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Retreat Dharma Talks

Concentration Retreat

Concentration (samadhi), the collection and unification of the mind, was emphasized by the Buddha as one of the aspects of the Eightfold Path. It can bring joy to your practice and lead to the skillful use of pleasure in the meditative process. Whatever your level of practice, you can improve your Insight Meditation (Vipassana) by strengthening your concentration skills. Your ability to concentrate will develop in response to the attention you give it. This retreat offers a series of techniques for staying on the meditation object for extended periods of time. We will explore the factors of concentration that lead to the deep absorption states known as jhana. Teachers will also give instruction for utilizing concentration during insight practice.

2018-08-19 (10 days) Spirit Rock Meditation Center

2018-08-21 Jhanic Factors in Samadhi Practice (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 59:41
Susie Harrington
The supports and obstructions for samadhi: The hindrances and jhanic factors: vitakka, vicara, piti, sukha, ekaggata.
2018-08-22 Skillful Effort in Concentration Practice (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 61:03
Donald Rothberg
After some general reflections on the nature of concentration (or samadhi), concentration practice, and its place and importance, we explore the nature of skillful effort. We particularly focus on the balance of "pro-active" effort and relaxation/ease, identifying a number of specific practice tips and suggestions that support development in both aspects of practice, as well as how to cultivate the balance between the two. [A clarification about terminology: There are two terms that have at times been translated as "effort”: (1) The 6th factor of the Noble Eightfold Path is “Right Effort” (same vayama); (2) Viriya is one of the Five Spiritual Faculties and one of the Seven Factors of Awakening and is often translated as “energy,” sometimes as “effort.”]
2018-08-23 Developing a Skillful Relationship to Happiness in Practice and in Life (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 59:57
Sally Armstrong
Though the teachings on dukkha (suffering) are an important part of the Buddhist path, a skillful relationship to sukha (happiness) actually played a significant part in the Buddha's awakening. This talk explores the wise use of happiness and pleasure and the cultivation of beautiful qualities of mind, especially in concentration practice.
2018-08-25 Seven Factors and the Practice of Concentration (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 61:01
Susie Harrington
The cultivation of the seven factors in samadhi and vipassana practice.
2018-08-26 Deepening Insight Practice with the Support of Concentration Practice (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 66:01
Donald Rothberg
Description: We first explore how concentration practice is both helpful and important for insight practice, and how the two practices are related. We then look at the nature of insight practice, and in particular examine three ways of liberating seeing in insight practice, namely practices in which we cultivate seeing anicca (impermanence), dukkha (reactivity or unreliability or suffering), and anatta (not-self).
2018-08-27 The Development and Function of Concentration (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 58:59
Sally Armstrong
The development of samadhi, a collected and unified mind, is central in the Buddha’s meditation training. This talk looks at how we can skillfully deepen concentration, as well as the place of concentration in various suttas and lists that guide us in the development of concentration, and then the function of concentration to lead to transformative insight.
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