Even after years of Dharma practice, it is still quite likely that we will adhere to a strong belief that the world is solid and unchanging. Clinging to the appearances of our world, we take their reality for granted—to the point of completely forgetting the profound Dharma we have learned. As simple as they are, the Four Reminders can reverse our habitual patterns of forgetting. We forget:
• the preciousness of being human
• the truth (and positive implications of) impermanence
• the truth of karma
• the faults of samsara and developing Bodhichitta, our heart’s desire for freedom, both for ourselves and for others.
Sangharakshita states that a person who has a basic acquaintance with the Buddhist teachings probably has all they need to gain Enlightenment. But what we lack, he says, are emotional equivalents of our intellectual understandings. How can we come to know these truths with our hearts, bones and guts?
On this retreat, we will gradually allow the depths of our beings to come into contact with the Dharma. We will listen with our ears, read with our eyes, and absorb with our hearts and minds. Next, through contemplating, we sink into the meaning of what we have heard. We no longer skim the surface of existence. Rather, we plumb its depths to discover the jewel of Dharma hidden there. Finally, in meditation, our mind and the Dharma meet, like rock meeting bone.
The retreat programme will include meditation, explorations of reflection and contemplation methods, daily meditation/reflection reviews, presentations, devotional practice, and at least five days of full silence.