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Dispelling Delusion: Exploring the Vipallāsas Through Early Buddhist Poetry

Residential Program
Dates: Apr 02, 2024 - Apr 07, 2024
Days: Tuesday - Sunday
Number of Nights: 5 nights

Instructor(s): Ayya Santussika

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Program Description:

Watch a Video Invitation from Ayya Santussika

From the arahant bhikkhuni Sundarīnandā (Beautiful Nandā)

… Reviewing my body in such a way,

tireless all day and night,

having broken through

with my own wisdom, I saw.

Being diligent,

properly investigating,

I truly saw the body

both inside and out.

Then, growing disillusioned with my body,

I became dispassionate within.

Diligent, detached,

I’m quenched and at peace.

Therīgāthā 5.4

Like the Buddha’s half sister, Sundarīnandā, we also might perceive the body as beautiful until we investigate it deeply with wisdom. Seeing what is not beautiful as beautiful is one of the four vipallāsas, distortions that cause most of our misapprehensions of reality. The other three are seeing what is impermanent as permanent, seeing what is painful as pleasant, and seeing what is without a self as a self. Dispelling these distortions leads to awakening, seeing the way things actually are. 

Many of the poems of the early Buddhist mendicants describe this breakthrough. As we explore this practice and draw upon the encouragement of these enlightened practitioners, we find that we too can do this work.

In this retreat, we will read and discuss verses from the Therīgāthā and Theragāthā, as well as from other volumes in the Pali Canon. We will use noble silence and precepts to strengthen the container of the retreat. And, there will be plenty of meditation practice to support investigation into how these distortions show up in our own lives and how we can break through them. Guidance for the practice will come through small and large group discussions, Q&A, and Dhamma talks.

Noble Silence:
Noble silence will be observed during much of this program. Some contemplative exercises may involve mindful speaking and listening. Noble silence is to be upheld at all other times.

Experience Level:
Suitable for beginning and experienced practitioners.
    About the Instructor(s):
  • Ayya Santussika is a Theravada bhikkhuni who is trained and practicing in the Thai Forest tradition. Her faith in the Dhamma developed during many visits to monasteries of Ajahn Chah and his disciples in Thailand, America, England, New Zealand, and Australia beginning in 1998. She has been training as a nun since 2005 in large and small monasteries in both England and America. In 2012, she received full ordination as a bhikkhuni and founded Karuna Buddhist Vihara, where she currently lives, located in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Boulder Creek, California. Her Dhamma teachings are primarily based on the Pali suttas.