Fri, February 3 – Sun, February 5
Fri, February 3, 5:00 pm–
In a 2005 Dharma talk on True Happiness, Thich Nhat Hanh:
If you ask 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.
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 in the Plum Village practice 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 Winter Practice Retreat our daily practice, our guided meditations, and our Dharma talks and sharings will all focus on the art of purifying our minds.
In a 1996 talk on the Art of Healing, Thich Nhat Hanh said:
It’s very important to allow our body and our minds to rest. Our body may still carry a lot of wounds inside, and our consciousness also. They need healing. The basic condition for all healing is to be able to rest, but we don’t have the capacity to rest. We have the habit of running, of doing things. That is why to meditate is first of all to learn how to rest, to give your body and your mind a chance to rest and to heal themselves. It seems to be a very simple thing, but we need training to be able to do that.
The Still Water Winter Practice Retreat offers us the opportunity to rest and to heal. We practice slowing our racing minds, learning to be with and to embrace all that is in us and around us. And we practice looking deeply into the roots of our illnesses and suffering. Bit by bit, as we grasp how our illnesses and suffering arise, our suffering lessens. Thich Nhat Hanh calls it “salvation by insight.”
The nurturing environment 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.
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.
NOTE: The accommodations and expenses cost is $160 per person. All contributions above this amounts are considered to be voluntary, tax-deductible contributions.
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.
Please contact the Retreat Registrar, Gary Stone, at garold.stone "at" gmail.com or (301) 604-6227.
Learning to Rest and to Heal
From a March, 1998, Shambhala Sun article by Thich Nhat Hanh
When an animal in the jungle is wounded, it knows how to find a quiet place, lie down and do nothing. The animal knows that is the only way to get healed—to lay down and just rest, not thinking of anything, including hunting and eating. Not eating is a very wonderful way of allowing your body to rest. We are so concerned about how to get nutrition that we are afraid of resting, of allowing our body to rest and to fast. The animal knows that it does not need to eat. What it needs is to rest, to do nothing, and that is why its health is restored.
In our consciousness there are wounds also, lots of pains. Our consciousness also needs to rest in order to restore itself. Our consciousness is just like our body. Our body knows how to heal itself if we allow it the chance to do so. When we get a cut on our finger we don't have to do anything except to clean it and to allow it the time to heal, because our body knows how to heal itself. The same thing is true with our consciousness; our consciousness knows how to heal itself if we know how to allow it to do so. But we don't allow it. We always try to do something. We worry so much about healing, which is why we do not get the healing we need. Only if we know how to allow them to rest can our body and our soul heal themselves.
But there is in us what we call the energy of restlessness. We cannot be at peace with ourselves. We cannot be peaceful. We cannot sit; we cannot lie down. There is some energy in us to do this, to do that, to think of this, to think of that, and that kind of restlessness makes us unhappy. That is why it is so important for us to learn first of all to allow our body to rest. We have to learn how to deal with all our energy of restlessness. That is why we have to learn these techniques of allowing our body and our consciousness to rest.
Am Kolel Sanctuary Retreat Center
19520 Darnestown Rd
Beallsville, MD 20839