First retreat

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: First retreat

Postby duckfiasco » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:20 pm

Thank you to everyone for your input, Clearbluesky, kirtu, seeker242, futerko, Jikan, bryandavis, Karma Tashi G., Adamantine, philji, Paul.
I probably would've just opted for no retreat (again) without the encouragement and replies here.
I'll write about it some afterwards.

:cheers:
Namu Amida Butsu
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
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Re: First retreat

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:58 pm

I'm envious, but of course also very happy for you, great decision!
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: First retreat

Postby ball-of-string » Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:04 pm

Duckfiasco- you asked about the video-taped teachings at Goenka retreats. The main teacher in that tradition recorded the tapes years ago, mainly with the goal of maintaining consistency. There will be an assistant teacher there, who is available to answer 1-on-1 questions during the lunch break, or group questions at the end of the day. There is also a "student manager" who is available to answer any logistical needs, e.g. you need some aspirin etc.

My partner had a tough time with my first 10-day. What we learned from that: for other retreats, he would arrange "busy time" with other people. Catch up with old friends, go visit family for a few days, that type of thing.
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Re: First retreat

Postby justsit » Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:50 pm

On a strictly practical level - you'll be in a new place, with a new schedule, different food, different activity level than normal for your body. Make sure you drink plenty of water and eat as much fruit as you can. Things can get...uncomfortable. Maybe have a laxative available?
Ask me how I know this. :smile:

Retreat is like Buddhist boot camp. You will likely come out very tired. Give yourself time at home afterwards to recuperate a bit.
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Re: First retreat

Postby duckfiasco » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:36 pm

Wonderful advice, thank you :) I'll make sure to eat lots of fruit!
Things lined up with the timing that I'll have four additional days off after the retreat is done to rest and gradually get back into more daily activities.

ball of string, when you say arrange busy time, do you mean like a period after the retreat where he makes an effort to see family and friends?
Namu Amida Butsu
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
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Re: First retreat

Postby oushi » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:57 pm

duckfiasco wrote:I've been practicing for a few years, and feel it's finally time to go on my first retreat.

I wish you an immediate realization on your first retreat. :anjali:
Say what you think about me here.
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Re: First retreat

Postby ball-of-string » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:11 pm

I meant, while I was away on the second and third retreats he would schedule a busy social agenda. Catch up with old friends, visit family. This was an antidote to solve the difficulties he had during my first 10-day retreat. He was bored and felt socially deprived. He sent me emails every day, even though he knew I wouldn't see them until after the retreat.
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Re: First retreat

Postby duckfiasco » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:15 pm

Ohh it was you on the retreat and your partner needing the social interaction. I see now. We're trying to think of similar things ahead of time :)
Namu Amida Butsu
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
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Re: First retreat

Postby ball-of-string » Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:27 am

I think the vipassana folks should have support groups for partners who are not interested in meditation.
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Re: First retreat

Postby duckfiasco » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:49 am

I think at least some information on the website in layman's terms, like a FAQ for non-meditating or non-Buddhist partners, would be very helpful.
I wouldn't be surprised if many couples haven't been apart for more than a week in years, if ever.
I've done my best to explain why I'm going and to help brainstorm fun things for my partner while I'm gone.
It would still be helpful to me at least if someone far smarter and more experienced than I am put together something like that :)
Maybe I'll send an email.
Namu Amida Butsu
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
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Re: First retreat

Postby ball-of-string » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:42 am

There is a video that explains vipassana for the uninitiated. They pass out CD's at the center; I'll look around and see if it is on the web anywhere.
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Re: First retreat

Postby ball-of-string » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:56 am

This is not the video I was talking about, but it is brief and a good place to start:
http://youtu.be/H2PZRKqbOUE

Of course, there is this film, available on Netflix and YouTube. But it's important to remind people you are NOT going to prison... :tongue:
http://www.dhammabrothers.com
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Re: First retreat

Postby lionheart » Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:43 am

My first retreat was goenka and I don't regret it, Goenka will try to tell you in his ever so soothing voice that his vipassana is the only real meditation technique! And Mantras and everything else are just a distraction! So I might take that with a grain of salt. :smile: have a good retreat!
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