Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

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Johnny Dangerous
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Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:00 am

In a little more than a month I should have the opportunity for about a 5 day personal retreat. I'm wondering if anyone (especially a DC person, but anyone practicing Dzogchen/Mahamudra etc. instruction might have one) has a schedule or format they've used that they'd recommend.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by tobes » Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:25 am

I don't, but I wish you all the best.

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Tata1 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:06 am

Write a sms instructor.

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:26 am

Tata1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:06 am
Write a sms instructor.
I did, and got a very valuable but terse answer. So, I'm hoping someone might share their schedule with me as an example.

One thing I am thinking about is that if I base the whole thing on doing shine and contemplation, I know I will inevitably get bored. This might be a good thing for me to work through. On the other hand, I might do better by interspersing semdzins, spending some time on rushens etc. and alternating. I am not sure what is "standard".
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Fa Dao » Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:21 am

Take a look at your situation and try and determine if there are any secondary practices that might be useful to intersperse between sessions that will be helpful to the main practice....the 3 day Vajra Armor retreat comes to mind as an example..Ive also found it helpful to do LOTS of really short practice sessions throughout the day and night...no more than 15-20 minutes every hour all day then incorporate that into the jethob
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:21 am

Fa Dao wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:21 am
Take a look at your situation and try and determine if there are any secondary practices that might be useful to intersperse between sessions that will be helpful to the main practice....the 3 day Vajra Armor retreat comes to mind as an example..Ive also found it helpful to do LOTS of really short practice sessions throughout the day and night...no more than 15-20 minutes every hour all day then incorporate that into the jethob

I have lungs for all that stuff, but I don't want to take on anything new for this retreat. I have some experiences of the Semzins, Rushens, of the various forms of Guru Yoga, and the short Tun. I'm thinking that especially since I will be alone I should probably do the Rushens practices that are best done isolation.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Fa Dao » Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:39 am

sounds like a plan...you can never do too much Guruyoga, right? One of the few things that Rinpoche always said was "Relax, be Present, do Guruyoga..these are the only things I tell you to do". Applying the practice of being Present between sessions as a practice in itself cannot be underestimated...good luck man!
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by dharmafootsteps » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:26 am

I'm kind of hesitant to reply, as working out a plan for personal retreat is really a question for a teacher imo, but I'm just wondering why you're thinking of interspersing semde with some rushen practices? A bit of rushen mixed in with a retreat focused on something else sounds kind of wishy washy to me to be honest, but that could be my own misunderstanding.

My experience of how rushen is practiced is that it should be intense, really exhausting body, energy and mind, not just a bit here and there. Also one week is quite a short time for a rushen retreat. Personally if I was going to do any rushen, with 1 week to play with, I'd just do outer rushen intensely, minimum 6 hours a day, more according to capacity. Or I wouldn't do it at all and focus on something else. If I'd already done an outer rushen retreat recently, I'd move onto inner.

With rushen as with semde each practice is quite precise, leading to some precise experiences, it doesn't make sense in my head to mix them up. To me it would be like doing a Tara retreat, and then mixing in a little Manjushri for a few sessions...seems like it would be a better idea either to just do more Tara, or something supportive like a little yantra.

I can imagine an exception being if one is very experienced with both, having already done long retreats in each, and had very precise experiences. In that case perhaps one particular rushen might be done at a particular time according to your understanding of your own condition. But again I'd want to either be a very experienced yogi who understands precisely what to do for myself, or I'd want advice from a lama on that, as I've never heard of rushen used in that way.

My inclination with a semde retreat, would be to do however much semde I have capacity for, plus some supportive practices depending on myself. Perhaps within an overall framework of a guru practice (with sang if you're into that) in the morning, and a yidam/protectors one later afternoon. That would be the more usual way to do a practice retreat based on my limited experience.

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by weitsicht » Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:56 am

sharing dharmafootstep's notions on
"not mixing" and
"staying long time on one practice to go deep"

I can tell you how I do it: I have the bunch of material I am inclined to do with me. Then I settle down, listen to my intuition in that particular moment of having arrived at my retreat spot and that's then what I'm doing. Until then: vague ideas. Dzogchen doesn't conform with plans or schedules.

If not being in the state and then just relaxing like Fa Dao writes, is also fine. Force nothing.

