RETREAT DESCRIPTION

Mindfulness with Breathing (ānāpānasati) is one of Buddhism’s foundation practices. Many meditators have been exposed to it in some form. This retreat will deepen its roots so that it can truly serve as a foundation in our cultivation of the middle way, strengthening our daily practice of mindfulness, inquiry, serenity, and letting go.

What does a well-rounded meditation practice look like? It:

  • integrates all four establishments of mindfulness;
  • deepens concentration, calm abiding, joy, and freedom;
  • fosters abundant clear seeing and insight;
  • cultivates the seven factors of awakening leading to “higher knowledge” and genuine liberation.

Such is mindfulness with breathing according to the original Buddhist teachings. Buddha left behind a framework for systematic meditation practice incorporating all of the above. On its own, ānāpānasati is a sophisticated meditation system that thoroughly explores our lived realities of body, feeling, mind, and the laws of nature permeating all conscious moments. Exploring these facets of life through and with breathing deepens awareness, serenity, and insight.

Further, mindfulness with breathing serves as a platform for jhana (meditative absorptions) and the brahma-viharas (divine abodes), providing them with a relaxed, grounded foundation. What more could one want?

In this retreat, we will focus on ānāpānasati on its own practical terms. We have two weeks to explore this rich, profound process, practicing with and reflecting on each level of its unfolding. Mindful breathing in and out opens up the nurturing potential of healthy breathing. Skillful exploration of such breathing releases tension, settles restlessness, and helps us be more comfortable in sitting. As this sensitivity increases, the more subtle dynamics of breathing deepen calm and enhance clarity. This enables us to recognize thoughts and emotions with greater acceptance and less reactivity. As we drop beyond rejection and indulgence, wisdom blossoms. This foundation will support any wise explorations that we choose.

Based on his decades of practice with and teaching of mindfulness with breathing, Santikaro will share skillful means for embodying this practice as a trusted friend. Supplemental practices will help us to stay balanced and on track. Ongoing reflections will inquire into the specific supports most needed for strong and vibrant practice.

Our explorations will be supported by the standard insight meditation retreat format of sitting and walking meditation, noble silence, simple surroundings, good companions, healthy food, talks and instruction, and practice interviews. Upon registration, you will receive PDFs of the Buddha’s teachings on ānāpānasati in the Discourse on Mindfulness with Breathing (MN 118) and an outline of the 16 Entries into the Domains of Mindfulness with Breathing.

Suggested reading:
Mindfulness with Breathing: a manual for serious beginners, Buddhadāsa Bhikkhu (Wisdom, 1988)

SPECIAL NOTES

This retreat is intended for experienced students.

Prerequisites:

As this will be an in-depth exploration of the entire system outlined in Early Buddhist Teachings, prior experience w/ anapanasati is important, especially experience that goes beyond merely watching the breath. Due to the length of the retreat, all retreatants must have completed 2 retreats of 4 days or more. Exceptions to these prerequisites are possible but only through prior arrangements with Santikaro.

RETREAT COST

Subsidized fee : $950 plus dana offerings to teacher(s) and staff

Sustaining fee : $1050 plus dana offerings to teacher(s) and staff

Supporting fee : $1150 plus dana offerings to teacher(s) and staff

TEACHERS

To learn more about a teacher, please click on their photo.


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