This is critical because intention, which is part of Right View (sammā–ditthi) and Right Effort, is necessary for the success of a Home Retreat. After reviewing the schedule, make an internal commitment to it and share it with your retreat friend or someone who you respect in practice. Tell him or her your schedule and send it to him or her in an email. Include how many days you intend to be on Home Retreat, how many sits a day you intend to do, how long you intend to sit, and any particular formal study focus you might want to pursue. Solicit this friend’s advice. Consider all new ideas and previously not-considered points of view and see if what is being offered might serve you. All too often in practice we fall prey to thinking we know best and forget we frequently confuse ourselves by thinking what is best is really only that which is easy or pleasant. Allowing new notions and new perspectives to be tested can open not only our eyes but can also open the horizon to new skills and new perspectives.
Once you have a list of what you do in a day and what you must do for the time you are on retreat make sure you keep those appointments and chores on your list that are necessary and jettison any activities that can be postponed such as that art or writing project you’re working on, or the morning coffee with friends at the coffee house, reading/watching the news, or going online for email or Facebook more than scheduled. These are activities that are normal and acceptable in everyday life but will be distractions and added burdens to you maintaining continuity of restraint and attention. Take notice if there are days, for instance on the weekend, where you can adjust your schedule for more sitting. Always keep an eye to how you might refine your understanding of sampajañña when examining all those appointments, tasks and activities of daily life. Remember, this is a retreat and, as with all retreats, you will be assisted by restraint and continuity.
Right Intention (sammā-sankappa): The Noble Eightfold Path. Bhikkhu Bodhi. Chapter Three.
Munindraji: 1. Was an Indian lay teacher most often associated in the West as being Joseph Goldstein’s and Dipama’s teacher. His impact on how Theravada Buddhism is understood in the West cannot be overstated. In the book Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra, 2010, by Mirka Knaster the reader is given a most extraordinary example of how to live a Home Retreat as a layperson. allan cooper.
Vikāla-bhojanā veramanī sikkhāpadam samādhiyāmi’, I undertake the Precept to refrain from eating at the forbidden time (i.e., afternoon till the sun rises the next day). I will eat with an attention towards sustenance with applied mindfulness and clear comprehension during all drinking and eating.
Sati-sampajañña: 1. Sati and sampajañña are two terms combined to mean one thing. Sati is the function of the mind that can bring meditative focus on any conscious object and get to know it without self-referencing or preference. Sampajañña is the wholesome attempt to understand what an object is. Without sampajañña sati is simply a function of the mind without understanding. Sampajañña without sati is speculation. Combined these mental functions can de-condition and reorient the mind towards freedom from unwholesome patterns of mind, speech and action. allan cooper 2. Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta. MN:10.
Sampajañña: Clear Comprehension: 1. Attending to four categories of attention: Purpose, Suitability, Domain, and Reality. allan cooper. 2. The Heart of Buddhist Meditation, Nyanaponika Thera. 3. Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta. MN:10.
Spiritual friend (kalyānamitta): 1. SN 45:2 Upaddha Sutta. 2. Access to Insight, ‘Admirable Friendship: kalyanamitta. 3. In common usage ‘a spiritual friend.’ In a traditional sense it means a teacher or a knower of the way. allan cooper
Right View (sammā-ditthi): 1. The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering, Chapter Two. Bhikkhu Bodhi.
Abbreviations in footnotes: AN: Aṅguttara Nikāya, DN: Dingha Nikāya, MN: Majjhima Nikāya, SN: Saṃyutta Nikāya