Brizzy wrote:As far as what is a suitable retreat environment, we need look no further than the sutta's...
For the first sutta if you look 2 paragraphs down you'll see this;
"Certainly, Master Ananda, the Bamboo Grove is delightful, quiet, free of noise, with an air of isolation, remote from human beings, & appropriate for retreat because of venerable ones who are endowed with mental absorption (jhana), who make mental absorption their habit. You venerable ones are both endowed with mental absorption & make mental absorption your habit."
So this recommendation is for those who wish to practise mental absorption (jhana), and for that of course the more prefect and quiet and sublime the conditions the better. Remember, though, that Goenka teaches insight meditation for which quiet and perfect conditions are not necessary.
Now if you have a natural ability for that, or have a few months or years to spare, or perfect conditions then I'd say go for it, otherwise better to work on insight which is the topic of this thread.
The end of the first paragraph of the second quote ends with;
"Now tell us, sir, the practice:
the code of discipline & concentration."
Reading through the quote it's obvious the code of discipline refers to the monks vinaya as the passage is very oriented towards monks, and of course it mentions concentration there also, aka mental absorption (jhana). So yes if you want to cultivate concentration a monks life would be a good one, but I'm not sure you can make all that happen with a 10 day retreat which is why most retreats are insight meditation oriented.
Of course it's true that insight and concentration go hand in hand and developing one leads to the other but it's only if you want to develop jhana that idyllic conditions are needed I think.