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Friendship that Illuminates Dhamma: Awakening Together
Dates: Feb 25, 2022 - Mar 02, 2022
Days: Fri - Wed (5 Nights)

Instructor(s): Peace Twesigye, Janet Surrey, Bart Van Melik

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This retreat will explore the central importance and practice of noble friendship (kalyāṇna-mitta) in engaging the Eightfold Path of practice the Buddha offered.

We will introduce the guidelines of Insight Dialogue as a formal practice of noble friendship. Walking the path together, we can investigate how to fully meet each other in the joys and challenges of our lives. We will contemplate classical texts on wise view, wise intention, wise speech, wise action, wise effort, and wise mindfulness as they relate to spiritual friendship. In addition, we will investigate the power of our relational practice in turning toward an exploration of how our current circumstances in the world are entwined with oppressive structures that too often create a separation of hearts and minds in ways that create confusion and pain.

By tending to our shared aspiration for awakening, we can recognize and transform that which divides and separates us from each other and from our strength in relationship. Together, we will explore the power of shared intention and dhamma dialogue to awaken together through suffering and release. 

Noble Silence: 

Other than reading and contemplating together, the retreat will be held in Noble Silence.

Experience Level:

Some meditation and retreat experience is suggested.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

Three spaces will be held for self-identified BIPOC participants until eight weeks before this course begins when they will be released generally. Therefore, we encourage you to join the waitlist even if the course appears full as additional spaces may become available. Please see our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies for more information.

As we work to become a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming; please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.

  • Peace Twesigye is the Program Manager of Buddhist Studies at Union Theological Seminary. Peace assists in designing and overseeing curriculum in Buddhist Studies. Peace organizes and manages public and private conversations and events as part of the Thích Nhất Hạnh Program for Engaged Buddhism at Union Theological Seminary to further expand its public offerings in socially engaged Buddhism. Peace is currently in the Insight Dialogue Teacher Development Cohort led by the Insight Dialogue Community Teachers Council.

  • Janet Surrey, PhD is an Insight Dialogue Teacher. She teaches Insight Dialogue retreats worldwide and leads a longstanding practice group in the Boston area.  Her first meditation  teacher was Vimala Thakar . She has practiced in the Insight tradition  for over 30 years, and trained as a Community Dharma Leader at Spirit Rock. Since 2007, Jan has worked intensively with Gregory Kramer and the Insight Dialogue Community. Jan is a practicing clinical psychologist and founding scholar of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at the Wellesley Centers for Women. She is on the faculty and board of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. She is the author of The Buddha’s Wife: The Path of Awakening Together.

  • Bart van Melik has been teaching insight meditation and Insight Dialogue meditation since 2009, with a special focus on diverse communities. He brings the practice to juvenile detention centers, homeless shelters and NYC public schools, and is passionate about supporting people finding new ways to relate to life’s stresses.