Kiranada's Solitary Retreat


“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.” 
—Henry David Thoreau

I Do It For Others

Sitting in a small hut on the other side of the world from what I call home,
for a year — why?

For you — with time and space to open, to be of more help to others,
sharing compassion and the love of all beings.

For all those who have others depending on them,
who cannot get away for a long retreat;

For all of those whose health keeps them from that long flight,
from those long walks, from those long hours of practice;

For all those whose ties bind them to daily toil that they may not like;

For all those committed to caring for and giving to others who need them;

For all of those who can not yet find a clear way through;

For all those raising little ones who someday will grow into fine, caring adults;

For all those who yearn to be on a solitary retreat and may follow this path,
because they knew someone who has done it.

For you.

c. Kiranada

A Solitary Retreat. What do you get?  I looked at this question and gathered some succinct advice from many wise sources who said: a deeper engagement with your practice, real growth in self acceptance, more equanimity and spaciousness of mind, some real access to calm, greater loving kindness / compassion in life, possibly some transformative experiences with meditation, a real depth of realization, unceasing moment to moment experiences of practice, intimate contact with motivation, an ability to bear witness without an escape hatch, nothing to distract you, and an engagement with everything you have been trying to avoid.                                   

Many thanks to these wise elders: Shugen Sensei, Jamgon Kontrul, Reginald Ray, Guy Armstrong, Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, Dh. Kamalashila, Urgyen Sangharakshita.

Buddha Heart, by Kiranada

More Advice from the Wise:

“Go far away from any place that is harmful to your practice; always stay in a place that is conducive to virtue… There is never an end of things to do, so, limit your activities. Dedicate your virtue day and night, and always be mindful.” —Atisha(11c Tibet)

 “The most important experience a solitary retreat provides is an undiluted experience of yourself. This can be even more useful than the opportunity it gives for meditation.”
“Undisturbed by friends and relatives, undistracted by the need to earn a living through business or cultivating the land, you will be able to concentrate one-pointedly on deep spiritual practice and thus make spiritual progress with your body, speech and mind. Your mind will become self-controlled, serene, clear and filled with certainty about the truth of the teachings. This is why all sages of the past lived in the wilderness, in solitary mountainous places conducive to spiritual practices.
—Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche

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