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Retreat Dharma Talks

Cultivating Concentration

Concentration, (samādhi), 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 (vipassanā) by strengthening your concentration skills. Your ability to concentrate will develop in response to the attention you give it.

This retreat will offer 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 jhanas. Teachers will also give instruction for utilizing concentration during Insight practice.

2022-08-14 (11 days) Spirit Rock Meditation Center

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2022-08-15 An Overview to Concentration Practice 62:59
Phillip Moffitt
A Guide for Understanding the how and why of Concentration practice.
2022-08-16 Metta As Support For Concentration Practice 58:44
Amana Brembry Johnson
To follow the thread of kindness and friendliness along the middle path, you will see that Metta is the road map that leads to internal freedom. It is a guiding light that weaves itself through every aspect, every step, along this path of liberation.
2022-08-16 Samadhi, the Five Jhanic Factors, and the Five Hindrances 64:58
Nikki Mirghafori
What is samatha Practice (concentration)? Why practice samatha? What is the different between samatha (a practice), samadhi (the state), and vipassana (insight practice)? What are the five jhanic factors? And how do we work with the five hindrances, or rather, "coverings," in samatha practice as opposed to insight practice?
2022-08-17 Guided Meditation: Connect & Continue (Vitakka & Vicara) As Our Two Best Friends in Concentration Practice (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 58:55
Nikki Mirghafori
In this guided meditation, we explore connecting with our intention, relaxing the body, and then devote ourselves to the first two jhanic factors: vitakka and vicara, initial application and sustained application, or connect and continue. The guidance ends with planting the seeds for gladness and joy by noticing the absence of the hindrances, as taught in the satipatthana sutta.
2022-08-17 12 Steps of Breathing Concentration (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 63:50
Tempel Smith
When the Buddha taught detailed instructions for breath meditation he often used 16 steps from initial meditation to complete freedom. The first 12 steps on the common meditation guidelines to develop stable concentration and experience a mind temporarily free from inner turmoil.
2022-08-18 Orienting Towards Breath Concentration (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 57:37
Tempel Smith
After our initial work to begin meditation on in and out breathing we can further relax with total faith into immersion with breathing awareness. Some gentle supporting techniques of counting can be helpful, as well as welcoming an attitude of devotion and patience to support breathing as a sanctuary.
2022-08-18 Guided Loving-Kindness and Compassion Practice (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 59:59
Kristina Bare
Loving-kindness and compassion as support for deepening samadhi.
2022-08-18 Balancing Practice with the Five Spiritual Faculties 58:49
Amana Brembry Johnson
The five spiritual powers are essential accompaniments that guide us into deepened realizations of liberation. Each faculty is an active power that is soverign in its own domain, but also pairs with another to effect balance. As a whole unit, the 5 faculties work together to strengthen our resolve, by establishing inner balance and harmony. In this way, they cultivate our capacity to see each moment clearly without the residue of external conditioning.
2022-08-22 The Buddha's Last Teachings | Monday Night Talk 60:27
Jack Kornfield
This dharma talk centers around teachings from The Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta which is a story about the last year of the Buddha's life. This text has two main themes: 1. The Buddha wanted to leave his teachings as guidance for his followers to empower them. 2. The Buddha wanted to encourage his followers to foster wise relationships to one another in the spiritual community and to the world.
2022-08-22 Concentration and Insight (Retreat at Spirit Rock) 2:10:17
Tempel Smith
In the detailed description of the 16 steps of anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing) the first 12 steps develop samadhi (concentration) as a basis for the last four steps (13-16) of insight practice. These are using in and out breathing to become sensitive to impermanence (anicca), and from impermanence to releasing the agitation (viraga) from trying to find security in a fluid and fluctuating world. The second to last step in relaxing into the completeness and thoroughness of endings (nirodha), as a support to the last step of fully letting go.
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