Our Guiding Teacher, Chan Master Simon Child, Chuan Fa Jing Hong, is the second Western Dharma heir of the late Chan Master Sheng Yen of Taiwan, receiving Dharma Transmission in 2000. I was walking along Porth High Street and I noticed two photographs advertising a woman's hairdressing shop. We have all done it; watch somebody skimming stones across the water and many of us have tried it ourselves. This is the first of two articles edited from retreat talks by Simon Child introducing koan-practice and explaining how to penetrate koans. I had never been on any kind of retreat before I arrived at the Western Zen retreat at Maenllwyd in November. The articles on this website have been submitted by various authors and the views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the Western Chan Fellowship.
Be warned that a monastery is not a spa, and your accommodations are unlikely to be luxurious.
These retreats are suitable for those who have a regular meditation practice and who regularly attend retreats, a centre or a group within the context of the Triratna Buddhist Community.
Although at the time of the Buddha there were none of the environmental issues now facing us, the Dharma offers us a spiritual response. When our lives so often feel that they are full of activity and information, we can move more fully into the experience of being ourselves and into a more positive and harmonious relationship with others and the world around us.There will be talks, poetry, ritual, meditation, discussion, periods of silence and the opportunity of just being in nature.
Please note: You will need to have been meditating regularly within the context of the Triratna Buddhist Community for two years before attending this retreat.
This late addition to our 2016 programme is an extra opportunity to benefit from a meditation retreat with Paramananda.
On this retreat we will explore creative writing and the relationship between creative writing and Buddhist practice, both in theory and in practice.
Mindfulness wakes us up to the extraordinary richness of our experience while drawing enables us to communicate this with spontaneity and sensitivity.
A regular meditation practice can bring welcome periods of peace and calm into the rigours and demands of our everyday life.
Balajit lived and worked at Vajraloka meditation centre in Wales for many years where he also led retreats and he is currently training as a SHEN therapist.
Throughout the year we offer Refuge Retreats that focus on the fundamentals of Buddhism, meditation and contemporary practice. Refuge Retreats are open to those who have attended retreats at Shasta Abbey or at a temple of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. This intensive four-day silent meditation retreat provides an environment and schedule conducive to deepening one’s serene reflection practice. This four-day retreat will focus on how to bring Buddhist training into whatever work we are doing and how medita- tion, mindfulness and the Precepts can be in- corporated into every aspect of our daily lives. This Retreat is an introductory retreat for college students and will offer teachings that address their needs and interests.
An Introductory Retreat introduces guests new to Shasta Abbey to the Serene Reflection (Soto Zen) prac- tice in a monastic setting. The importance of offering merit, particularly for those who have died in distressing circumstances or unsettled states of mind, is at the heart of this retreat.
Please check the calendar or contact the Guestmaster with any questions you have about future Refuge or Celebratory Retreats. Shasta Abbey Buddhist Monastery, a monastery of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives Contents by Shasta Abbey available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works License.
Introductory Retreats begin to provide some answers to the questions that bring us to Buddhist practice.


