Meditation to Develop Concentration and Serenity for a Chaotic World (Daylongs and Retreats up to 5 days)
In concentration and serenity (samatha) meditation, we return our awareness to one object of meditation to the exclusion of everything else, thereby collecting and unifying the mind stream. This practice counteracts the overstimulation of today’s world, reflected in books like “The Shallows” that highlight the neurological effects of social media, texting, and technology that bombard our awareness with messages, alerts, and feeds. Practicing concentration meditation collects the mind stream and “builds the muscle” of concentration, enabling us to turn away from the constant pull of our smartphones, computer screens, games, and entertainment, allowing us to settle into the serenity of our deeper nature. The practice also reveals with heightened clarity our habitual patterns that cause us to suffer both on and off the cushion, a process referred to as “purification of mind.” Then, as we build the capacity to turn away from these patterns, a laser-like awareness can develop that can lead to profound stillness and deep joy, as well as the possibility of the deep meditative absorptions known as the jhanas. This retreat provides 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. Highlights of recent neuroscience research demonstrating the benefits of focused attention meditation will also be provided. This retreat is open to all, and is suitable for beginners as well as experienced meditators. There will be instructions and meditation, silence, and periods of teaching and questions. Prerequisite: none.
Luminous Mind Awakening Retreats
(retreats of 7 days or more)
These retreats are set in the larger context of awakening. The first few days will include the overall View of enlightenment, and the basis of bodhicitta in the heart for a full practice and larger intention for practice. The next week of the retreat will focus on the samatha practice, developing laser-like awareness that has the potential to lead to the meditative absorptions known as jhanas. And for the last five days of the retreat, we will build upon the foundation of samatha with its powerful and stabilizing concentration, to explore the non-dual awareness of rigpa, which enables the possibility for one to be present with a deeper reality with eyes open, awake to the world. Participants will have the option to go deeper with the samatha practice, or to branch into the Tibeten Dzogchen practice and the possibility of realizing rigpa. Both paths provide the possibility of cutting through conventional reality to realize the deeper truth of non-duality.
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.