Friday, May 23, 2014

Love, Sexuality, and Awakening: Retreat

Ven. Amma Thanasanti Bhikkhuni ( and Dr. Sharon Beckman-Brindley (; Amber Larson and Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Fragrant blossoming lotus flower, the symbol of opening (tvladusi/
Dr. Beckman-Brindley, Ven. Thanasanti
The theme of this retreat is our relationship with various facets of love as part of a path of Buddhist awakening. "Love" includes a broad range of experience -- from a sense of friendliness and compassion, to appreciation toward ourselves, to the desire to release our masks and defenses and rest in a shared intimacy with others [a loss of self and merging with someone or something larger].

Sometimes in our daily life, this shared intimacy is expressed through romantic sexual involvement. [Other times it is sought diving within through asceticism and spirituality.] Ultimately, resting in love, we can embody an unconditional love that has no expectations, where love is an essential quality of "being" rather than a state or circumstance we long for [a trait rather than a temporary state].
Time for reflection (
This will be an eight precept retreat in which we refrain from killing and harming, and from stealing, any sexual activity, incorrect speech, and/or substances which cloud the mind. There will be two meals and an evening snack. We will begin the week using the Foundations of Mindfulness in silent practice. After a few days of silence, we will introduce sessions of Insight Dialogue to explore the theme.

It runs from Saturday May 23-30 in Loveland, Colorado, at Sunrise Ranch within easy access of Denver Int'l airport, yet secluded from the bustle of city life, in the Rocky Mountain foothills. Program contact: Katherine Wolfe ( More 
ELIGIBILITY: This retreat is suitable for anyone self-identified as a woman who has a regular meditation practice and has done a seven-day mindfulness retreat.
DONATION: The teachings are offered on a dana basis (the Pali word for "generosity," the Buddhist practice of giving to one’s capacity).

SCHOLARSHIP: Dana has played an essential role in the Buddhist tradition. In the spirit of this tradition, Awakening Truth does not want cost to be an obstacle to participation and so, are committed to offering financial assistance to those who need it. If you cannot attend the retreat due to cost, please contact the retreat committee: 720-295-1321 or

SPONSORED BY: Awakening Truth, a 501(c)3 organization based in Colorado with the intention of supporting Buddhist nuns, bringing the teachings into the modern world and building a training monastery for [blended-Theravada] Forest Tradition bhikkhunis.

Sharon Beckman-Brindley, Ph.D., is a Senior Insight Dialogue Teacher who teaches Insight Dialogue retreats worldwide. A clinical psychologist, she has served as team leader for Metta’s Relational Insight Meditation Program; she also serves on the Metta Programs Teachers Council. She has practiced vipassana (insight) meditation for over 30 years. Since 2001 she has studied and practiced the Dhamma and Insight Dialogue intensively with Gregory Kramer. She is also a co-founder and a guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville, Virginia and is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She also has over 30 years of practice as a psychotherapist, who has led workshops and retreats on meditation and its integration with psychotherapy for over 15 years. She is a stepmother and a grandmother and lives with her husband and their two cats in Charlottesville.
Amma Thanasanti Bhikkhuni is a guest in Metta’s Teacher Training program. She has been meditating for over 30 years, a [Theravada or more eccentric American monastic] Buddhist nun for over 20 years, and has been teaching internationally for over 15 years. He work spans rigorous understanding of Buddhist teachings, non-dual meditation, depth psychology, subtle body energies, and the Divine Feminine. She teaches meditation as an art and skill, integrating body, heart, and mind with finesse and compassion. She founded Awakening Truth [whose rainbow motif suggests a particularly welcome climate for lesbians and gays], whose mission is to create a nun (bhikkhuni)'s training monastery and seeks ways for monastics and lay practitioners to work together to support whole-life practice. She is currently based at the Shakti Vihara Hermitage in Colorado Springs.

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