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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 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. Kittisaro and Thanissara are founders and directors of Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat in South Africa and Sacred Mountain Sangha Non Profit in California. They recently published a book Listening to the Heart: A Contemplative Guide to Engaged Buddhism.

  • Thanissara began practice in the Burmese school of U Ba Khin in 1975. She spent 12 years as a Buddhist nun in the Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah. She has facilitated meditation retreats internationally the last 30 years and has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice. She is co-founder, with Kittisaro, of Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat in South Africa, and Sacred Mountain Sangha in California, which runs a two-year Dharmapala Training.