Insight Meditation Retreat 17.-24.9.2016 in Kruusila, Finland

Awakening our Natural Wisdom

Vipassana meditation is the simple direct practice of moment-to-moment observation of the mind/body process with relaxed, open and careful attention. Awareness infused with clear seeing reveals that whatever arises in our experience, is simply the natural display of impersonal conditions. As we learn to observe our experience from a place of stillness and balance supported by wise view, reality is accurately seen and liberating insight arises as a natural result. Loving kindness or Metta meditation develops the heart’s capacity for patience, acceptance, and forgiveness as we connect with and care for ourselves and others.

The teachings of this silent retreat emphasize continuity of present moment awareness as the foundation for clear seeing and the arising of wisdom. The format will include instruction in both Insight and Loving-kindness meditation, an optional daily period of mindful movement, and meetings with the teachers.

The meditation practices offered on this retreat are over 2500 years old and draw primarily from the Theravada Buddhist tradition. However, taking part in the retreat does not require an adherence to Buddhism or any adaptation of personal faith.

Why attend a retreat? What happens at a retreat?

This retreat is suitable for beginning and experienced students of meditation. For beginners, the retreat is a great way to learn the basics of insight meditation and see its effects clearly. For advanced meditators, the retreat offers an excellent opportunity to deepen and clarify one’s practice with the guidance of an experienced teacher.

The retreat is held in English. The days are spent in silence and consist of sitting, standing and walking meditation, dharma talks, work period, small group discussions and individual interviews. The venue of the retreat is The Friendship Inn in Kruusila near Salo, about 100 km west of Helsinki, Finland.

Who are the teachers?

GS-Perth_webGreg Scharf began meditating in 1992 and has been teaching residential meditation retreats since 2007, including the annual 3 month retreat at the Insight Meditation Society where he is a core teacher. In his teaching Greg emphasizes the understanding that meditation is fundamentally an exploration of nature and natural processes. He also stresses the critical importance of bringing the qualities of kindness, compassion, and a sense of humor to practice.

Greg has a long-standing relationship with the country and people of Burma (Myanmar) where he trained as a Buddhist monk and where he works with a small humanitarian aid project – particularly targeting education, health-care, and support of Buddhist Nuns. Currently living in the high country of northern Arizona, Greg’s love of nature and the outdoors deeply informs both his practice and teaching.

Marie2webMarie Ericsson started to meditate 1970 with S N Goenka in Bodh Gaya, India. Since then she has also practiced in Thailand, Myanmar, England and USA. Her main teachers are Joseph Goldstein, Sayadaw U Pandita, Sayadaw U Tejaniya, and Leigh Brasington, among other Asian and Western teachers. Marie has been an active member of Vipassanagruppen in Sweden since it started 1986 and since 1998 has led the weekly sitting group as well as teaching numerous retreats.

In her teaching, Marie draws from her years of experience with different approaches to Vipassana meditation, in order to explore and practice the Buddha’s instructions in the Satipatthana Sutta. Relaxation, lightheartedness and humor are also important parts of her teaching style. Marie is the author of a book called “Kom och se – om meditation och theravadabuddhism”. (Come and see – about meditation and Theravada Buddhism). It is only available in Swedish language.

How much does it cost? How can I sign up?

The base price of the retreat is 185 euros. The retreat cost covers the traveling expenses of the teachers, the rent of the retreat facility, and the food expenses. The teachers and the organizers do not receive any payment for their services; instead, the retreatants can support the teachers and the organizers by donations at the end of the retreat.

You can sign up by filling in the registration form and paying the registration fee. We will confirm your place when we have received the registration form and the payment.

The registration fee is 30 euros and should be paid to Nirodha’s account:

Bank name: S-Bank
City where bank located: Helsinki
Swift code: SBANFIHH
Name of bank account holder: Nirodha ry
Address: Vetehisenkuja 3, 00530 Helsinki
Account number: FI83 3636 3010 8888 24
Reference number: 920164

The rest of the retreat fee (155 euros) should be paid by August 12th to the same account with the same reference number. In case of cancellations the registration fee is not refundable. If the cancellation takes place before August 12th, the rest of the retreat fee will be returned. If you pay from an account which is not your own, please write a message to nirodha.retriitit2@gmail.com, telling the name of the person owning the account, the name of the person participating on the retreat, and the date of the transaction.

If you are coming from abroad, please note that we are not able to provide any documents for visa applications because of limited resources.

We feel that financial situation should not prevent anybody from participating, so we are willing to offer the retreat for a reduced price, if needed. If the base price is too high for you, please contact us at nirodha.retriitit2@gmail.com and let us know how much you are able to pay. If you would like to support those in dire financial situation, you can pay more than the base price.

Other practicalities

The retreat starts on Saturday September 17th. It is possible to arrive at Friendship Inn from 4 PM onwards. Dinner will be available from 5 PM and the program starts at 7 PM. The retreat ends on Saturday September 24th at 3 PM at the latest. The retreat must be attended in full. We will send more information about how to get to the retreat place approximately one week before the retreat. There will be a ride-sharing organized for those who need it.

In Friendship Inn there are places for 40 yogis. The accommodation is usually in rooms of 2­-4 people. The rooms will be assigned to yogis in the order of arrival. In Friendship Inn there may be cats and/or dogs, which do not have access to the meditation hall or bedrooms, but might be a problem if you suffer from severe allergy.

During the retreat we offer three simple vegetarian meals a day: breakfast, lunch and a light dinner. During breaks there will be tea and instant coffee available. Please let us know about your food allergies in the registration form.

A typical day on the retreat includes 45-minute periods of sitting and walking meditation, as well as a 1­-hour work period, during which the yogis have different tasks such as cleaning the house, chopping vegetables, etc. During breaks and some walking meditation periods it may be possible to do your own yoga or stretching, or go for a walk. Please bring your own yoga mat, if you need one.

The retreat is a drug-­free space, and smoking is possible only in a special area assigned for it.

The retreat is held in noble silence, which is an important support for the practice. This means we do not talk with each other, read, write, or use mobile phones. On the retreat you will only talk with the teachers. In cases of emergency during the retreat, the people close to you are advised to contact Anne Patrikainen (+358 40 533 9812).

Please bring your own bed­linen or a sleeping bag, unless you travel from abroad and bringing these is difficult for you. Also bring your own towel and the medications you may need. There are several buildings in the retreat area, so it might be a good idea to bring shoes that are easy to put on and take off. You might also want to consider bringing woollen socks or indoor slippers. During the retreat it will not be possible to go buy anything you might have forgotten, so please make sure that you have everything you need with you when you arrive.

In sitting meditation, it will be possible to use either a chair or on a cushion on the floor. There is one set of cushions (zafu and zabuton) for each participant as well as quite a few meditation benches. If you need extra cushions, e.g. to support your knees or hands during meditation, please bring these with you. If you get easily cold during meditation, it may be a good idea to bring your own blanket or shawl.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at nirodha.retriitit2@gmail.com.

May you have a fruitful retreat!

Anne Patrikainen (+358 40 533 9812)
Markku Ilo (+358 40 413 6833)