“Retreat offers a situation where it's possible to fulfill our basic human potential and develop all the positive qualities within ourselves. Retreat gives one the time and space to allow for the growth of this basic human quality.”
- Lama Zopa Rinpoche
What can Retreat do for me?
Will I encounter challenges in Retreat?
Many beings who have imbued their mind with qualities such as wisdom, love, compassion and equanimity have used retreat to help develop their Buddha potential. We can do the same.
Retreat Enhances Wisdom
- Retreat allows us to clearly see how the mind is constantly shaping our reality and creates our problems and suffering.
- In retreat, we learn to distinguish between what is true and what is false. Retreat allows us to draw consciousness away from our hallucinations and distorted views. With this understanding, it's possible to change our lives for the better.
- Deep retreat helps us see our subtle delusions – the ones lying at the root of all our problems and unhappiness. These are the core distortions that keep us from embodying our Buddha nature.
Retreat Enhances Love and Compassion
- We become more loving, gentle, generous, open-hearted, compassionate, patient and genuine with others as well as ourselves.
- We become less selfish. We begin to see the benefits of cherishing others and the harm of being self-centered.
Retreat Cultivates Peace of Mind
“Without retreat, without being alone, the mind is like muddy water. But the mind in retreat, being alone and freed of outside distractions, is like a calm, crystal-clear lake. There is clarity to help see oneself more clearly and to see one's own Buddha nature more easily.” - Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Meditation practice is the ultimate solution for any and all of our problems. Satisfaction, peace and happiness can only be found within our own minds.
Retreat Strengthens Dharma Practice
- Retreat is tremendously inspiring because it shows us the amazing potential we have to become like our teachers and all the Holy Beings.
- Practice dissolves negativity and builds a strong basis for spontaneous virtue.
- Direct, non-conceptual experience of Buddhist idea's and practices leads to greater certainty and devotion.
- Retreat deeply plants the causes for Enlightenment into our minds and our lives.
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Challenges of Retreat
As you can see, the benefits of retreat are immeasurable and well worth the effort. And at the same time, being on retreat can be very challenging.
Retreat demands that we embrace conditions that are unfamiliar to us, including:
Leaving our normal routine and life behind can be uncomfortable. While not everyone experiences them, it is not uncommon for anxiety, agitation or melancholy to arise as we adjust to retreat.
These feelings are normal and temporary, similar to withdrawal symptoms when quitting other kinds of addictions or comforts.
When we begin to experience these unpleasant feelings it means that we are on our way to being free of our reliance on external objects for our happiness and pleasure. They will soon pass as we begin to blossom into our retreat experience.
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