Awakening our Natural Wisdom
Vipassana or insight meditation is the simple direct practice of moment-to-moment observation of the mind/body process with relaxed, open and careful attention. Awareness infused with clear seeing reveals that whatever arises in our experience, is simply the natural display of impersonal conditions. As we learn to observe our experience from a place of stillness and balance supported by wise view, reality is accurately seen and liberating insight arises as a natural result. Loving-kindness or Metta meditation develops the heart’s capacity for patience, acceptance, and forgiveness as we connect with and care for ourselves and others.
This silent retreat will draw primarily on teachings from the Theravada Buddhist tradition, emphasizing continuity of present moment awareness as the foundation for clear seeing and the arising of wisdom. The format will include instruction in both Insight and Loving-kindness meditation, an optional daily period of mindful movement, and meetings with the teachers.
Most of each day will be spent practising silent sitting and walking meditation, with some guided meditation instructions and opportunities for individual and group meetings with the teachers. It is suitable for both beginning and experienced students of meditation.
Teachers: Greg Scharf and Jill Shepherd
Greg Scharf bio:
Greg Scharf began meditating in 1992 and has been teaching residential meditation retreats since 2007, including the annual 3 month retreat at the Insight Meditation Society where he is a core teacher. In his teaching Greg emphasizes the understanding that meditation is fundamentally an exploration of nature and natural processes. He also stresses the critical importance of bringing the qualities of kindness, compassion, and a sense of humor to practice.
Greg has a long-standing relationship with the country and people of Burma (Myanmar), where he trained as a Buddhist monk and where he works with a small humanitarian aid project which particularly targets education, health-care, and support of Buddhist Nuns. Currently living in the high country of northern Arizona, Greg's love of nature and the outdoors deeply informs both his practice and teaching.
Jill Shepherd bio:
Jill Shepherd began practicing insight meditation in Thailand in 1999, and since that time has lived and worked at several meditation centres and monasteries in the US, Australia, England, and Thailand. She recently spent seven years on staff at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, where she participated in several long retreats and Buddhist study programmes, as well as offering weekly meditation classes at a nearby men’s prison. In September 2016 she graduated from the IMS / Spirit Rock teacher training program in the US, under the guidance of Joseph Goldstein and Gil Fronsdal. She is also an Insight Dialogue teacher-in-training under the guidance of Gregory Kramer and Mary Burns. Currently, she divides her time between the US, Australia and New Zealand, teaching vipassana and brahma vihara retreats and offering ongoing study and practice groups focused on bringing the dharma into daily life.
Accommodation: The rooms are all shared rooms, with shared bathrooms. Men and women are housed separately.
Food: The centre will provide simple vegetarian meals for the retreat. Please indicate on the registration form if you have any food allergies or special dietary needs.
Work meditation: To help integrate mindfulness into daily life activities, there will be a period of work meditation each day of approximately 45 minutes.
Ethical Conduct: A core aspect of the Buddha’s teaching is the importance of living by ethical guidelines known as the Five Training Precepts. While on retreat, all participants undertake:
1. To refrain from harming any living beings – not to kill or intentionally hurt any person or creature.
2. To refrain from taking what is not freely given – not to steal or 'borrow' without the consent of the giver, and to accept what is offered.
3. To abstain from sexual activity during the retreat.
4. To practice Noble Silence and to refrain from harming by one's speech – not to lie, gossip or use harsh or hurtful language, and not to use mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices during the retreat.
5. To abstain from using alcohol, recreational drugs and other intoxicants that cloud the mind and harm the body. (This does not apply to prescription medicines.)
Mobile phones: In support of your own and others' meditation practice, mobile phones and other electronic devices can't be used during the retreat. (There is no mobile reception on the Te Moata property)
You will be asked to make a formal commitment to Noble Silence as the fourth training precept (see above), and to leave your phone with the teacher for safe-keeping during the retreat.
In the event of an emergency, family members or friends can call the Te Moata retreat centre on 07 868 8798.
Retreat fees and cancellation policy: The retreat fee covers only the cost of food and accommodation, plus a small contribution to the teacher's international airfares. The teaching is freely offered, and there will be an opportunity to give dana* to the teachers at the end of the retreat.
To reserve a place on the retreat, you will need to pay the full retreat cost. The early-bird discount is available up to two months before the retreat begins, unless sold out prior.
The ticket is refundable up to two months before the retreat begins. If you cancel after 5:00 pm on 22 July 2017, the retreat cost will be forfeited and used to help subsidise low-income tickets.
What to bring:
Sheets, pillowcase and duvet
Jacket or raincoat
Outdoor shoes for walking outside
Indoor-only shoes or slippers
Yoga mat or old blanket for mindful movement
Toiletries and medicines
Torch and spare batteries
Meditation cushion or sitting bench
Meditation shawl or blanket
Clock or watch so you can avoid using a mobile phone to check the time
Cash or cheques to offer dana for teacher
(Linen and towels are NOT provided by the retreat centre)
*Dana: In most Buddhist traditions the teachers are not paid to teach. Instead, the teachings are given on a ‘dana’ basis – dana being the Pali word for generosity or giving freely - so there will be an opportunity to offer a donation for the teaching at the end of the event.
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Jill Shepherd: insight meditation
Jill Shepherd began practicing insight meditation in Thailand in 1999, and since that time has lived and worked at several meditation centres and monasteries in the US, Australia, England, and Thailand. She recently spent seven years on staff at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, where she participated in several long retreats and Buddhist study programmes, as well as offering weekly meditation classes at a nearby men’s prison. She is a graduate of the IMS / Spirit Rock teacher training program in the US under the guidance of Joseph Goldstein and Gil Fronsdal, and divides her time mostly between the US, Australia and New Zealand, teaching vipassana and brahma vihara retreats and offering ongoing study and practice groups focused on bringing the dharma into daily life.