wens16

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About wens16

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  1. Ah, you're right...I just checked where I read about the retreat and I had the wrong year. I must have seen it in an old post. Wow, I didnt know they were beefing!
  2. I have the original and have found it to be most valuable. I plan on picking up the second addition too. I think I read that he expands on Buddhist Magick in the new one. If you are interested in Vipassana and Buddhist Theravada, I think you can't go wrong with either edition. I don't know what the first edition is priced at but I bought it for around 35 a few years ago. His forum is really good too- dharma overground and his blog has some interesting posts. I think he is doing a month long teacher residency at Caldusa's retreat center in September.
  3. Love the meme annica...duhhka....anata!
  4. Hi all, Recently, I went to a 10 day silent, samatha & vipassana retreat at Big Bear Meditation Center in California. The course was taught by Sayadaw U Agganna, who is a teacher in the Pa Auk tradition. My previous experience with vipassana was at two Goenka centers in California. In the Pa Auk method, it is taught to first develop your concentration and later to start vipassana. They do give a separate method if you want to go straight to vipassana. For the majority of the retreat, I ended up focusing on concentration- anapanasati, which is mindfulness/concentration on the breath. As one develops focused attention to the breath, the body becomes pain free, calm, bliss like and a “nimitta” will appear. With closed eyes, nimitta are lights that appear around the nose and face. As it develops it becomes more stable, brighter, and usually white. After one achieves this and is able to stabilize the nimitta, one will then proceed to the jhana states. They teach that after the jhanas are mastered, the meditator has the choice to further develop concentration with other meditation objects (10 kasinas, skeleton meditation, etc) or go on to vipassana. My experience: The first few days were difficult because I was accustomed to the Goenka method of watching sensations. Here, you are taught to have one pointed concentration. So the meditator picks one spot in the nose or upper lip area and focus solely on the in and out breathe right at that point. It doesn’t matter the type of sensation nor how intense it is. After day 3, I started to get the peaceful feeling throughout my body and I started seeing lights. It was kinda cool and felt like I was getting it. During day 4-7, I was able to further develop my concentration. The bliss, peaceful feeling that I experienced was incredible. It almost felt orgasmic in a way. At times, I would get so sweaty and my breathing would become fast, then the breath would slow down to barely perceptible. The lights I saw were blue, purple, and moving. When I was in this state, sometimes thoughts would cease and at times thoughts would appear but would be softer somehow. Maybe I was in the jhana at this time because I was totally absorbed. With all these good feelings, I realized that I was reaching and trying to recreate this peaceful bodily feeling constantly during my sits, making it into a craving. I developed a very bad constant headache too. After I recognizing that craving for bliss sits, I decided to back off on forcing anything and solely focus on awareness of the breath and ignore the bodily sensations (which is what I should have been doing anyway but the bodily sensations were so pleasant). The last few days were easier going and not as intense, however, my concentration/ focus continued to improve. The nimitta lights became more stable. In between sits, I felt more present to whatever I was doing. The most distracting thing I experienced was, is, and maybe ever will be - thoughts. At first, I was just trying to ignore, squash, and redirect them back to breath. Later, I realized that ignoring was making it worse, so I just tried doing metta meditation for myself and/or would acknowledge thoughts and try not to follow them, then gently redirect attention back to the breath. We also experienced the earthquakes as we were located about 2hours30 mins from the epicenter. This had the effect of worrying about outside concerns- worrying about families, our safety, etc… so last few days were odd. Overall, I enjoyed my experience and a few things to note: Pa Auk method- this method lays out what to expect along the journey. It gives a map to enlightenment or arahatship. If you are more analytical or appreciate the roadmap ahead, then you might like this method versus the Goenka style retreat. I don’t know about the longer Goenka retreats, maybe they give you this information. But I really liked learning that about the path. I found it immensely helpful to have a teacher that you can talk to. At Goenka, I haven’t found that the assistant teachers were very open about the path. You can also find about these maps/paths in Dan Ingram’s book and many other sources. When difficulties arise or thoughts become too much, metta meditation is the best. Learning to accept where we are at is so key and that takes love of oneself. Not to beat oneself up or judge oneself is hard, metta can truly help. I wouldn't even do metta for anyone else, just myself. I enjoyed working on my concentration in a way that I hadn’t before. I see now the value in doing anapana meditation in order to prep oneself for vipassana. For those having difficulty with sitting due to pain, it might be worth it to learn this method. Truly, once my concentration developed, the pain would disappear. I have a lot of knee pain and right leg pain due to a pinched nerve. I was able to do strong determination sits without trying to. Since I’ve returned home, I haven’t reached the high level that I did while there. Maybe that is expected. I have noticed that during retreat and since, my dreams have become so real that I find myself moving a lot at night. Like I woke myself up two nights ago and I had my arm up in the air, swiping at something. While on retreat, I would have these like energy jolts that would also wake me up. For those looking for a long, free retreat, there are several Pa Auk centers in Burma that do not charge. Our teacher said you could even go for a year. They offer private kutis, washer/dryer, doctors that visit… all free. If you want to read about this method, the book Knowing and Seeing by Pa Auk is great. Its available as a free download.
  5. I've struggled with a similar situation and to be honest, I had to drop my belief that the other person has to help out. I can't force someone to do anything, it really makes me mad but I had to accept it. And I'm a neat freak, perfectionist. Two things that helped me deal with this was The Work by Byron Katie ( to help with the mental stuff) and flylady.net. fly lady breaks down cleaning in small chunks. She is kinda quirky but the routines have changed my house. If you don't like her style, you can check out other websites that break cleaning down into small manageable habits daily. Its best to try to do only 15 mins or so of cleaning. Set a timer and only focus on one thing. Its helpful to combine tasks, like while showering, clean the shower walls. Also, in doing cleaning routines, my family has started to help without me forcing anything. Best wishes.