Leigh Brasington and retreats

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Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Goob » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:03 am

Hi y'all,

I have the opportunity to attend a 14-day retreat with Leigh Brasington, focusing on development of the Jhanas and the Satipatthana Sutta, in a couple of monhts time. The running cost of the retreat is quite high and I'll also have to rearrange quite a few of my plans for this fall if I choose to attend.

Does anyone have experience from Mr. Brasington as a teacher, both in meditation and otherwise, and his particular take on the Jhanas and personal guidance? I don't have a particular teacher that I've followed previously but have always been drawn to the writings and talks of Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu and his particular take on things.

I know of LB's website and I do like his down to earth, no-nonsense writing, but anyone have any thoughts or experiences they'd like to share?
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Heaviside » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:08 am

I haven't physically been to any of his retreats, but I have listened to most of the presentations/workshops he has placed on his website. Most consist of daily talks he gave at associated retreats. I found them to be superb. Try listening to some to reach your iwn conclusion.

Lije you, though, I find his workshops to be pretty pricey.
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:08 pm

A friend of mine from my sutta study group has been on a number of jhana retreats in Asia ( some lasting several months ). She knows Lee and invited him to speak to and sit with our group. He is a very talented speaker, very easy to talk to, grounded in science and he has read the entire Pali Canon.

One thing Lee Brasington and my friend emphasized to us about the jhanas is that reaching them requires time. They both mentioned that a week may not be enough depending on the person and that typically jhana retreats/training lasts at months sometimes. They also mentioned that a minimum samatha practice should be at least an hour a day.

Based on having met him that night, I would say that if you can go to his retreat, do it, it will be worth it, but manage your expectations.

HTH
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:10 pm

Heaviside wrote:I haven't physically been to any of his retreats, but I have listened to most of the presentations/workshops he has placed on his website.


I have seen an interview with him on youtube, but I completely missed what you mentioned on his site. Thank you.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:22 pm

I found this
http://www.muditajournal.com/archives/179.php

by googling on

"review of retreat with leigh brassington"
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Heaviside » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:15 pm

Jhana4 wrote:
Heaviside wrote:I haven't physically been to any of his retreats, but I have listened to most of the presentations/workshops he has placed on his website.


I have seen an interview with him on youtube, but I completely missed what you mentioned on his site. Thank you.


I think maybe I was mistaken in thinking that his talks were associated with a retreat, but if you follow a somewhat obscure link labeled "talks" on his web page, you will ultimately find a number of talks at

http://www.audiodharma.org/teacher/24/

As well as others.

Ll the best.
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:35 am

Thank you again.

The titles were interesting in that they seemed very similar to what I heard discussed at the Bhavana Society ( Theravada monestary and retreat center ). The monks at this center spoke very clearly and seemed to understand the Western layperson.
Given that I wonder if it is worth it to go to the trouble and expense to travel to one of Brasington's retreats.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby mal4mac » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:40 pm

richard_rca wrote:
I have the opportunity to attend a 14-day retreat with Leigh Brasington, focusing on development of the Jhanas... The running cost of the retreat is quite high and I'll also have to rearrange quite a few of my plans for this fall if I choose to attend.

... I don't have a particular teacher that I've followed previously but have always been drawn to the writings and talks of Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu and his particular take on things.


Why not go to his Thanissaro Bhikkhu's monastery? Or some other monastery, if it is closer to you? There is no monetary charge, and you can go any time...

http://watmetta.org/visitor.htm
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Goob » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:25 pm

Thanks for the info guys. I'll have a think about it :smile:

mal4mac wrote:Why not go to his Thanissaro Bhikkhu's monastery? Or some other monastery, if it is closer to you? There is no monetary charge, and you can go any time...

http://watmetta.org/visitor.htm


I live in northern Europe and the retreat will be held there, but as a matter of fact I have been thinking about visiting California and Wat Metta sometime next year. Thanks for the tip.
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Anagarika » Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:24 pm

richard_rca wrote:Thanks for the info guys. I'll have a think about it :smile:

mal4mac wrote:Why not go to his Thanissaro Bhikkhu's monastery? Or some other monastery, if it is closer to you? There is no monetary charge, and you can go any time...

http://watmetta.org/visitor.htm


I live in northern Europe and the retreat will be held there, but as a matter of fact I have been thinking about visiting California and Wat Metta sometime next year. Thanks for the tip.


