It is our custom to offer opportunities for Sangha members who have just completed a significant meditation retreat to “think out loud” about their experience as it is believed that this helps clarify and integrate what they gained from the retreat; it may also inspire those who listen to the talk to attend a retreat.  This one-week retreat was themed around the “craft” of mindfulness meditation, using a sequence of talks during the seven nights to cultivate the skills for applying the concepts of Buddhism to their lives.  There were 7 of the 17 folks who participated in the retreat who were able to show up for this talk and each shared what they learned and how they are applying the skills and insights at home.  Here is the sequence presented during the retreat:

First night–Taking Refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha in contemporary terms.

Second night–Setting aside the Five Hindrances

Third night– Understanding the Five Aggregates

Fourth night–Developing the Seven Awakening Factors

Fifth night–Understanding Dependent Origination

Sixth night–The process of Awakening

Seventh night–Taking the practice home

Each night of the retreat was recorded and will be posted for review, with a few days between each posting to provide time for listening to the recording and reviewing the notes Peter prepared for most of the talks.

Next week’s Dharma talk will begin a series on the Four Noble Abidings: Lovingkindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity.  The Emphasis for each talk will be on how the practices affect the mind and bring benefit to those who mindfully cultivate them.