[Hpn] Free Meditation Retreats

John Lionheart johnlionheart@mailcity.com
Mon, 24 Apr 2000 00:57:34 -0700

Hi, This is to let all the homeless advocates out there know about the California 
Vipassanna Center in North Fork, California and their great 10-day retreats. These are 
silent meditation retreats with free room and board. There is no obligation to pay or 
reciprocate anything ever, and are provided with the highest integrity and goodwill. 

For those unfamiliar with Vipassanna, it is an simple but ancient Buddhist mediation 
practice from Burma, a non-sectarian technique they say 'rediscovered' by the Buddha 
2500 years ago and practiced in purity and isolation in Burma until after WW2 when it 
came out from there. There are now centers all over. 3 in the US.. 27 in India. 

Vipassana is very popular in (starving) India as you might imagine, where 1000's of 
people attend each of the many monthly retreats. How do they survive financially? They exist solely on the voluntary contributions of 'old' students (ones with 2 or more 
retreats under their belt). So sure is Vipassanna's effectiveness as a meditation 
technique that contributions are not accepted from first time students less one feel 
pressured or exploited. 

Is it a cult? Hardly. There are no 'religious' beliefs expounded at all. And there are 
strict rules at the retreat centers: no talking, no eye contact; no physical contact (not even hand shaking); strict segregation of the sexes; nor are there demands for money or anything else (however old students are expected to 'serve' occasionally i.e, 
prepare food, clean rooms, etc.). Nor is there any expectation to do a certain number of "courses" (retreats). You can do 1, 2, or 10 retreats, at the frequency of your choosing. 

It is very hard work however. The morning gong rings at 4:30 and you spend most of the day sitting in the meditation hall meditating. You are expected to sit quietly with little fidgeting (cushions are provided). There is a teacher, usually a monk or similar, who gives meditation instruction, and sometimes there is recorded chanting. (ancient, very cool!) And there is time for rest, for eating. Lights out early. No talking
or communicating in the dorms (spartan accomodations, but clean towels and sheets, etc are provided too). 

Note to unhoused folk: You CAN NOT stay on, or live at a Vipassanna center. (Except 
dedicated servers may do so after attending many retreats and serving many more). 

More notes: The California Vipassana Center is in North Fork, a rural area 20 miles east 
of Fresno, 50-miles south of Yosemite. You will probably need a car, or they have a ride board and can help find you a ride (or riders who might be able to chip in gas). 
And you need to formally apply to take a course. You can get an application online or by calling them. 

main info: http://www.dhamma.org 
CA center: http://www.dhamma.org/schcalif.htm 
  P. O. Box 1167; North Fork, Calif. 93643; 
 Tel: (559) 877-4386; Fax: (559) 877-4387; 
  E-Mail: info@mahavana.dhamma.org 

On Sat, 11 Mar 2000 11:46:10   Linda Morgan wrote:
>Thomas Newell,aka unclescam
> Hey your not as whacked as you pretend I think you
>are a good person who has seen his share of hurt and
>discrimination his life time,...I think you are a very
>compassinate person and that if you were not you would
>never have responded to my e-mail to the list about
>what happened to me!
>OK I just wanted you to know that I am still fighting
>for visitation and inherent maternal rights that are
>part of every single non handicapped persons
>constitutional rights,if you have cerebellar atxia you
>are considered to be sub human.....What is wrong with
>these courts I love my only child so much that i have
>run up bills of 13,000 in the past three years to keep
>on fighting for my parental rights....You want to know
>didcrimination you should walk a mile in my shoes...I
>am not saying poor poor me I am attempting to get laws
>changed that are out moded and archaic in nature as we
>all should have the same rights as parents or is this
>the way our courts and goverments create different
>classes of people...I don,t believe in classes or
>castes of people I am not biased against anyone except
>the persons whom stole my only child love away from
>Linda Jean Morgan
>Handicapped Mother of One
>Member in good standing of: 
>PEOPLE 1st of NH
>Granite State Independant Living Foundation
>Do You Yahoo!?
>Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com

Send FREE April Fool's Greetings to your friends!