Everyday Nirvana, Every Day
15 – 19 July 2019
Venue: The High Heathercombe Centre
This is not a silent retreat but there will be periods of quietude including one complete day of silence. More information can be found on the Hungry Ghost Retreats website.
This is a 5-day intensive residential retreat exploring ‘Buddhist’ practices that support our waking-up from cravings and aversions; exploring practices that support our healing from addictions and compulsions and exploring practices that support our recovery from greed and hatred and delusion.
‘Everyday Nirvana’ is an invitation to deepen our understanding of waking-up from addictions and compulsions that manifest as craving, aversion and confusion.
This retreat will comprise of a daily routine of sitting and walking meditation, talks and optional interviews.
Each day will start with mindful movement, then a morning reading followed by a 30-minute period of silent meditation. Throughout each day there will be talks and discussions, and most importantly plenty of opportunities to practise sitting and walking meditation.
Using Prayer Flags for Healing
Our retreat will include a focused and progressive investigation of our relationship to self – through the lens of Forgiveness, Loving Kindness, Compassion, Joy-gladness and Equanimity – to support the letting-go of hatred and ill-will for ourselves and others. We will learn to incline our minds towards kindness… there is no finer mindfulness!
As part of this process, each retreatant will be given a personal set of Tibetan Prayer Flags. One side of each flag is decorated with woodblock prints of auspicious mantras, syllables and prayers – the other side is blank.
Throughout the 5-days, as we progress through our retreat, we will write the names – starting with our own – of all the many people that we want to send the blessings of loving-kindness, compassion, appreciation, equanimity to on our personal prayer-flags. We may also write our own personal commitments and aspirations.
We may also write the names – starting with our own – of the people for whom we might want to say ‘I’m sorry’ and ask for forgiveness.
We might also write the names – starting with our own name – of all of the people that we may wish to offer forgiveness.
It is important to note that you do not have to be ‘a Buddhist’ to practise any of the principles discussed, and meditation practices explored.
Some potential learning outcomes of this retreat:
- Learn to stay with the uncomfortable – “Right Now It’s Like This !?”
- An introduction to and/or the deepening of one’s own mindfulness meditation practice as a basic attitude in everyday life.
- An invitation to see oneself differently, to see the world differently, and to see one self in the world differently.
- An opportunity to cultivate self-forgiveness, self-love, self-compassion, self-appreciation and self-balance.
- Develop an understanding and appreciation of the liberating essential difference between the ‘abstaining’ from and the ‘abandoning’ of compulsions and harmful behaviour i.e. the Universal Precepts compared to Sajja [a truth, a commitment, an aspiration, a promise or a vow].
- The opportunity to take part in and/or lead Buddhist-oriented ‘Sit-and-Share’ peer-led support meetings.
- Cultivate an ‘embodied intentionality’.
- The voluntary and optional opportunity to make a Sajja as an embodied manifestation of the heart’s desire to move away from suffering towards the end of suffering.
My commitment to each retreat is to prepare and share my formulation of these teachings for everyone’s benefit. However, we create a retreat together when we show up for ourselves and for each other. Retreatants are expected to adhere to the ‘Retreat Commitment’. Just as our ‘waking-up’ requires our complete wholehearted commitment and our full effort, so does attendance on any Hungry Ghost Retreat. It is a requirement on the retreat that you attend for the whole retreat and take part in all sessions. For example, if you are not an ‘early morning person’ then this retreat is not for you.
Harmlessness: I will act in accordance with the Five Precepts for the duration of the retreat:
- I will not harm myself or anyone else.
- I will not take anything that has not been freely given.
- I will be maintain respectful and proper sexual boundaries.
- I will speak truthfully and kindly.
- I will not take drugs or alcohol.
Attendance: I will be present at all sessions.
Time keeping: I will be on time for all retreat activities.
Silent Periods: I will observe and respect all silent times.
Smoking: I will not smoke during the retreat. If I must then I will not smoke on site. I will smoke alone and in silence. I will be mindful of the harm that I am doing to myself. Smoking will not be a social event.
Telephone: I will power-off my mobile telephone or hand it in to the Retreat Manager for safe keeping.
Internet: I will power-off all electronic devices including tablets, laptops and mobile phones or hand them in to the Retreat Manager for safe keeping.
Hot Drinks: I will only make hot drinks during mealtimes and designated ‘tea meditation’ times. I will not take hot drinks outside of the Dining Room.
Dormitory Respect: I will not enter the rooms or dormitory of the opposite gender without the express permission of the Retreat Manager or Teacher.
Karmic Consequences: I know and accept that I am the owner of my thoughts, words and actions. I know and accept the consequences of not keeping the retreat rules. I know and accept that I may be asked to leave the retreat if my words or actions are inappropriate. The Retreat Manager’s decision will be final.
We aim to keep costs below £120 per person. Thanks to the generosity of those who have attended retreats in the past, and left donations, you can come along knowing that your place will already have been paid for. Amazing! At the end of the retreat we will invite donations – this is an opportunity to practise generosity yourself and to enable others to receive the same gift in the future. We truly appreciate, on behalf of these future retreatants, whatever you feel able to give. (So you know, because all the work putting on these retreats is done by volunteers we have almost no overheads at all – the whole thing is run on generosity and love. That means all your money will go straight into the kitty for future retreats, paying for nothing but absolute essentials.)
We will also invite a separate donation for the teacher. 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.