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The Heart Sutra Retreat: Awakening True Wisdom

with Susan Piver

January 19, 2022 - January 23, 2022 CT

| $1500.00

WHAT: A small in-person retreat to practice and study together

WHEN: January 19-23, 2022

WHERE: My house in Austin, TX

COST: $1,500.00

Limited to 12 fully vaccinated participants with

a negative Covid test within 48-72 hours of 1/19/22. 

(including 2 full scholarships) – the scholarships have been awarded

Please apply below with a $500.00 deposit here.

If you are not accepted into the program, you will be refunded promptly.

 

Why this retreat?

The very first time I ever meditated was in the Spring of 1993. I had no idea what I was doing, what to expect, or even much about the person who had volunteered to teach me. Even though we had only met once at a party, I just knew that it was the right thing to do. That said, I was still plenty nervous. 1993, y’all! Meditation was still considered strange. In any case, he kindly welcomed me in and asked me a few questions about my interest in meditation. I have no idea what I said in response. Then we sat on cushions on the floor opposite his very beautiful shrine and he handed me a piece of paper printed on both sides. “We’ll chant this together before we begin. It’s called the Heart Sutra. Just follow along with me and skip over the words you can’t pronounce.”

Thus have I heard. Once the Blessed One was dwelling in Råjagriha at Vulture Peakmountain, together with a great gathering of the saðgha of monks and a great gathering of the saðgha of bodhisattvas. At that time the Blessed One entered the samådhi that expresses the dharma called “profound illumination,”…

WHAT?

Why were we saying these words? What did they mean? I had no idea, but I stumbled along as suggested. Then he gave me meditation instruction and we sat together for 45 minutes. Yes, 45 minutes. It went by in a flash and was absolutely interminable. What had I gotten myself into?

It is just now, nearly 30 years later, that I am beginning to intuit answers to these questions. In the interim, I have chanted the Heart Sutra countless times, almost every day often with no more understanding than the very first time I ever recited it…while, at the same time, the meaning continues to ripen and deepen in ways that cannot be deciphered, only felt. It points to the truth of emptiness in a way that is unrelenting, challenging, heartening, confounding, and inspiring.

The Heart Sutra (or prajnaparamita sutra) is a seminal text within the entire Buddhist tradition, most particularly the Mahayana schools where it is the core practice. It is also a foundational practice within the Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhist traditions I have trained in.

A few years after I learned to meditate,

my meditation teacher (the same guy–still my meditation teacher) invited me to a small weekend retreat with a few friends in upstate New York for the sole purpose of studying the Heart Sutra. For three days, we practiced meditation, recited the Heart Sutra, studied it, memorized it, discussed it, recited it again, ate dinner…and then began again. It was a glorious experience.

Until now, it never occurred to me to offer a similar opportunity to the Open Heart Project. I have no idea why. But at some recent point, I realized that my whole dharma life had been pointing to this possibility. The Heart Sutra initiated my life as a student. Before I ever meditated, it set the tone for the practice–perfectly, I might add. Our work together is called The Open Heart Project. The essence of heart-opening is the recognition of emptiness-luminosity. There is no better support for deepening your practice than this remarkable sutra.

SCHEDULE

6:30p – 8p Opening session at my house: introductions, overview, discussion

630a – 730a Optional swim at Barton Springs!

9a-1030a Opening practice session and introduction to the Heart Sutra

1030a-1130a Sutra memorization and study session

1130a-12p Practice session and discussion

12p-130p Lunch (at my house; included)

130p-3 Practice session and discussion

3-4 Tea and snacks (included)

4-5 Practice session

Dinner on your own

630a – 730a Optional swim at Barton Springs!

9a-1030a Practice session

1030a-1130a Sutra memorization and study session

1130a-12p Practice session and discussion

12p-130p Lunch (at my house; included)

130p-2 Practice session and discussion

2p-3p Discussion

3-4 Tea and snacks (included)

4-5 Practice session

Dinner on your own

630a – 730a Optional swim at Barton Springs!

