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The Wisdom of Non-Meditation: A Practice Retreat
Dates: Nov 16, 2017 - Nov 19, 2017
Days: Thu - Sun (3 Nights)

Instructor(s): Willa Miller, Elizabeth Monson

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In this long weekend, we will explore experientially the unique approach of Mahamudra, a style of practice found in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. In Mahamudra, we engage a style of sitting called non-meditation, a practice with potential to profoundly deepen and transform our meditation experience. In the practice of non-meditation, although there is a sitting practice, we loosen up a great deal around techniques, allowing meditative ease to find us naturally. Non-meditation acknowledges that the resources of peace, joy and compassion that we seek are already present innately, so efforts to artificially create these in our lives often end up undermining the process of their emergence. Instead, we are invited into a new relationship with meditation practice as discovery or adventure, relying on the power of space and openness to prompt our inner Buddha to emerge naturally. As we open to meditative ease, we find fresh ways of holding and relating to “hindrances” as our friends and allies in practice. This retreat includes a significant practice component. For those who have struggled with a tendency to over-effort in their meditation practice, or if your practice has grown stale, non-meditation can provide a much-needed tool for balance, resilience and renewal. The course will also utilize several Vajra Songs (short profound instructions) on meditation practice for textual study, with a course text TBA.

  • Willa Miller, PhD, is a Buddhist teacher, scholar, and translator. She has trained in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition since 1987 in both monastic and academic contexts and was authorized as a lama in 1999 upon completion of six and a half years of silent retreat and intensive study. She is the founder and spiritual director of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston and its retreat center Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, NH, and is also currently Visiting Lecturer on Buddhist Ministry at Harvard Divinity School. Her books include Everyday Dharma: Seven Weeks to Finding the Buddha in You and The Arts of Contemplative Care.

  • Elizabeth Monson, PhD, is the Associate Spiritual Director of Natural Dharma Fellowship and adjunct Professor at Harvard Divinity School. She currently serves as the managing teacher of Wonderwell Mountain Refuge, a Buddhist meditation retreat center in Springfield, NH. She holds a Doctorate in Religious Studies with a focus in Tibetan Buddhism and Ethics from Harvard University. She has been studying, practicing, and teaching Buddhism for over twenty-five years.