Concentration and Insight: Their Development and Integration
October 27 - November 5, 2019
In Buddhist tradition, two meditative practices have always been central. With concentration (samatha) practice, we cultivate the quality of samadhi, the settling, stabilizing, non-distractedness, and unification of our minds, hearts, and bodies. We’ll use both sitting and moving forms of meditation, including regular Qigong, and emphasize the possibility of each person developing further in concentration, whatever the starting level, using a variety of techniques and perspectives. As we settle, we then become much better able to engage in insight (vipassana) practice, examining closely both our experiences of our thoughts, emotions, and bodies, and the general patterns of experience, both more personal and more universal. We see more clearly the dynamics when we are reactive, when we suffer, and when there is a thick sense of self. We develop a “seeing that frees” and we learn to be more with the impermanent flow of experience without reactivity. As the great Thai teacher, Ajahn Chah, said, “We practice meditation to calm the mind and make it still; then it can flow.”
In this retreat, we’ll devote the first five days of the retreat to dedicated concentration practice, and then, for the reminder of the retreat, emphasize the integration of concentration and insight practice, as we deepen in a joyful stillness and a kind and compassionate wisdom. Prerequisite: Completion of at least two 5-night or longer silent Insight Meditation retreats or permission of the teacher.