Fall 8-Week Practice Intensive: Concentration and Insight:

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Fall 8-Week Practice Intensive: Concentration and Insight:

Take a deep dive into two essential aspects of meditative practice, Samatha and Vipassana, concentration and insight with Will Kabat-Zinn.

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About this event

Wednesdays 4:00-6:00 pm PST

October 13- December 8 (no group on 11/24) (8 weeks)

Location: Online

With Will Kabat-Zinn

In this 8-week practice intensive, we will take a deep dive into two essential aspects of meditative practice, Samatha and Vipassana, or Calming (Concentration) and Insight. In the 5th century Buddhist commentary, the Visuddhimagga (Path of Purification) it is recommended that one find a meditation object to develop concentration with that is suitable for one’s temperament. Over 40 possible meditation objects are listed. This type of individualized medicine (or meditation in this case) is something that is not talked about enough in modern presentations of practice. If you pick an object or method that is not suitable for you, the practice will be harder than it needs to be.

We will explore three commonly used objects (methods) for cultivating concentration, breath awareness (Anapanasati), Lovingkindness (metta), and the 32 parts of the body, and mention some of the others that you can explore on your own if interested. Each of the three methods will be introduced and can be experimented with before participants choose one to go deeper with for the rest of the course.

After spending some weeks cultivating concentration we will turn our more concentrated minds to the moment-to-moment observing of experience and seeing deeply into its nature. This is the domain of vipassana or penetrative insight. It is this type of insight that allows us to see through and break through layers of conceptual overly, cutting the roots of our deluded habitual tendencies and patterns.

Concentration and insight are like two wings of a bird, they are both necessary for traversing the path and they compliment and support each other. Without a unified, concentrated mind it is hard to see deeply into the nature of experience, to arrive at roots rather than flit around in the branches. And without turning our concentrated minds to observe the nature of experience we do not arrive at a wisdom that changes the way we see and relate to our lives and our practice stays limited to cultivating states of peace, and ease that are temporary and always dependant on conditions.

So let’s practice Samatha-Vipassana together, in a supportive retreat-like container that includes all of life. Sessions will consist of teachings, guided meditation and inquiry, guided reflection, dialogue with the teacher, and small group inquiry and dialogue. The invitation in a practice intensive is to make your whole life the curriculum, applying the practices throughout the day in a way that is not limited to sessions. The great limiting factor in people’s path tends to be constancy, keeping awareness and learning as the number one priority. These eight weeks of supportive structure, teachings, and community are a chance to do just that. I look forward to exploring this territory with you.

Note: The fee for this intensive is $250.  If this presents an obstacle to you attending please don't hesitate to email me at will@sundaysangha.net  No one will be turned away.