Author Topic: Vipassana retreats - when to stop trying!?  (Read 3550 times)

markboscobrown

Vipassana retreats - when to stop trying!?
« on: January 07, 2013, 09:10:51 AM »
Hi everybody,

I've gone through three meditation retreats before:

a) Feb 2010 - 14 days, Wat Chom Tong, Ajaan Tong method
b) June 2012 - 10 Days, UK, Goenka method
c) Dec 2012 - 12 days, Wat Chom Tong, Ajaan Tong method

None of the retreats went very well! On the first things were ok but I didn't complete the determination and didn't feel I got much out of the retreat; I wasn't too keen on the Goenka style and so was not v interested in the second; and on the third I just made very little progress and didn't even attempt the determination.

I appreciate the Ajaan Tong method of meditation and try to use it daily, but my question is about the RETREAT aspect itself - for some people, do you think there's a point where you just have to admit 'this isn't for me'?

Every retreat there's been some excuse I could use to explain why it didn't go well, - talking, or smoking, or giving up smoking...etc. But I am in Thailand now and thinking of taking a 21-day retreat at Doi Suthep, where these 21 days could be used in a diff way.

What do you think?? Are retreats not for some people? Or can everyone get benefit if their mind is in good shape?

Thanks!
Marko


Quardamon

  • Member
    • Teachers were: P.K.K. Mettavihari, Frits Koster, Nel Kliphuis. (In the line of Mahasi Sayadaw)
Re: Vipassana retreats - when to stop trying!?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 11:37:14 AM »
If I understand well, you did finish those retreats, isn't it? So you should know very well what to expect if you go on a fourth retreat.
The only thing that is left, is that you ask the opinion of others. I do not see how it could be wrong to draw conclusions from your own experience.

markboscobrown

Re: Vipassana retreats - when to stop trying!?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 01:35:33 PM »
Thanks Quardamon.

Well...the meditation teachers I've had in Thailand will answer any questions regarding doubts, motivation etc with 'just do it'!

From my own experience - I did not really enjoy the retreats, and am not sure if I got much out of them (as opposed to the technique, which I clearly see as beneficial practised day-to-day).

But I'm motivated by the fact that a) teachers tell me any retreat is good, a blessing, b) I may have 'messed up' my experience on previous retreats by not taking the discipline seriously enough, c) I do have faith in the meditation, d) some people close to me really recommend me to do another.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Vipassana retreats - when to stop trying!?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 11:35:45 PM »
Marko,

Welcome to the forums.

Well...the meditation teachers I've had in Thailand will answer any questions regarding doubts, motivation etc with 'just do it'!

That's pretty sound advice, annoying as it is :D

From my own experience - I did not really enjoy the retreats, and am not sure if I got much out of them (as opposed to the technique, which I clearly see as beneficial practised day-to-day).

It would surprise me if the technique would have "sunk in" as deeply without the retreat experience. The whole point of retreat is to put aside all the daily worries and grind (and even many of the "little things" in life) and have the opportunity to immerse yourself in experience of the practice. Yet .. only you know the answer to this question.

But I'm motivated by the fact that a) teachers tell me any retreat is good, a blessing, b) I may have 'messed up' my experience on previous retreats by not taking the discipline seriously enough, c) I do have faith in the meditation, d) some people close to me really recommend me to do another.

I think you know the answer to this ... retreat will deepen the practice. Have you considered trying a retreat with the Thai Forest Tradition/Sangha? They have four temples in Thailand: Wat Marp Jan, Wat Nong Pah Pong, Wat Pah Nanachat and Wat Pah Sunan so I would be surprised if there are no upcoming retreat opportunities.

The Sangha is very much a "practice-based" Sangha, i.e. experience takes preference over reading Sutta's or learning Pali .... you may just not have found the right horse to ride on yet? Wat Doi Suthep is in very pretty surroundings ... don't know about the teachings at all though.

Whatever you "do" with this 21 days ... be there and be there with all your being.

Warm regards,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

markboscobrown

Re: Vipassana retreats - when to stop trying!?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2013, 04:53:07 AM »
Thanks Matthew, that's really helpful.

Another meditator did mention the forest retreats to me, which I will do more research on.

I met a lady in Chiang Mai who claimed to be a meditation teacher - I asked her if she did Vipassana and she said 'what!? they're all the same'!! Her perspective was that meditation retreats were for some and not for others, and those for whom it isn't are torturing themselves by trying. Which fitted in with my existing doubts quite nicely!

Quardamon

  • Member
    • Teachers were: P.K.K. Mettavihari, Frits Koster, Nel Kliphuis. (In the line of Mahasi Sayadaw)
Re: Vipassana retreats - when to stop trying!?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2013, 12:33:41 PM »
Hello Marko,

I get a bit stuck in my attempts to give a reaction.
Anyway - I looked a few thing up and thought back to a lecture I heard, and I find that the five cases that I heard of of people getting into serious trouble were all cases of a first-time-retreat. So that is not the case here.
Well, I would like to say more, but I cannot find my direction.
Q.

Quardamon

  • Member
    • Teachers were: P.K.K. Mettavihari, Frits Koster, Nel Kliphuis. (In the line of Mahasi Sayadaw)
Re: Vipassana retreats - when to stop trying!?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2013, 12:36:07 PM »
If you can spend the time you might look at
CSRL 11 Chris Oates on Vimeo
on how real it is to regard meditation as always good.

 

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