I've been fortunate to visit Wat Metta, as my family all lives in San Diego. It is very much worth a trip. Be aware that Ven. Thanissaro is very serious, and really does not venture out into the laity for meet and greets. He does have telephone time set up, where people from around the world can literally call in and speak with him. "Telephone: 619-813-8461The phone is turned off most of the day, but you are welcome to leave a voice-mail. The message inbox is reviewed at the end of each day, and we will return your call upon request. It is often helpful if you specify some times during the next day or two when you will be available to avoid phone tag. If you need to speak to a monk, incoming calls are answered between 6 and 7pm Pacific Time every evening, usually by Ajaan Geoff. If, during the calling hour, you still get the voice-mail recording, it means the phone is in use, so try again in ten minutes."


I confess I have not spent an overnight there, and chances are possible that if you're perceived to be serious and mindful of the activities there, Ajahn Geoff might take some time to chat. I started out by having some good chats with some of the younger Bhikkhus there, and then Ven. Thanissaro joined in for a bit. He instructed like a dean of a great university...serious, weighty, and precise. Friendly, too. I was thrilled, to say the least. Maybe he perceived that I was not a complete Dhamma idiot...I probably fooled him on that point. My point is all of this is that he is a very serious man, and don't be disappointed if there's not a lot of one on one time with him, asking questions and rapping about whatever comes to mind. I will say that his Bhikkhus there are impeccably trained, and can answer any number of questions with great accuracy. There are also a dozen lay folk from around the world staying there and practicing, and they are separated from the main areas down the hill a bit. It may be that if one spends some days and weeks there, there would be real chances for serious one on one dialogue with Ven. Thanissaro. Be ready, though, almost as though you were an amateur physicist in 1935 visiting Princeton, and had a question for Einstein.
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Goob » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:31 am

Hi Soup,

Thanks for the info! I might send you a PM some day about staying at WM. I think we talked about it briefly in another thread a while back and I think I mentioned that I've been planning to go for a while and that I asked permission to stay for a couple of months. Hope to go early next year maybe.

I had sort of already figured that AT is a serious man with little time for chit-chat and that it's pretty much up to oneself to make progress, but I'm more after a conducive environment and monastery headed by someone I respect and trust than someone to hold my hand in every step. Doesn't hurt that I've always wanted to visit California either! :smile:

I think I've decided to not attend the Leigh Brasington retreat, mostly due to time and money restraints. He seems like a very good teacher though and I've just begun listening to his talks on right view at http://www.audiodharma.org. Good stuff so far.
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Anagarika » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:38 am

Hi Richard:

I agree with you completely....you will have a great experience at Wat Metta. I hope my earlier post did not seem too negative. The reason I go to Wat Metta, and go back, and miss family events and go back, is because every time that I have been there it has been a very positive experience. I am sure you in your own way will derive an enormous amount of positives from being there, and as I mentioned, whether you are able to spend a lot of interaction with Ven. Thanissaro, or not, everyone else there is very friendly, very focused. One of the younger monks, Taan Dan, is a really good guy, very smart, and yet extremely helpful. My sense is that the people that come to Wat Metta and stay there are just the kind of people you'd like to be around. And yes, if you haven't been to the San Diego area, it's very much worth a visit. Wat Metta is amidst avocado orchards, and the weather is bright and sunny most days, and temperate at night; perfect weather and no mosquitoes. Hire a rental car as it is an easy drive to Valley Center outside of Escondido, California, but the car is needed to get you to Wat Metta. It's an easy drive but one that needs a GPS. If you're going to stay for a while I believe that there are lay folks from Wat Metta that can pick you up in the Escondido area, and you can get to Escondido from the San Diego airport using mass transit.

Mike
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby mal4mac » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:02 pm

richard_rca wrote:I live in northern Europe...


What about Amaravati?

http://www.amaravati.org/
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby manas » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:03 am

mal4mac wrote:
richard_rca wrote:
I have the opportunity to attend a 14-day retreat with Leigh Brasington, focusing on development of the Jhanas... The running cost of the retreat is quite high and I'll also have to rearrange quite a few of my plans for this fall if I choose to attend.

... I don't have a particular teacher that I've followed previously but have always been drawn to the writings and talks of Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu and his particular take on things.


