retreat

Retreat

 

A METTA RETREAT

 

What is Metta?

Metta is a Pali word meaning lovingkindness, goodwill, and friendliness.

 

What is Metta meditation?

Metta meditation is the cultivation of lovingkindness through the continuous generating of wholesome thoughts and well wishes towards oneself, loved ones, friends and all beings.

 

What are the benefits of Metta meditation?

Metta meditation weakens anger and strengthens goodwill in us. It calms, gladdens, uplifts and heals the mind and heart while promoting friendly and harmonious relationships with others. The concentration gained in Metta meditation can also support the practice of Vipassana (Insight) meditation.

 

What is a Metta retreat like?

A metta retreat can be for any number of days from a day long to a weekend to a week or ten days or even longer.

 

In a retreat we usually wake up around 5:30 and spend the day alternating between sitting and walking meditation. A typical program is as follows:

 

5:30: Rise and Shine

6:00: Sitting meditation

7:00: Breakfast

8:30: Walking meditation

9:30: Sit

10:30: Walk

11:30: Sit

12:30: Lunch/Rest

14:30: Sit

15:30: Walk

16:30: Sit

17:30: Tea/Light meal

18:15: Walk/Sit

19:00: Dhamma Talk

20:15: Walk

20:45: Sit

21:30: Good Night

 

The teacher will give all the necessary instructions, guidance, and encouragement. In a long retreat, meditators will be given daily interviews of about ten minutes with the teacher to report on their experiences. More time will be alloted for personal consultation if necessary. There will also be opportunity for questions during the Dhamma Talk which is to further clarify and explain the practice.

 

In a long metta retreat, one daily sitting of Vipassana (Insight-Mindfulness) meditation will be introduced so participants will get some exposure to Vipassana meditation. There will also be some exposure to Compassion, Appreciative Joy, and Equanimity Meditations as these three together with Metta make up what is called the Four Divine Abidings (Brahma-Viharas) in the Buddha’s Teachings.

 

Meditators will normally observe Noble Silence throughout the retreat so they can fully concentrate on their practice. They will also be reminded to maintain mindfulness in all their daily activities.

 

***

 

A VIPASSANA RETREAT

 

What is Vipassana?

Vipassana is a Pali word meaning insight or seeing clearly into the true nature of the self and reality.

 

What is Vipassana meditation?

Vipassana or Insight meditation is the direct and clear seeing into the true nature of mental and physical phenomena. It involves the application of mindfulness to closely observe our mind and body processes during formal sitting and walking meditation and in all other activities.

 

With practice we gain calm and peace as well as insight into our mental conditioning, behavioural patterns and habits. We learn how to cultivate, sustain and strengthen wholesome and joyful states of mind while diminishing the unwholesome and painful states.

 

We will develop a skillful approach and attitude that is conducive to peace, joy and happiness in all aspects of our daily life. Vipassana practice is based on the Buddha's Discourse on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness. These are Body, Feelings, Consciousness or Mind States, and Dhammas/Phenomena.

 

We will learn how to observe and investigate all these phenomena in our direct and immediate experience. In due course we will come to understand what the Buddha called "The Three Marks of Existence" - Impermanence, Suffering/Unsatisfactoriness, and Not-Self. The deep and profound understanding of these fundamental truths will lead to the liberation of the mind from all clinging and delusion that lie at the root of all suffering.

 

Peace, release and happiness are the fruits of the practice. Vipassana promotes true happiness, contentment, fulfillment and freedom in life while leading the practitioner to the ultimate and highest peace and happiness of Nibbana, the end of all greed, hatred and delusion.

 

What is a Vipassana retreat like?

A Vipassana retreat can be for any number of days from a day long to a weekend to a week or ten days or even longer.

 

In a retreat we usually wake up around 5:30 and spend the day alternating between sitting and walking meditation. A typical program is as follows:

 

5:30: Rise and Shine

6:00: Sitting meditation

7:00: Breakfast

8:30: Walking meditation

9:30: Sit

10:30: Walk

11:30: Sit

12:30: Lunch/Rest

14:30: Sit

15:30: Walk

16:30: Sit

17:30: Tea/Light meal

18:15: Walk/Sit

19:00: Dhamma Talk

20:15: Walk

20:45: Sit

21:30: Good Night

 

The teacher will give all the necessary instructions, guidance, and encouragement. In a long retreat, meditators will be given daily interviews of about ten minutes with the teacher to report on their experiences. More time will be alloted for personal consultation if necessary. There will also be opportunity for questions during the Dhamma Talk which is to further clarify and explain the practice.

 

In a long Vipassana retreat, one daily sitting of Metta (Lovingkindness) meditation will be introduced so participants will also benefit from Metta practice. In fact, we usually start off the day with the radiating of Metta to all beings, i.e., wishing for the welfare and happiness of oneself, loved ones, friends, and all beings.

Participants will also get to practise some Compassion, Appreciative Joy, and Equanimity Meditations as these three together with Metta make up what is called the Four Divine Abidings (Brahma-Viharas) in the Buddha’s Teachings.

 

Meditators will normally observe Noble Silence throughout the retreat so they can fully concentrate on their practice. They will also be reminded to maintain mindfulness in all their daily activities.

 

 

 

"Wisdom springs from meditation. Without meditation wisdom wanes. Knowing this twofold path of increase and decline, let one so conduct oneself that wisdom may increase."

- Buddha, Dhammapada 282

 

"Oneself is refuge of oneself. What other refuge can there be? With oneself well tamed one gains a refuge hard to gain." - Buddha, Dhammapada 160

 

"If we can reduce our craving and attachment, take up meditation to develop inner calm and peace, be kind and compassionate, be content with less and count our blessings, and cultivate all the right values and attitudes in life, we can live more joyfully and peacefully."

- Visu