Loka Retreat - "The World"
Day-long Silent Retreat | July 10, 11, 12*
Led by Steven Smith and Jake Davis
"Not without reaching the end of the world (loka), friend, is there making an end of suffering, I say. But it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perceptions and mind, that I make known the world, the arising of the world, the cessation of the world, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the world."
- Rohitassa Sutta (Samyutta Nikāya 2: 26)
This online retreat, sponsored by the global Attha community, will be structured much like a one-day in-person retreat in the Theravāda Buddhist tradition of the Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma, with hour-long sitting and walking periods as well as instructions and group interviews. Yet it will also be structured so that those of us in many different times zones can move naturally between sitting & walking in silence together, sleeping when we are tired, and eating when we are hungry.
We ask for a commitment of dedicating this 27 hours of your time to practice, from the moment you awaken to the moment you fall back asleep. Instructions will be offered in how to establish mindful awareness (satipatthāna) in a seamless and continuous way, for the sake of seeing the arising and passing of the world of experience. Satipatthāna practice will be supported and complemented by periods of practicing the divine abidings (brahmavihārā) of goodwill, care, joy, and equanimity. All talks and instructions will be recorded and made available, so that if the live session is during rest time in your time zone, you can still get the benefit.
In the Pāli discourses, friendship with those, kalyāṇa-mitta, intent on seclusion, dispassion, cessation, and release is said to be not half but “the whole of the spiritual life.” (Samyutta Nikāya 45:2). In this spirit of kalyāṇa-mitta, participants will be expected to maintain noble silence as a gift not only for themselves but the community. We also ask that you join the virtual meditation space on time, with your video on, and your audio muted, so that we can all feel the support of each others' presence, but without background noise from every part of the globe ;)
This is a special opportunity for the Attha community to deepen our practice and cultivate wholesome states of mind that we have been learning about and discussing with each other in our weekly meetings over the past year. We will also be welcoming other students of Steven's and Jake's on a space permitting basis.
Registeration is now closed. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with [Loka] in the Subject field to be placed on waitlist.
*Depending on where you are in the world. Please look at schedule below.
About the teachers
Steven V. Smith
Anchored in the Burmese lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw, Steven was trained and sanctioned as a teacher by revered monk and meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita. Steven divides teaching Vipassana and the Divine Abodes (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity) retreats around the world. His long term vision for preserving the Dhamma is culminating in the beginnings of Vipassana Hawai’i retreat and refuge center on Hawai’i Island’s remote North Kohala coast. Steven co-founded Vipassana Hawai’i in 1984 with Michele McDonald, and in 1995 founded the MettaDana Project for educational and medical projects in Burma. Also in 1995, Steven helped establish the Kyaswa Valley Retreat Center in Burma, headed by Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery.
Jake Davis spent much of the past three decades training in mindfulness meditation in the Theravada Buddhist tradition of Burma, and holds a doctorate in philosophy and cognitive science.
Welcome! Here you will find necessary information for navigating the retreat.
We will use Zoom to facilitate this retreat. All sessions including opening, closing, and walking meditation sessions will be held in our virtual Dhamma Hall. Please see your orientation email for the secure Zoom link.
Please read through these important notes regarding Zoom set-up:
For the security and privacy of this community, please do not share Zoom details with anyone who is not a retreat participant. Please keep Zoom credentials secure.
Please arrive 2-4 minutes before the start of each session.
Please test audio and video in advance.
You are strongly encouraged to keep your video on to deepen the shared experience. This applies to the mindful walking sessions as well.
Participants will be placed on mute as a default to uphold noble silence.
In case any of the Zoom rooms crash during the retreat, kindly wait a few minutes and try logging in again. If unavailable for more than 5 minutes, please check your email for instructions.
Some sessions like the opening, closing, and Brahmavihara instructions, will be recorded and videos will be made available under Resources.
We ask that you commit to cultivating continuous mindfulness during this 27 hour period, from the moment we open until the moment we close, from the moment you awake until the moment you fall asleep.
We also ask that you protect your practice by maintaining noble silence. You will of course discuss your practice with the teachers in interviews, and you may need to contact the retreat manager if there is a technical or practise related query. Other than that, for these 27 hours we ask that you notify ahead of time anyone you need to that you will be offline, and as much as possible to limit your communications online or otherwise to those that are necessary for your retreat practice.
We do understand that some of you may need to take up to a maximum of 1.5 hours during the 27 hours to deal with responsibilities outside retreat. However, we will ask two things of you if you do:
Please commit to cultivating "exceptional mindfulness" during this period spent on responsibilities outside retreat; and
We ask that during your group interview you report on your experience applying mindfulness to your experience during this time, as well as during retreat practice.
If you have questions about format, schedule, and participation leading up to the retreat, as well as queries during the retreat (i.e. technical issues, questions about schedule, or practise etc.), please email us at email@example.com with [Loka] in the subject line. Please note that during the retreat itself, there may be a slight delay in response because retreat managers will also be participating in the retreat.
Group interviews will provide a space for you to ask the teachers, Steve and Jake, questions about your practice, and share your practise experience.
In these small group interviews you may also raise any questions or difficulties you have come across in establishing mindful awareness, as well as learn from those that others bring. It will be helpful to come ready to report on your experience during the retreat, including how you are directing your attention, and what specific experiences - ordinary as well as extraordinary - you have noticed while applying mindfulness.
Everyone has been assigned to a group interview time. You can find your group interview slot here. Please arrive in the Zoom room a few minutes before time, the teachers will let you in when they are ready. Participants who are not in a group session should proceed to join the group sit in the main Dhamma Hall.
In Buddhist cultures, there is a tradition of giving (dāna) to others on one's birthday. The offering of this retreat is Jake's birthday dāna. In that spirit, the priceless gift of these teachings is offered without a price, as they have been since the time of the Buddha. Nonetheless, we know that just as the teachers would like to support you all in your practice, you may wish to support the teachers in return. For Steven, you may offer tax-deductible donations via Vipassana Hawaii (https://vipassanahawaii.org/support/). For Jake, his request is that any time or resources you would like to offer for his benefit go to the Attha community, by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.