Workshops, Retreats, and Classes Offered By David McKay

David is a highly trained facilitator, having led hundreds of workshops and retreats of various lengths at the monastery and elsewhere. He sees himself as a conduit for spiritual growth, supporting the work of awareness practice in a style characterized by compassionate presence, insight, and good humor.

David offers in-person and on-line workshops on a wide range of topics. Some of the workshops he has developed focus on traditional Buddhist teachings, such as the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Others present the various tools and principles of spiritual practice, such as the work of mastering attention and awareness, of seeing beyond our conditioned belief systems, and of caring for ourselves in an authentic way. Still others address the issues associated with life in our human world, such our sexuality, our relationship with money and property, and the challenge of finding our unique, natural place in the great unfolding of Life.

Upcoming Events

A Sampling of Available Workshops:

Through The One Open Door

This workshop is structured around David’s book entitled The One Open Door: Adventures of a Zen Buddhist Monk. It employs a series of exercises in order to bring the concepts in the book into experiential awareness for application in your life, wherever you may be.

Your Life is Calling You: the Practice of Compassionate Self-Awareness

Who are you, really? When you set aside all that you were taught to believe about who and how you are, when you disregard all you were taught you should be, what remains? Your life is calling you to answer that question, to continually rediscover who you are—who you truly are—through the practice of compassionate self-awareness.

Your Spiritual Tool-Belt

We each have the great work of our transformation before us. In order to do this work we will need tools. With good tools we may dismantle the illusion that separates us from our authentic nature and causes us to live apart from the peace and joy that is our birthright. This workshop presents the essential tools of awareness practice in an experiential way, so that you may take them home with you and use them in your daily life.

The Way of the Buddha

This workshop translates the fundamental teachings of the Buddha into application in the present day and into modern psychological language. A great deal has changed since the days Gautama Buddha walked upon this earth, and yet everything remains the same. Find out how to follow in his footsteps in the modern age.

The Joy of Our Own Love

We are taught to believe that we need many things to be happy, but in truth we need just one.

All we need is our own loving attention. If we are willing to let go of the distraction and confusion that we give our attention to and simply attend to ourselves instead, then everything good follows. We can live in peace and joy. We can take care of ourselves no matter what happens. We can enjoy all that Life provides. We just need to be here, where love is.

A Life of Clarity and Compassion

This workshop follows The Dhammapada (in translation,The Sayings of the Buddha), one of the most ancient and most profound of Buddhist texts. Deepen your practice with the assistance of the words of the Buddha.

Practicing the Presence of God

That which we call “God” exists here, in the present moment. We have been trained to believe that God/Life/Spirit is somehow outside or beyond our experience, but it isn’t: it is all that we experience right now. God is the perpetual unfolding of love and clarity moment by moment, and as such it is something we can practice. We can practice living in the presence of God.

The Joy of Simplicity

With the assistance of The Rule of Saint Benedict, a collection of wise and profound precepts for daily life written by Benedict for the monks under his charge, this workshop will explore the joy of living in simplicity, humility, and gratitude.

Some Testimonials from Attendees

  • I had the pleasure of participating in a group study of David's book The One Open Door. David assigned a few chapters a week to us and then we gathered on Zoom for a discussion facilitated by David on what we had read. Not only did we get a deeper understanding of the book we got a deeper understanding of ourselves because David lead us through several exercises that helped us discover and examine our conditioned mind. It was an opening experience for me and a bonding experience for our group. Thank you David!
  • David McKay provided insightful, thought-provoking, and experiential comments and exercises in leading us through "The Open Door.” His approach with our group went far beyond a mere discussion of his book and guided us toward greater awareness of ourselves and perspectives and the perspectives and experiences of others. We always had rich discussions, and David "pressed" us to give deeper thought and introspection to the lives that we sometimes "coast" through  It was a very worthwhile experience and gave us all much to consider on our continuing spiritual journey.
  • I just wanted to let you know how much it has meant to me to have been a part of the classes that you lead for the UCT (Unity) group recently on your beautiful book, "The One Open Door". Your questions to individual group members were so helpful in guiding us to listen more deeply to our ego thoughts, and to identify which part of our personalities was in charge when those thoughts were not helpful (much of the time!).
  • I am trying my best to apply your guidance in my daily life, and to remember that I have a choice as to which voices I allow to dominate my thinking and my actions. This has been extremely helpful, in particular, in my relationship with my significant other. I find myself becoming more understanding, accepting and appreciative of his different points of view, and ways of approaching and responding to life. I am actually much happier when I am able to see him as a part of the beautiful tapestry of life that enhances my own.
  • Thanks again for your loving presence and guidance in our group book study.  I hope that this is a service that you will be able to offer to many others in groups or individually as a part of you ongoing work to make the world a happier, and more loving place for all people.
  • It is not often that you meet someone completely focused on growing as an authentic person. David’s knowledge and experiences in a monastery gave him an understanding of himself and human nature that is exceptional. My experience is that he embraces where you are emotionally, helps you peel off the layers of that until you get to the heart of what is going on so you understand what is really happening. Then you can give yourself what it needs and heal. My experiences with David have been only positive and amazing.