This online retreat offers a unique opportunity to study the art of mindfulness directly from the source material itself with two of the leading Buddhist teachers in America. Together we will consider the Buddha’s original teaching to the mendicants, as recorded in the Great Focus of Mindfulness Discourse (Mahāsatipatthānasutta) in the Long Discourses collection, to be his leading of a guided meditation, and we will follow along by meditating on the different key passages.
The four focuses of mindfulness in the sutta are the body, the sensations, the mind, and the mental objects, among which the last is the longest and most elaborated. In addition to meditating as directed, many of the elements used by the Buddha to aim and structure the meditations, such as the five aggregates, the eighteen elements, and the twelve sense-mediums, need to be explained and incorporated in mind, in order to be able to meditatively follow the guidance effectively.
We will make special effort to keep our mindfulness going throughout, before, and after the retreat, by encouraging such practices as, for example, observing silence during meals at home whenever possible, practicing walking meditation, and even doing sleep meditation! We will provide Mahayana perspective on the traditional Theravadan Discourse and may compare it with a Sanskrit sutra on the same topic from the Mahayana canon.