First 10 day retreat?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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lost buddhist
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First 10 day retreat?

Post by lost buddhist » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:05 pm

So, I've been practicing Mahasi style meditation since 2010 without a teacher. The last few years my practice has been quite lacking though.
Anyway, last friday while I was drunk I to got this brilliant idea to join a 10 days vipassana retreat in next september..

Today I got a confirmation that I'd be wellcome to the retreat. And to be honest, this retreat doesn't seem that terrible idea at all and I'm quite interested about it. (as I am somewhat drunk again) ;)

Even though I do like my alcohol, It wouldn't be a problem. The real problem that makes me unsure about this retreat is that I am a 115kg dude and the two daily vegetable meals + afternoon tea makes it sound like that whole retreat would be only about starving.

Pardon for this long intro but I just wanted be honest about this stupid case. My question is that is it usually OK to bring your own extra food to retreats?
And do you think that I might not be ready for this retreat, for any other reason?
In my opinion that's not even a question, been just waiting for anything that I could take more seriously.
After all, it can't be that much worse than the military service I did in past life 18 years ago :)

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Sam Vara
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Re: First 10 day retreat?

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:23 pm

lost buddhist wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:05 pm
So, I've been practicing Mahasi style meditation since 2010 without a teacher. The last few years my practice has been quite lacking though.
Anyway, last friday while I was drunk I to got this brilliant to join a 10 days vipassana retreat in next september..

Today I got a confirmation that I'd be wellcome to the retreat. And to be honest, this retreat doesn't seem that terrible idea at all and I'm quite interested about it. (as I am somewhat drunk again ;)

Even though I do like my alcohol, It wouldn't be a problem. The real problem that makes me unsure about this retreat is that I am a 115kg dude and the two daily vegetable meals + afternoon tea makes it sound like that whole retreat would be only about starving.

Pardon for this long intro but I just wanted be honest about this stupid case. My question is that is it usually OK to bring your own extra food to retreats?
And do you think that I might not be ready for this retreat, for any other reason?
In my opinion that's not even a question, been just waiting for anything that I could take more seriously.
After all, it can't be that much worse than the military service I did in past life 18 years ago :)
Is this one of the retreats in the Goenka tradition of vipassana? If so, then the food should be adequate, although there will be reminders about moderation in eating. You might get hungry, but you won't starve! It will be an opportunity to observe how you relate to food and restraint.

Again, I can't imagine a retreat where you could bring along your own stash of food. Certainly not the Goenka retreats!

It may present its challenges, but they will probably be somewhat different from those of military service. Noble Silence will probably mean that nobody will shout at you, for example! My advice is to stay sober if possible in the meantime, take it seriously, but with a light heart.

Good luck! Let us know how you got on.

lost buddhist
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Re: First 10 day retreat?

Post by lost buddhist » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:51 pm

Thank you for the reply Sam Vara :)

There are two teachers, one of them is a former monk from Sayadaw U Tejaniya's monastry and the another one is also a long time practitioner in Mahasi lineage.

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Sam Vara
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Re: First 10 day retreat?

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:56 pm

I'm not familiar with their traditions, but I would imagine that the above advice would hold good. In addition, you might want to do a shorter retreat (maybe a couple of days?) in order to acclimatise yourself, if one is available anywhere. Also, try sitting for longer periods, stretching, and playing around with comfortable sitting postures - I found this beneficial for longer retreats.

To check out their regime and expectations during the retreat, see if the organisation has a website, or maybe give them a ring or drop them an email.

lost buddhist
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Re: First 10 day retreat?

Post by lost buddhist » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:28 pm

Thank you for this very helpful advice Sam Vara.

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mikenz66
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Re: First 10 day retreat?

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:05 pm

Hi Lost Buddhist
lost buddhist wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:05 pm
So, I've been practicing Mahasi style meditation since 2010 without a teacher. The last few years my practice has been quite lacking though.
...
Today I got a confirmation that I'd be wellcome to the retreat. And to be honest, this retreat doesn't seem that terrible idea at all and I'm quite interested about it. (as I am somewhat drunk again) ;)
...
A Goenka retreat about 11 years ago was my first longish retreat. I'd been practicing Mahasi style for a year or so, and had done short retreats.

I found it very useful. The thing I had most difficulty with was that there is no formal walking meditation, and therefore a lot of sitting, which was quite hard for me for the first few days. I spent most of the free time walking to get my legs working!

