Nikki Mirghafori, PhD

Residential Retreat Teacher

Nikki Mirghafori, PhD, is a Buddhist teacher and Artificial Intelligence (AI) scientist. She is a lineage holder in the Theravada tradition, empowered by the living Burmese meditation master Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw, with whom she practiced the jhanas and detailed analytical (Abhidhamma-style) vipassana. She also received empowerment from the Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Insight Meditation Society, Insight Meditation Center, and is a Stanford-trained compassion cultivation instructor.

At Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Nikki serves as a Stewarding Teacher as well as on the Board of Directors. She also teaches at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, CA. Nikki’s teaching style combines clarity and warmth, and she delights in exploring deep Dharma topics with practitioners as well as mindfulness in daily life. Mindfulness of death, in particular, is one of the areas of her interest and expertise.

Additionally, Nikki has been a researcher and inventor in AI, holds multiple patents and author of scientific research articles. She has directed international research programs as the Principal Investigator, mentored postdocs and PhD students, taught graduate courses at UC Berkeley, and been a scientific advisor to Silicon Valley technology startups.

As an Iranian-American, Nikki has taught contemplative practices internationally and aspires to serve as a champion for wisdom and compassion in our world, as well as ethical AI in our zeitgeist.

We bring the desires, the unfulfilled ones. We start to put [desires] down little by little, as we unfold, as we soak in this land, in this practice. ... It starts to work. Trust. It happens. It will happen. We start to become more mindful, we start to feel lighter, we start to feel freer, little by little, moment by moment by moment. Sometimes it feels like we’re enchanted with our suffering. This word “enchantment, ” it’s like the fairy tales where someone gets a spell put on them. We’re sometimes enchanted in the world with our suffering. We hang on to it. We hang on to all this stuff we have from the past. Me, mine, my history, myself, my F’s in chemistry quizzes, mine! We start to let go and become disenchanted, unenchanted. This fairy tale, this spell breaks, sometimes, and we have a moment of clarity. And we see things differently. We see things more clearly when we allow it, when we allow ourselves to really be with the practice. Freedom is possible, and it does happen. It can happen anywhere.
 
Nikki Mirghafori, The Four Foundations of Mindfulness & Liberation

Nikki Mirghafori's Upcoming Programs

Training Online Dharma Institute

February - June, 2024 7 Saturday Sessions

Mindful Leadership Training

This certificate training program is open to and designed for leaders and aspiring leaders in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. We will cultivate mindful and compassionate leadership skills and practices to embody our care for ourselves and others, with a mindset of service to community and the world. Through lectures, group discussion, guided meditations, readings, reflections, experiential exercises, and personal meditation practice, we will cultivate skills and behaviors that can be applied directly to our personal and professional lives.

Nikki Mirghafori

Nikki Mirghafori

Marc Lesser

Marc Lesser

Retreat On-Land

September 2 - September 5, 2024 Monday - Thursday | 3 nights

Coming Home to Ourselves

Come home to yourself with the simple and direct practice of being present for your experience. Insight Meditation allows the restless heart to settle through the gentle practice of repeatedly connecting with and returning to the here and now. It is here in the present moment where we discover the peace and well-being we yearn for. This retreat is suitable for beginners as well as experienced practitioners and is silent except for practice instructions, teacher-led Q&A, and practice discussions.

Diana Clark

Diana Clark

Nikki Mirghafori

Nikki Mirghafori

Andrea Castillo

Andrea Castillo

Tanya T Wiser

Tanya T Wiser

Retreat On-Land

October 27 - November 2, 2024 Sunday - Saturday | 6 nights

Befriending Mortality: Living An Awakened Life Through Mindfulness of Death

18 CE Credits. We all “know” we will die, yet we tend to ignore it and put our collective heads in the sand. Rather than running away from our inevitable mortality, we can harness its power to stay aligned with our deepest values and to live and love more fully. Fully embracing life’s impermanence can engender a deep freedom and letting go. Through mindfulness of death (maraṇasati), we become more present for this miraculous, passing show called life with gladness and gratitude.

Nikki Mirghafori

Nikki Mirghafori

John Martin

John Martin

Jean Corrigal

Jean Corrigal

Retreat On-Land

December 8 - December 17, 2024 Sunday - Tuesday | 9 nights

Meeting the Three Characteristics through Cultivating Stability, Well-being, and Confidence

In this retreat, we tend to the three qualities of stability, well-being, and confidence, all of which support insight into the three characteristics of existence. Then we explore and befriend these characteristics—namely, aniccā (impermanence, inconstancy), dukkha (stress, unsatisfactoriness, suffering) and anattā (not-self, impersonality, ungovernability)—in our own lived experience. When we understand and make peace with these characteristics, we have more ease, compassion, and freedom in our lives, and we can be of more benefit to ourselves, others, and the world.

Nikki Mirghafori

Nikki Mirghafori

Sylvia Boorstein

Sylvia Boorstein

Rachel Lewis

Rachel Lewis

Dharma Library

Can't join us live online or on the land? Study and practice at your convenience with Nikki Mirghafori through our new library of recordings, articles, and self-paced online courses.