Co-sponsored by the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies and the Center for Contemplative Research.
The retreat is an opportunity to explore the interdenominational, inter-contemplative themes outlined by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his vision for The Center for Contemplative Research:
— The Buddhist meditative practices of śamatha and vipaśyanā
— Teachings on nonviolence and compassion from other revered Indian traditions
— Instruction in the contemplative traditions of Christianity
His Holiness the Dalai Lama presented the following vision, or mandate, for the Center for Contemplative Research:
“Regarding the plan to create a retreat center in the American State of Colorado that will also be a Center for Contemplative Research in collaboration with the scientific community, I say, ‘Excellent!’ It is clear to me that it will be of even greater benefit if this retreat center offers training not only in the view, meditation, and way of life of Buddhism, but also in the widespread, shared, non-violent way of life that has been taught in India from the ancient Sāṃkhya school onwards. There should be teaching, reflection, and meditation with respect to the view, including the presentation of cause and effect, and with respect to meditation, including śamatha and vipaśyanā. Likewise, there should also be instruction and reflection on the view, meditation, and way of life taught in the western traditions of Christianity.”
The virtual retreat will be available with both audio and video recordings of each day’s teachings.
Each full day will consist of two 3-hour sessions, including lectures and meditations, ending with a one-hour session for questions and answers.
Day 1 (evening): Dr. B. Alan Wallace will give an introductory talk on the need for a renaissance of contemplative inquiry in the world’s religious traditions and what that would entail.
Day 2: Dr. Anuradha Choudry will teach and lead meditations that draw out experiential understanding of non-violence and compassion (ahimsā and karuṇa) as understood in Sanskrit literature and the philosophical perspectives, or darśana, of India. She will guide practitioners to understand non-violence in all its subtle nuances, and to see the fundamental relationships that we have with ourselves and the world around us, which in turn facilitates a more spontaneous expression of compassion.
Day 3 & 4: Dr. Wallace will teach and lead meditations on the sixteen stages of śamatha and vipaśyanā by way of mindfulness of breathing, as taught in the Pāli Canon and Mahāyāna tradition. He will then draw out distinct approaches to śamatha and vipaśyanā found within the Vajrayāna, including the Great Perfection school of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism.
Day 5 & 6: Dr. Eva Natanya will teach and lead meditations that offer a fresh, experiential perspective on the “Christian mandala” with Christ at its center. She will share some core elements of the worldview that inspires the Christian contemplative tradition, its path of meditation (including the stages of purification, illumination, and ultimately union with God), as well as its mystical way of life, which seeks to actualize the glory of resurrection even now, in our world.
Day 7 (morning): Dr. Choudry, Dr. Wallace, and Dr. Natanya will engage in a panel discussion concerning the integration of the themes highlighted by His Holiness, the challenges and benefits of interreligious practice, and the urgent need for contemplative inquiry in the modern world.
The virtual retreat will offer both audio and video recordings. Some sessions will be live while others will be recorded and made available within 24-36 hours. All Q&A sessions, the teachings from Dr. Choudry and the final day panel discussion will be live. All other sessions will be recorded.
We are delighted to announce that the retreat will be held in Crestone, CO at Blazing Mountain Retreat Center. You can apply to attend in person or register for the virtual retreat.