Message Boards Message Boards

Retreat Centers

Beginner looking to explore Buddhism

Toggle
Beginner looking to explore Buddhism
Answer
12/28/16 8:10 AM
Hi, I recently stumbled upon meditation/Buddhism, and I would like to learn more about it. I'm currently listening to lectures by Joseph Goldstein online. 

I was already planning on going abroad this summer to Europe to travel and learn a language/culture, but I think that I want to include time at a Buddhist monastery/retreat where I can learn more about the philosophy. Specifically, I'm interested in the mindfulness/compassion aspect of the meditations I've done so far (but I am ignorant of all the other aspects!).

So far, I've found one organization that looks like very promising (https://www.dhamma.org/en/courses/search). I'm planning on going sometime in June/July. I would love to hear any advice. Thank you.

RE: Beginner looking to explore Buddhism
Answer
12/28/16 9:35 AM as a reply to Jeff.
Since you're going to be in Europe, and you enjoy the compassion side of buddhism (which arguable is the whole thing, but that's splitting hairs), consider going to Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh's monastary in France. You can visit for a day, or go for a retreat. http://plumvillage.org/

I feel pretty comfortable saying that Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the greatest living masters of compassion in the world today. 

The Goenka vipassana retreats, that you linked to, are intense. Many beginners take them and experience transformative results, but many others have nothing but a hard time, and get put off meditation entirely. It's diving into the deep, deep end, and then staying there for a while. 

RE: Beginner looking to explore Buddhism
Answer
12/28/16 12:02 PM as a reply to Jeff.
Buddhism is very diverse therefore starting a thread like this will obtain many idiosyncratic replies. 

I would stick to Joseph Goldstein rather than Goenka. 

In Europe, see what courses & retreats are available with: https://forestsangha.org/community/monasteries/continents/europe

T
he Plum Village suggestion I also like. 

Goenka offers free retreats but the experience is limited in scope & overly intense (imo).

........

RE: Beginner looking to explore Buddhism
Answer
12/28/16 12:13 PM as a reply to Ostaron.
Ostaron:
Since you're going to be in Europe, and you enjoy the compassion side of buddhism (which arguable is the whole thing, but that's splitting hairs), consider going to Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh's monastary in France. You can visit for a day, or go for a retreat. http://plumvillage.org/

I feel pretty comfortable saying that Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the greatest living masters of compassion in the world today. 

The Goenka vipassana retreats, that you linked to, are intense. Many beginners take them and experience transformative results, but many others have nothing but a hard time, and get put off meditation entirely. It's diving into the deep, deep end, and then staying there for a while. 


Thank you so much for the quick replies! I'm glad I got this warning before I plunged into the deep end. 

Do you two know of any similiar monasteries in Spain (maybe near Barcelona?) that are open to beginners? I'm planning to stay with a host family in Spain, learn the language/culture, and go to a meditation retreat.