Deerhaven 2016 Retreat Review

by Peter Carlson on March 4, 2016

It is customary for the meeting after a major retreat experience to be dedicated to reviewing the retreat.  The annual one week retreat at Deerhaven was reviewed, with Peter providing an outline of the retreat schedule and daily dhamma talk topics.  This description was followed by lively accounts from 3 of the 14 participants about the insightful experiences they had during and after the retreat.

Here are the notes with a more complete review of the retreat schedule and the various topics and practices introduced for practice during the retreat:  REVIEW NOTES FOR THE 2016 DEERHAVEN RETREAT

Cultivating The Awakening Factors

by Peter Carlson on August 28, 2014

This is the first of several dialogues exploring the bojjhangas, the seven factors of awakening.  During this talk, Peter describes the relationship between the awakening factors and the five powers.  He also described the evolution of the factors through the process of setting aside the hindrances preparatory to the practice of vipassana.  The awakening factors that comprise vipassana were described.  Next week’s dialogue will explore the individual factors in detail, with guided meditations to facilitate recognizing their function.

Here are the notes prepared for this presentation and for the next few meetings:   BOJJHANGA-7 AWAKENING FACTORS

Cultivating Samadhi and Passadhi

by Peter Carlson on August 14, 2014

This dialogue is the first of two explorations of samma samadhi, right concentration.  Peter explained the terms samadhi and passadhi, and why he groups them together.  Six considerations were illustrated to support the cultivation of samadhi-passadhi.  The value of samadhi-passadhi in the practice of vipassana was explored.  The explanations were followed by dialogue about the supportive considerations and the value of samadhi-passadhi in daily life.  There is a post following this one containing the notes used for the evening’s discussion.  the notes include a link to a website where Richard Shankman’s book “The Experience Of Samadhi” can be downloaded free in .pdf format.  Next week’s dialogue will explore the practice of jhana.

Domestic Vipassana Practice

by Peter Carlson on July 24, 2014

While Peter’s wife is away for a week, he decided to practice integrating mindfulness more thoroughly into daily life routines.  The primary changes included more meditation periods and more reading about Buddhist practices; otherwise, the routines were the same as before.  During the talk, he reviewed various ways to increase the application of mindfulness during the day: the cultivation of samadhi/passadhi (concentration and tranquility) as a buffer against impulsive reactivity, using body awareness to interrupt intrusive unnecessary thoughts, and simply reflecting “Is _______ really that important or valuable right now?”, focused on distractions and intrusive thoughts.  This was followed by dialogue with sangha members regarding ways to enhance daily practice of mindfulness.  Next week’s talk will focus on understanding what sankhara (mental conditioners) are, related to understanding one of the Five Aggregates of Clinging, sankharakkhanda.

Concentration And Insight

by Peter Carlson on January 30, 2014

During this first of a series of talks exploring the Satipatthana Sutta, Peter talked of the mutually supportive functions of samadhi (concentration) and vipassana (insight).  This was followed by a lively discussion regarding how different meditators cultivate these qualities, both during formal meditation and normal daily routines.

Karma And The Five Hindrances

During this talk on the second night of the 2014 one week retreat, Peter talked of the contemporary views on karma, relating this to the characteristics of the five hindrances.  Ways to use the skills developed during the retreat to set the hindrances aside were described, setting the stage for the cultivation of concentration and […]

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2014 Retreat Introductory Report

During this talk, the first night of the annual one week retreat, Peter revisited the meaning of “retreat”, “the three refuges” and the concept of the precepts from a contemporary perspective.  The importance of silence was emphasized, both external and internal.  He then explained the value of persistent, but relaxed investigation of the sensation of […]

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