Extended practice periods of sitting meditation are where you will meet your experience face-to-face, in ways that very rarely happen in the midst of the busyness and distractedness of everyday life. The Three Yana Intensive retreats are structured around extended practice periods, alternating with extended periods of study.
The main practice at the retreats is shamatha-vipashyana meditation. Shamatha is the practice of cultivating peace—not in the sense of getting rid of inner and outer disturbances—but of making peace with whatever arises that disturbs you. This is the way to truly make friends with yourself. Vipashyana is the practice of cultivating insight. It is cultivating insight into both the patterns of your inner mental processes and realizing the nature of that inner reality.
Shamatha-vipashyana includes both sitting meditation and walking meditation. Simple, elegant forms surround the meditation sessions: forms for entering the shrine room, lighting the shrine, chanting, bowing, and so on.
The Practice Period Schedule
A typical day’s schedule during practice periods includes eight or nine hours of meditation. The day begins with a period of meditation, then breakfast, more meditation, a period of gentle physical exercise, lunch, a work period, more meditation, and dinner. The day concludes with a final period of meditation.
Several sessions each week will be reserved for people who are practicing ngöndro or sadhana to do these practices.