll be teaching in Berkeley this Thursday night, August 21, 2014, at the invitation of East Bay Open Circle. Open Circle is an open and non-sectarian group that hosts various interesting spiritual teachers, most of a nondual orientation, at various locations around the Bay Area. They invited me to teach this week in Berkeley. Here are the details:
When: Thursday, August 21, 2014 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Location: Chochmat Halev 2215 Prince St., Berkeley, CA
Cost: Suggested donation of $10-$20; no one turned away for lack of funds.
This should be an interesting and fun change of venue.
I hope to see some of you there.
All the best,
“In the rosary of my many lives
I have taken the form of every creature;
I remember it only darkly,
Yet I feel it was something like this:
Since now I thrive on chung,
Once I must have been a bee;
Since now I am so lustful
Once I must have been a cock;
Since now I am so angry,
Once I must have been a snake;
Since now I am so slothful,
Once I must have been a pig;
Since now I am so mean,
Once I must have been a rich man;
Since now I am so shameless,
Once I must have been a madman;
Since now I am such a liar,
Once I must have been an actor;
Since now my manners are so rude,
Once I must have been a monkey;
Since now I have such blood lust,
Once I must have been a wolf;
Since now I have so tight an anal sphincter,
Once I must have been a nun;
Since now I am so punctilious,
Once I must have been a barren woman;
Since now I spend my wealth on food,
Once I must have been a Lama;
Since now I am so avaricious,
Once I must have been a steward;
Since now I am so self-esteeming,
Once I must have been an officer;
Since now I enjoy cheating others,
Once I must have been a business man;
Since now I am so loquacious,
Once I must have been a woman;
But I cannot tell you if this is really true.
Consider the matter yourselves.
What is your opinion?”
I returned from India earlier than expected. All is well. More to come.
Hal will be in India and on retreat until mid-August 2014.
Sending prayers and wishes for peace and liberation for all!