Be Like a Mother
23 – 30 July 2016
Venue: The High Heathercombe Centre
Teaching love and compassion as a path of liberation, the Buddha challenges us to open our eyes and hearts to what is happening around us on the planet. Amongst the earliest records of his words we find the the following:
As a mother would risk her life
to protect her child, her only child,
even so should one cultivate a limitless heart
with regard to all beings.*
If the ancient wisdom traditions are to be useful in the modern world, they need to help us make a response to our current situation. When the Centre for Biological Diversity tells us that “We’re currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago” we are challenged to examine how we live and act in the world. We are asked to look at our relationship to the human and non-human beings we share life with and to summon our creativity, compassion and courage in the face of widespread suffering.
Join together with us for this group retreat course where we will draw on the various Buddhist traditions to investigate: How do we make a wise response? What really helps? And what are you willing to risk to cultivate a limitless heart?
*(from the Karaniya Metta Sutta. Translated by Thanissaro Bhikku)
The retreat is offered freely as the organisers intend to fundraise in advance to cover all costs (we anticipate these will be about £150 per person). Donations will be invited at the end of the retreat and these will be used to fund retreats in the future. This gives retreatants the opportunity to practice generosity by making it possible for future retreats to also be offered freely.
We will also invite a separate donation for the teacher(s). Teachers do not receive a fee for leading retreats, whilst giving enormously of their time and energy. Dharma teachings are considered priceless and therefore teachers offer their understanding freely. The livelihood of most Insight Meditation teachers depends wholly, or to a large extent, on voluntary contributions from retreatants who value their guidance and wish to support the ongoing teachings of the Dharma. Your generosity to the teacher is greatly appreciated.
Coming on retreat can be an invaluable boost for your practice whether you’re only just beginning with meditation or have been practising for decades. Everything is set up specifically to help you feel supported and to foster the calmness of mind necessary for meditative insight.
One of the conditions that we find particularly helpful to offer retreatants is an opportunity for shared silence. We agree as a group not to converse with each other for the duration of the retreat*, we turn off our phones and gadgets, we disconnect from social media, and we put down our books.
Why do we do this? Because silence provides the opportunity to develop a new relationship with ourselves and the world, rather than simply being a gap to be filled. Free from the usual distractions that stimulate the mind, we begin to experience an altogether different and sublime dimension to life, one that was hiding there all along. And as silence starts to reveal its irresistible and profound beauty we allow the possibility of our innate wisdom to show itself.
* During the week there will be talks, meditation instructions and opportunities to meet either in small groups or individually with the teacher. Outside of these times the retreat will remain in silence but the coordinators are always present and can be communicated with via notes if any problems arise.