My main advice with a Goenka retreat is to just suspend any internal arguments with the organisation or the dhamma talks. Goenka had his own slightly idiosynchratic ideas, and his followers sometimes feel overly rigid, but if you just accept that this is a very valuable opportunity to do a silent retreat under good conditions, and to try out a different approach, you should be fine.

I went back to my usual approach after the retreat, but I still have fond memories, and the body-scanning skill I developed is still useful at times.

:heart:
Mike

SarathW
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Re: First 10 day retreat?

Post by SarathW » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:48 pm

last friday while I was drunk I to got this brilliant idea to join a 10 days vipassana retreat in next september..
Have you tried to stay without alcohol for ten days?
I am sure you will experience a higher bliss if you can do this yourself.
However, tend day retreat will help you to achieve this.
Good luck with your effort.
:twothumbsup:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”


lost buddhist
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Re: First 10 day retreat?

Post by lost buddhist » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:38 pm

SarathW wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:48 pm
Have you tried to stay without alcohol for ten days?
Not lately. Not for a year. Been sipping beer about 2 or 3 times a week as I don't see enough of a reason to not.
Wish I wouldn't but I've become somewhat nihilist.
And after dealing with all sorts of addictions in this life, I know that being without alcohol or anything else won't be much of a problem as long as I can find convincing reason for it.
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:01 am
id go with mahasi-like vipassana instead
This is actually Mahasi style retreat. This former monk leading the retreat was in Sayadaw U Tejaniya's monastry and Tejaniya's teacher was Ven. Shwe Oo Min Sayadaw, one of the first meditation teachers trained by Mahasi Sayadaw, accroding to the Wikipedia.
And Sayadaw U Tejaniya has his own practical approach to Mahasi style vipassana which I like.

Thank you all for these replies. It's inspiring to see people on these forums who are able to take that much more seriously these teachings and practices in which I after all do believe.
Only if I'd have more faith in to those more traditinional buddhist views about rebirth, I might feel more responsibility about my actions..
Anyway, that retreat might be a welcome new beginning. Worth a try anyway.

For my day job I've been working for 10 years as an engineer in R&D which does require high level of commitment, diligence, learning and pushing own boundaries every day, so perhaps I'm not totally lost case yet?
Sorry for all this unnecessary rambling :toast:


lost buddhist
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Re: First 10 day retreat?

Post by lost buddhist » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:38 pm

Thanks mate :)

SarathW
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Re: First 10 day retreat?

Post by SarathW » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:38 pm

I can find a convincing reason for it.
I think if you stop drinking you find the reason for it.
I used to consume alcohol and stopped about six years ago.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

lost buddhist
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Re: First 10 day retreat?

Post by lost buddhist » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:56 pm

SarathW wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:38 pm
I think if you stop drinking you find the reason for it.
I used to consume alcohol and stopped about six years ago.
You might be right. Thanks SarathW.

Bijlefeld
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Re: First 10 day retreat?

Post by Bijlefeld » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:49 am

Just got back from my first 10 day retreat (Goenka) last week and I’ll agree with the points raised above. I’m very glad I went, although next time I think I’d like to check out a Mahasi lineage retreat.
10 days without alcohol is less difficult than you might think, even if you go back to drinking after, it’s never a bad idea to take a break for a while! For me, when I stopped for a bit, I just kept going on that and I’ve been sober for a couple years now. It makes meditation way easier, at least for me!
The food was definitely sufficient and most peoples metabolism will adapt a bit. While highly focused insight meditation isn’t easy work and sitting for long periods of time can get pretty taxing on your knees and ankles (and pretty much everywhere else!) it’s not like you’re burning tons of calories either.
It’s surprising how much progress can be made in a short time while at these retreats, I did the math and it’s like getting 2 months worth of practice in the 10 days, assuming you sit 2 hours or so a day now.
Wishing you the best of luck on your retreat experience!
With Metta,
Josh
‘etaṃ santaṃ etaṃ paṇītaṃ yadidaṃ sabba­saṅ­khā­ra­sama­tho sabbū­padhipa­ṭi­nissaggo taṇhākkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānan’

lost buddhist
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Re: First 10 day retreat?

Post by lost buddhist » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:55 pm

Thanks Josh! Nice to hear you enjoyed your 10 day retreat.

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