Help out this young yogi

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J Groove, modified 9 Years ago.

Help out this young yogi

Posts: 59 Join Date: 9/9/09 Recent Posts
Below is an e-mail I received from an enthusiastic yogi in our weekly sitting group. I'm hoping the DhO community can help him out by recommending retreat resources and offering any other useful/skillful advice.
Thanks!

"I'm writing to you with some questions today about some upcoming plans I have for myself, hoping you can share some insight or wisdom.... I really appreciated your last letter so I'm wondering if you could help me further...

I'm currently 23, just graduated in psychology at UGA in 2010, and ultimately want to be a therapist one day. For now, my goal for the next few years is to deepen my practice in meditation and attain a deep level of mindfulness so I can share my insight and skills with the world in the context of therapy. However, I'm not sure where I can go to cultivate that. Ideally, I would like to live a monastic life, but I can't seem to find a place that would help me with that. I told you about the [GOENKA] retreat that I have coming up, but I really only see that as the beginning. I want full immersion, a life and mind altering experience that will enrich me in so many ways. I'm willing to commit years to a retreat, to learn from those who studied this art for years, and it's truly what I have in mind for the next years of my life. I'm writing to you today because I know you've had experience in going on retreats, and since you've been very generous and helpful to me.

Do you perhaps know of a place in the US or abroad that could meet my interests of leading such a monastic life? Perhaps a place where I can do a work retreat? Or perhaps any retreat at all? I don't have the luxury to pay for a retreat, I know many of them cost a lot of money that I don't have. I'm hoping there is some place in a far off land where I can just jump in and never look back. Any feedback or insight would be greatly appreciated."
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Yadid B, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Help out this young yogi

Posts: 258 Join Date: 9/11/09 Recent Posts
If he is looking for a cheap place to do intensive practice which will lead to Stream Entry, with great instruction,
Kenneth reccomended Panditarama in Lumbini, Nepal (he said his friend got Stream Entry there) - the resident teacher, Sayadaw U Vivekananda, is a very technical Mahasi teacher, and guides people to stream-entry very efficiently (just met two of those a few days ago).

I also sat a retreat with him (a short one), and he's great.

http://www.panditarama-lumbini.info/
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Ian And, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Help out this young yogi

Posts: 784 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
J Groove:
Below is an e-mail I received from an enthusiastic yogi in our weekly sitting group. I'm hoping the DhO community can help him out by recommending retreat resources and offering any other useful/skillful advice.
Thanks!

"I'm writing to you with some questions today about some upcoming plans I have for myself, hoping you can share some insight or wisdom.... I really appreciated your last letter so I'm wondering if you could help me further...

I'm currently 23, just graduated in psychology at UGA in 2010, and ultimately want to be a therapist one day. For now, my goal for the next few years is to deepen my practice in meditation and attain a deep level of mindfulness so I can share my insight and skills with the world in the context of therapy. However, I'm not sure where I can go to cultivate that. Ideally, I would like to live a monastic life, but I can't seem to find a place that would help me with that. I told you about the [GOENKA] retreat that I have coming up, but I really only see that as the beginning. I want full immersion, a life and mind altering experience that will enrich me in so many ways. I'm willing to commit years to a retreat, to learn from those who studied this art for years, and it's truly what I have in mind for the next years of my life. I'm writing to you today because I know you've had experience in going on retreats, and since you've been very generous and helpful to me.

Do you perhaps know of a place in the US or abroad that could meet my interests of leading such a monastic life? Perhaps a place where I can do a work retreat? Or perhaps any retreat at all? I don't have the luxury to pay for a retreat, I know many of them cost a lot of money that I don't have. I'm hoping there is some place in a far off land where I can just jump in and never look back. Any feedback or insight would be greatly appreciated."

Hi J.Groove,

A fleeting observation: This person sounds like me at about that same age. He seems to know what he wants and is willing to commit himself to the training whatever it may be. That's certainly a good attitude to have going in.

Whatever he does, I would suggest he check out whatever source he may be looking at in depth to make sure that he and they are compatible. One thing that concerned me at that age (way back in the late 1970's early 80's) was the availability of someone who understood the training and also spoke my language. I would have felt uncomfortable attempting this kind of endeavor with someone outside of my own culture. For that reason, I would suggest that he might wish to consider confining his search for someone within his own culture with whom to relate.

In that regard, there are a two or three places here in the U.S. that might be inviting. Bhante Henepola Gunaratana in West Virginia has a monastic retreat, although it may be somewhat difficult to get into. Also, Bhante is getting up there in age (in his 80s), so don't know how much longer he will be around. He also has a thick Sri Lankan accent that may need some getting used to. They do have a Residency program there that might be worth looking into. Bhante G is a qualified teacher in the Theravada tradition and well worth training with.

Another domestic site that may be of interest would be the Abhayagiri monastery in California. This is affiliated with Ajahn Sumedho (an American) who has his main monastic colony in England at Chithurst. This source is based on the Thai Forest tradition within the Theravada tradition. Ajahn Sumedho was trained under Ajahn Chah, a revered and respected Thai meditation master. I believe the current abbot at Abhayagiri is Ajahn Pasanno. He is more than qualified to teach. Ajahn Amaro, another very qualified teacher, also used to be stationed there, although he doesn't show up on the website rundown of current monastics in residence there, so perhaps he has moved on.

Still another source to consider would be Ajahn Thanissaro's Metta Forest monastery near San Diego, California, also of the Thai Forest tradition. Ajahn Geoff (as he is sometimes called; otherwise known as Thanissaro Bhikkhu, although he's earned the title Thera (elder) after his monastic name having been ordained since 1976) is a more than qualified teacher of the Dhamma and a meditation master. I've used his essays and books to extend my own knowledge and understanding of the Dhamma.

There may be other options available as far as domestic retreat opportunities that would fit your friend's requirements, although I would prefer discussing these in private. If your friend would wish to explore these, please feel free to PM me here at the DhO and I will respond with my personal email address so that we may communicate in private.

Hope that helps.

In peace,
Ian
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J Groove, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Help out this young yogi

Posts: 59 Join Date: 9/9/09 Recent Posts
Hi Ian and Yadid. Thanks for the help. I'm passing this stuff on to my friend.
Ian, thanks for the offer of a private correspondence on some of this. I'll get in touch with you if my friend has some more specific questions.
Best regards,
Joel