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Balancing Liberation and Devotion: Opening the Kuan Yin Dharma Doors
Dates: Nov 23, 2018 - Nov 28, 2018
Days: Fri - Wed (5 Nights)

Instructor(s): Kittisaro, Thanissara

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This retreat will explore the dynamic relationship between the devotional and liberating dimensions of Buddhist theory and practice as found in the Mahāyāna and Theravāda Traditions. Although relatively unknown in the West, the Kuan Yin Dharma offers a powerful holistic template that spans Pure Land and Chan practices, "Holding the Holy Name" and "Returning the Hearing" to listen in to the true nature. In the Lotus Sutra, the Shurangama Sutra, and the Heart Sutra, we are introduced not only to the prayerful, merciful, and healing powers of Buddha recitation, but to the realization of the non-dual luminous heart. Similarly in Theravāda teachings, the honoring and recollection of the Buddha (puja) is an important obstacle-dissolving foundation for "turning the mind to the deathless" (amata dhamma). The practical and profound teachings on stopping the proliferating mind (papanca/nippapanca) will be investigated alongside classical Theravāda texts. This retreat will include study, meditation, devotional practices, and discussion.

  • Kittisaro, a Rhodes Scholar and graduate from Princeton University, spent 15 years as a monk in the Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah. He disrobed in 1991 and since then has taught internationally in the States, Europe, South Africa, and Israel. He has studied and practiced Chan and Pure Land Buddhism for 35 years inspired and guided by the Chinese school of Master Hsuan Hua. He has completed two year-long self retreats and is particularly interested in the mutually supportive relationship of Mahayana and Theravada teachings. Kittisaro and his wife Thanissara are founders and directors of Dharmagiri Insight Meditation Centre in South Africa. They recently published a book Listening to the Heart: A Contemplative Guide to Engaged Buddhism.

  • Thanissara trained in the forest tradition of Ajahn Chah, and was a monastic for 12 years. She's led retreats since 1988, and has co-founded Dharmagiri in South Africa. She has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice, and is author of several books, including Time to Stand Up: An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth -- The Buddha's Life and Message through Feminine Eyes.

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