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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Post by altar »

I am thinking of doing a retreat.
probably it will be a Vipassana retreat.
if I go I will basically have to conform to all the retreats guidelines. although there may be room in my mind for personal discretion, basically that kind of self reflection will be forfeited. nevertheless it seems like its just time... my meditation is such that sometimes I do pay attention to my own thoughts and sometimes I don't, and probably going to the retreat will reveal something like that anyway, that when I arrive there, "my thoughts" will resurface in another way.
I guess my last fear is that it seems very religious... I'm coming to terms with that... it just has to be kind of religious... it's like... I don't know... I'm so used to having my mind guarded that going to a place where I don't have to have it guarded seems strange............

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Re: retreat

Post by JamesTheGiant »

It's just ten days. For ten days can you put aside your own preferences and theories and ego?
After the ten days you can do your own thing again.
It's worth a try.

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Re: retreat

Post by budo »

If you're going to a reputable retreat or monestary then you should be fine. I personally only have experience with mahasi/tong, and thai forest lineages. I would like to try out Goenka one day but they are always full with very long waiting periods.

Retreats in and of themselves cannot harm you. What can only "harm" you is your withdrawal from addictions and sensuality. Can you camp in the woods for 2-3 weeks with basic food, no television or porn, or video games or other forms of sensuality?

The type of meditation you use can also make a difference, worst case you can choose to do "nothing", like for example if it becomes too painful to meditate, and some types of meditation will do that, then just relax instead. You can choose for yourself how much you are willing to bare, and no one can force you otherwise.

On a side note, this is why I think samatha and metta is important, as it acts as a lubricant for the mind before doing insight work.

Also, if you follow the precepts then you will never cause self-harm or harm to others. The virtue training of the threefold training and eightfold path is about not harming yourself and others. As long as you understand that and practice that then you should be safe from yourself:

"The Blessed One said, "Monks, before my self-awakening, when I was still just an unawakened Bodhisatta, the thought occurred to me: 'Why don't I keep dividing my thinking into two sorts?' So I made thinking imbued with sensuality, thinking imbued with ill will, & thinking imbued with harmfulness one sort, and thinking imbued with renunciation, thinking imbued with non-ill will, & thinking imbued with harmlessness another sort.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with sensuality arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with sensuality has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.'"
-MN 19

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