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Goin' Off To My First 10 Day Retreat. Advice?

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Hello all,

In a few weeks I'm heading off for my first 10 meditation retreat at the Goenka center in Pecatonica, IL. I've been going to undergraduate and graduate school for eleven years and have just graduated a few weeks back, so with this retreat I'm hoping to begin the committed regular practice punctuated by yearly retreats which I've been unable to achieve in my life up to this point...

A little context: I've read Dan's book. I've read numerous texts on Vipassana practice, including some by Mahasi Sayadaw. I have some limited experience with Shinkantaza, concentration, and noting practice. I'm interested in working my way through the paths of insight.

Anyone have any advice to help me make this the most productive meditation retreat I can possibly make it?

Also, I'd welcome advice or insights about the logistics and/or everyday life of being on a Goenka retreat.

Thanks!

RE: Goin' Off To My First 10 Day Retreat. Advice?
Answer
5/29/12 12:39 AM as a reply to Alan Smithee.
Note: I've found this

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2010/11/going-for-stream-entry-on-goenka-10-day.html#!/2010/11/going-for-stream-entry-on-goenka-10-day.html

and this

http://www.evolver.net/user/vincenz0h/blog/how_survive_10_day_goenka_vipassana_course

If anyone wishes to comment on any of the advice or comments on these sites, I'd be interested to hear them as well...

RE: Goin' Off To My First 10 Day Retreat. Advice?
Answer
5/29/12 1:07 AM as a reply to Alan Smithee.
Alan Smithee:
Note: I've found this

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2010/11/going-for-stream-entry-on-goenka-10-day.html#!/2010/11/going-for-stream-entry-on-goenka-10-day.html

and this

http://www.evolver.net/user/vincenz0h/blog/how_survive_10_day_goenka_vipassana_course

If anyone wishes to comment on any of the advice or comments on these sites, I'd be interested to hear them as well...


More importantly: http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/ReformedSlackersGuide?p_r_p_185834411_title=ReformedSlackersGuide

RE: Goin' Off To My First 10 Day Retreat. Advice?
Answer
5/29/12 8:04 AM as a reply to Alan Smithee.
HI Alan -

I don't know what your daily off-the-cushion practice may be, but I find that what I am doing daily relates directly to on-the-cushion meditation. Apperception - placing the mind at the sense-bases and their interception of sense-objects is a very helpful practice (I think traditionally this has been called "mindfulness" based on the "foundations of mindfulness" (Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta) among which are the six sense-bases).

So, I think spending time dedicating the mind to apperception is useful, because it begins breaking up a habit of constantly using "free time" to cognize with the mind and/or to seek "feeling-highs" with the mind: apperception is using the many open spaces of a day to let the mind be at the sense-bases and their interception of sense-objects without I-making. Just feeling, seeing, sensing, smelling, tasting, and being aware of (not treasuring or pursuing) the thoughts that arise sometimes with apperception. Then, when a long sitting period comes up, the I-making has already been experienced as an over-active habit and reduced a bit.

Congrats on graduation.

RE: Goin' Off To My First 10 Day Retreat. Advice?
Answer
5/29/12 10:37 AM as a reply to Alan Smithee.
hey alan, check out the post on this thread by TJ Brocoli and the other posts of her's which she links to in it

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2397337

RE: Goin' Off To My First 10 Day Retreat. Advice?
Answer
5/30/12 11:21 PM as a reply to Alan Smithee.
Dhamma Pakasa is beautiful this time of year! They work hard to keep it that way (In fact rivers cuomo (weezer) just donated 100k to the center lol)


"Anyone have any advice to help me make this the most productive meditation retreat I can possibly make it?"

there's always only just one piece of advice: never miss a moment!

RE: Goin' Off To My First 10 Day Retreat. Advice?
Answer
5/31/12 6:09 PM as a reply to Bailey ..
Blue .:
never miss a moment!



I strongly agree. And I can add if it is time for relax try to sleep. emoticon

RE: Goin' Off To My First 10 Day Retreat. Advice?
Answer
5/31/12 8:50 PM as a reply to Alan Smithee.
Hey Alan,
I don't have any advise for you.
It will be a great experience no matter what you may have in mind.
I am interested though in the name of the retreat.
Is there a link about it?
I'd like to plan on a retreat later this year if my work schedule will allow me to get away for the time.
Namaste
Gerry

RE: Goin' Off To My First 10 Day Retreat. Advice?
Answer
6/6/12 2:55 AM as a reply to Gerry T.
Gerry T:
Hey Alan,
I don't have any advise for you.
It will be a great experience no matter what you may have in mind.
I am interested though in the name of the retreat.
Is there a link about it?
I'd like to plan on a retreat later this year if my work schedule will allow me to get away for the time.
Namaste
Gerry