Why not go to his Thanissaro Bhikkhu's monastery? Or some other monastery, if it is closer to you? There is no monetary charge, and you can go any time...

http://watmetta.org/visitor.htm


:thumbsup:

I'd rather camp in a tent (if need be), yet have access to the guidance of Thanissaro Bhikkhu, than reside in relative comfort elsewhere.

metta
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Jhana4 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:36 pm

manas wrote:I'd rather camp in a tent (if need be), yet have access to the guidance of Thanissaro Bhikkhu, than reside in relative comfort elsewhere.

metta
:anjali:


I apologize for getting off topic, the original poster wanted to hear opinions about Lee Brasington as a jhana teacher.

Have you been on a retreat with Thanissaro Bhikkhu?
If you thought he was a good meditation teacher, a good jhana teacher, what gave you that opinion?
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Heaviside » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:26 pm

Jhana4 wrote:A friend of mine from my sutta study group has been on a number of jhana retreats in Asia ( some lasting several months ). She knows Lee and invited him to speak to and sit with our group. He is a very talented speaker, very easy to talk to, grounded in science and he has read the entire Pali Canon.

One thing Lee Brasington and my friend emphasized to us about the jhanas is that reaching them requires time. They both mentioned that a week may not be enough depending on the person and that typically jhana retreats/training lasts at months sometimes. They also mentioned that a minimum samatha practice should be at least an hour a day.

Based on having met him that night, I would say that if you can go to his retreat, do it, it will be worth it, but manage your expectations.

HTH


"One thing Lee Brasington and my friend emphasized to us about the jhanas is that reaching them requires time. They both mentioned that a week may not be enough depending on the person and that typically jhana retreats/training lasts at months sometimes. They also mentioned that a minimum samatha practice should be at least an hour a day."

I suppose I am just a suspicious person, but when I see a statement like this it always seems to me like the thirty five pages of fine print on an Apple EULA1--all of which boils down to a legalism that says "your mileage might vary!"

Also, I have been practicing rather religiously fir forty five minutes per day for about two years and have yet to experience a definite jhana. Of course, he did say an hour a day!
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Jhana4 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:11 am

Heaviside wrote:I suppose I am just a suspicious person, but when I see a statement like this it always seems to me like the thirty five pages of fine print on an Apple EULA1--all of which boils down to a legalism that says "your mileage might vary!"

Also, I have been practicing rather religiously fir forty five minutes per day for about two years and have yet to experience a definite jhana. Of course, he did say an hour a day!


Brasington and my friends who have trained with him have reached the jhanas. You haven't.

I've known my friends for years through my sutta study class at the vihara. I trust them and what they have to say. I've had Buddhist monks tell me the same things about the amount of home practice time and retreat time necessary to make the jhanas likely to happen.

Good luck.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Heaviside » Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:20 pm

Jhana4,

Thanks for your comment. I bow to your direct experience. My comment was based upon a mistrust of "escape clauses," not of Leigh Brasington himself, whom I find to be both interesting and informative.

As a more general issue, I wonder if anyone has seen this video of Bhante Vimalaramsi's? He presents a very interesting history of the Visuddhimagga, casting into doubt the "authenticity" of one-pointed concentration, nimmitas, and by implication the one-pointed jhanas. Any comments?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FB-nqhNFpVo
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:48 pm

Heaviside wrote:Jhana4,

Thanks for your comment. I bow to your direct experience. My comment was based upon a mistrust of "escape clauses," not of Leigh Brasington himself, whom I find to be both interesting and informative.

As a more general issue, I wonder if anyone has seen this video of Bhante Vimalaramsi's? He presents a very interesting history of the Visuddhimagga, casting into doubt the "authenticity" of one-pointed concentration, nimmitas, and by implication the one-pointed jhanas. Any comments?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FB-nqhNFpVo


Vimalaramsi is hardly a reliable source for Theravadin/Buddhist history. See this thread: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=7375#p116920

See also: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=9016

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=10912#p165199
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Re: Leigh Brasington and retreats

Postby Jhana4 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:16 pm

Heaviside wrote:Jhana4,

Thanks for your comment. I bow to your direct experience. My comment was based upon a mistrust of "escape clauses," not of Leigh Brasington himself, whom I find to be both interesting and informative.


I see it from another direction as of being an "honest business man" for Brasington, another secular teacher, or a monk to say "before you go to the trouble and expense of coming out there for 1 - 2 weeks, please be aware that it is possible you may not get what you are looking for"
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
Posts: 1308
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
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