Sean Oakes, PhD

Guest Teacher

Sean Oakes, PhD, teaches the Dharma with a focus on the integration of meditation, study, and self-inquiry with trauma resolution and social justice. He has studied in Theravāda, Zen, and Vajrāyāna Buddhist lineages, including training as a monk in Burma, and was authorized to teach Insight Meditation by Jack Kornfield in 2010. He completed the Dedicated Practitioner (DPP1), Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga (MYMT2), and Community Dharma Leader (CDL5) trainings at Spirit Rock. In addition to mentor Jack Kornfield, Dr. Oakes’ primary Buddhist teachers include Sylvia Boorstein and Eugene Cash, Kitissaro and Ṭhānissara, Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu, Anam Thubten, and Sayadaw U Janaka, with whom he ordained as a bhikkhu for a Rains Retreat in Burma in 2002. He studied yoga with Alice Joanou, Rachel Shaw, Amanda Moran, and David Moreno, and taught mindfulness-based āsana and prāṇāyāma for 10 years. He studied and performed for many years in music, dance, and performance art, and trained in Somatic Experiencing (SE) and Organic Intelligence (OI) with Steven Hoskinson, integrating the complex systems approach from OI in a distinctively Buddhist approach to trauma resolution. Sean teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, East Bay Meditation Center, and online with Insight Timer, Yoga International, Liberate Meditation, The Sutra Project, and other lovely organizations. He received his PhD in Performance Studies from UC Davis in 2016, writing on states of consciousness in Buddhist meditation and experimental dance, and lives in Northern California on ancestral Pomo territory with his family and beloved community.

Right view, the first limb of the Eightfold Path, points to the innermost orientation of the heart: how I understand the world. If I see the world through right view, I see what causes suffering and what doesn’t. I start to understand what helps and what hurts; what leads to liberation or further into confusion and pain. As wise view matures, it grows into this beautiful softening of the sense of separation between myself and others. Then moment to moment, seeing clearly what’s happening, and who’s here, all I want to know is “given the choices available to me in this moment, what’s going to help the most?”
Sean Oakes

Sean Oakes' Upcoming Programs

Class Series Online

May 30 - June 27, 2024 Thursday - Thursday | 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

How to Defeat Distraction

In this round of our sutta study series, “The Refuge of Dhamma: Exploring the Discourses of the Buddha,” we will explore discourses (suttas) that teach practical tools for working with distraction and the root causes of mental suffering. We will read suttas addressing distracting thought (MN 20), fear (MN 4), and mindfulness of the body (MN 119), and we will discuss how to bring the training of the mind more fully into our meditation and daily lives.

Sean Oakes

Sean Oakes

Dharma Library

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