Doorways to Dhyana - Going Deeper in Meditation
Friday 29 September – Monday 2 October
A long residential weekend at the Beamsley Project on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, led by Amalasara and Shakyapada, exploring the eight jhanas or dhyanas (stages of meditative absorption).
States of Dhyana are higher states of consciousness available through meditative absorption and were an important aspect of the Buddha's own practice. They can be extremely pleasurable and fulfilling in their own right but they also make our minds more malleable and receptive opening up the possibility of insight where we can realize the Truth about the way things really are (as opposed to how we think they are).
On the Saturday we'll explore ways of cultivating access concentration leading us into the pleasurable rupa (body-based) dhyanas. On the Sunday we'll go even deeper and explore the arupa dhyanas of infinite space, infinite mind, no-thingness and neither identification nor non-identification, when we can we go almost completely beyond the distinction of subject and object.
The cost is ££110 plus whatever you wish to donate at the end of the weekend. Delicious vegan food and full board is included. The Beamsley Project is a converted Church with modern, comfortable accommodation and easy access. Participants will share bedrooms and will be encouraged to help with small jobs such as food preparation and washing up etc, which are important aspects of practice on a weekends such as this. A camping and also a two-night option are available (please ask at firstname.lastname@example.org). Open to all over 18 who have a regular meditation practice and who have been meditating for at least six months.
This is a perfect opportunity to experience ‘going on retreat’ in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and is suitable for all levels of experience. You do not have to be a Buddhist to attend but the programme will include some Buddhist ritual in the evenings. There will be a free period on Saturday and Sunday afternoons when you may explore the beautiful countryside around the centre or relax in other ways.
Booking is now open and, for the moment, is restricted to those who practice at the York Buddhist Centre. However subject to there being spare places, booking will be opened up to everyone from 1st September.
"Sometimes when we meditate we may find blissful feelings arising spontaneously. These can range from mild pleasure and joy to almost overwhelming ecstasy; the experience can sometimes be so beautiful that we shed tears. We may blush, find our hair standing on end, or feel ‘goose pimples’. What is more, the ability to concentrate enters a completely new dimension of lucidity and calm.
"In psychological terms, we are directly experiencing what is known in our system of meditation as the process of integration: somewhere, disparate parts are combining into a whole. In terms of ethics, this is a highly skilful (kusala) mind state; in terms of aesthetics, we are touched by the beauty of the imagination. In terms of spiritual progress, the meditator is able to let go hindrances and distractions and is beginning to enter a higher state of consciousness. These feelings are a typical beginning for the first of eight levels of dhyana enumerated by Buddhist tradition." Kamalashila (https://kamalashila.co.uk/dhyana)
There will be an appeal at the end of the retreat when we would appreciate a further donation of around £75 - or more or less according to what you can afford