Having an own agenda at a retreat...

Mike Gee, modified 11 Years ago.

Having an own agenda at a retreat...

Posts: 47 Join Date: 3/15/10 Recent Posts
I wanna go to a retreat, but I cannot find any noting-style vipassana retreats around.
What would the implications be of going on a retreat and doing noting "by myself"?

I know the retreats I am looking at do not have the emphasis of walking as much as sitting. Walking is more an intermission in the sitting. But during the walking and definitely sitting no one will notice me noting...

Would this be disrespectful, or maybe even counterproductive?

Thanks y'all!
/Mike
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Having an own agenda at a retreat...

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
This is routinely debated, usually in the context of going on a Goenka retreat and using Mahasi methods, and there are numerous previous threads where people gave their opinions on this.

Here's my take on it, which is just one take, and doesn't come to firm conclusions, but presents some of the sides of the thing so you can make up your own mind.

Obviously, from an insight point of view, in theory and in an ideal world, everyone who is promoting insight values the insights themselves more than rites and rituals, more than methods, more than the traditions that support the development of them, and thus, first and foremost should be the results, however obtained just so no one is getting hurt.

However, there can be some different side effects, questions, problems that people run into, etc. by the various techniques, and thus, if you are using different methods and run into the method-specific problems, you may not have people who can help you out.

That said, plenty of people teaching insight practices don't know enough insight practice for themselves to do that well even for their own methods, so sometimes less of an issue.

Those said, many methods do have some logic and sense behind them, and there is the argument that if you go to a place where they are doing somethings specific and you are in theory going there to learn something from them, you could give their methods a shot and see how they perform. I know plenty of people who got enlightened doing all sorts of things that were not Mahasi-style practice, and you can also.

All those said, I personally got stream entry on a retreat with Christopher Titmuss and crew while using Mahasi methods and using their basic teachings, advice, and example to help support those methods, and I am happy that it all worked out, and I assume they are also. The counterpoint is that some people really are into their methods and techniques and particular tradition more than they are into your experimentation and possibly even progress, so don't assume that holds universally.

Helpful?

Daniel
Mike Gee, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Having an own agenda at a retreat...

Posts: 47 Join Date: 3/15/10 Recent Posts
Thanks a lot, Daniel!
I am not going to a Goenka retreat.
The one I've got my eyes on is a "secular" approach with intense zen-like meditation, so I really don't know if they're much into path, etc... Thus probably less support on that front.

Hmmm... will have to try to think of a strategy to fit me...

Regards,
Mike
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Julius P0pp, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Having an own agenda at a retreat...

Posts: 50 Join Date: 8/17/09 Recent Posts
Had a similar "problem" recently. I'd say: do what you want while sitting, no reason why noting is worse than counting breaths or other techniques that zennies routinely use if you can do it. I remembered the advice given for the Dark Night and Equanimity and applied the former when there were problems and the latter when everything was fine. And I remembered the teacher's advice as often as possible.

My zen teacher told me to forget about ideas (jhanas, witness, and all the rest) and stay with "just that", nevertheless, when I reported what I believed to be a fruition, she asked: "Did it last?" - "Yes." - "Good.". But then I learned some non-dual lessons during the following days , and that became more important from my point of view as well.

I'd really listen carefully when you talk with a teacher, be it about sitting practice or the "rest of the day", because if they are good, they provide you with clear, "stage-specific" individual advice that is worth following. Maybe try modifying your technique accordingly and note more choiceless (whatever they tell you).
Mike Gee, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Having an own agenda at a retreat...

Posts: 47 Join Date: 3/15/10 Recent Posts
Thanks a lot for that!

Yup, I will surely remain open to see anything the teacher will share with me!
Hmmm... Hope I just return in good shape emoticon

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