We offer half-day, one-day, weekend, and residential retreats. Retreats provide a rare opportunity to slow down and enter silence and stillness. These intense periods of practice strengthen meditative skill, enhance insight into how mind and matter condition each other, and afford the meditator dedicated time to dismantle unskillful patterns of reaction and replace them with skillful responses and emotions.
Below is a sample of a retreat flier from a retreat offered in March 2017 on Concentration and Insight. Talks from this retreat are available as audio files.
There is no jhana without wisdom,
there is no wisdom without jhana.
One who has jhana and wisdom,
he is in the vicinity of Nibbana. Dhammapada, 372, translation, Ajahn Brahm
On this retreat we will be activating the entire Eightfold Path, with a special emphasis on Right Concentration, jhana, and its essential role in penetrating reality and freeing the mind from its compulsive grasping at ever-changing physical sensations and mental states. To enter jhana, we happily abandon the mundane world, with its ceaseless demands and stress, and turn all of our attention to generating a still, peaceful, silent and blissful mind. With trial and error, with diligence and patience, sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and body sensations cease as do the barrage of thoughts and emotions. Through direct knowing, we experience how lovely it is to drop the body and mind, to drop the self . Through prolonged exposure to jhana and repeated and varied insights, we develop the incentive and skill to transcend duality and find an enduring, higher happiness.
September 30 – October 5, 2022
Ānāpānasati Sutta, an in-person residential retreat
Location: Holy Spirit Retreat Center, Encino, California
During this retreat, we will be doing the very meditation the Buddha himself practiced during Rains Retreats and urged his monks to adopt as well. With the breath as an anchor, we progressively develop skill in contemplating the body, feeling tones, the mind, and the dharmas. We will not merely observe the first three tetrads, but rather form the intention to calm the body, generate mental tranquility, and liberate the mind from unwholesome and unskillful states. Once these first 3 tetrads are established, the transformed mind, now whole, stable, and equanimous, is capable of precise investigation and insight. In the last tetrad of this sutta, we turn our lens to impermanence, foster dispassion toward all changing and empty phenomena, and train in letting go of any clinging to mind and matter, thereby freeing the mind.
Although jhanas are not mentioned in this sutta, the first 3 tetrads create a foundation for entering jhana. If you so choose, retreatants are welcome to spend some time in the jhanas which intensify the capacity to tackle the fourth tetrad.
A 50% deposit is required to register and reserve a room. A single is $610 and a twin is $490. No partial attendance is allowed. Previous residential retreat experience is required. There is limited space. We suggest you register early if you plan on attending and wish to secure a spot.
For more information or to register, please Contact Us.
Recommended reading prior to retreat: Bhikkhu Anālayo’s book “Mindfulness of Breathing: a practice guide and translations.”
About the teacher: Susan Pembroke is the guiding teacher of Insight Meditation of Ventura and founded the Alliance for Bhikkhunis, a non-profit supporting fully-ordained female monks.
Dana to the teacher is appreciated and contributes to turning the wheel of the Dharma for current and future generations.
Sunday Half-day Retreats
Throughout the year, we offer half-day retreats on various Sundays. We alternate guided and silent meditation with meditation instruction and Dharma talks. Relaxed and informal, these mini-retreats strengthen our meditation skills and increase insights and understanding of the Dharma. Coming together on a regular basis also builds a sense of community. We make time for conversation and connecting. Please contact us if you are interested in attending.
“We will develop love, we will practice it, we will make it both a way and a basis…”
– Saṃyutta Nikāya