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The discipline of home retreat

Some notes on the difficulties and benefits of home retreat as we develop this new form for intensive contemplative practice in the Covid era. Written as part of the welcome letter to our Summer 2020 home retreat: Living the Dhamma. Home retreat is similar and different from retreat at a center, of course. The schedule and practices are almost identical …

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“Strive on!” (skillfully). Learning the Dance of Right Effort

And what is right effort? It’s when a mendicant generates enthusiasm, tries, makes an effort, exerts the mind, and strives so that bad, unskillful qualities don’t arise. They generate enthusiasm, try, make an effort, exert the mind, and strive so that bad, unskillful qualities that have arisen are given up. They generate enthusiasm, try, make an effort, exert the mind, …

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Observing the Uposatha (Sabbath)

The Pāli word uposatha means “observance,” and refers to the ancient Buddhist tradition of devoting a day to our practice, much like the Christian sabbath, which is a fine translation of the word. The Buddha strongly encouraged lay practitioners to keep the uposatha, as the texts at the bottom of this page indicate. Observing the uposatha day might be as …

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Support our retreat scholarship fund

We’re grateful to be able to offer our spring 2020 retreat in a full Gift Economy model, with scholarships available for all who need them. More than half of the retreat participants have requested some amount of scholarship support, and it is only through the generosity of the larger community that we are able to fulfill these requests and make …

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“Even two mountains of gold are not enough…”: Livelihood, scarcity, & the dukkha of individualism

It’s “Super Tuesday” as I write this, and though I’m mainly worried that the Dems will mess this up and the world will get another 4 years of the current situation, I’m also amazed. Never in my life have two of the leading contenders for president been strong progressives, each with intelligent progressive economic ideas that if enacted would change …

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“…incalculable, immeasurable”: The Blessings of Gift Economy

Once the Buddha was living at his most beloved monastery, a park given to the monastic community (saṅgha) by a passionate donor and community leader named Anāthapiṇḍika, outside the city of Sāvatthī. His two senior disciples, Sāriputta and Moggallāna, at that time were about 490 miles away, “wandering in the Southern Hills” with their own groups of students, and were …

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“Do not ignore the effect of Right Action”: Ethics, kamma, and the Eightfold Path

The Right Action limb of the path covers the first 3 precepts, starting with non-harming. We’ll look at this excerpt from a sutta called “Intentional” (AN 10.217) to start off, which describes how (and which) actions always have consequences. “Mendicants, I don’t say that intentional deeds that have been performed and accumulated are eliminated without being experienced. And that may …

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8 Yoga Texts Every Student Should Read

These excerpts are taken from the handout to our 20-hour YA-approved “Yoga Humanities” course: Intro to the History of Yoga: Philosophy, Practice, Transformation. Each excerpt is followed by a reflection question for use in class or individual study based on reflection questions in the course. Each of these excerpts is from a text that is central to its particular era, …

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“You Have to Burn Through It”: Remembering Robert Hall

I first met Robert Hall in an interview room at Spirit Rock, during the February part of the 2-month retreat in 2000. I had just started practice there the previous summer, and this was my first long silent retreat. I had found my way to Insight Meditation the way lots of folks did, by stumbling across Jack Kornfield’s book, A …

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