Returning to Presence: A New Years Retreat
Returning to Presence
New Year’s Vipassana Retreat with Mindful Movement
January 1-2, 2021
Led by Steven Smith and Jake Davis
with Mindful Movement offered by Sarah Davis
Fifteen years ago, Steve and Sarah launched our annual retreat at a remote jungle lake in Thailand, bringing together Steven’s decades of teaching Vipassana with Sarah’s seamless addition of mindful movement. We are so grateful that Vipassana Hawaii’s New Years retreat has been held in this sacred wilderness space every year since, with tireless support from Jungle Yoga and from many dear friends.
Although we cannot be at the lake in person this year, Steven, Sarah, and Jake will invite us into a sacred online space that evokes the stillness of the remote jungle lake, the morning chorus of cicadas and gibbons, and the gathering together of spiritual friends to mark the turning of the year.
Each year brings new life changes and new faces, new challenges, and new opportunities. The New Year’s retreat offers an opportunity to mark these changes and bring in the new year with the peaceful blessing and deep rest of silent retreat.
Together, we will learn to cultivate a continuity of silent practice that allows insight awareness in all sense fields to grow in strength and depth. This insight practice will be nourished also by dedicated cultivation of the “divine abidings”: unconditional friendliness, wise compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. Together, these practices will cultivate our pāramī or “spiritual perfections”, bringing a balance of generosity with renunciation; wisdom with patience; resolution with equanimity.
Mindful movement sessions will feature simple movements and poses, conscious natural breathing, and the development of a deep, kind embodied presence – so that the practice is a seamless element with the rest of the retreat and offers greater embodiment throughout the daily retreat practice. It is suitable and adaptable for all.
Steven V. Smith co-founded Vipassana Hawai’i in 1984 and in 1995 founded the MettaDana Project for educational and medical projects in Burma. Also in 1995 Steven helped establish the Kyaswa Valley Retreat Center in Burma, headed by Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery. This partnership helped usher in the beginnings of Vipassana Hawai’i’s Fusion Dhamma approach combining traditional and contemporary teaching styles in the same retreat. Anchored in the Theravadan Buddhist Burmese lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw since 1974, he was trained and sanctioned as a teacher by revered monk and meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita. Steven dedicates his time teaching Vipassana and the Divine Abodes (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity) in meditation retreats around the world.
Sarah Davis practiced many styles of yoga in the past 20 years in India, the US and Europe. For more than a decade now she has dedicated herself to the profound yet intuitive teachings of Rossella Baroncini and Vanda Scaravelli, which she feels blend seamlessly with the teachings of the Buddha. She is thrilled to be returning to teaching with Steve!
Jake Davis began practicing at age 14, with Steven and Michele, and went on to spend nearly a decade practicing, studying, working as an interpreter, and training as a monk under the eminent meditation masters Sayadaw U Pandita and Sayadaw U Lakkhana of Burma. He brings together intellectual training including study of the Pāli texts, and a PhD in Philosophy and Cognitive Science, with ongoing training in retreat practice and teaching.
If you are experiencing financial hardship and need scholarship support, please contact us. Scholarships are available upon request. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. We look forward to supporting you in the ways we know best during these challenging times.
In accordance with tradition, all Vipassana Hawai’i internationally respected teachers offer their teachings free of charge and are supported through the freely-offered generosity of students and supporters. Costs associated with retreats cover the growing expenses associated with online services, online storage, broadcasting equipment, and website administration – but do not support teacher time, training, effort, or energy. We believe that this commitment helps keep the purity of the teachings alive and thriving, as it has for millennia. They do not collect salaries in keeping with the time-honored tradition of sharing openly the chance for peace. This allows us to keep our registration fees as low as possible but also means that the livelihood of our teachers is precarious. As a result, we strive to give back in any for – including monetarily – so that they may continue their endeavors and share their wisdom. Vipassana Teachers must be supported in this way if we are to keep this tradition alive, healthy, and with integrity in the modern era. Dana, or generosity, can be offered by mailing a check at the end of the retreat or online here.
If you cancel less than 14 days prior to the event, unfortunately we cannot afford to offer a refund. Last-minute cancellations are costly and usually mean that others whom we have already turned away can no longer attend the retreat.
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