Illinois Vipassana Meditation Center, Dhamma Pakasa
Street Address: 10076 Fish Hatchery Road, Pecatonica, IL 61063
Tel. [1] 815 489-0420 Fax [1] (360) 283-7068
E-mail: info@pakasa.dhamma.org
Website: www.pakasa.dhamma.org

RE: Goin' Off To My First 10 Day Retreat. Advice?
Answer
6/26/12 8:03 AM as a reply to Alan Smithee.
Talk about pragmatic dharma, here is some advice I would have loved to have gotten:

BRING BEANO!

For some reason everyday at the 2:30pm hour sit "of strong resolve" (in which we were not supposed to leave, move, or shift in any way) my bowels would become afflicted with severe and profound gas from the vegetarian 11pm meal (which is just stupid because I'm a vegan and so I don't have any explanation for why this happened to me each day), and the hall would proceed to thunder with the obscene sounds of gas ker-plopping and blurbing throughout my large intestine.

If you don't fart, that gas doesn't go away. It simply stews around in your body until it is expelled. It works its way down to the colon where it hangs out for about five seconds, and then it shifts violently back up the large intestine where it hangs out for about five seonds before it makes another mad rush for the gate. The sounds of this struggle are audible for everyone present.

I couldn't bring myself to fart in the dead silence of the hall. Something about the way one sits on a zafu doesn't allow for free and easy pooting, and simply letting it sift out. One would have to lean far forward and then push, thus producing a zafu-boom. This was simply not an option.

At one "dark night" stage of the retreat I counted the number of seconds between the humilating rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-blop blops of inner farts churning within: roughly once every ten seconds. In an hour sit, that means I had to contend with roughly 360 gut sounds per sit.

On the two days I was in dark night, I was sweating bullets, the sweat literally pouring down my face. I just wanted to flee, run away, run away.

In "equanimity" I just didn't care. Whatever! You want to know if you really made equanimity or not? Eat a couple bowls of vegetarian chili and then go sit a couple of hours later. If the farts within are sounding off like a dying brontosaurus and you don't care, then you nailed equanimity...

Also, I'd advise anyone going on a Goenka ten day to bring good books like Dan's to guide and help them through whatever insight territory they find themsevles in. I never thought I'd progress much further than A+P at the most, and therefore didn't bring much material about the paths. But when I blasted through the A+P on day 4 and 1/2 and then had a million new problems and questions and no real resources in which to get assistance, it was a real drag (asking the teachers is no help, since the "purpose" of a Goenka ten day is "purification of mind" and not working one's way though all the paths of insight, which means the teachers responses are particularly not helpful for a hierachy climber). Figuring out the stages and where you are on them and how they work and how the vipassana jhanas work and how everything integrates together is not nearly as clear cut and easy to figure out as a newbie reading about the maps may initially think. There can be a lot of doubt and confusion until one goes through the stages a number of times and finally begins making connections and seeing the patterns emerge and seeing what works and doesn't work...

So I stress for anyone going on a retreat: bring books and Beano!

And also bring a notebook to write your notes and thoughts and questions in. I did this and was very grateful that I broke the rules and kept a meditation diary. It really helped me organize and reflect on the madness that was my ten day retreat!

I killed a tick I found in the tub at one point, and mumbled something to a buddy a couple of times, but besides those were the only instances in which I broke sila. I'm not sure if writing in the notebook was considered breaking "noble silence," but I really did try to maintain my vows. Is farting in a meditation hall considered breaking noble silence?

Also, you are intructed to bring "non scented" anti-perspirant deoderant. But know this, which I learned for myself: such products may prevent you from sweating, but they don't prevent you from stinking...

RE: Goin' Off To My First 10 Day Retreat. Advice?
Answer
6/26/12 4:51 AM as a reply to Alan Smithee.

RE: Goin' Off To My First 10 Day Retreat. Advice?
Answer
6/26/12 8:12 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:


Now I feel like I missed an opportunity to to liberate some minds with a fart koan!! Awwwww man. And it really would have blown some goards considering the sheer volume of gas which would have reverberated around the hall.

Still, at this retreat at least, it wasn't going to happen: I thought the lady sitting directly to my right was really HOT and she was kinda my vipassana romance for the retreat [that person who is also at a vipassana retreat about whom you fantasize about from time to time and look around for but who doesn't know you exist]. There was no way I was going to release my fart koan with her sitting there...

Maybe next time! I'll let it rip like a Zen lunatic!