I rejoice for you and everyone else who takes the opportunity for a personal retreat. :anjali:
Ho! All the possible appearances and existences of samsara and nirvana have the same source, yet two paths and two results arise as the magical display of awareness and unawareness.
HO NANG SRI KHOR DAE THAMCHE KUN ZHI CHIG LAM NYI DRAE BU NYI RIG DANG MA RIG CHOM THRUL TE

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Matt J » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:30 pm

"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Könchok Thrinley » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:34 pm

SoV is supposed to help with shine.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

Formerly known as Miroku.

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:10 pm

dharmafootsteps wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:26 am
I'm kind of hesitant to reply, as working out a plan for personal retreat is really a question for a teacher imo, but I'm just wondering why you're thinking of interspersing semde with some rushen practices? A bit of rushen mixed in with a retreat focused on something else sounds kind of wishy washy to me to be honest, but that could be my own misunderstanding.
I specifically asked an SMS teacher since I posted, and they said something like "could be ok to do both, depends, keep one as the main practice". So yeah, already asked a teacher, and obviously ChNN is no longer available. I have also been doing these practices for years. I haven't had retreat experience of them, but i'm not unfamiliar.
My experience of how rushen is practiced is that it should be intense, really exhausting body, energy and mind, not just a bit here and there. Also one week is quite a short time for a rushen retreat. Personally if I was going to do any rushen, with 1 week to play with, I'd just do outer rushen intensely, minimum 6 hours a day, more according to capacity. Or I wouldn't do it at all and focus on something else. If I'd already done an outer rushen retreat recently, I'd move onto inner.
There are a bunch of Rushens, they are not all exhausting. I also mentioned the Semdzins, those might be a better fit.
With rushen as with semde each practice is quite precise, leading to some precise experiences, it doesn't make sense in my head to mix them up. To me it would be like doing a Tara retreat, and then mixing in a little Manjushri for a few sessions...seems like it would be a better idea either to just do more Tara, or something supportive like a little yantra.
Well, the teacher I asked thought it was less of a problem than you do evidently. For someone advocating simplicity your suggestions are pretty complex. I don't know why Semdzins or Rushens couldn't be supportive of semde, obviously gaining clarity, further precise of experience of the difference between mind and it's nature is related to semde. Still, keeping it simple is always good.

My inclination with a semde retreat, would be to do however much semde I have capacity for, plus some supportive practices depending on myself. Perhaps within an overall framework of a guru practice (with sang if you're into that) in the morning, and a yidam/protectors one later afternoon. That would be the more usual way to do a practice retreat based on my limited experience.
Thanks.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Josef » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:31 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:21 am
Fa Dao wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:21 am
Take a look at your situation and try and determine if there are any secondary practices that might be useful to intersperse between sessions that will be helpful to the main practice....the 3 day Vajra Armor retreat comes to mind as an example..Ive also found it helpful to do LOTS of really short practice sessions throughout the day and night...no more than 15-20 minutes every hour all day then incorporate that into the jethob

I have lungs for all that stuff, but I don't want to take on anything new for this retreat. I have some experiences of the Semzins, Rushens, of the various forms of Guru Yoga, and the short Tun. I'm thinking that especially since I will be alone I should probably do the Rushens practices that are best done isolation.
Focusing on one rushen practice for five days is a great way to go.
I did week long retreats of them in that format. 4 tuns per day etc.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:51 pm

Josef wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:31 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:21 am
Fa Dao wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:21 am
Take a look at your situation and try and determine if there are any secondary practices that might be useful to intersperse between sessions that will be helpful to the main practice....the 3 day Vajra Armor retreat comes to mind as an example..Ive also found it helpful to do LOTS of really short practice sessions throughout the day and night...no more than 15-20 minutes every hour all day then incorporate that into the jethob

I have lungs for all that stuff, but I don't want to take on anything new for this retreat. I have some experiences of the Semzins, Rushens, of the various forms of Guru Yoga, and the short Tun. I'm thinking that especially since I will be alone I should probably do the Rushens practices that are best done isolation.
Focusing on one rushen practice for five days is a great way to go.
I did week long retreats of them in that format. 4 tuns per day etc.
Hmm that format makes sense intuitively.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Josef » Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:30 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:51 pm
Josef wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:31 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:21 am



I have lungs for all that stuff, but I don't want to take on anything new for this retreat. I have some experiences of the Semzins, Rushens, of the various forms of Guru Yoga, and the short Tun. I'm thinking that especially since I will be alone I should probably do the Rushens practices that are best done isolation.
Focusing on one rushen practice for five days is a great way to go.
I did week long retreats of them in that format. 4 tuns per day etc.
Hmm that format makes sense intuitively.
It's a typical structure for doing rushen etc.
I found it really valuable and effective.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by shagrath » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:09 pm

These are Tergar schedules. My friend follows Mingyur, so he have sent me their schedule.

