Introduction to Concentration Meditation
(3-day retreats and daylongs)
Concentration or serenity meditation (samatha) is one of the three major practices of the Buddhist path, which also include sila (practicing with the ethical principles), and vipassana (insight meditation). In concentration practice, we return our awareness to one object of meditation to the exclusion of everything else, thereby collecting and unifying the mind stream. Samatha practice is often referred to as “purification of mind” and it does that in two ways. First, the practice reveals with heightened clarity our habitual patterns that cause us to suffer both on and off the cushion. Second, as we build the capacity to turn away from these patterns, a laser-like awareness can develop that can lead to profound stillness and joy, as well as the possibility of the arising of deep meditative absorptions known as the jhanas. These events offer an overview of anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing) concentration meditation as taught in the lineage of Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw of Burma, considered by many to be the leading living teacher of samatha practice and the jhanas.
Concentration Meditation: Purification of Mind
(retreats of 11 days or more)
In addition to the contents described above for shorter events, these longer retreats focus on unique aspects of concentration meditation as it is intended—as a practice designed to purify the mind stream. We will explore the major landmarks that yogis encounter as the mind begins to cohere into a unified awareness, and as serenity allows for a deep settling. We will also explore the further reaches of the Samatha practice—the meditative absorptions known as “jhanas” that can potentially emerge as the fruition of practice.
Brahma Viharas: Purification of the Heart
The Brahma Viharas, also known as the Sublime Abidings, are meditation practices employed to invite a softening of our heart, our relationship to ourselves and others, as well as our unbroken connection to the ground of being/ the unconditioned. The four sublime abidings are: metta (loving kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (empathetic joy), and upekkha (equanimity). The Brama Viharas are part of the samatha (concentration / serenity) portion of the Buddha’s path of practice. In these retreats you will experientially practice each of these four meditations. Also, you will gain a deeper understanding, through dharma talks and Q &A, of what the impact of these meditations can be upon our “sense of self” and the relationship between our meditative intention and the path of liberation.
Dharma Talks and Retreats Upon Request at Your Location
We are available to give dharma talks or lead retreats at your location. For a sample of our dharma talks, please visit the Dharma Talks page. If you or your sangha are interested in organizing a retreat or dharma talk for us to lead, please contact us directly as found on the Contacts Us page.