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Fall Retreat with Santikaro: Dhamma Life & Practice: Embodied, Sensitive, Aware


  • Portiuncula Center for Prayer 9263 West Saint Francis Road Frankfort, IL, 60423 United States (map)

This retreat will explore our bodies as a field for mindful curiosity and insight. Bodies are sensate experiences, sources of pleasure and pain, jumbles of perceptions, emotional echo chambers, and fields of concocting. Buddhist mindfulness practices start with body and help us uncover the realities of an embodied sense experience. Through awareness our sensitivity grows, and we discover kindness & compassion, as well as clarity & insight.

We all know that beauty is skin deep, yet we are influenced profoundly by a society that perpetrates unhealthy body image expectations. As we age, the health of our bodies is a necessary and fraught focus. Unhealthy diet, degrading old habits, and stressed-out work lives compound our relationships with our bodies. Our physical bodies are an important realm for mindfulness practice and insight. With understanding, we don’t need to create further suffering. Instead, we can deepen awareness and find profound peace through Buddhist teachings which illuminate body-mind reality, and meditation practices which help heal the body and our relationship with it.

This retreat will offer skillful means for living within our bodies more fully. Developing the first establishment of mindfulness (mindfulness of the body) will lead into the other three establishments (mindfulness of feeling tones, mind, and dhammas). Meditation exercises will explore balance, relaxation, comfort, and caring. The wisdom teachings of Buddhism play a key role in our inquiry. They enable us to refine mindfulness, relax into deeper concentration, and awaken compassion.

Retreat Environment: This retreat will take place in noble silence and simplicity. There will be ample opportunity for sitting meditation, walking amidst the pleasant and forested grounds, personal reflection, journaling, and yoga/Qi Gong. Talks will explore the themes of the retreat and small groups will meet with Santikaro concerning practice questions. The Portiuncula Center provides a quiet, safe space for focused meditation and contemplative practice. A sangha of similarly intentioned friends accompanies and supports each of us. Wholesome vegetarian food is served.

Retreat guided by Santikaro: Santikaro has been a devoted student of Ajahn Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, a Thai Theravada master with whom he lived and trained, and translated for, at Suan Mokkh in Southern Thailand. Santikaro's training continues here in the Midwest, where he and his wife Jo Marie Thompson are co-founders of Kevala Retreat, a modern expression of Buddhist practice, study, and social responsibility, located in rural southwestern Wisconsin. He has been teaching in the Chicago area since his return "home" in 2000 and is active teaching around the Midwest and further afield. Life's vicissitudes have acquainted him with cancer, trauma, addictions, deforestation, joy, and other challenges that he explores regularly.

Meals: There will be three vegetarian meals a day with the exception of the first and last days, when there will be 2 meals.

First and Last Day Schedule: Please arrive between 9:00-9:30 am Friday. We will begin at 10:00 am. On Wednesday, we will end silence and optionally have lunch together at 12:00 before leaving for home anytime between then and 2:00.

Ride-sharing: You will have an opportunity to request or offer a ride-share on the registration form.

Cost: Costs include room (unless commuting) and meals (lunch and dinner on Friday, 3 meals per day on Saturday-Tuesday, breakfast and lunch on Wednesday). The cost per person for the retreat is as follows:
Single: $ 600
Double: $ 545
Non-Residential / Commuter: $ 400

We keep our prices as low as possible. If you would like to make an additional donation on the registration form, your generosity will be used to assist those who would otherwise be unable to attend.

Other fee structures or scholarships may be available; please contact jsophie5atgmail.com for details.

Teacher Dana: The teachings are offered freely by Santikaro. The cost of the retreat covers food and lodging. Donations (dana) to support Santikaro and his work at Kevala Retreat will be gratefully accepted. There will be an opportunity to offer dana at the end of the retreat.

Cancellation and Refund Policy Attendees may request refunds up to 30 days before the retreat's start date.

Questions? Please contact the retreat registrar jsophie5atgmail.com