How should I practice to maintain my progress after retreat?

Sven, modified 6 Years ago at 1/21/16 7:11 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/21/16 7:11 PM

How should I practice to maintain my progress after retreat?

Posts: 9 Join Date: 1/21/16 Recent Posts
I recently returned from a 3 month retreat using the Mahasi method and made it to the stage of equinimity (late equinimity I believe). How should I practice at home to make sure I don't slide backwards? Should I still keep the 5 precepts? Thanks for the help.
neko, modified 6 Years ago at 1/23/16 4:32 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/23/16 4:32 PM

RE: How should I practice to maintain my progress after retreat?

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
Sven:
I recently returned from a 3 month retreat using the Mahasi method and made it to the stage of equinimity (late equinimity I believe). How should I practice at home to make sure I don't slide backwards? Should I still keep the 5 precepts? Thanks for the help.


If you have got to equanimity, the dark night should not be your main worry. You have learnt how to make it through the dukkha nanas and to equanimity, you will be able to do it again!

Be ambitious and aim for stream entry! emoticon

If you don't know Daniel's Hierarchy of Vipassana Practice, I think it is a great, modern map that you can use as a complement to the traditional ones:

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2714156

I have found it very useful to navigate the Equanimity territory.

Best of luck and have fun! emoticon 
Sven, modified 6 Years ago at 1/24/16 8:21 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/24/16 8:21 PM

RE: How should I practice to maintain my progress after retreat?

Posts: 9 Join Date: 1/21/16 Recent Posts
neko:
Sven:
I recently returned from a 3 month retreat using the Mahasi method and made it to the stage of equinimity (late equinimity I believe). How should I practice at home to make sure I don't slide backwards? Should I still keep the 5 precepts? Thanks for the help.


If you have got to equanimity, the dark night should not be your main worry. You have learnt how to make it through the dukkha nanas and to equanimity, you will be able to do it again!

Be ambitious and aim for stream entry! emoticon

If you don't know Daniel's Hierarchy of Vipassana Practice, I think it is a great, modern map that you can use as a complement to the traditional ones:

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2714156

I have found it very useful to navigate the Equanimity territory.

Best of luck and have fun! emoticon 

Thank you for the response. I would really like to avoid having to go through the dark night again, I was very close to giving up, getting on anti-depressents, and drowning myself in video games and marijuana until I died. I will go for stream entry soon, thank you for the encouragement.
Sven, modified 6 Years ago at 1/24/16 8:25 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/24/16 8:25 PM

RE: How should I practice to maintain my progress after retreat?

Posts: 9 Join Date: 1/21/16 Recent Posts
Krishna:
Hey. You practise the same way as you did in the retreat: alternate sitting and walking meditation. 

Stream entry is a really important milestone in the progress of insight. By attaining it, you won't have to worry about backsliding. Since you've gotten this far, I would say that it is a good idea to take some more time off (take a short retreat if possible or just practise in solitude in the same way as you did in the retreat) and practise until you get stream entry, as it is not far away now.

Assuming that you don't have the resources to go to another short retreat or practise in solitude for long periods of time:  Note as much as possible and practise formal meditation (sitting and walking meditation) as frequently as possible until you get stream entry.

Also, I highly recommend that you read this book: Practical Insight Meditation, by Mahasi Sayadaw

However, only read the book after you have got stream entry (although it is a very essential book for insight practise, the time you spend in practising meditation is more valuable than the time you spend in reading this book, assuming that you know the basics of how to practise), since it is important that you spend whatever time you have now in practising til you get stream entry.

The 5 precepts always helps with life and progressing in insight, so keep it if you can, but the essential thing is to spend as much as time you have now in practising til you get stream entry.

I am trying to arrange a one month retreat, about one month from now. Hoping to have my body fixed up a little bit before doing intense meditation again. I am currently doing 2 hours of sitting each day, one in the morning and one at night, as well as noting during the day, trying to keep the mind on the body, and just being generally aware.

Do you think one month is long enough for stream entry? It was difficult for me to know exactly where I was on the path, but I would estimate that I have been in equanimity for about a month of retreat time already. 

Thank you for your response 
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Noah, modified 6 Years ago at 1/25/16 12:58 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/25/16 12:56 AM

RE: How should I practice to maintain my progress after retreat?

Posts: 1467 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
Sven:

as well as noting during the day, trying to keep the mind on the body, and just being generally aware.


Krishna:

This happens due to lack of continuous practise.


This.  Leave the pot on the stove.  Most important, imo.  Even if its shitty noting, don't ever stop.  Quantity over quality.

edit: emphasis mine, on both quotes.

Sven, modified 6 Years ago at 1/25/16 6:08 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/25/16 6:08 AM

RE: How should I practice to maintain my progress after retreat?

Posts: 9 Join Date: 1/21/16 Recent Posts
Where did you do the three month retreat?
In Myanmar, for the first month or so at the Panditarama centre in Yangon, then 2 months at their Forest Meditation Center.
Did you only start practise of insight meditation when you went to the retreat, or did you have a prior daily practise before going to the retreat?
I had done a 10 day Goenka course about 6 months earlier, and practiced his technique as well as some Mahasi style technique before my 3 month retreat. But my practice was not consistent at all, sometimes I would go several weeks without practicing then sometimes would go several weeks practicing 4-5 hours per day.
How many hours per day were you practising while at the retreat, on average? Did you maintain silence throughout the retreat?
About 14 hours per day alternating sitting and walking. Silent except for 10 minute interviews ever 2-3 days.
Did you take part in activities other than meditation while at retreat (apart from the basic activities such as bathing, eating, etc.)?
Showered daily, hand washed laundry about once a week, shaved every 4 or 5 days, ate two meals per day.
Did you maintain continuity of practise at all times (meaning, did you note all the sensations of your reality during the interval between formal meditation?)
For the first month my continuity was quite poor, I would take naps sometimes and sometimes go to bed early or wake up late. During the second 2 months I was making effort to be continuous all day and not resting.
Did you practise alternating walking and sitting meditation every 1 hour?
I would usualy sit for about 1hr 15 minutes, and walk for 30 minutes.
Can you estimate roughly how long you spent in the 3rd nana (Knowledge of the three characteristics - where you just have solid pain and unpleasantness), 4th nana (Knowledge of arising and passing away - pleasant sensations and high energy), the dark night and equanimity?
I would estimate1 week in 3rd nana, 1.5 weeks in 4th nana, 2 weeks in dark night, 3.5 weeks in equinimity.
Was your progress roughly linear or did you backslide a number of times at any particular stage of insight?
I believe I was consistently moving forward, all though my effort was much weaker during the first month than the last two.
Sven, modified 6 Years ago at 1/26/16 6:22 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/26/16 6:22 AM

RE: How should I practice to maintain my progress after retreat?

Posts: 9 Join Date: 1/21/16 Recent Posts
Wow, Thank you so much for the thurough and thoughtful reply. I am really looking forward to finishing this 1st cycle of insight. Unfortunately, I think my body is in too bad of shape to continue with intense effort for the time being, I think I might have several pulled muscles and probably some other issues. Basically, it is extremely difficult for me to even sit in a chair for one hour at the moment. I am afraid I will have to wait to practice intensely for some time.

Do you have any advice for this issue specifically? On how to maintain progress when my body is in such bad shape? 

I have another question here asking for techniques to repair the body if you have any suggestions on that:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5816392

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