Preparation for a 90-Day at GAIA House

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Preparation for a 90-Day at GAIA House

Postby Chi » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:57 am

Dear Dhamma Brothers and Sisters,

I just finished a two-month Mahasi retreat. I am starting a personal retreat at GAIA House on 4/1.

I would like some advice on preparation for the next 6 weeks or so. Also, if anybody has done a longer retreat or a retreat at GAIA House, your advice/experience would be appreciated.

I am sort of jumping into the inner life quickly, and it feels overwhelming at times. My confidence in the Dhamma is what is keeping me afloat.

with metta,
Chi
Do Good, Avoid Evil, Purify the Mind.
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Re: Preparation for a 90-Day at GAIA House

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:18 am

http://gaiahouse.co.uk/pages/retreats/p ... -retreats/

In preparation, all I can say is just go and do practice, and definitely use the teachers that are available to you. You can push yourself, but don't be grim about it; that is not a good thing. You can work hard, but always best to keep Munindra-ji's advice in mind: Keep it light and easy.

Chi wrote:Dear Dhamma Brothers and Sisters,

I just finished a two-month Mahasi retreat. I am starting a personal retreat at GAIA House on 4/1.

I would like some advice on preparation for the next 6 weeks or so. Also, if anybody has done a longer retreat or a retreat at GAIA House, your advice/experience would be appreciated.

I am sort of jumping into the inner life quickly, and it feels overwhelming at times. My confidence in the Dhamma is what is keeping me afloat.

with metta,
Chi
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Preparation for a 90-Day at GAIA House

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:22 am

Greetings Chi,

Chi wrote:I am sort of jumping into the inner life quickly, and it feels overwhelming at times. My confidence in the Dhamma is what is keeping me afloat.

Well, I don't have any advice for you specific to Gaia House, but the Buddha has some advice here that might help keep you afloat!

AN 6.55: Sona Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:meditate:

All the best!

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Preparation for a 90-Day at GAIA House

Postby Ben » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:23 am

Hi Chi

I don;t mean to rain on your parade but if it were me...I would hesitate to attend another long (and longer) retreat so soon after a long retreat. If it were me - I would probably wait a year before attending another long retreat to give myself time to integrate the experience and to get practice in daily life bedded down. While I am sure you know this, the path is more than just attending retreats.
Whatever you decide, I wish you the very best.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Preparation for a 90-Day at GAIA House

Postby Chi » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:36 am

Thank you for all of your advice.

tiltbillings wrote:http://gaiahouse.co.uk/pages/retreats/personal-retreats/
You can work hard, but always best to keep Munindra-ji's advice in mind: Keep it light and easy.


Light and easy. Got it.

retrofuturist wrote:
Well, I don't have any advice for you specific to Gaia House, but the Buddha has some advice here that might help keep you afloat!

AN 6.55: Sona Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Good reminders. It's easier to keep this kind of focus in a retreat environment.

Ben wrote:Hi Chi

I don;t mean to rain on your parade but if it were me...I would hesitate to attend another long (and longer) retreat so soon after a long retreat. If it were me - I would probably wait a year before attending another long retreat to give myself time to integrate the experience and to get practice in daily life bedded down. While I am sure you know this, the path is more than just attending retreats.
Whatever you decide, I wish you the very best.
kind regards

Ben


It's the youthful recklessness. I already paid for the course ;)
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Re: Preparation for a 90-Day at GAIA House

Postby Brizzy » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:34 am

Only one piece of advice. Go for long walks. It's a beautiful part of the country and the natural beauty can sometimes help elevate our spirits; especially if we are feeling a bit grim.

Metta

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Re: Preparation for a 90-Day at GAIA House

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:13 pm

Ben wrote:I don;t mean to rain on your parade but if it were me...I would hesitate to attend another long (and longer) retreat so soon after a long retreat. If it were me - I would probably wait a year before attending another long retreat to give myself time to integrate the experience and to get practice in daily life bedded down. While I am sure you know this, the path is more than just attending retreats.
Whatever you decide, I wish you the very best.