9a-1030a Practice session

1030a-1130a Sutra memorization and study session

1130a-12p Practice session and discussion

12p-130p Lunch (at my house; included)

130p-2 Practice session and discussion

2p-3p Discussion

3-4 Tea and snacks (included)

4-5 Practice session

Dinner together; someplace healthy and fun (included)

630a – 730a Optional swim at Barton Springs!

930a-11a Practice session

11a-12p Closing conversation

12p-130p Lunch (at my house; included)

Farewells!

 

Cost and other details

Included: The retreat fee is $1500 and includes practice and study that unfold over a 5-day period. We will spend about 25 hours of retreat time together (not including early morning swims if you are so inclined). Lunches, snacks, tea, and coffee are included and dinner Saturday night is included.

Not Included: Other meals, travel, and accommodations. I will make a list of great places to eat and listen to music–Austin is such a wonderful place and I want these retreats to be deeply serious and completely joyful.

Retreat is a precious opportunity to disconnect from the day-to-day and give your wisdom mind and loving heart a chance to relax, open, and discover something deeper. I look forward to accompanying you on the journey.

These retreats are small and personal and therefore I’m asking for applications to ensure a cohesive group. Scholarships will be awarded two months before each retreat begins.

If you want to apply (and these will fill fairly quickly if past retreats are any indication), please do so here:

Please apply below with a $500.00 deposit here.

(Option to pay in three installments.) If you are not accepted into the program, you will be refunded promptly.

Will I need a car?

It depends where you stay. I live in the heart of South Austin right on a bus line. It is also easy to call Uber or Lyft. The house is 2 miles from downtown Austin, so plan accordingly if you’d like to stay there.

What should I bring?

All you need is comfortable clothes for lengthy sittings and study. I will supply meditation cushions, chairs, and whatever is needed for group meditation practice.

If you want to go swimming with me in the mornings, pack a bathing suit and towel. (There will be time after our swim to go back to where you’re staying to shower and change.)

What is included in the price?

  • Immersion in study, meditation, and community
  • Meditation instruction and guided conversation about the Heart Sutra
  • 4 lunches (healthy, with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options)
  • A tried and tested schedule meant to deepen your practice and understanding
  • Coffee, tea, juices, water, light snacks throughout the day
  • Dinner Saturday night
  • Meaningful conversation with Susan and your fellow students

What is the refund policy?

A refund will be offered (minus the deposit) if you cancel by November 19, 2021

What if I have other questions?

Email us! Happy to answer any questions.

FAQs

Where is your house? What neighborhood is it in?

The house is on Powell Circle in South Austin, just south of Oltorf and South First Streets.

 

What is the neighborhood like?

Residential and quiet but very close to restaurants, shops, and fun South Congress Ave (aka “SoCo.”)

Can you connect me with a roommate to help defray some of the expense?

Maybe. The application form has a space to indicate if you’d like a roommate. If there is more than one of you who does, I’ll introduce you and you can take it from there.

 

I love the idea of a morning swim. Will it be cold? How will I get there and is there a fee?

Barton Springs is a huge in-town, spring-fed pool and it is truly my happy place. The water is 68 degrees year-round. There is a huge parking lot. It is a short Uber/Lyft ride from either my neighborhood or downtown Austin. (Especially at 6:30am!) There is no fee before 8:00 am.

Will I have to come to your house in my wet bathing suit?

No, there will be time to get back to wherever you’re staying to shower and change.

How will I get to your house?

Bus, carpool, Uber/Lyft, or, perhaps, walk (if you are staying close enough

 

Where will we go to eat on Saturday?

Not sure of the destination yet, but it will be healthy.

Hope to see you there!

Love, Susan

If you have any questions, please contact us, here.

 

Details

Start:
January 19, 2022
End:
January 23, 2022
Cost:
$1500.00
Event Categories:
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