Evening Practice at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension

Evening Practice at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension

Fri, January 26 Sun, January 28

Fri, January 26, 5:00 pm

Fri, January 26, 5:00 pm – Sun, January 28, 1:30 pm

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[ Dec 29, 2017 -- We are at capacity and have suspended registrations. If you would like to be put on the waiting list, please contact the registrar, Gary Stone, at garold.stone "at" gmail.com or (301) 604-6227.]

In a 2005 Dharma talk on True Happiness, Thich Nhat Hanh asked and answered the question “What is the most special thing in Buddhism?”

The answer is that it is the art of subduing your mind, of purifying your mind. … With a mind that still has a lot of confusion, anger, craving, and misunderstanding, there can be no love and no happiness for oneself and for the world. So the most important thing you should learn is the art of subduing and purifying your mind. If you have not got that, you have not got anything from Buddhism.

For Thich Nhat Hanh, happiness is not an end point, it is an impermanent state of mind that we can learn to create and renew,

You have to cultivate happiness; you cannot buy it in the supermarket. It is like playing tennis: you cannot buy the joy of playing tennis in the supermarket. You can buy the ball and the racket, but you cannot buy the joy of playing. In order to experience the joy of tennis you have to learn, to train yourself to play. In the same way, you have to cultivate happiness.

In the “how” of Plum Village practice, purifying the mind begins with sitting and walking meditation. We are encouraged to let go of distractions, worries, and plans and open ourselves fully to the present moment. For most of us, it takes some time to get the hang of this. But once we do, we begin to experience moments of deep relaxation, peace, and happiness.

The next step is returning, stronger and wiser, to the frustrations and disappointments of our everyday lives. Bit by bit, our practice of mindfulness helps us to transform distraction and confusion into clarity; greed, craving, and lust into generosity and contentment; and anger and hatred into loving-kindness.

During our 2018 Still Water Winter Retreat our meditations and our Dharma talks and sharings will focus on happiness as a practice and purifying our minds . You are invited to join us.

CAM02463 (1)

The nurturing environment of this retreat includes a supportive community of fellow practitioners and the quiet grounds of the Sanctuary Retreat Center, nestled in Montgomery County's agricultural preserve.

The retreat will be led by Mitchell Ratner, Senior Teacher of the Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center, and by other experienced members of the Still Water community.

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Retreat Schedule:

We will gather on Friday evening for a silent pot-luck dinner and a sitting.

Saturday morning, after breakfast, we will break the silence for introductions and a short talk on practices for developing our mindfulness, concentration, and insight.

The rest of Saturday, and early Sunday, will be periods of guided and self-guided formal sitting meditation, group walking meditation, eating meditation, and time for mindful walks, naps, or exercise.

Late morning on Sunday we will come out of our silence and share together our experiences, challenges, and insights. The retreat will end after lunch on Sunday, about 1:30 p.m.

Location and Responsibilities:

The retreat will be held at the Sanctuary Retreat Center in Beallsville, Maryland (about 33 miles from downtown Silver Spring).

The community will share responsibilities for the three meals on Saturday and the two meals on Sunday. Each participant will be assigned to a meal team and will contribute to the purchasing and silent preparation of one meal.


The Still Water MPC has established a sliding scale for our retreats so that all may attend:

Everyone will be staying in the spacious and comfortable rooms of the Sanctuary Retreat Center. The suggested donation for the weekend is $210 per person; the benefactor donation is $270 per person; and the limited income donation is $160 per person.

You are welcome to contribute any amount between the limited-income contribution and the benefactor contribution (or more if you wish), in accord with the urgings of your heart and your means and circumstances. If contributing at even the limited-income level would be a hardship, please let us know and we will endeavor to make other arrangements with you.

The Main House at Am Kolel Nature Sanctuary
The Main House at Am Kolel Nature Sanctuary

NOTE: The accommodations and expenses cost is $160 per person. All contributions above this amounts are considered to be voluntary, tax-deductible contributions.

Cancellation Policy:

If the registrant cancels eight days or more before an event, the entire amount will be refunded. If the registrant cancels seven days or fewer before the event, 75% of the amount paid will be refunded.

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Please contact the Retreat Registrar, Gary Stone, at garold.stone "at" gmail.com or (301) 604-6227.

Am Kolel Sanctuary Retreat Center

19520 Darnestown Rd

Beallsville, MD 20839


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