This is very true for people who have daily lives to integrate it with, if they have family, career, or studies, goals etc.

For people who don't have these things established yet in daily life it makes sense to do back to back retreats until one no longer wants to, to make hay while the sun shines.

Someone in Chi's position might just as easily rock up to a monastery expecting to ordain for life, I think doing back to back retreats in a variety of different approaches as he is doing is a more sensible start.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Preparation for a 90-Day at GAIA House

Postby Ben » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:33 pm

Hi Goof,
Goofaholix wrote:This is very true for people who have daily lives to integrate it with, if they have family, career, or studies, goals etc.

For people who don't have these things established yet in daily life it makes sense to do back to back retreats until one no longer wants to, to make hay while the sun shines.

Someone in Chi's position might just as easily rock up to a monastery expecting to ordain for life, I think doing back to back retreats in a variety of different approaches as he is doing is a more sensible start.


I think if someone in Chi's position were doing back-to-back ten-day retreats then I would whole heartedly agree. In fact some of my friends have done back-to-back ten-day courses sitting and serving for many months. However, Chi is seeking to do long retreats and my experience of long retreats (and those of co-practitioners) is that they are very often extremely intense experiences. Hence, my advice of sustained practice in daily life as both preparation and ongoing post-script. (In my humble opinion).
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Preparation for a 90-Day at GAIA House

Postby Chi » Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:23 pm

Thank you for all the varied perspectives.

Here's the preliminary reasoning/conditioned thinking behind doing the long retreats:

1. Life is short. What time is there to waste?
2. I saw teenager novices as young as 13 sitting the 60-day retreat. Clearly, it's doable.
3. The monks are so intensely kind and gentle--I want to be like them. They practice A LOT, nonstop.
4. The life back at home is not as free as the life during a retreat. The more freedom I can instill in the mind and body during the long retreats, the more love and compassion I can bring back home.
5. When I am on retreat, I feel like a bhikkhu, somebody who is focused on liberation. There's more focus, happiness, and peace. At home, there's a lot of negativity that arises. Until I can eradicate a few fetters completely, I can't serve the community in a selfless manner.
6. There is more energy during a retreat. Sleep seems to be less pleasurable. At home, sleep and food seem to become more and more important. Honestly, I would rather force myself not to sleep so much, but the discipline has not been established so I can do it on my own.

It feels good to get these thoughts out! Thanks for reading.

with metta.
Do Good, Avoid Evil, Purify the Mind.
Chi
 
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Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Preparation for a 90-Day at GAIA House

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:31 pm

Chi wrote:Thank you for all the varied perspectives.

Here's the preliminary reasoning/conditioned thinking behind doing the long retreats:

1. Life is short. What time is there to waste?
2. I saw teenager novices as young as 13 sitting the 60-day retreat. Clearly, it's doable.
3. The monks are so intensely kind and gentle--I want to be like them. They practice A LOT, nonstop.
4. The life back at home is not as free as the life during a retreat. The more freedom I can instill in the mind and body during the long retreats, the more love and compassion I can bring back home.
5. When I am on retreat, I feel like a bhikkhu, somebody who is focused on liberation. There's more focus, happiness, and peace. At home, there's a lot of negativity that arises. Until I can eradicate a few fetters completely, I can't serve the community in a selfless manner.
6. There is more energy during a retreat. Sleep seems to be less pleasurable. At home, sleep and food seem to become more and more important. Honestly, I would rather force myself not to sleep so much, but the discipline has not been established so I can do it on my own.

It feels good to get these thoughts out! Thanks for reading.

with metta.
But don't forget, after the retreat, make sure you have a life. Don't use the Dhamma to hide away from the kitchen sink level of day-to-day living with your fellow beings.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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