The primary form of insight meditation practiced at the Center is Mahasati Insight meditation, which is a type of Vipassana meditation originating from Southeast Asia. Mahasati in Pali means “great awareness.” The objective of Mahasati meditation is the elimination of suffering through the clear seeing and understanding of the body and mind in the present moment. The practice is based on the teaching of the 20th century Thai meditation master, Luangpor Teean Jittasubho.
Rather than using the breath as the primary object of awareness, Mahasati meditation uses attention to the movement of the body as an anchor to the present moment. When one’s mindfulness is strong enough, attention is then turned to the observation of the movement of the mind in the present moment. Formal seated meditation practice involves a pattern of repetitive hand movements, generally performed with the eyes open.
Periods of seated meditation are interspersed with walking meditation. Because this practice is performed with the body moving and the eyes open, the mind is generally more alert than in seated breath meditation, and insight is recognized more easily.
It is also easier to integrate this practice into one’s daily life. Diligent practice ultimately leads to a direct and profound understanding of the origins of suffering in human experience and points the way toward ultimate liberation.
While Mahasati meditation has its roots in Buddhism, it is not necessary to accept any type of religious doctrine in order to practice. There are also no rituals associated with this teaching, making it easy to practice conjointly with any other form of religious practice. More information on this form of insight meditation can be found at www.MahasatiMeditation.org.
Weekly Saturday Morning and Wednesday Evening Practice
We meet at the Center every Saturday morning from 9:30 to 10:45 AM, and every Wednesday evening from 7:00 to 8:15 PM. These sessions consist of silent practice followed by a talk and a discussion period, and are suitable for both beginners and experienced practitioners. Please contact Michael@MahasatiMeditation.org before attending for the first time so you can receive a brief orientation during your first visit.
Family Program for Kids and Teens
Now your children can enjoy the benefits of mindfulness also. High school teacher, and mindfulness instructor, Jim Davis, is leading a Family Program at our Wenham center. The Program meets the first and third Saturdays of each month and runs concurrently with our regular meditation time (9:30 – 10:45 AM), in a separate part of the building. The Family Program involves teaching mindfulness to children and adolescents using a variety of activities and techniques, including our Mahasati method. Parents must remain on the property during the program, but they can choose to either practice in the meditation hall with the adults while their children are having fun together, or stay with the kids. If you’re kids are interested in attending the Program, or if you have questions, please email Jim at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday Morning Pre-Meditation Buddhist Chanting
Each Saturday we are offering an optional short Buddhist recitation practice prior to our regular meditation session. This offering will run from 9:15 to 9:25, and is for those who wish to place their insight meditation practice within the context of a broader and more explicit Buddhist path. At the same time, it is not necessary for you to see yourself as an adherent of the Buddhist religion in order to participate in this pre-meditation practice. Drop in sometime and see if it feels helpful for you.
Wednesday Morning Open Meditation Practice
We now offer a period of open practice at the Meditation Center every Wednesday morning, from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. There will not be any instruction during this time. This Open Practice period is being offered as an opportunity to take advantage of our peaceful space, and engage in silent practice on one’s own, while in the company of a few other likeminded practitioners. Please drop in and try it out.
Retreats with Thai Forest Monks and Meditation Masters, Achan Da and Achan Niphen
Retreats are an excellent opportunity to deepen your meditation practice by allowing you to cultivate selfawareness for an extended period of time without distraction. Our retreats are usually led by Achan Da and/or Achan Niphen, both ordained Thai Forest Monks, and meditation masters who have been teaching for decades and who practiced under Thai meditation master Luangpor Teean Jittasubho.
While our retreats are conducted mainly in silence, there are also Dharma talks and question and answer periods in both the mornings and afternoons.
One-day retreats typically begin at 9:30 AM and conclude at 4:00 PM. Participants should bring along a bag lunch. There is a kitchen and microwave available for warming things up. There is no formal charge for these retreats, but donations are appreciated and necessary for us to support the operation of our center.
Schedule of One-Day Retreat Dates for 2018 (Subject to Change):
Our weekend retreats typically begin at 7:00 PM on Friday evening, and conclude at 3:00 PM on Sunday afternoon, allowing participants to deepen their practice even more. In addition to the Dharma talks and question and answer periods, all attendees of the full retreat will also have a private interview period with Achan Da or Achan Niphen. Hours of practice during the retreat will be from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Friday, 8:30 AM to 9:00 PM on Saturday, and from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM on Sunday. Practitioners may also elect to attend either Saturday or Sunday only. The cost to attend the full retreat is $40 and will include lunch, and dinner on Saturday and lunch on Sunday. This fee only partially covers our costs, so additional donations are greatly appreciated, and necessary for us to keep our doors open. On the other hand, if the fee is a hardship due to one’s present circumstances, it will be waived. These are non-residential retreats, meaning participants return home at the end of each day, or secure other nearby sleeping arrangements. But, the idea is to limit one’s time at home to only the time needed to sleep and have breakfast in the morning, in order to avoid getting caught up in daily concerns. Advance registration is required for these retreats. Fees can be refunded up to one week prior to the start of the retreat.
Schedule of Weekend & Extended Retreat Dates for 2018 (Subject to Change):