Mindfulness is the Source of Happiness
A mindfulness retreat with the Plum Village monastics
at the Asian Institute of Applied Buddhism,
Lotus Pond Temple, Ngong Ping Village, Lantau Island, HK
Date and time: 13/04/2017@4:00pm - 17/04/2017@2:00pm
Feb. 22, 2017
You are invited to attend the annual Spring retreat at AIAB in Lotus Pond Temple. The theme of this retreat is the role of mindfulness in purifying the deluded mind, the main cause of pain and suffering. Buddhism arose in the 5th century BCE, in the area known as Greater Magahdha1 a part of ancient India. The spiritual tradition at that time was concerned with the ideas of reincarnation/samsara (rebirth), karma (actions), and retribution (the effect of our actions). Rebirth, karma, and retribution are in fact not the original teachings of Buddhism. They were inherited from the local spiritual tradition. The Buddha accepted them but interpreted them differently from other traditions2. The main teachings of Buddhism are the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eight-fold path, not rebirth, karma, and retribution.
There was a belief that person would still be subjected to suffering if he/she was still being reborn. They thought that there was an eternal soul in the body. When the body is dead, the soul would find body to live. Thus a belief in rebirth is connected with a belief in an eternal soul. Buddhism doesn’t accept that there is an eternal soul, a permanent and separate entity called elf. Birth is a manifestation of things when conditions are sufficient, and death is a dissolution of things when conditions are not sufficient. “Birth and death” are just conventional designations we give to natural phenomnenu. Billions of cells are born and billions of cells are dead in our body every day. We are an always changing “being”.
Karma means we are responsible for our own actions. If we do good things, we will be happy. If we do bad things, we will suffer. However, Buddhism does not believe in a permanent and a separate self, thus, the person who acts and the person who receives the affect are neither one nor two people. If we believe the actor and and the receiver are the same person, then we are caught in the view of permanence or eternalism. If we believe the actor the receiver are two different people, then we are caught in the view of annihilationism. Buddhism said that there was the continuation and the effect, but there was no unchanging entity in the process. The actor and the receiver are neither the same nor different.
Retribution means we will get whatever we cultivate i.e. if we plant corn seeds, we will get corn plants. However, Buddhism also taught about individual retribution and collective retribution. It can be a collective retribution of many people or an individual retribution of a single person.
It was the practice of mindfulness of breathing (anapasati) and the 4 establishments of mindfulness (satipatthana) that led the Buddha to see the way to transform the deluded mind, to see nature the way they really are which bears the three marks of existence: impermanence, selflessness (interbeing) and nirvana (non-duality). The three marks of existence (three dharma seals) is the kind of knowledge that helps to purify the mind and lead to liberation.
“The cause of suffering is ignorance, a false way of looking at reality. Thinking the impermanent is permanent, that is ignorance. Thinking there is a self when there is not, that is ignorance. From ignorance is born greed, anger, fear, jealousy, and countless other sufferings. The path of liberation is the path of looking deeply at things in order to truly realize the nature of impermanence, the absence of a separate self, and the interdependence of all things. This path is the path which overcomes ignorance. Once ignorance is overcome, suffering is transcended. That is true liberation. There is no need for a self for there (there?) to be liberated.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path White Cloud, Chapter 27
The tentative schedule is as follows:
|Date / Time||
|06:00||Sitting & Slow Walking & Reading Discourse||Outdoor walking, sitting & breakfast|
|07:00||10 Mindful Movements & Walking Meditation|
|14:00||Total Relaxation||Closing Circle|
|15:00||Registration / Check-In||Group sharing||Group sharing||Group Sharing||Farewell & Happy Continuation of the Practice at Home|
|16:30||Fruit Break||Fruit Break||Fruit Break|
|17:00||Exercise||Exercise / Consultation||Exercise / Consultation|
|19:30||Lecture||Sitting meditation||Touching the Earth||Beginning Anew|
|21:30||Rest – Noble Silence|
|RoomType (5 days,4 nights)||Dormitory (HKD)|
Working Meditation: Because the retreat is held in the monastery, all the preparation and cooking will be done by the monastics and some volunteers. During the retreat, we need help from participants in preparation works like: setting up the meditation hall and dining hall, washing up after meals… Participants will be grouped into Dharma discussion groups and will work together in the same groups to help with the retreat.
We are looking forward to seeing you at the retreat!
“Karma: Dimension of Asian Spirituality”, Johannes Bronkhorst, University of Hawaii Press, 2011.
"Tri Kỷ Của Bụt", Thich Nhat Hanh, Phuong Dong Publication, 2016
“In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (The Teachings of the Buddha)”, Bhikkhu Bodi, Wisdom Publication, 2005.