Deerhaven 2016 Retreat Review

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

Overcoming Comparing Mind

During this talk, the lojong mind training commitment “Don’t aim to win” was related to the Theravaden concept of “comparing mind”, that is, the tendency in this culture to emphasize competition and material acquisition, with the achievement of “Awakening” as the prize.  Peter explored the Zen concept of the “Gateless Gate” as pointing to the experience of awakening as a process, not a thing that can be owned.  The ongoing practice of mindfulness meditation is just that, practice, and not a test.  During the ensuing discussion, several comments by the participants talked of how important it is to just practice being mindfully present, during formal meditation practice or otherwise.  Setting up awakening as a measurable, substantial thing is a fundamental misperception of the process.

Here are the notes accompanying this talk:   Overcoming Comparing Mind

Next week’s topic will combine three lojong training commitments:  “Don’t revert to magic”, “Don’t reduce a god to a demon” and “Don’t seek pain as a component of happiness”.