While silent meditation retreats are invaluable for revealing the power of training the mind, many meditators find it challenging to establish a continuity of awareness when they are not supported by the discipline of retreat, looking instead to attain particular qualities, e.g. calm, concentration, clarity, etc. This retreat, suitable for both new and experienced meditators, will integrate the precise meditation instructions of Mahasi Sayadaw (Manual of Insight) with the practical awareness-oriented guidance of Sayadaw U Tejaniya (Dhamma Everywhere), both highly skilled monastic teachers from Burma.
These instructions will help to establish a relaxed, persevering continuity of mindfulness and will offer a clear path for developing clarity of awareness in all activities and bringing the dhamma into our everyday lives. Training in ‘awareness of mind’ leads to insightful understanding of the nature of all things. Such knowledge weakens deeply conditioned habits of mind that cause unhappiness, and strengthens conditions for an enduring sense of well-being. Liberation releases the mind from mental states that result in suffering to oneself and others.
This retreat will be held in Noble Silence, and will include comprehensive guidance for continuous awareness in all activities. The daily schedule will include regular periods of sitting, walking, chanting, meals, community/daily chores, discourses and group check-ins with the teacher.
Group check-ins offer each student a wider range of instruction and understanding and help normalize all they experience. In addition, there will be times when students will be encouraged to maintain mindful awareness in all their activities however they schedule them. While these ‘self-scheduled’ periods of time are not the norm in many retreats, and therefore sometimes students may initially feel anxious, fearful or excited, most students on prior retreats where they have been offered have made the adjustment within a day or two, and almost universally appreciate the offering to follow their own rhythm of sitting and walking. Taking advantage of this opportunity strengthens our ability to take awareness and wisdom off the cushion and into activity; and when out of retreat, into our full life of domestic, civic, social, professional and political activities.
People of all walks of life are warmly welcome.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT RETREAT CENTER PREREQUISITES:
We are setting a high bar for retreats for advanced students. In the past, the definition of an experienced or advanced student has generally been characterized by the amount of formal retreat time in which one has engaged. While time logged on the cushion can be an important aspect of experience, we do not find this measure alone to be a meaningful gauge of the quality of a student’s practice.
We see an advanced student as someone who has developed a balanced practice, with sincere and diligent attention to practicing sila (ethical/moral conduct) and dana (generosity), in addition to bhavana (cultivation of mind). Sometimes yogis engage in unwholesome behaviors indicative of a need for additional development.
Some of these behaviors include:
All of these behaviors create hardship and have a corrosive effect on our collective ability to keep the Dhamma alive, available and accessible.
It is our belief as a Dhamma organization that those who aspire to take their wisdom practice to deeper levels should not neglect the vital foundational practices of dana and sila. All practitioners are welcome on any of our open retreats. However, in order to be considered a suitable candidate for an experienced/ advanced student retreat, these new criteria are in place to create the most fertile field of practice for all who attend and to provide adequate support for the teachers and retreat center who are gifting these practice opportunities to the world.
PREREQUISITES AND REQUIREMENTS:
From the teachers: In order to participate in this retreat, you must have sat at least three retreats of 7-days or more, at least one of which has been with one or both of these teachers.
Please include a comprehensive resume of your retreat experience with your registration materials.
From the retreat center: Each applicant must exhibit behaviors supportive of sustaining a strong spiritual community. Specifically, each applicant must have a strong practice of sila (ethical and moral behavior), of dana (generosity) and a demonstrated ability to comport oneself during retreat with maturity and integrity. For detailed information about these expectations, you may scroll to the bottom of the retreat description.
Subsidized fee : $630 plus dana offerings to teacher(s) and staff
Sustaining fee : $685 plus dana offerings to teacher(s) and staff
Supporting fee : $745 plus dana offerings to teacher(s) and staff