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3 month retreat at IMS

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3 month retreat at IMS
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2/20/18 2:41 PM
I just registered for the three month retreat at IMS. In fact, I just finished a retreat at IMS (2/2/18 ~ 2/11/18) taught by Joseph Goldstein, Jill Shepard and George Mumford. About 5 or 6 days after I came back from that retreat I registered for the 3 month retreat and got accepted. The retreat I just attended was good. It wasn't a long retreat. It was also the first retreat at IMS for me although I have been to forest refuge 3 times in the past. The IMS retreat I just finished, as with any other retreats else where, had pros and cons. But all in all, it was a rewarding experience. So I guess that's why when the opportunity to participate at the 3 month retreat presented itself, I jumped at it.

I would like to hear from any of you that attended the 3 month retreat at IMS in the past:
In your opinion, what are the pros and cons for 3 month retreat at IMS?
What were the most difficult challenges you faced during the 3 months?
What benefit have you gained after completing the 3 months retreat?

And lastly, how was the laundry service at IMS? I was told that I should use the waterproof marker to lable my clothing to prevent getting mixed up with other people's laundry. I wish I could just wash my clothing anytime I want during the retreat but I don't know if that is possible.

I would appreciate all your opinions. I recently finished IMS retreat but it was only for 10 days. Practicing entire three months can be very different and more challenging than practicing for just 10 days. I have attended 1 month retreat several times in the past. But to devote entire three months for practice seems a little daunting but at the same time, quite exciting.

Thank you all. emoticon
 

RE: 3 month retreat at IMS
Answer
2/23/18 11:22 AM as a reply to paramatha K.
No personal experience of the 3 month retreat, but I'm happy and excited for you. Best wishes!!

I've really liked retreating at IMS. It's a good mix of opportunity to seriously practice, yet gentle/loose enough that you can skip a sit or go for a long walk if that's what you need to get back on track. I don't remember a laundry service (I was there last in ~2012, this was before all of the single rooms were built/made) but rather a laundry room with a machine and wash basin that you could use any time. Lots of clothes lines, too. Maybe this has changed, so best to ask.

As you know, on these long retreats it's more about "allowing" and "participating" and less about "making things happen". Constant practice will take you far if you don't burn out.  My feeling is that if you have done 1 month, you will rock 3 months!

RE: 3 month retreat at IMS
Answer
2/23/18 9:04 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks, Shargrol.

The newly added dorms are quite nice. Each single room has a very small sink that took a little while for me to get used to. But overall, the dorm is very nice and I think you will like it a lot if you were to attend IMS retreat again.

Yes, IMS does have gentle/loose approach to practice that I think is good in some ways. I would like the sitting to be one full hour instead of 45 minutes. The group interview was more like a therapy session instead of a formal interview. They also served "light dinner" in the evening which I should've, could've but didn't skip. I am more used to having two meals during retreat and I found that having an extra meal does affect my evening sitting to a certain degree. Of course, no one forced me to have the dinner, but when the dinner is being served and everyone else lining up in the cafeteria, I just couldn't let the opportunity pass by. This time though, I will try to skip the dinner. It will be kinda hard but will try.

To dedicate three months of your time for the practice is indeed an incredible opportunity but at the same time, a big sacrifice. I work as a freelancer. I don't make much from my job but at least it pays the bills. Having to forgo three months income can wreck havoc on my finances. I wondered if I bit off more than I can chew by applying for three month retreat in my current situation. I even thought about cancelling the retreat. But then I know the value of the long term practice so I decided not to. I will leave everything else to dhamma and just go ahead with the retreat. After all, how often does anyone get the opportunity to sit for the 3 months retreat? (unless you are a monastic)

Anyway, thanks for your encouragement. emoticon