Vassa Retreat 2023 Ends
Trusting this note finds you well.
This Sunday just passed was the Full Moon of October.
This day marked the ending of the Vassa Retreat 2023. The Vassa is a period of 3 months from the Full Moon of July until the Full Moon of October; where the Buddha designated that as a retreat period for Buddhist monks, nuns and those lay people that so choose, to have a specified time of Retreat.
Certainly, this must be one of the longest annual held retreats in the world, occurring now for over 2,600 years.
During my 11 years as a Buddhist monk, I very much appreciated the 12-week period of the Vassa as a special time to focus on developing and deepening my Meditation practice as well as a period of study and learning of the monastic discipline – the Vinaya, and observing special practices that enhance the mind.
Over the last few years, I have organised a Vassa Retreat period of 3 months Non-Residential Retreat here at Ratanagiri Retreat Garden. This involves 4 Sunday Meditation Retreat Days, monthly over the Vassa period.
This year we again had a wonderful Vassa Retreat period with many people attending all 4 Sunday sessions, as well as many who could only make a few of these. However, the practice for us all was to maintain our regular Meditation Practice at home with extra motivation, inspiration and incentive to be part of a world-wide retreat period.
Those people that attended our Retreat here, appreciated the newly renovated Meditation Room, as well as the lovely surrounding garden space. We enjoyed periods of Sitting and Walking Meditation, together with instructions, reflections, questions and answers.
The theme that I offered for this years Vassa Retreat was ‘Samma Samadhi’ – Right Meditation, which is the eighth factor of the Buddha’s Noble Eight-Fold Path.
Together we explored how Samma Samadhi is specifically the development of the deeper states of Meditation know as Jhana – Absorption or Unification of Mind Meditation.
We learned about the Five Hindrances to Mental Calm and Clarity and the Five Factors of Jhana.
THE FIVE HINDERANCES TO MENTAL CALM & CLARITY
1. Thoughts of Desire
2. Thoughts of Anger
3. Mental Dullness
These Five Hindrances, not only hinder and hold back the minds natural inner peace during our Meditation but also in much of our daily life as well.
We have noted during our Vassa Retreat that the Five Factors of Jhana help to move the mind beyond being caught into these Five Hindrances.
THE FIVE FACTORS OF JHANA
- Initial Application of Attention: deals with DULLNESS
- Sustained Application of Attention: deals with DOUBT
- Joy: deals with AVERSION
- Happiness: deals with AGITATION
- Single pointed Mind: Deals with DESIRE
I was able offer a great supply of reading material and video teachings, that I am sure will be an ongoing resource for those that attended our Vassa Retreat.
Please watch the following video – “The Mind Whisperer”
For those that were able to attend one or a number of our Vassa Retreat 2023 Days I very much appreciate your presence and ongoing support and commitment to Meditation Practice.
I also encourage all those that were not able to attend, to continue to develop and deepen your Meditation Practice as a most valuable resource to great Calm, Clarity, Insight and Freedom of Mind.
Our last Retreat day for this year is on Sunday the 3rd of December 2023.
This Retreat Day will provide the opportunity to look at and reflect upon the lessons and learnings of our year 2023.
We will as usual engage the mindful day with Meditations both sitting and walking, together with time for questions and discussion.
Registration: Please Register by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please let us know ASAP as places are limited.
Last Retreat for 2023 – “Meditations & Reflections, Lessons and Learnings from 2023”
Please see the information below about the address, parking and what to bring.
Date : Sunday 29th October 2023
Time: Arrive at 9.15am for 9.30am start – 3.00pm finish.
11 Double View Road, Farrants Hill NSW 2484 (Google Maps)
Led By: John Barter
Practice: Samma Samadhi Meditation (Right Concentration Meditation)
Cost: Dana – your expression of Generosity for the Teachings and Guidance
In keeping with the Buddhist tradition and practice of generosity, teachings are freely given to support the wellbeing of those interested in spiritual practice. In the spirit of generosity those that have received teachings are free to offer financial support for the continuation of such opportunity.
As a guide suggestion of $50 – $100 for teachings and guidance for the Day Retreat.
Please bring cash for your Dana contribution for the day and a Donations Box will be provided on registration.
Bring: Your own Lunch, Notepad and pen, water bottle, warm clothes, shoes for walking meditation outside.
I look forward to seeing you for our next Meditation Day.
Please take a moment to read my verse below, inspired by our Vassa Retreat 2023 – ‘Samma Samadhi’.
Metta – Kind Regards
Leave the world behind,
Relax into your mind.
Listen for the inner silent sound,
So exquisite and so profound.
That peaceful quiet place,
Of vast inner space.
Now the mind is completely still,
Transcended are thoughts and mental will.
Allow this Peace of inner seclusion,
Free from distortions and all illusions.
This is the mind of Meditative Jhana,
Inclining towards the freedom of Nibbana!