Retreats

Collapse
X
 
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • Gregor
    Member
    • Apr 2007
    • 638

    Retreats

    I'd like to get some discussion rolling about Buddhist retreats. Up to this point I have not been able to attend a meditation retreat. Fortunately, my work schedule now allows me a bit more freedom for this sort of thing.

    I'm looking at starting off with a couple of weekend retreats in June. Hopefully, I'll be practicing at Blue Cliff Monastery in upstate NY (Thich Nhat Hahn's newest Dharma Center). I'm also looking at a weekend program at Zen Mountain Monastery.

    What should I be expecting? How should I be preparing for this? I must admit that I am a little nervous about it due to my inexperience.

    Please share your thoughts.
    Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)
  • Dharmamong
    Member
    • Apr 2007
    • 17

    #2
    Sorry Gregor I can't really help you as I've been to a retreat myself either. But at least we've all got a subject to talk about now, I sure you'll get help off everyone.
    To be honest retreats have never really interested me too much, I just couldn't see what you could do on a retreat that you couldn't do in front of your own wall! I mean it'd be nice to have access to a teacher, but that's what Jundo is here for.
    Generic pretentious comment

    Comment

    • Jundo
      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
      • Apr 2006
      • 39221

      #3
      Hi Guys,

      Yep, you definately do some retreats if you have the time and ability. Long, morning to night, day after day practice is an important experience. It does not replace daily sitting on one's own, or with a Sangha. Instead, it is a special experience of its own. A three day retreat is an experience. A five day retreat is a different experience. A two week retreat, etc. etc.

      You should try retreats with different lineages too, and get a feel for different groups with different styles. I mean, I have my style around here ... but you should find out what is out there and find what suits you among teachers and teachings. Of course, you will end up coming back here! ;-) (I am completely biased)

      For people who cannot travel so easily or get away from work, we will soon have live, broadcast 24 hours, multi-day Sesshin (broadcast from Japan, I hope) that everyone can participate in at home. And, if you have to work for part of it ... that is part of the retreat too.

      Anyway, we will talk about that when the time comes. Gassho, Jundo
      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

      Comment

      • Gregor
        Member
        • Apr 2007
        • 638

        #4
        Dharmamong,

        Thanks for getting the discussion going. I appreciate your point of view. As Jundo said a retreat is not a substitute for daily practice. However, I think it might be a useful experience. Not to mention that it would be a wonderful opportunity to really focus on meditation and nothing else. I suppose it can be seen as intensive zazen trainning.

        Jundo,

        Thank you for sharing your advice. I think your point about trying retreats in different traditions is a great idea. I hope to attend several weekend retreats this year. The first two Zen retreats, then possibly some in the Theravada / Insight tradition.

        I do plan on always returning here of course. Treeleaf has become the foundation of my daily practice. The online retreat sounds like a great idea, count me in.
        Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

        Comment

        • Dharmamong
          Member
          • Apr 2007
          • 17

          #5
          Hi Gregor,


          I didn't mean to downplay the whole retreat thing, it would be cool to have couple of days of just sitting (in fact what am I talking about it'd be a nightmare - imagine the boredom! :shock: ), it would be helpful and I don't discount attending one. I just think your daily practice is your foundation, we can all get ourself excited and worked up for some special occasion it's the daily grind that's the challange. Let's hope Jundo can get one sorted for the rabble on here.
          I hope you have fun anyway, let us know how you get on

          Mong.
          Generic pretentious comment

          Comment

          • zenslack

            #6
            Retreats are good because normally (before the days of Treeleaf) that would be the only time many of us could attend a zen talk or zit zazen with others. I agree that it is daily life that is the foundation of zen practice, but retreats certainly have their merit.

            Comment

            • Gregor
              Member
              • Apr 2007
              • 638

              #7
              You are both so right.

              It is the daily, moment to moment part of practice that deserves the highest regard.

              I am working at cultivating not only a stronger sitting practice but in bringing mindfulness and equanimity to everything that do. Of course most of the time I am asleep at the wheel, but I hope there is some merit in realizing this and working towards change.
              Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

              Comment

              • Dharmamong
                Member
                • Apr 2007
                • 17

                #8
                Don't try too hard mate. In fact, try not to try. lol
                Generic pretentious comment

                Comment

                • Gregor
                  Member
                  • Apr 2007
                  • 638

                  #9
                  Hooray!! I did it!

                  I just sent in my registration for a three day retreat at the Blue Cliff Monastery.

                  I'm both nervous and excited. This will be my first retreat, and is an important step for me - - but the fear of the unknown makes me a little wary.

                  Blue Cliff is a brand new Monastery in the Catskills, It is part of Thich Nhat Hanh's organization. He seems to blend Zen and Theravada together, so it might be a good fit for me.

                  I'm looking forward taking the time for prolonged sitting, not to mention doing mindful work with the monastics. Perhaps I'll get a chance to "do the dishes to do the dishes".

                  In the meantime I'll practice by doing my dishes and painting the house in the same way.

                  Off to Zazen. . .then bed. . .then work. . .then the dentist. Sounds like tomorrow will be a good day for practice.

                  Love and gassho,

                  Greg
                  Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

                  Comment

                  • Bansho
                    Member
                    • Apr 2007
                    • 532

                    #10
                    Hi Greg,

                    cool -- that sounds like a good one. Best wishes to you!

                    Gasshô
                    Kenneth
                    ??

                    Comment

                    • Hans
                      Member
                      • Mar 2007
                      • 1853

                      #11
                      Hello Folks!

                      Make sure that the people at the retreat give you a thorough explanation regarding their special in-house etiquette. And don't hestitate to ask twice or even three times, in case something isn't 100% clear in your eyes. Soemtimes there are tiny little differences with regards to the etiquette, and the last thing one wants is to cause any kind of major disruption once the retreat has started. On the other hand, hey, if something happens, it happens. People at a retreat are no more or less holy than everything else in the universe.

                      Just my two cents at this points. Enjoy it!

                      Gassho,

                      Hans

                      Comment

                      • Gregor
                        Member
                        • Apr 2007
                        • 638

                        #12
                        Hans,

                        Thanks for the advice. I believe that they will offer a special orientation the night that the retreat begins before diner.

                        In addition I have written to Brother Nguyen (who runs the retreats) about my lack of experiance; They should be fully aware that this is my first real exposure to their tradition.

                        Hopefully, common sense and willingness to try will go along way for me.

                        If it does not work it, it will be alright. I'm planning to attend another retreat the following month in the Vipassana tradition - - -It is going to be a good summer for discovering the practice of different traditions first hand.
                        Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

                        Comment

                        • Dharmamong
                          Member
                          • Apr 2007
                          • 17

                          #13
                          It's always a good summer
                          Generic pretentious comment

                          Comment

                          • Gregor
                            Member
                            • Apr 2007
                            • 638

                            #14
                            Yes,

                            And right now, It's a good May. Don't you just love the spring?
                            Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

                            Comment

                            • Keishin
                              Member
                              • Jun 2007
                              • 471

                              #15
                              retreats

                              Dear Gregor:
                              How did the retreat(s) go? I'm really interested in your experience and impressions. Let us know!
                              gassho,
                              keishin

                              Comment

                              Working...