The ancient books of Tibet say that if a person can see ultimate truth only once, for just 20 minutes in their entire life, then they will soon be able to reach enlightenment, and help stop the pain of countless living beings in this world.
They say that ultimate truth lies all around us, like an invisible wall of diamond that can only be seen by a mind which is perfectly still and quiet. The moon’s reflection can only be seen on the crystal surface of the lake of our mind if that surface is absolutely still. In this 10-day meditation retreat, we will seek the simple goal of bringing our minds into a silence deep enough to see this ultimate truth. And so for the entire length of the retreat, meditators will remain in silence—no cellphones, no laptops.
Once a day, we will receive instructions as a group on what steps we need to take that day to help us actually see this ultimate truth. During the retreat, each participant will have a chance to meet one-on-one with the Retreat Master, Geshe Michael Roach, to discuss (in handwritten notes) their progress and the strategies they personally need to follow.
The instructions we’ll use for this deep meditation will come directly from a Tibetan book called A Gift of Liberation, Thrust into the Palms of Our Hands. This is an extraordinary explanation of deep meditation and ultimate truth written by Pabongka Rinpoche (1878-1941).
The retreat was led by Geshe Michael Roach, who is the first American ever to receive the title of “Geshe” or “Master of Buddhism,” after more than 20 years of study in a Tibetan monastery. He has translated more than 10,000 pages of the ancient Tibetan books, and will be drawing from 35 years of meditation experience, three of them spent in a solitary, silent retreat.
In this retreat, we will attempt to actually reach the deepest meditation of all, focused upon the highest object of all. In Sanskrit, this is called the union of shamatha and vipashyana: perfect stillness plus perfect wisdom. Those interested in listening to the retreat teachings are encouraged to take its companion course, which is located here on The Knowledge Base.
Download all audio and course materials (.zip)
Meditation Chart with English commentary
Meditation Chart high-resolution poster
(Note the high resolution version could use some editing in Photoshop to improve the quality – please email us if you are able to help, and we will post the updated file for others to enjoy as well)