Tips for planning a self-retreat

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Tips for planning a self-retreat

Postby James the Giant » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:25 am

Has anyone got any tips for planning a successful self-retreat?
Links to other sites / guides also gratefully received.

I live on a forest-covered mountainside, complete with small stream and valley. It's the perfect place for a self-retreat.
I plan to set up the small yurt I have, stock up on muesli and easy-to-prepare food, and meditate for a week or so.
Meditating both inside the yurt and outside if the weather allows.

I'm a hiker from way-back, so I know the nuts and bolts of outdoor living... but just looking for other tips...
I've done six 10-day retreats, so I'm not a total retreat-noob...
I suppose a strict timetable would help...
Eating just once a day...
A campfire would be nice, but a distraction I think. It's warm enough here to go without a fire anyway.
I could take an MP3 player and listen to a nightly dhamma talk... do you know of a series of talks suitable for that kind of situation? Continuity of talks from night-to-night is good.

General suggestions?
Thanks!

My apologies for posting this on another forum site too. But that way more brains can lend their knowledge to the matter.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Tips for planning a self-retreat

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:31 am

you could go to http://www.audiodharma.org/ download a retreat

i did this with a bhavana society retreat once. works okay
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Tips for planning a self-retreat

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:03 am

Or one of Patrick Kearney's retreats:
http://www.dharmasalon.net/Audio/Audio.php

Or just do the meditation...

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Re: Tips for planning a self-retreat

Postby Ben » Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:04 am

[quote="James the Giant"General suggestions?
[/quote]

Adhitthana! Self courses are a little different and you might find maintaining the discipline difficult. So adhitthana is essential. But if you do the course, even if you are not successful in maintaining timetable and discipline, it will be an incredible benefit to your practice.

Something else...
This may not be what you are looking for, but just-in-case...
Don't be afraid to continue practicing what you've already learned and practicing it according to the 10-day course timetable. You can do self-retreats within the Goenka tradition. Its just recommended that you contact an AT before you begin. But whatever you decide, I wish you the very best! Just let us know your intended dates so we can generate metta for your benefit.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Tips for planning a self-retreat

Postby James the Giant » Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:24 pm

Ben wrote:Adhitthana! Self courses are a little different and you might find maintaining the discipline difficult. So adhitthana is essential. But if you do the course, even if you are not successful in maintaining timetable and discipline, it will be an incredible benefit to your practice.

Yes, I think this will be my biggest challenge in doing a self course. It's so easy to just get up and walk away, without the energy of a large bunch of other meditators in the same centre helping sweep me along.

...Don't be afraid to continue practicing what you've already learned and practicing it according to the 10-day course timetable. ...

Yes indeed, the technique is good, I'm not planning to do any other method just yet. The normal 10-day timetable is what I was thinking of following... oh dear, that means 4am starts...
... Its just recommended that you contact an AT before you begin....

For sure. I know Ross and he knows me, and I think he'll be able to give good advice too.

Just let us know your intended dates so we can generate metta for your benefit...

Will do! Not until southern hemisphere summer though.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Tips for planning a self-retreat

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:03 pm

Hi James,
James the Giant wrote:
...Don't be afraid to continue practicing what you've already learned and practicing it according to the 10-day course timetable. ...

Yes indeed, the technique is good, I'm not planning to do any other method just yet. The normal 10-day timetable is what I was thinking of following... oh dear, that means 4am starts...

I think that's a good plan. Just do the same timetable and stuff as the retreats you are used to. Most of my retreats are "semi-self" retreats at my local Wat. Not the same as being on your own because I usually have a teacher to consult, have the chanting sessions for some inspiration, and have plenty of food (too much!) provided. But basically it's up to me to set my timetable, which is build around morning and evening chanting at 7am and 6pm, and meals at 7:30 and 11 or so. I generally get up at 4 and finish at 9 or so.

If you're going to keep doing the Goenka style then I'd say that if you want to listen to some Dhamma talks it might be better to not listen to specific mediation-oriented retreat talks, since that would clash. Since in my case I have the chanting to make me feel part of the Buddha-Dhamma enterprise, I've little interest in having talks. Too much thinking makes it much more difficult for me to maintain mindfulness. However, being completely on your own is a different story, and some "inspiration" could very well be helpful.

:anjali:
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