PeterB wrote:Just out of interest Phil....why would moving from Japan make a difference ?
Hi Peter, as far as I have discovered in a few inquiries, the only Theravadin retreats offered here in Japan are through Goenka, which is not my thing. I appreciate the good intent of the firm leadership provided at Goenka retreats, but I would want a retreat where I could be provided with seclusion and time to follow my tradition of meditation, it would certainly be interesting to see if time and seclusion would provide conditions for the rising surface crap to burn off, if you will, so the mind could settle into deeper territories than usual. Maybe a Zen temple would provide me the time and seclusion and leave me to meditate in my tradition, I should look into it. Also I work on weekends and have to use all but a handful of my extra holidays to go visit my elderly parents. OK, enough excuses. But my original point stands, I hope newcomers to Dhamma don't feel going on retreats is the only way to demonstrate keen intent or the only way to make significant progress in overcoming the gross defilements. The Buddha undoubtedly did emphasize the need for physical seclusion, but if we are not going to have it 330 days a year, is it absolutely clear that it is valuable for just 30 or whatever? Maybe it is, I wouldn't know, maybe, like you said the other day, going on retreats supports the daily practice when one is not on retreat, definitely possible, maybe probable.
edit - I realized how stupid the last sentence is. How would I never if I have never been on a retreat? Only speculation. At some point in another thread I would like to hear from people in what ways gains that are made during retreats are built on so that the hindrances and other defilements don't just just come storming back with a vengeance and overrun the mind when the favourable conditions for weakening them are removed.