Retreats20/06/2023 2023-08-10 16:08
A retreat is a moment for immersed focus, feeling of community and energizing inspiration. Every meditator has experienced that their meditative practice is regularly challenged by social pressures, lack of time, the appeal of various distractions, and the absence of a supportive environment. This influences the intensity and continuity of their practice resulting in less meditative progress. A retreat is a unique opportunity to have one’s depth of practice reinvigorated by doing multiple daily group meditations in silent, beautiful, and inspiring surroundings, feeling the bonds of spiritual friendship while following the supportive rhythm of the gong.
Allowing yourself to take time for one or two retreats each year, will give the necessary support to keep a stable practice, and as you will receive new input, to be able to experience new insights and rekindle your joy for meditating. The opportunity to be in direct contact with an experienced teacher for a week or longer, is possibly its greatest benefit. A retreat will give you the opportunity to stand still for a moment to focus on training your mind without the turbulence and pressures of your regular daily life.
The Buddha Project will offer four annual retreats that seamlessly complement the In-Depth Meditation Training, the weekly online meditation course. These retreats will cover three interconnected topics tailored to suit practitioners of varying skill levels.
Vipassana is a form of Buddhist meditation that focuses on developing insight or “clearly seeing” into the true nature of reality. It is one of the oldest and most widely practiced forms of meditation in the Buddhist tradition. The practitioner observes the nature of their own mind and body, and learns to see things as they really are, without the distortions of their own thoughts, emotions, and desires. The focus of these retreats will be on basic Vipassana methods as taught in the Theravada Forest Tradition of Myanmar, grounded in the deeply compassionate motivation, of wanting to become enlightened for the welfare of all sentient beings.
Compassion and Lojong
Lojong practice involves using the challenges and difficulties of everyday life as opportunities to transform negative emotions into positive qualities. These mind training retreats will focus on a combination of training in serenity (shamatha) and developing the four great qualities of the heart: equanimity, empathetic joy, love, and compassionate care. These Four Immeasurables ‘flow like rivers into the great ocean of bodhicitta’, the altruistic mind of awakening.
The goal of Mahamudra is to directly experience the nature of mind, the source of all wisdom and compassion. Mahamudra, or “great seal”, refers to the ultimate truth that everything in the world lacks a fixed, independent essence, but exists interconnected and depends on various causes and conditions. This profound and advanced meditation practice forms the pinnacle of the portfolio of Tibetan meditative methods. Daily meditation focused on the nature of the mind will be enhanced by incorporating the Gaden Lha Gyema, a guru yoga practice that lies at the intersection of both sutra and tantra traditions. This essential technique is a core component of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Where and how
The retreats will be organized in collaboration with two FPMT Retreat Centers: the Maitreya Instituut located in the rural eastern part of the Netherlands (Loenen) and the Institut Vajra Yogini located in a beautiful chateau in the south of France (Marzens). All the retreats will be guided in English. The Institut Vajra Yogini will also provide real-time French translation. After the retreats the video and audio recordings will be made available for the participants via an access link on this website.
For more information and registration, please visit the websites of the respective centers: