Week 1: Ecodharma Training Retreat July 24-Aug 2
The ecological crisis is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. How should modern dharma help us understand and engage with it? New teachings and practices are now emerging in response to the realities of the current situation: we call this ecodharma.
This is a ten-day experiential immersion into ecodharma, specifically for dharma teachers, dharma leaders, and committed practitioners. Our sense of separation from nature is at the root of the ecological crises our civilization faces, and ecodharma is a path of deconstructing that separation, reuniting our inner nature with outer nature. Ecodharma practice is about healing our relationship with the rest of the natural world, so that an appropriate and authentic response can arise, which unifies our spiritual practice with social engagement. In this time of ecological and social crisis, the earth calls upon us to do what we can in response.
In the first few days we will connect deeply with the natural world, grounding ourselves in the joys of being and practicing outside, while building a safe and supportive sangha. Then we will begin to explore the dark side of our relationship with nature: the grief, fear, anger, and guilt we feel while watching the earth’s climate and ecosystems deteriorate, along with increasing social, economic and political unraveling. Together we will touch into eco-trauma and eco-grief, working with them while supported by deepening nature practice and sangha relationships. Then, after detailed preparation, there will be a two and a half day/two-night solo, in which solitude and silence increase our individual capacity to see, hear, and feel the connections between our inner and outer nature. Afterwards we gather together again for integration and finding our ways forward.
This training retreat is not about teaching or learning a prescribed method. Our goal is to support and catalyze deep personal learning that you can apply to your own dharma leadership and teaching, in order to develop ecodharma in your own way. The uniqueness and authenticity of our own experience shapes how each of us practices, leads and teaches dharma, and this training will incorporate into that process as well. Our hope is that this experience informs, motivates, and empowers you to bring ecodharma into your dharma and your life.
The daily schedule will include instruction and practice in both sitting and walking meditation in nature, Q&A, discussion and sharing, a dharma talk, individual one on ones with the teachers, and open practice time as well. The intention is to co-create an ecodharma lab, where we are all experientially learning together and discovering the best ways to do this crucial work.
It is highly recommended that Ecodharma Training Retreat participants stay for the second week, if possible, so that you have more time to integrate and deepen your experience. People attending the entire two weeks can stay at the center on a self-retreat basis Sunday, August 2, or do an additional solo that night. The second week will be much quieter and simpler than the first, making it an ideal space to let the training’s potent energy transform in its own way and time.
Week 2: Inner and Outer Nature Silent Meditation Retreat Aug 3-9
This retreat is open to everyone, including beginners. The focus is on silent nature practice, immersion in the natural world, connecting our inner nature with outer nature, and dissolving separation.Each day includes plentiful time for sitting, hiking/walking meditation, as well as nature meditation instruction, dharma talks, and individual and group practice discussions. We will be outdoors as much aswe can, weather permitting. There is also a one-day/one-night solo.
The overall intention is for deep silence, practice, and connection with nature, and then integrating that into one’s life. Spiritual practice will be supported by instruction in a variety of nature meditations. There will be nightly dharma talks, exploring how being-in-nature can be an important part of our spiritual path by helping to ground us in personal experience of non-separation from the natural world. The emphasis is not on meditative technique so much as developing direct awareness that can lead to a new integration of the internal (spiritual) and external (activity). There are no prerequisites for this retreat, and beginning meditators are welcome and will be fully supported.