Dhamma: Pure, Deep, and Simple
An Online Meditation Retreat
Steven Smith, Michele McDonald, and Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey
November 27 - December 2, 2020
Come receive a pure and powerful Dhamma teaching and engage in the practice that awakens deeply embodied wisdom and kindness.
Our minds all have the ability to pierce through the delusions that enshroud us and to abide in the truth of reality in ways that are tender, clear, strong, and wise. But it will not happen on its own. It takes dedicated time and practice and the protective conditions under which we can meaningfully explore the nature of mind and body - and of our resistance to it.
Join this dedicated group of teachers and fellow-yogis for an intensive period of self-retreat supported by a range of online offerings. While your daily schedule will be largely up to you to decide, the program will also include:
~ Daily practice instructions
~ Dhamma talks
~ Q&A Sessions
~ Group chanting in the evenings
Instructions, talks, and chanting will be offered live and will also be recorded so that yogis in various time zones can listen and watch at their convenience.
We understand that the conditions of seclusion may vary between all of us and so we cannot expect the same degree of support that we might have at a retreat center. Part of the value of self-retreat is the ability to integrate our practice into our daily lives. At the same time it is very easy for the protection of the container to fall apart entirely and without that protection our practice will not have the conditions in which to flourish. But this is a period of renunciation and we expect that all participants respect the shared commitment of the other yogis during this time.
We ask that Full-Time participants be committed to the basic parameters of silence during this retreat and not have significant obligations outside of your responsibilities as a yogi.
This means not engaging socially, reading the news, engaging in outside work, etc. Of course there may be small chores of cooking and cleaning or the unexpected life situation that we may have to respond to. But in order to participate in the retreat, we ask that all retreatants maintain a baseline of silence and renunciation.
We are also offering Part/Extra-Time Yogi slots as well.
It may not fit into your schedule to be a full-time yogi right now but you would like to be able to join in as much as possible and catch up on the sessions at a later date. If you sign up as a Part/Extra-Time Yogi, you can join for as much as works for you and you will have access to the videos for 1 -month on the online classroom platform. We ask that you please refrain from asking questions during the Q&A sessions which are the primary support of the Full-Time Yogis.
If you are experiencing financial hardship and need scholarship support, please contact us. Scholarships are available upon request. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. We look forward to supporting you in the ways we know best during these challenging times.
In accordance with tradition, all Vipassana Hawai’i internationally respected teachers offer their teachings free of charge and are supported through the freely-offered generosity of students and supporters. Costs associated with retreats cover the growing expenses associated with online services, online storage, broadcasting equipment, and website administration - but do not support teacher time, training, effort, or energy. We believe that this commitment helps keep the purity of the teachings alive and thriving, as it has for millennia. They do not collect salaries in keeping with the time-honored tradition of sharing openly the chance for peace. This allows us to keep our registration fees as low as possible but also means that the livelihood of our teachers is precarious. As a result, we strive to give back in any for - including monetarily - so that they may continue their endeavors and share their wisdom. Vipassana Teachers must be supported in this way if we are to keep this tradition alive, healthy, and with integrity in the modern era. Dana, or generosity, can be offered by mailing a check at the end of the retreat or online here.
If you cancel less than 14 days prior to the event, unfortunately we cannot afford to offer a refund. Last-minute cancellations are costly and usually mean that others whom we have already turned away can no longer attend the retreat.
Michele McDonald co-founded Vipassana Hawai’i in 1984 with Steven Smith. She has taught Insight meditation for thirty eight years. Beyond her commitment to the Vipassana Hawai’i Sangha, she teaches extensively throughout the United States, in Canada, Burma, and various locations around the world. Michele has been a quiet pioneer having being the first woman to teach a formal retreat in Burma, side-by-side with a senior monastic figure, Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery. Having worked with a wide range of Asian and Western teachers, Michele is most inspired by her practice with Dipa Ma and Sayadaw U Pandita and more recently in Burma with the Mya Taung Sayadaw. She appreciates teaching at many levels of practice and has enjoyed teaching three-month retreats for experienced students as well as developing meditation retreats for youth. Her style of teaching emphasizes helping individuals find entry points into stillness that are natural for them. She encourages an understanding of the path of insight and a gentle strengthening of mindfulness and concentration so that, ultimately, people can access the peaceful depths of their experience in every moment. Michele is thrilled when students begin to love their practice as their own.
Steven V. Smith co-founded Vipassana Hawai’i in 1984 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. This partnership helped usher in the beginnings of Vipassana Hawai’i’s Fusion Dhamma approach combining traditional and contemporary teaching styles in the same retreat. Anchored in the Theravadan Buddhist Burmese lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw since 1974, he was trained and sanctioned as a teacher by revered monk and meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita. Steven divides his time teaching Vipassana and the Divine Abodes (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity) meditation retreats around the world, and assisting Burmese refugee communities along the Thai-Burma border. His long term vision for preserving the Dhamma is culminating in the beginnings of the Hawai’i Insight Meditation Center (HIMC) on the Big Island of Hawai’i’s remote North Kohala coast.
Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey's teaching aims to inspire the skills, determination, and faith necessary to realize the deepest human freedom. He is a student of Michele McDonald and his approach is rooted in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma. As a teacher of Vipassana (insight) meditation within the broader context of Theravadan Buddhism his teaching encourages an exploration of the relationship between ethics, insight, and action. Perpetually intrigued by the dynamics between inner and outer change, Jesse is a writer of numerous essays and author of Insurgent Heart: A Vipassana Manual for the Guerrilla Yogi. Links to his writing can be found on his website: www.dolessforpeace.org as well as links to his weekly musical radio show, Mind to Mind: The Transmission. He is a spoon carver who loves to teach people about how to work with their hands and explore the relationship between labor, ownership, and kamma. He is the resident teacher for Vipassana Hawai’i and teaches around the world.
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