Individual Meditation Retreat?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Individual Meditation Retreat?

Postby Kabouterke » Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:11 pm

Because I'm between jobs, I have a few weeks off. I've looked all over Europe to find meditation retreats, and I've found quite a few. The only problem is I already have something else planned when the retreats will happen. So, I'm playing with the idea of just doing a 2-3 day retreat by myself at my local Buddhist temple so the monk can help me should I have any problems/questions.

Here's the schedule I had in mind:
6:00-6:45 Vipassana
6:45-7:00 Walking
7:00-7:45 Vipassana

7:45 -8.00 Chanting; breakfast
8:00 - 9:00 Break

9:00 - 9:45 Vipassana
9:45 - 10:00 Walking
10:00 - 10:45 Vipassana
10:45 - 11:00 Walking
11:00 - 11:45 Vipassana

11:45 - 1:00 Chanting, Lunch, Break

1:00 - 1:45 Vipassana
1:45 - 2:00 Walking
2:00 - 2:45 Vipassana
2:45 - 3:00 Walking
3:00 - 3:45 Vipassana

3:45 - 5:00 Break

5:00 - 5:45 Vipassana
5:45 - 6:00 Walking
6:00 - 6:45 Vipassana
6:45 - 7:00 Walking
7:00 - 7:45 Vipassana

7:45 - 8:00: Chanting;'Go home, eat dinner, go to bed.

Has anyone ever done a retreat by themselves? Any tips, ideas? What about the schedule? Any tips on how to make it more balanced?

Thanks for your ideas, everyone!
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Re: Individual Meditation Retreat?

Postby purple planet » Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:47 pm

no dinner stop at lunch - and ask the monk before you start how to meditate to make sure your walking and sitting correctly
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Re: Individual Meditation Retreat?

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:32 pm

I imagine that during your retreat you will want to observe the eight precepts?
In which case you may want to schedule your mid-day meal to finish before noon.
I also suggest you remain flexible with regard to your intended program so that you can fit it in with the monastery timetable.
kind regards,

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Re: Individual Meditation Retreat?

Postby Kabouterke » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:37 pm

Hey, thanks for the ideas. I'm kind of modeling it off of various Soto Zen retreats I've done in the past, where eating after noon isn't a problem... but, it's worth considering.

As far as the schedule goes, does it look even? Are there some other practices that you would personally do to kind of break it up a little? (Chating, prostrations, etc etc).
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Re: Individual Meditation Retreat?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:41 pm

Walking meditation is not just a break from sitting meditation. You might want to try longer periods of walking practice, especially when you are feeling tired.
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Re: Individual Meditation Retreat?

Postby Kabouterke » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:43 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Walking meditation is not just a break from sitting meditation. You might want to try longer periods of walking practice, especially when you are feeling tired.


Thanks for your comment. Yes, that's true. Again, I'm just adapting the schedules from previous Zen retreats I've been on, and they alternate between the two like I've done above. In Theravada traditions, is walking meditation typicaly afforded more time during retreats?
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Re: Individual Meditation Retreat?

Postby purple planet » Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:34 am

I wanted to write on the start you should do more walking meditation but if your not sure how to do it then maybe you shouldnt do it

so if you can talk to a monk on how to do walking meditation before then i think you should have them both exactly the same time - 1 hour walking 1 hour sitting or 10 minutes walking 10 minutes sitting

in walking meditation you dont feel as much concentrated as you would when sitting but it is still "working" its still mindfulness - concentration on what you are doing at the moment
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance
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Re: Individual Meditation Retreat?

Postby Bakmoon » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:51 am

Kabouterke wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Walking meditation is not just a break from sitting meditation. You might want to try longer periods of walking practice, especially when you are feeling tired.


Thanks for your comment. Yes, that's true. Again, I'm just adapting the schedules from previous Zen retreats I've been on, and they alternate between the two like I've done above. In Theravada traditions, is walking meditation typicaly afforded more time during retreats?


In some traditions it is. In the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition for example, practitioners are advised to practice half walking half sitting, and they do it half and half, although normally they start with the walking meditation first. Although I practice a different method, I find that splitting up meditation time in this way is very good.

What tradition does your local temple follow by the way?
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.
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Re: Individual Meditation Retreat?

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:28 am

Just keep your schedule flexible, be open to making adjustments if things don't pan out, as others have said 50/50 might work better. Regarding eating, you're not a monk so no need to not eat after mid day and sleep on a low bed, but it may help to limit your intake of food and be mindful of your portions. Overeating is what induces sloth, not the times at which one eats - That's just my experience anyway. Avoiding entertainment such as TV, games, books (other than Dhamma) and computers, cologne/perfume (and other sensual smells), and any other activities that draw one into the sensual realm would naturally be very beneficial for your retreat. That would naturally include avoiding sex/masturbation for the duration of the retreat. So that's uh, 6 precepts all in all :lol: 6 very good ones.
Abstaining from:
- Killing/taking life
- Lying
- Sexual activity
- Stealing/taking what is not freely given
- Intoxicating substances
- Entertainment, garlands (cologne, body spray, smellies)

I think that's a good level of sila for a self retreat. Perhaps you are one who likes to formally receive the precepts from a monk, perhaps you have your own precept ritual or perhaps you like to just make a mental determination to do so as I do. Whatever the case precepts are tools to be used to further one's progress. You can't have Pannya without Samadhi and you can't have Samadhi without Sila, so it's very important :)

You may even want to find a recorded retreat on dhammaseed or one of the many audio dhamma sites you can find a list of sites here. This would include a morning/evening dhamma talk into the fold, and you could even mix and match and work on a theme for the retreat, or pick out talks as you go along according to a subject you feel you need some guidance on e.g. viriya or something.

That's just an idea though.

With metta
Jack
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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