To Be More Free, Reflect on Your Finitude (Maranasati) with Nikki Mirghafori
April 27 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT
We tend to feel happier and more free when we turn our minds towards gratitude, generosity, and goodwill, and away from entitlement, greed, and hatred. But how can we go about reorienting ourselves?
Perhaps surprisingly, one classical Buddhist training to cultivate these beneficial qualities of mind is to reflect on our death. This is not a life-aversive practice, but a life-affirming one. By bringing our finitude into our awareness, we empower our mindfulness with spiritual urgency (Saṃvega in Pali). When we realize that nothing we “own” is truly ours, we can make peace with the fact that we are simply “renting” everything for a very short time. In this way, our hearts are freed to embody more compassion and kindness for our shared, fragile human condition; more wisdom about not clinging to what cannot be clung to; and more appreciation of this passing show called life.
In this half-day retreat, we’ll explore these Buddhist trainings, including the Maranasati sutta. In addition to dharma talks, guided meditations, discussions, and Q/A, please know that interactive small groups are an integral part of deepening our exploration during our time together.
Dr. Nikki Mirghafori is an Artificial Intelligence scientist and an internationally recognized Buddhist teacher. She serves as a Stewarding Teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, where she is also on the Board of Directors, and a Dharma Teacher at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, CA. She teaches with clarity and warmth on topics ranging from mindful leadership to cultivating kindness, with a rare expertise on mindfulness of death. Dr. Mirghafori is widely published in AI, has led international collaborations as a Berkeley academic, and advised technology startups. She is of Persian heritage, an advocate for wisdom and compassion in daily life, as well as ethical AI in our zeitgeist.