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Balancing Liberation and Devotion: Opening the Kuan Yin Dharma Doors
Dates: Nov 01, 2019 - Nov 06, 2019
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.

Learning Intentions:
To learn the connections between essential Theravada and Mahayana practices and teachings that go to the heart of our awakening process; to recognize the importance of cultivating an open and devoted heart space as a support for liberating insight; and to access wise guidance, through depth listening into the dynamic intelligence of the living Dharma, in order to meet the challenges of our times. 

Experience Level:
Suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.

Lottery closes June 15, 2019


Link to Lottery course details
  • Kittisaro, a Rhodes Scholar, spent 15 years as a monk in the Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah. His practice is also influenced by the Chinese school of Master Hua. Kittisaro, with Thanissara founded Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat in South Africa and Sacred Mountain Sangha in California. Their book Listening to the Heart: A Contemplative Guide to Engaged Buddhism shares their journey informed by a synthesized practice of Theravada and Mahayana.

  • Thanissara trained was a monastic in the Ajahn Chah Forest Tradition for 12 years. She’s led retreats since 1988, and co-founded Dharmagiri in South Africa and Sacred Mountain Sangha based in California. She has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy from the UK, 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.