This meditation mentoring retreat aims to help Order Members deepen our experience, skills and insights in the area of meditation and meditation teaching, to equip the Order with new understandings and tools to help take meditation practice deeper, teach meditation more creatively, and become more effective as a meditation mentor.
This is explored through the Three Myths of the Spiritual Life – Self-Development, Self-Surrender and Self-Discovery – which outline different approaches to meditation and the Dharma life found in Buddhist tradition, and help give a framework for:
• Understanding our own practice more deeply
• Seeing the advantages and disadvantages of any one particular approach
• Building bridges between different approaches
• Learning how to teach people who are drawn to one or another of them
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1.2 WELCOME AND ENQUIRY
In this first session, Dhammarati introduces the retreat, the team and the content that will be explored throughout this week. Vidyamala then introduces enquiry groups and the kind of exploration that will be done in the afternoon sessions.
1.4 dedication ceremony
Vajrashura leads a session ritually marking the start of the retreat. A short period of just sitting is followed by the dedication ceremony, mantra chanting and a longer open sit to close.
2.2 overview of the myths
Jnanavaca offers a conceptual overview of the four myths, with some discussion of their advantages (‘fronts’) and potential pitfalls (‘backs’). The session closes with a Q&A between retreatants and the retreat leaders.
2.4 from Escape to play
Vidyamala talks on her path through the 4 Myths, where each appears and how she currently applies them in her life and practice. This is follwed by the Amitabha mantra and a short meditation.
3.2 the myth of development
Tejananda explores the myth of development through a series of led meditations, touching on bhavana, access concentration, dhyana and insight. The session closes with a panel Q&A.
3.4 discovery to emergence
Vessantara gives an account of his relationship to the 4 myths throughout his life practicing, recounting his years serving as Bhante’s secretary and how the myth of emergence continues to unfold over decades of practice.
4.2 the myth of surrender
Vijayamala speaks on the myth of surrender before leading two meditations, a mindfulness of breathing and metta bhavana, exploring this myth in meditation teaching and practice. There is a short Q&A to close.
4.4 head to heart
Tejananda recounts how the four myths have played out in his life on the journey of seeking greater freedom. He ends with a meditative reading.
5.2 discovery and emergence
This session unpacks the myths of discovery and emergence. Vijayamala evokes their spirit through a talk and meditation, with Jnanavaca speaking on teaching Just Sitting and a closing panel discussion.
5.4 Magic and Myth
In this session, we hear from Jnanavaca on his reflections and journey with the four myths. He reflects on the roles these myths played in his spiritual life and finishes with talking about his connections to Bhante.
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6.2 into the future
This session starts with a led meditation bringing in the 4 myths. This is followed by a more personal talk from Vijayamala and a summary of Sikkha and the vision for the future of Sikkha through Dhammaratis words. The session finishes with a short Q&A and a dana appeal from Vidyamala
6.4 gathering the myths and closing ritual
Vajrashura leads us in the final session. After thank yous and a talk which gathers the myths together, there is a meditation with a reading from Vidyamala and mantra chanting to ritually close the retreat.