Foundational Readings for Home Retreat
To best understand and make use of this Home Retreat Guide I suggest you read in Nyanaponika Thera’s The Heart of Buddhist Meditation with special attention to the section on sampajañña. Also very helpful is Bhikkhu Bodhi’s very short book The Noble Eightfold Path: The Way to the End of Suffering. These two texts will serve any yogi throughout the Path and both are especially useful for doing Home Retreats.
This particular guide relies heavily on the Mahasi Sayadaw school of Theravada Buddhist practice as a foundation, but because spiritual practice is not exclusive to any one tradition, this guide can be of service to anyone who is sincere in cultivating an integrated and effective meditative life. For anyone reading this guide who may be unfamiliar with Mahasi practice or Buddhist meditation practices, please use your own spiritual tradition’s language and apply these instructions to your practice where it appears a fit and useful.
Pāli, the ancient Buddhist scriptural language, is used regularly in the text and frequently in the footnotes. Using Pāli is not a necessary requirement in order to practice or study vipassanā (insight) meditation, but it does allow those who practice in this particular way to share a language. Sharing a language specific to meditation can have wide-ranging benefits; it can serve by reducing confusion when speaking with others regarding meditation practice while simultaneously creating community. When Pāli is used in the text it has been chosen because there is no adequate English word or phrase to capture that word or that phrase’s precise meaning. It will be especially useful to
Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering, Bhikkhu Bodhi.
Mahasi Sayadaw: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahasi_Sayadaw
Vipassanā: 1. In English vipassanā, mindfulness, sati, and insight, are often used interchangeably to describe the meditation practice of bringing one’s unfiltered attention to our experience at any of the six sense doors. The Pali term sati is also commonly used to mean vipassanā. allan cooper 2. Vipassanā, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills. This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation. https://www.dhamma.org/en/about/vipassana 3. Insight meditation (vipassanā): Attending to objects of consciousness with bare attention. 4. The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering, Chapter Six, Sammā-Sati, Bhikkhu Bodhi.
Sati: 1. ‘Mindfulness’ is one of the Five Spiritual Faculties and Powers, one of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment and the Seventh link of the Noble Eightfold Path, and is, in its widest sense, one of those mental factors inseparately associated with all karmically wholesome and karma-produced lofty consciousness. Buddhist Dictionary, Nyanatiloka. 2. Sati, vipassanā and insight meditation are often used interchangeably in English. For the purpose of this Guide it is helpful to translate vipassanā to mean sati-sampajañña, and that sati and sampajañña as having different and distinct meanings. allan cooper.
Yogi: 1. Theravada: The one who trains in the development of concentration. Person who practices satipatthana or samatha meditation. Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary. 2. Synonym for meditator. allan cooper
Vinaya: (Basket of the Discipline). 1. The vinaya, literally meaning “leading out,” “education,” and “discipline.” It is the regulatory framework for the sangha or monastic community of Buddhism based on the canonical texts called the Vinaya Pitaka. Wikipedia. 2, In other words, the rules and conventions that all Buddhist monastics agree to adhere to when they are ordained. Code of conduct. Livelihood. allan cooper.
Abbreviations in footnotes: AN: Aṅguttara Nikāya, DN: Dingha Nikāya, MN: Majjhima Nikāya, SN: Saṃyutta Nikāya