Vidyamala writes: 'I have led many intensive meditation retreats on this theme. I love these retreats and never tire of delving ever more deeply into this simple yet profound text as a gateway to Insight – living in harmony with ‘the way things are’. It is as if the entire Buddhist path in contained in these teachings that lead to wholeness, clarity and an open heart. Indeed the Buddha himself said we can gain Enlightenment in just seven days if we practice the teachings contained in the Satipatthana Sutta as if our lives depended on it.
Through the four foundations of body, sensations, thoughts/emotions, and dhammas (or Reality) as presented in the Satipatthana Sutta, we’ll look at different aspects of mindfulness and the element of choice that arises when we are more aware. Every moment we choose openness rather than contraction in body, speech and mind we steadily move along the path towards freedom. This is the beautiful, simple truth that lies at the heart of the Satipatthana Sutta.
The retreat will be mainly in full silence and will include meditation, workshops and talks, with regular meditation reviews with a member of the team. It is also essential that we keep our practice ‘warm’ and emotionally engaged, so there will be threads of metta, puja and devotion woven into the retreat programme. There will also be free time to relax into informal awareness and metta practice. I am delighted to lead this retreat with Prasadavati. Like me she is a long standing Satipatthana practitioner and devotee. She also brings a wealth of experience as a yoga practitioner and teacher to her embodiment of whole-hearted, warm, clear presence and awareness. She exemplifies the whole Satipatthana approach to the Dharma life.'
Vidyamala and Prasadavati emphasise the importance of grounding all practice in body awareness; so gentle mindful movement and body scans will also form an essential part of the programme.