Time: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Silence is a great soother and healer beneficial to the inner work of meditation. Traditionally, "Noble Silence" has meant the inner silence of the Noble Ones. But, silence "outside" in the physical world also helps facilitate the practice of meditation. This retreat is a chance to meditate in silence and stillness without interruption as a way to deepen your practice free of distractions. At lunch, talking is optional. Please bring your own lunch. Refrigerator access available. Tea will be provided.
Wear loose, comfortable, modest clothing.
Greg & Judith offer Olive Branch Ranch, their home and dedicated zendo, as a sanctuary and refuge for meditators. Located in the hills above Mission Canyon at the edge of the Los Padres National Forest, the natural setting adds to the sense of peace and tranquility.
This retreat is open to all meditators who want to strengthen their practice, no matter where they may be on the Path. Everyone is free to come for as long or as short a time as they want. We only ask that if you arrive when a sit is happening, that you be silent and wait outside until the next sit before entering the zendo.
Greg & Judith will be available for individual interviews for those who would like personal guidance with their practice.
There will be no charge, only "Dana" (donation or generosity practice). The Buddha taught Generosity Practice (called Dana, in Pali, the language of the Buddha) as a way of giving back what you have been given, balancing the energy, donating to the sangha to keep the space available for fellow meditators, and for increasing the capacity to give and receive in each person. The amount of your optional donation is up to you. There is an anonymous "Dana Bowl" inside the entrance to the zendo in which to place your optional donation. There will be free CD's available of Shinzen Young's Dharma talks and printed handouts of excerpts from various teachers from which to choose to take home.
We have plenty of zafus and zabutons, and chairs for those who prefer sitting in them. You may try alternating from cushion to chair, too.
A NOTE FROM JUDITH: I am very sensitive to fragrances. A few, in particular, even make me feel sick. Even some organics have strong scents. Please do not apply skin lotions and creams, essential oils, perfumes, deodorants, shampoos, face creams or fragrant soaps etc. before coming here. What may seem like nothing to you is big to me. Please check your clothing, too. If you are used to wearing fragrances, they remain in the fabric. Fragrances are also distracting for the group when meditating. It is common at retreats to ask people to refrain from fragrances. I don't want this request to make you uncomfortable. I just need you to take it seriously and do your best. Thank you for your understanding.
Please join us. We offer this retreat from our hearts with Metta (loving-kindness).
In the Dharma,
Judith and Greg Smith