Tathagata Meditation Center

Tathagata Meditation Center#

  • Name of Center: Tathagata Meditation Center (TMC)
  • Address: 1215 Lucretia Ave., San Jose, CA 95122
  • Phone Number: 408 294-4536
  • Website: http://www.tathagata.org
  • Tradition(s): Theravada - Burmese
  • Technique(s): Vipassana (Mahasi Style)
  • Teacher(s): Beelin Sayadaw (abbot), Sayadaw U. Pandita, Sayadaw U Jatila, Sayadaw U Kavinda, ...
  • Cost: Mandatory Donation $25 a day
  • Accommodations: Shared Dorm Room, Shared Bathroom & showers
  • Facilities: Single meditation hall recently rebuilt. Walking meditation in the main hall or on the sidewalks outside.
  • Physical Setting: Located in San Jose, California (San Francisco Bay Area). There are some street and city sounds however they are not excessive or overly disturbing
  • Food (Vegetarian/Vegan/etc.): Vegetarian usually with vegan selections marked. Most dishes are Vietnamese or Thai and quite good.
  • Retreat Length(s): weekend retreats once a month, 14-21 day retreats 3 times a year and one 45 day retreat each year in May
  • Typical Schedule:
    • 4:45 AM Wake Up
    • 5:00 AM Sit
    • 6:00 AM Breakfast
    • 7:00 AM Free time
    • 8:00 AM Sit
    • 9:00 AM Walk
    • 10:00 AM Sit
    • 11:00 AM Lunch
    • 12:00 Free time
    • 1:00 PM Sit
    • 2:00 PM Walk
    • 3:00 PM Sit
    • 4:00 PM Walk
    • 5:00 PM Dharma Talk
    • 6:00 PM Walk
    • 7:00 PM Sit
    • 8:00 PM Walk
    • 9:00 PM Sit & Metta Chant
    • 10:00 PM Bed
  • Issues of Taboos around attainment, real practice, disclosing insights, etc.: Some teachers basically recite The Progress of Insight in their talks but within interviews the primary focus is on noting moment by moment experience and not what attainment the student has. Once the Sayadaw confirmed I was experiencing Vipassana Jhana and was in Knowledge of Arising and Passing away but mostly the focus is on "what did you experience?" and "how did you note it?"
  • Issues of Rites/Rituals:
    • Bow 3 times when entering and Leaving the meditation hall
    • Bow 3 times when entering and leaving teacher interview
    • 8 Precepts
  • Issues of Proper Dress: None specified however modest unrevealing clothing is assumed
  • Issues of Etiquette: Allow teachers to leave before leaving the meditation hall at the end of a sitting
  • Issues of Language: No issues at the retreat I attended, however I suspect the 6 weeks Sayadaw U Pandita retreat each year has a translator.
  • Strengths:
    • No Nonsense Intensive Mahasi Practice
    • Only Mahasi based retreat center in the US
    • Excellent Food
    • Moderate climate
    • Minimal Boomeritis (new agers)
    • 8 precepts
  • Weaknesses:
    • Minimal Integration Guidance
    • 8 precepts (depends on who you ask whether this is good or bad)
  • Other Comments: Supported by the local Vietnemese community and generally prefers to stay smaller and more contained. Most yogi's are from the area.
  • Overall Impression: Excellent place to make good Insight progress using Mahasi technique without leaving the US
  • Worthy of recommendation on the Dharma Overground? Yes. With the emphasis on noting, continuous mindfullness and progress, TMC is a solid center for goal-oriented practice in the US while avoiding the New Age crowd.
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