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Janice Cittasubha Sheppard (online via zoom)
October 10, 2020 @ 9:00 am - October 11, 2020 @ 12:00 pm
Receiving the Dhamma.
A Note from the teacher about Online Retreats:
Online retreats are a new phenomenon, so I think it is worth a few words to talk about them. I’d encourage you not to assume they are exactly like a residential retreat. Some people may choose to hold them that way and sustain Noble silence and formal practice continuously, but many will not want or be able to do so, and that makes sense too. Online retreats offer a different and still valuable way of deepening our Dhamma practice.
Over that last couple of months, I’ve attended two 3-day retreats and one 6-day online retreat, and I’ve found them beneficial, and not the same as a residential retreat. I’d recommend you think of online retreats as more like spending time in a monastery. At a monastery, there are times during the day for formal practice, but much of the day is spent managing the activities of life: eating, maintaining property, cleaning, etc. The key difference from what we may consider our ‘normal daily life’ is that everything done in the monastery is approached through a reflective and contemplative lens.
So should you join this online retreat, and I hope you will, during the unscheduled times you should feel free to prepare food and share meals with household members, do crafts, garden, read Dhamma, go for a walk, or anything that supports a quiet, contemplative heart. That also means you may consider what doesn’t need your attention. Since this is a very short retreat, I’d suggest it likely that email, news, and anything on the computer or TV likely can be put aside in favor of meditating or engaging in other contemplative activities.
Think of it as living as a monk or nun during this time, rather than being on a silent residential retreat. Monks and nuns are not always in silence or meditating. And when they are not meditating, they sustain an intention toward contemplation and awakening that frames the attitude they bring to everything and the choices they make. I’d encourage you to enter the online retreat in this same way.— Janice Cittasubha Sheppard
In our practice, we learn to release conceiving to cultivate receiving. We aren’t receiving from anyone or anything. We are opening the heart to receive the gift of the Dhamma of the way things are. Receiving the Dhamma requires releasing our views and desires about how things used to be, should be, or will be, in the future. It means bringing forth the patience, good-will, courage, compassion, and wisdom to use all six senses to rest in awareness without clinging or pushing away.
We do this not by efforting, but by letting go and allowing the truth of the way things are to be known. Ajahn Sumedho explains meditation as just knowing each moment as “like this,” and Ajahn Viradhammo talks about our practice as knowing that we know. This open receptivity is a felt experience that releases self-view and connects us to good-will, compassion, gladness, and equanimity.
Our online practice together will provide an opportunity to investigate how we learn to let go of conceiving and release into the ease, peace, and stillness of receptive awareness.
The retreat will include Dhamma reflections, opportunities for questions, walking, sitting, and movement meditations (and other surprises).
Lodging is available at Holy Wisdom Monastery for those wanting a more secluded environment in which to practice during the retreat. To reserve a room, you will need to contact Holy Wisdom directly — call Brooke Miller at (608) 836-1631, ext. 100.
This retreat is freely offered. There is no fee to attend, but registration is required. After registering, you will receive the Zoom meeting link to attend the retreat. The retreat will begin at 9:00 am on Saturday, October 10, and end at noon on Sunday, October 11. Should you wish to do so, information on how to offer dana will be emailed after the retreat ends.
Depending on the number of registrants, the schedule may be modified, but will be approximately as follows:
Saturday, October 10
9:00 -9:15 am Welcome, logistics
9:15 – 10:30 am Taking the precepts & refuges, instructions, meditation
10:30-10:50 am Gentle movement
10:50-11:10 am Walking meditation
11:10-11:55 am Sitting meditation
11:55 -3:00 pm Meal preparation and rest (not on Zoom)
3:00-3:20 pm Gentle movement
3:20-4:15 pm Dhamma talk
4:15-4:45 Sitting meditation
4:45-6:30 pm Meal and rest (not on Zoom)
6:30-8:00 pm Get in your pj’s and robe, be comfy, and join on zoom for a surprise
Sunday, October 11
9:00 -9:15 am Gentle movement
9:15-10:00 Guidance and sitting meditation
10-10:15 am Walking meditation
10:15-11:00 am Questions and response
11:00 -12:00 pm Final thoughts and closing