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.

When the Buddha talked about the process of being alive, he talked repeatedly about the nature of action and its results, called kamma. One of the implications of kamma is that actions undertaken with intention always carry an ethical charge: either the intent to help or bring about well-being, or the intent to cause harm. It’s the ethical aspect of our actions that determines their kammic direction, including our future lives. Because not every action has short-term results, they must bear fruit not only in our individual lives but potentially far into the future. Without this teaching, it’s very difficult to speak of the path from suffering to liberation, because so many of the actions of Dharma practice—generosity, learning to be kind, working with the afflictive emotions—take time to develop and bear fruit.
Sean Oakes, The Six Realms: Action and Identity in a Conscious World

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.

Picks from the Library