Unfolding Paths to Insight: The Six Element Practice

We are taught the Six Element Practice as a meditation method, but all meditation methods are starting points, gateways to Dharma paths on which qualities and potential insights unfold. It’s always helpful and inspiring to get a sense of how the practice can unfold, the experiences to which it can lead us.

The Six Element Practice is often a practice we do around the time of ordination and then leave largely unexplored – maybe because it was presented to us in a way that we didn’t relate to, or we found it dry or too complex, or we didn’t have time to do it in addition to other practices, or we never really grasped what it could do for us – the paths to insight that it would lead us along.

In this retreat, we’ll unpack the many insights the practice can give us: into conditionality, impermanence, no-self, non-duality and the nature of mind. We’ll see how it can be practised to start with as a series of helpful reflections, and how it can become an exploration of direct experience beyond concepts. The retreat’s aim is to help each of us to find a way of practising that works for us, that we find helpful and inspiring, and to get a taste of how the practice can function as an unfolding path of deepening experience of the Dharma.

We hope that this will be the first in a short series of retreats at Adhisthana in which Vessantara will explore some of the insight practices discussed by Sangharakshita in the section on Vipassana Practices of his Principles and Practices of Buddhist Meditation. In each retreat we’ll look at a meditation or collection of meditations to see how they are gateways to unfolding paths to insight.

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