The Western Chan Fellowship is an association of lay Chan practitioners, a lay Sangha, based in the UK. It is made of many bits of material which are in the shape of the letters of the alphabet, all stuck together to make an image of a person sitting. You will also need to be familiar with and happy to participate in Buddhist devotional practice and ritual (puja) and be comfortable with periods of silence. A weekend retreat of intensive meditation and other practices gives you the opportunity to reengage with what is at the heart of your life, to become aware of what you are possibly missing in all the, at times, frantic activity. During each day you will be gently and poetically guided in to a deeper relationship with yourself, your fellow retreatants and the world around you. But the potential of Buddhist meditation and practice goes beyond simply generating relatively peaceful intervals in our lives. Singhasri previously taught at the San Francisco Buddhist centre and she currently works for the Breathworks mindfulness programme in the UK. They include periods of seated meditation, working meditation, ceremonies and chanting, silent meals and time for quiet reflection. Master Zensho Roberson, who trains in a small temple in the Idaho panhandle and leads a meditation group in Sandpoint.
This retreat offers more sitting meditation as well as Dharma talks and spiritual guidance.
We can thus find greater depth and understanding of how we create suffering for ourselves and others and how we can transform this suffering. Master Astor Douglas, will offer Teachings on our medi- tation practice which we have inherited from great teachers of the past.
It provides down-to-earth help for taking this practice back into daily life out- side the monastery gates. Dharma talks examine what it means to offer merit, how we can truly help those who are suffering, and how we can convert our own craving and greed through the practice of the Dharma. These retreats offer guests new to Shasta Abbey an introduction to the Serene Reflection (Soto Zen) practice in a monastic setting. We are registered as a charity in England and Wales, but we also have contacts in Europe, principally in Norway, Poland, Germany, Croatia and Switzerland, and also in USA.
However, it is not always possible for people physically to come together either for short meditation sessions or for longer periods on retreat. I knew I was searching for a path, and I was increasingly convinced that this may help me to begin walking it. These values offer a path of transformation, for us as individuals and as part of our community. Simplicity, by reflecting on what nourishes us in a world driven by material aspiration and conditioning, and Contentment by cultivating non craving through the development of goodwill and compassion.
Do we have the courage to find out what happens when we stop trying to push our lives along and just let the world catch up with us? Mandarava will aid that process by creating and leading heartfelt rituals and devotional practice each evening. It will culminate in a a€?rengaa€™ - a collaborative creative writing process which originated in mediaeval Japan - which will provide supportive conditions to experience the transformative power of creative writing. On this retreat we will seek to pursue the very real possibility of fundamentally unravelling the underlying causes of suffering and unease in our lives and bring new direction and meaning.
Both are dedicated to their own meditation practice and are passionate communicators of the Dharma. During this retreat, there will be more working meditation along with formal meditation, Dharma talks and discussions.


The focus of the retreat is to enrich our practice of meditation by learning about the teach- ings and examples of some great meditation masters and then meditating on the teachings as a way to learn and grow in our own practice of the Dharma. Introductory Retreats offer meditation instruction, periods of seated meditation, Dharma talks and informal discussions about medita- tion, mindfulness and the basic teachings of Soto Zen.
They provide down-to-earth suggestions for taking this practice into one's daily life outside the monastery gates. You'll be in the company of other beginners, and such matters as temple protocols or how to meditate will be explained.
Further, some monasteries may expect you to help with the chores -- cooking, dish washing, cleaning -- while you stay there. We will be supported in this quest by meditation, workshops and ritual, as we collectively explore ways to see through what is limiting us and what deep down our hearts long for.
The retreat concludes with an informal tea for retreat guests, monks and our local congregation.
Within the monastic schedule, and in silence as much as possible, Introductory Retreats offer meditation instruction, short periods of seated meditation, Dharma talks and informal discussions with time for your questions. Monks with clanging bells may walk the halls before dawn to call you to a sunrise meditation or chanting service, so don't count on sleeping in.Still reading?
Learning to accept the challenges facing us we can offer service to the Earth as aspiring a€?Eco-Sattvasa€™.
Astor will offer Dharma talks, Dharma discussions, and private spiritual counsel- ing upon request. Be warned also that you probably will be expected to take part in the religious observances of the monastery or temple. After all, you signed up to learn tai chi or commune with the Great Whatever, not chant alien liturgy or make obeisance to gilded Buddha figures.Ritual is part of the Buddhist experience, however. On retreat you can find a greater depth and intensity of spiritual practice than you are likely to have experienced before.
My practice of Buddhism began 20 years ago with a beginner retreat that I am infinitely grateful I attended.Where to Find Buddhist RetreatsFinding Buddhist retreats is, unfortunately, a challenge. Some of them have large followings and beautiful centers, and what they teach may have some value. An authentic Buddhist teacher will be very upfront about where he was educated in Buddhism. Also, the lineage of teachers is of vital importance in many schools of Buddhism, such as Tibetan and Zen. If the answer is vague or if the question is dismissed, keep your wallet in your pocket and move on. If you are looking into a Tibetan center, for example, the center should be very clear about which Tibetan tradition is followed there as well as which gurus taught the teachers.Advanced Buddhist RetreatsYou may have read or heard about advanced meditation retreats, or retreats of several weeks to as long as three years. You might think you don't need to begin swimming in the shallow end of the pool and are ready to dive into the deep end. But if you have no prior experience with Buddhist retreats, you really should start with a beginner retreat. Second, if you are absolutely miserable or stumbling around not understanding the forms and protocols, this can impact the retreat for everyone else.Get Away From It AllA spiritual retreat is a personal adventure. It's a space in which to shut out the noise and distractions and come face-to-face with yourself.



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