2019 Annual Retreat: The Path of Freedom and Goodness
A Mindfulness Retreat with Brother Michael Ciborski Thursday evening, November 7th to Sunday afternoon, November 10, 2019 OI/Aspirant Day begins Wed. evening, Nov. 6 American Bodhi Center Hempstead, TX (between Houston and Austin on US 290) sponsored by Mindfulness Practice Community of Houston
The Path of Freedom and Goodness In this retreat we will slow down to take a deep and refreshing bath in the essentials of the Dharma. The cultivation of mindfulness in each activity will form the base of the retreat. We will practice conscious breathing, sitting and walking meditations, mindful eating, singing, deep relaxation and joyful togetherness. This will build a strong collective concentration, allowing us to deeply explore our theme through Dharma teachings, deep listening, care-filled discussions and personal reflections.
We will study the Noble Eight-Fold Path*, not as a mental or academic exercise, but as an introspective discovery of how each spoke on the wheel manifests in our own lives. Fundamental to the path of freedom and goodness is our capacity to be truly present in this very moment, and to draw nourishment from the wonders and beauty of Life.
Out of this concentration on reality, we steadily grow and deepen our understanding - of ourselves, of each other, of the planet, of life. Our views are the basis of our actions, and if cultivated well, they can lead us out of suffering to liberation. This wonderful possibility exists in every intention, thought, word, and deed. Let us find, within ourselves and as a community of practice, the understanding, courage, and compassion that is necessary to reshape our relationship with our people, and the Earth, our great mother.
With practice and insight, we can transcend the barrier between inner and outer, self and other, and our spiritual aspirations and embodied reality become one.
*A full reading on the Eight-Fold Path can be found in Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh.
About the teacher Michael is a lineage holding Dharma teacher in the tradition of the Venerable Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. (Michael’s Dharma name is Chan Trung Dao, True Middle Way.) He lived as a monk for seven years in Plum Village, France, and has worked intimately with Thich Nhat Hanh and the monastic community to organize, support and offer meditation retreats around the world. A skilled musician, he studied voice training and chanting of several European and Asian traditions and served for several years as an English language chant master in the monastery. He lives now in New Hampshire with his wife and children, where they are building a residential mindfulness practice community and education center for sustainable living.
Retreat Format This residential retreat is designed for both beginning and experienced practitioners. It will center on periods of sitting and walking meditation and Dharma talks by our teacher. There will be small-group Dharma discussions, meal meditations, and active, mindful work practice. Periods of silence will deepen and enrich the experience by allowing time for personal reflection.
Order of Interbeing members and aspirants Beginning on the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 7, there will be an additional day for ordained Order of Interbeing members and aspirants. Ordained members are those who have formally received the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing. Aspirants are those who have begun to study with a Dharma teacher and mentor prior to formally receiving the Trainings.
American Bodhi Center The American Bodhi Center is a beautiful rural sanctuary developed by members of the Texas Buddhist Association. It is located on 500 acres just north of Hempstead, Texas. There are beautiful grounds to enjoy, two dormitories, a library/meditation hall, and a dining hall. The mission statement on their website reads: American Bodhi Center upholds Buddha’s teaching by promoting an engaged form of Buddhism through education, culture, philanthropy, and service to the public. Please note that smoking is not allowed on the ABC campus. https://americanbodhicenter.org/
Accommodations The separate dormitories for women and men have a variety of room types. Mattress covers are provided, but you will need to bring your own sheets, pillows, and blankets. In each dormitory there are five double rooms with private bath, two dorm rooms which accommodate 4 - 8 people (bunk beds) each, and two rooms with private cubicles. There are five single rooms (for women) with private bath in the library/meditation hall building. Room requests will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. If you are requesting a particular roommate or roommates, please send your registrations together.
double with private bath
dorm with shared bath (4 - 8 people)
private cubicle with shared bath (although there are bunk beds, only one person will be assigned to each cubicle)
Depending on availability, we may also be able to provide single occupancy rooms (with private bath) for men. This option for men is not certain yet, so during registration, please indicate if you would like to be put on the waitlist.
Meals Vegan meals are included in the price of the retreat beginning with dinner Thursday evening. We regret that we are unable to fill special dietary requests.
Dana The Buddhist teachings are considered priceless, and teachers do not charge for their services. Dana is the practice of giving. It manifests the fundamental interconnectedness of life and is a way for us to support the life and work of the teacher. There will be an opportunity to make a donation to Michael either with your registration or at the retreat. For normally employed people, $90–150 is suggested.
Arrival/Departure Check-in will be from 4:00 – 6:00 PM on Thursday, November 7. Please note that the gates to the center are locked at 7:00 PM. The retreat will end after lunch on Sunday. Order of Interbeing members and aspirants attending for the additional day may check-in beginning at 4:00 PM on Wednesday, November 6.
Single with private bath **FULL: Email firstname.lastname@example.org requesting to be added to waitlist**
Early Bird: $405
Double with Private bath**Limited space available for women!**
Early Bird: $380
4-person Dorm with shared bath
Early Bird: $325
Private cubicle with shared bath
Early Bird: $325
4-Day Retreat for OI and Aspirants (November 6 - 10) Please add $90 to your total for the additional day on November 6. Early Bird pricing applies.
Payment Information & Deadlines
A non-refundable deposit of $75 will hold your reservation, but to receive the early discount the full amount must be received by Sept. 30, 2019
For your convenience, we offer an online payment method (below). If you would rather use another form of payment, please email email@example.com to inquire.
Registration deadline: October 21, 2019
Refund of full payments (less $75) will be granted until October 21, 2019
Scholarships Partial scholarships may be available. Our ability to offer scholarships depends on donations to the scholarship fund. If you need assistance, please complete the separate scholarship application form. The scholarship application deadline is September 30.
For retreat-related question, contact firstname.lastname@example.org