6 hour schedule 
06:15–07:15 First session 
07:15–09:30 Breakfast and break 
09:30–11:00 Second session 
11:00–14:00 Lunch and break 
14:00–15:00 Third session 
15:00– 16:30 Break  
16:30–18:00 Fourth session 
18:00–19:30 Dinner 
19:30–20:30 Fifth session 


8 hour schedule 
06:15–07:45 First session 
07:45–09:30 Breakfast and break 
09:30–11:30 Second session 
11:30–13:30 Lunch and break 
13:30–15:00 Third session 
15:00–16:30 Break  
16:30–18:00 Fourth session 
18:00–19:30 Dinner 
19:30–21:00 Fifth session 


10 hour schedule 
06:15–7:45 First session 
07:45–9:00 Breakfast and break 
09:00–11:30 Second session 
11:30–13:30 Lunch and break 
13:30–15:00Third session 
15:00–15:45 Break  
15:45–18:00 Fourth session 
18:00 –19:15 Dinner 
19:15– 21:30 Fifth session 

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:11 pm

Useful, thanks!
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by dharmafootsteps » Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:20 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:10 pm
dharmafootsteps wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:26 am
I'm kind of hesitant to reply, as working out a plan for personal retreat is really a question for a teacher imo, but I'm just wondering why you're thinking of interspersing semde with some rushen practices? A bit of rushen mixed in with a retreat focused on something else sounds kind of wishy washy to me to be honest, but that could be my own misunderstanding.
I specifically asked an SMS teacher since I posted, and they said something like "could be ok to do both, depends, keep one as the main practice". So yeah, already asked a teacher, and obviously ChNN is no longer available. I have also been doing these practices for years. I haven't had retreat experience of them, but i'm not unfamiliar.
My experience of how rushen is practiced is that it should be intense, really exhausting body, energy and mind, not just a bit here and there. Also one week is quite a short time for a rushen retreat. Personally if I was going to do any rushen, with 1 week to play with, I'd just do outer rushen intensely, minimum 6 hours a day, more according to capacity. Or I wouldn't do it at all and focus on something else. If I'd already done an outer rushen retreat recently, I'd move onto inner.
There are a bunch of Rushens, they are not all exhausting. I also mentioned the Semdzins, those might be a better fit.
With rushen as with semde each practice is quite precise, leading to some precise experiences, it doesn't make sense in my head to mix them up. To me it would be like doing a Tara retreat, and then mixing in a little Manjushri for a few sessions...seems like it would be a better idea either to just do more Tara, or something supportive like a little yantra.
Well, the teacher I asked thought it was less of a problem than you do evidently. For someone advocating simplicity your suggestions are pretty complex. I don't know why Semdzins or Rushens couldn't be supportive of semde, obviously gaining clarity, further precise of experience of the difference between mind and it's nature is related to semde. Still, keeping it simple is always good.

My inclination with a semde retreat, would be to do however much semde I have capacity for, plus some supportive practices depending on myself. Perhaps within an overall framework of a guru practice (with sang if you're into that) in the morning, and a yidam/protectors one later afternoon. That would be the more usual way to do a practice retreat based on my limited experience.
Thanks.
Ok, as I say I was a little hesitant to reply, particularly as my experience is also influenced by rushen teachings and intensive practice retreats with other lamas, not only ChNN. So I probably shouldn't muddy the waters. I'd like to discuss the different perspectives more, but I think to do so would require going into much more detail than is appropriate in an open forum.

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Valenthen » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:44 pm

I'd appreciate feedback from someone influenced by rushen teachings on this for sure my friend. What are your thoughts on this?

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Re: Personal retreat suggestions - focus on semde

Post by Josef » Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:59 pm

Valenthen wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:44 pm
I'd appreciate feedback from someone influenced by rushen teachings on this for sure my friend. What are your thoughts on this?
Rushen is very important for Dzogchen practitioners. It is the main preliminary practice.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

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