Bodhicitta Practice Retreat

During 2020, our shared led Bodhicitta Practice on Sundays has connected hundreds of us around the world. In these challenging times we’ve discovered the power of this shared meditation: to resource us and link us to the Dharma, to tune in directly to our deep links with one another, and to join together on a heart level to respond to the world’s suffering. This feels like an excellent time for a retreat to explore this practice more fully and find ways to take it deeper.

Here you’ll find  video recordings of all the content from Vessantara’s retreat on the Bodhicitta Practice so that you can follow along at your own pace. Helpful links are provided here to easily navigate the various elements of the retreat.

Session 1 is not recorded as it was an unlead meditation session. If there are any errors, please email admin@adhisthana.org.

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Day 1

Session 2

Part 1 Video

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Vessantara’s introduction

Start of guided meditation

Unfortunately the part 1 of this session was recorded in gallery view – we will update and amend this video to be just speaker view as soon as possible.

Part 2 Video

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Introduction

Start of meditation

Session 3

Video

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Start of Vessantara’s talk (26 minutes, 32 seconds)

Start of the meditation (26 minutes, 22 seconds)

Session 4

Video

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Start of meditation

Day 2

Session 2

Vessantara leads us in a short meditation followed by an introduction to the origin of the Bodhicitta in the brahma viharas, moves on from the blue sky to the refuges and an exploration of the view of scientific materialism. After the break, another lead meditation.

Video

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Start of Meditation

Start of Talk

After the break, Vessantara talks on being open to the possibilities of mind

Introduction to the practice with questions

Second Meditation

Session 3

Vessantara introduces the Three Myths of Self-Development, Self-Surrender, Self-Discovery and applies them to the Bodichitta Practice. He then leads us in the Bodhicitta Practice from the perspective of Self-Surrender.

Here is the link to Subhuti’s article on the Three Myths.

Here is the recordings from Maitreyabandhu and Jnanavaca’s talks on the Three Myths.

Video

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Short Talk

Lead Meditation

Session 4

A full lead-through of the Bodhicitta Practice approached from the myth of self-surrender.

Video

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Start of the introduction

Start of the Meditation

Day 3

Session 2

We begin with a half hour lead meditation. Then moving on to the third section of the practice, we explore the compassion aspect having firmly established ourselves in the refuge.
After the break, we have an audience question and then explore the difference between compassion and empathy, and some of the problematic, near-enemies of compassion with the help of an article by Analayo.

Article from Analayo “How Compassion Became Painful“.

Video

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Lead Meditation

Short Talk

Quick Recap Question on feeling the love of the refuges

Short Talk

Meditation

Session 3

Vessantara introduces his 20 Points for Dealing with Overwhelm and leads us in a meditation focusing on our heart’s wish.

Vessantara’s 20 Points for Dealing with Overwhelm

Video

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Talk

Meditation

Session 4

Full lead-through of the Bodhicitta practice.

Video

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Start of the Meditation

Day 4

Session 2

We move on to exploring what all beings have in common, with a lead meditation focusing on the breath – something that that we all share. After the break we continue this exploration followed by another meditation.

Video

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Talk

Meditation

Talk

Meditation

Session 3

Vessantara fleshes out different ways to approach the Bodhicitta practice, exploring the metaphors of the monarch, the shepherd and the ferryman. This is followed by answering a few questions, and then a guided meditation.

Video

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Talk

Meditation

Session 4

A guided session of the Bodhicitta practice from the perspective of self discovery, with the source of freedom – the Refuge within our heart centre.

Video

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Start of the Meditation

Day 5

Session 2

Vessantara shows a table exploring the three myths in terms of ‘inside’ versus ‘outside’ and ‘active’ versus ‘receptive’. The Word document containing it is available here.

We then have a recap and clarification of the three approaches – the monarch, the boatman and the shepherd, before moving on to look at sections 5 and 6 of the Tonglen text.

After this there is a question and answer section followed by a short tangle meditation with the Refuge in front of us. After a break Vessantara responds to more questions and leads another short meditation.

Video
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Talk

Meditation

Talk

Meditation

Session 3

Questions and answers about Tonglen and Bodhicitta practice exploring – among other things – how to relate to ‘breathing in sin and unskillfulness’ and how this can be transformed into fuel for the Bodhicitta. Vessantara follows this with a guided Tonglen meditation in which we allow the Refuge alleviate dukkha on a very ordinary level as well as deeper levels.

Video

Questions and answers

Meditation

Session 4

Full lead-through of the Bodhicitta.

Video

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Start of introduction

Day 6

Session 2

We explore dissolving into the blue sky and empathy and Tong Len with lead meditations.

Document from Vessantara: Pointers for Tonglen

Video

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Meditation

Talk

Question & Answers

Meditation

Session 3

In this concluding session, Vessantara briefly recaps the previous session, then speaks a bit about the culmination of the Bodhisattva vow in section 8 of the Tonglen text. We explore the transition from ‘wishing’ to ‘engaging’ – from developing the motivation of the Bodhichitta, and carrying it into our lives. Among other things we also explore how to relate to the Bodhisattva vow (in a way that’s inspiring rather than overwhelming). Following this we do a short guided session of the Bodhicitta practice.

Video

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Talk

Meditation