Adventures in Emptiness | Scholars’ Retreat

2 – 9 Aug | led by Dhivan and Śraddhāpa

The teaching of emptiness (śūnyatā) goes to the heart of Buddhism, as both a doctrine about the nature of reality and as a profound theme for meditation.

But emptiness seems to mean different things at different stages in the development of Buddhist teaching and doctrine.

In this study retreat, Dhivan and Śraddhāpa will explain and compare some of these presentations on emptiness. We will study the emptiness discourses from the early Buddhist tradition, which are concerned with the practical realisation of the empty nature of experience as a meditative realisation, and more generally the teaching that the world of experience is ‘empty’ (śūnya) of a self (ātman) and what belongs to a self. Then we will turn to some of the Perfection of Wisdom literature, in which a distinctive Mahāyāna teaching of emptiness begins to appear. Finally, we will study emptiness in the Madhyamaka and Yogācāra traditions of Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophy, in which the concept of emptiness was presented in systematic ways, although still in relation to meditation.

There will be study and discussion of key texts on emptiness from the Buddhist tradition, such as the Cūlasuññatā Sutta, from the Pāli discourse collection, alongside its Chinese and Tibetan parallels, and the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāparamitā, or ‘Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 Lines’, as well as excerpts from Nāgārjuna, Vasubandhu and other Mahāyāna thinkers.

The retreat will also involve meditations on emptiness based on these ideas, as well as some devotional activity.

This retreat is for Order members and Mitras with an interest in the development of Buddhist thought, and keen to explore the relationship of doctrine to meditation.

Reception is from 4pm on the day of arrival, with the retreat beginning with supper at 6pm.

While you’re here you will be participating in communal life. This includes meditating with everyone on site in the main shrine room in the morning, taking part in daily tasks and at the end of your retreat you will help us to prepare the retreat centre for the next group to join us.

With this in mind, the retreat will finish after the clear-up, so if travelling on public transport, please book a train after 11am.

The deposit for all our events is non-refundable and non-transferable under all circumstances. For this event, the deposit is £70.

Limited single rooms. Please contact the office to check for availability.

For: Order Members and Mitras

Start date: 2nd Aug 2024
End date: 9th Aug 2024
Event Type: Residential

Price: Standard £325  |  Concession £265  |  Financial Assistance £210
Non-refundable deposit: £70 (included in prices above)

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English (UK)