IMS’s Forest Refuge program supports experienced meditators in sustained, longer-term retreat practice. A personal retreat, under the guidance of the following teachers, helps strengthen practice faith, confidence and self-reliance.
+ Arrivals and departures are not possible January 24–30, 2018.
* Early Buddhist Meditation Retreat. Throughout this practice period, instructions will be offered on the four establishments of mindfulness, the four divine abodes, emptiness meditation, and the 10 perceptions in the Girimananda-sutta leading up to mindfulness of breathing.
Participants are encouraged to prepare by reading Bhikkhu Anālayo’s books, Compassion and Emptiness in Early Buddhist Meditation and Mindfully Facing Disease and Death: Compassionate Advice from Early Buddhist Texts (in particular the last chapters on meditation practice).
This month is open to those who have already sat a retreat led by Bhikkhu Anālayo (at IMS or elsewhere). A minimum stay for the full month of February is required. A lottery will be conducted for personal retreats during this time; applications due by June 15, 2017. Participants are expected to follow the daily schedule and instructions and, if able to do so, to observe the eight precepts.
^ Awareness and Wisdom Retreat. The teachings during this month will explore the four foundations of mindfulness with open awareness and receptive attention, with an emphasis on recognizing the attitude of mind and cultivating the perspective of wise view. The teachings are influenced by both teachers’ practice with Sayadaw U Tejaniya. We request that you agree to work with the instructions that we offer during the retreat.
Practice discussion meetings will primarily be in small groups, meeting twice a week. The teachers will offer some sign-up interviews, so there will be a chance for a private meeting if there is something you don’t feel comfortable bringing up in the group.
Priority will be given to anyone applying for the full month of June or longer; a minimum stay of two weeks is required. Arrivals or departures will only be possible on June 1, 15 or 30.
°Practical Causality Retreat: Seeing Causes and Conditions Intimately. Insight into causes and conditions is an important aspect of Buddhist practice, permeating most of the teachings, such as Dependent Arising, Karma and the Four Noble Truths. By investigating conditionality in our moment-to-moment experience, we become intimately familiar with our own personal conditioning. We can find ease within these causes and conditions through recognizing the impersonality of their nature – personal insight serving as a doorway to liberating universal insights.
On this retreat, we will first practice stabilizing and nurturing our hearts and minds through metta (lovingkindness) and other mind-calming (samatha) practices. Our practice of vipassana (insight) will specifically explore the many aspects of causal relations within the simplicity of our lived experience. Dharma talks, instructions and practice meetings will support this gradual development.
Participants are expected to observe the eight precepts, if they are able to do so. Priority will be given to anyone applying for the full month of July or longer.
++ A lottery was conducted for personal retreats during this time; applications for the lottery were due by July 26, 2017. Priority was given to anyone applying for Ajahn’s entire teaching period or longer. Participants are expected to follow his schedule and instructions, which include observance of the eight precepts.
Here at IMS, our teachers are continuing the ancient Buddhist monastic tradition of freely offering the teachings while living in the midst of contemporary society. What this means is that they rely on the generosity of retreat participants for a sustainable income.
There is an opportunity at the end of your personal retreat to make an offering to teachers – this is known as teacher dana. At the Forest Refuge, where retreatants often stay for long periods, IMS supplements teacher dana as needed to provide an adequate offering.
Your contributions help teachers to lead a life devoted to teaching both at IMS and in other parts of the world, including communities without the means to donate. Your gifts also allow teachers to take time for their own practice, ensuring that their teachings are continuously enriched.