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Peaceful and Free: Renunciation, Kindness, and the End of Grasping

September 4, 2020 – September 13, 2020 all-day


Renunciation, Kindness, and the End of Grasping

Septeber 4-13, 2020

Online Intensive Vipassana Meditation Retreat

with Michele McDonald, Steven Smith, Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey,

Pari Ruengviseh, and Darine Monroy

(This retreat is open only to students who have sat a multi-day in-person retreat with at least one of these teachers)


When you’re dedicated to renunciation
and seclusion of the heart;
when you’re dedicated to kindness
and the end of grasping;

when you’re dedicated to the ending of craving
and clarity of heart;
and you’ve seen the arising of the senses,
your mind is rightly freed.

For that one, rightly freed,
a mendicant with peaceful mind,
there’s nothing to be improved,
and nothing more to do.

As the wind cannot stir
a solid mass of rock,
so too sights, tastes, sounds,
smells, and touches—the lot—

and thoughts, whether liked or disliked,
don’t disturb the poised one.
Their mind is steady and free
as they observe disappearance.

~Sona Sutta AN 6.55

Many of us find ourselves perpetually tossed around by the tumult of the vicissitudes of life. The flux of pleasure, pain, gain, loss, praise, blame, fame, disrepute keeps us unbalanced and anxious. We grasp onto pleasure to create security in joy. We defend against the unpleasant to find safety. We delude ourselves in fantasy to avoid the hardship of life. These tactics are understandable but they do not ulitmately provide safety. In the end, they recreate the dynamics of our own suffering and oppression.

The Buddha taught a radical and simple approach to investigative, tender relationship with all of the experiences of the senses in order to liberate ourselves through the understanding of their nature as impermanant, undependable, and selfless. Through this practice of mindful presence with all phenomena we encounter the possibility of peace – of a mind and heart freed from the disturbances of attachment and aversion.

Join this dedicated group of teachers and fellow-travellers as we create together the protective conditions and apply the practical approach of liberation in this very life. This is a supported self-retreat where you will be largely responsibible for protecting the conditions of your own practice. Teachers and sangha will be there to provide structure, instruction, and support for your journey.

While your individual daily schedule may vary from other yogis, every participant in this online course will be offered:

~ Daily practice instructions

~ Interviews

~ Dhamma talks

~ Group chanting in the evenings

Instructions, talks, and chanting will be offered live and will also be recorded so that yogis in various time zones can listen and watch at their convenience.

We understand that the conditions of seclusion may vary greatly for all of us and so we cannot expect the same degree of support that we might have at a retreat center. Part of the value of self-retreat is the ability to integrate our practice into our daily lives. At the same time it is very easy for the protection of the container to fall apart entirely and without that protection our practice will not have the conditions in which to flourish. Please take the conditions of your life seriously during the period of this retreat and be honest in your decision about which track to sign up for.


This retreat will allow for 2 tracks of participation:

1. Full-time yogi. Full-time yogis are expected to commit to a protected period of renunciation and seclusion during your time on retreat. This includes the capacity to mostly stay in silence during their days, and not have any major work, family, or outside responsibilities. We understand that given the reality of their lives, yogis will likely need to cook, clean, and maybe answer a few emails, etc from time to time. Nevertheless, their fundamental orientation for this time should be as yogis. Full time yogis will be included in the regularly scheduled interview process and will be invited to ask questions during any Q&A sessions that may be offered.

2. Part-time yogi. Part-time yogis can enjoy all of the online meditation sessions with instructions and in silence and are invited to come to the Dhamma Offerings each evening. Understanding the reality of daily life, these yogis can spend a large portion of their time attending to household responsibilities or work needs as may be required. Part-time yogis will not be included on the interview schedule and are asked to refrain from asking questions during any Q&A periods. We will try to accommodate separate Q&A sessions if possible.


This retreat is only open to students of Steven, Michele, Jesse, Pari, and Darine who have sat multi-day in-person retreat courses with them in the past.

We will be offering a shorter online program this fall for new students.

Please contact Vipassana Hawaii with any questions you may have regarding your participation.

If you are experiencing financial hardship and need scholarship support, please contact us.

We look forward to supporting you in the ways we know best during these challenging times.

Teacher Dana

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 cash or check at the end of the retreat or online here.

Please note our Cancellation Policy:
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.