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MahaSati: An Introduction to Awareness of Emptiness Practices

Online Program
Dates: Feb 10, 2023 - Feb 12, 2023

Instructor(s): Heather Sundberg

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Program Description:

As we continue to practice on the spiritual path, we discover that mindfulness ‘becomes wiser’ as it matures, inviting an ever-deepening access to wisdom and the release of ‘that which doesn’t serve’ living an awakened life. This program offers an introduction to a map of teachings and practices, grounded in the Southern Thai forest tradition, as well as tools to begin engaging in the process of developing a more awakened state of being.

Listen to Heather's invitation on YouTube.

The heart of the map in theory and direct experience is called MahaSati* in the Pali, which is translated as: 

– Great mindfulness (development of Wise View) 

– Continuous mindfulness (supported by Concentration) 

– Pure knowing (at the Six Sense Doors) 

– Pure awareness (clearing out reactive patterns of Greed, Aversion, and Delusion) 

– Mindfulness of emptiness (Emptiness of self and objects) 

In order to support access to MahaSati (pure awareness) to develop and stabilize in meditation and daily life, we will engage in brief explorations of the following areas: 

– Embodiment 

– Concentration (samadhi

MahaSati Access Doorway techniques

– Taming the Defilements (kilesas

– Three Characteristics of impermanence (annica), unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), and not self (anatta)

– Letting Go & Release (panna-vimutti

– Suttas which offer context and support for MahaSati practice

To support deepening practice, there will be optional individual practice check-n sessions with the teacher, as well as daily opportunities to ask questions about the teachings and practice. In addition, affinity group silent meditations will be held for our BIPOC and LGBTQI communities once a day.

Optional Follow Up Group

– Thursday, February 16th, 7:00 – 8:30 pm ET

The Follow Up Group will be an opportunity to check in about the teachings and practices you learned and ask follow up questions. In addition, Heather will expand on the teachings and offer additional practices, based on the interests of the practitioners in the group.

* Please note the MahaSati teachings & practices offered at this program are not the same as those one can find prominently listed elsewhere on the internet.


1.) At least 25 nights of participation in (residentially, in person) Insight Meditation (Vipassana) retreats and at least 5 years of Buddhist practice is required to register for this program.

2.) Participants must be able to commit to attending at least 6 out of 7 sessions including opening and closing sessions (emergencies excepted).

    About the Instructor(s):
  • Heather Sundberg has taught insight meditation since 1999, completed the Spirit Rock/IMS Teacher Training program under Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein, and is currently a member of the Spirit Rock Teacher's Council.  For the last three decades, Heather has studied with senior teachers in the Insight Meditation and Vajrayana traditions, completing 3 accumulated years of retreat.  Her teaching emphasizes embodiment, heart practice, and wisdom-awareness practices.  www.heathersundberg.com.