Realising emptiness with insight, serenity and four divine abodes: A silent onsite/online meditation retreat
Realising emptiness with serenity, insight and 4 divine abodes
Ten-day (9 night) with seven-day (6 night) option, Silent meditation retreat, Sept 2-11, 2022
Onsite at Mt Carmel Retreat Centre (near Sydney) with online option
This dana based onsite and online (hybrid) meditation retreat will focus on exploration, guidance and the opportunity to practice meditation as described in the Buddha’s shorter discourse on emptiness (the culasunnyata sutta, see details below). As well as insight, the retreat is an invitation to cultivate serenity and four divine abodes: warm benevolence, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity.
It will be led by Malcolm Huxter and co-led by Lisa Brown (see below for details).
The daily schedule will include:
6:15 – 7.15am Optional morning yoga and yoga nidra with Lisa
9.00 -10.30am Morning instruction and guidance /workshop session mostly with Malcolm
10.30-11.00am Tea break
11.00 – 12.30am Periods of silent meditation in a group or individually. After the first weekend, individual Dharma meetings with Mal or Lisa
12.30 - 2.30pm Lunch and rest
2.30 - 6.00pm periods of silent meditation in a group or individually with a tea break
7.00 - 8.00pm Dharma talks and discussion with both Mal and Lisa
8.15 – 9.00pm Silent or guided meditation/possible chanting
General aims of the retreat:
- To explore the instructions outlined in the Buddha's shorter discourse on emptiness.
- To provide the opportunity to explore and experience first-hand the cultivation of insight and serenity for the realisation of emptiness.
- To provide the opportunity to experience the development of the four divine abodes (benevolence, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity).
- To free oneself and others from psychological suffering.
- To enhance the skills and understanding of anyone wishing to develop meditation as well as provide new ideas for therapists, programme leaders and other professionals who already use mindfulness, compassion, loving kindness and related skills as part of their therapeutic and coaching repertoire.
Who is this retreat for?
This silent residential retreat is for anyone who has had some prior experience with meditation and wishes to enhance and practise her, his or their skills. The retreat may also be suitable for therapists, educators, program leaders and as it may partially fulfil CPD requirements for some professions and meditation teacher training programs.
The fees. In accordance with Buddhist traditions, there are no fees for the teachings and guidance on this retreat as it is dana based. Dana refers to the economy of generosity where the teachings are given freely and those who receive the teaching have the opportunity to reciprocate with a financial gift that they feel is suitable, after the retreat has finished.
There will be a registration fee of $30 to cover administration costs for online and onsite as well as 6 night and 9 night registrations.
The meals and accomodation fees for onsite participation are as follows:
6 nights =$1034
9 nights =$1470
These fees will be directed to the venue and cover meals & accommodation. They will also contribute towards the teachers’ accomodation. Payments can be made in instalments to be completed by August 19, 2022. Bank details for payment will be provided with an email sent on registration. Please note that if you offer dana it should be offered separately from the accommodation fee.
The Venue for onsite participation:
Mt Carmel Retreat is a peaceful and semi-rural sanctuary of 300 acres with birdlife and walking trails, 45 minutes outside of Sydney, near the Minto train station. https://mtcarmel.com.au/ All spacious bedrooms have their own bathroom and toilet. The venue will require that all participants comply with COVID regulations including up to date vaccinations. Numbers for onsite participation will be limited due to COVID safety.
Malcolm Huxter (MAPS, AABCAP) is a clinical psychologist in private practice. He is the author of “Healing the Heart and Mind with Mindfulness.” Routledge 2016. http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Heart-Mind-Mindfulness-Ancient/dp/1138851353
A practicing psychologist for 30 years, he has been guiding in Buddhist meditation practices such as mindfulness and the 4 divine abodes to the general public, a range of cultures, clinical populations, therapists and other professionals since 1991. He is a certified mindful self- compassion (MSC) teacher as well as Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB) teacher. He began training in Buddhist meditation practices in 1975, living in Thailand as a Buddhist monk for two years in the late 1970’s. As well as Theravada, he has trained in other Buddhist and spiritual traditions. For more details about Mal go to Mal's website
Lisa Brown (AAPi, IYTA, AABCAP) is a Registered Psychologist, Yoga Teacher, certified Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Teacher (Brown University, USA) and trained Mindful Self-Compassion Facilitator. She is an Adjunct Lecturer at Charles Sturt University where she has taught mindfulness and retreats for post-graduate students and has a deep interest in the conjunction of western science, Buddhadharma and earth-based wisdom traditions in health, healing and trauma recovery. Lisa is currently a student in the Insight Meditation Dharma Teacher Training Programme in Australia and works in private practice, facilitating groups and workshops on Gumbaynggirr Country, Coffs Harbour.
Website: Lisa's website
The Buddha’s shorter discourse on emptiness
In the Culasunnyata sutta (MN121) or the shorter discourse on emptiness, Ananda asked the Buddha if he regularly abided in emptiness and the Buddha confirmed that he often did. In this sutta the Buddha then describes gradual steps to the direct perception and realisation of emptiness. Guidance in the gradual steps begin with the Buddha pointing out that the forest retreat where they were was void of elephants cattle, horses void of gold and silver and assemblies of men and women and what was present was only the sangha of Bhikkhus. He said that by not attending to the perception of village or lay people and just attending to the perception of forest retreat with sangha the person’s mind is void of the perception of villages, people etc., He goes on to focus only on the perception of earth and one’s perception is void of the perception of forest, then infinite spaciousness and this is void of earth, then consciousness and this is void of spaciousness, then nothingness (not self) being void of a self, then Samadhi without an sign (Samadhi with no object) is void of mental creations. These steps incline the practitioner to nibbana. This inclination involves: seclusion, dispassion, cessation and letting go.