Our 2013 Retreats
Mindfulness and Self-Compassion: The Two Wings of Meditation with Carla Brennan January 18-20, 2013
Traditionally, it is said that for our inner journey toward liberation to truly fly it needs two strong wings: the wing of wisdom – seeing directly into the nature of reality – and the wing of compassion – an openhearted, loving response to suffering. The more we practice meditation, the more we understand that wisdom and compassion are inseparable. Mindfulness teaches us to be fully present so that we can let go of patterns of reactivity and recognize the simple truths revealed in each moment. Self-compassion is the foundation for all expressions of compassion. With compassion, we courageously witness our difficulties, self-judgments, and imperfections and bring love, acceptance and kindness. Both mindfulness and compassion melt our fears and confusion, allowing us to live wholeheartedly, with more ease, freedom and connection. There will be instructions in both sitting and walking meditation as well as practices that foster self-compassion. Participants will practice Noble Silence, limiting speaking to only what is necessary. There will be teaching sessions and times for questions and discussion to support the practice. This retreat is an excellent opportunity for those new to meditation and also ideal for experienced practitioners who wish to deepen their meditation.
Carla Brennan is an Insight Meditation teacher based in Santa Cruz CA with the Bloom of the Present Sangha and a visiting teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA. Before founding Bloom of the Present Sangha in 2009, she taught with Vipassana Santa Cruz (now Insight Santa Cruz) for five years. Carla is also a teacher of Natural Wisdom and Compassion Meditation with the Foundation of Active Compassion. Carla is currently on a year sabbatical. This January 2013 Flowering Lotus retreat is one of the few retreats she will be teaching in 2012-13. Carla began meditation practice in 1975 in the Zen tradition and was a student of Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn in Cambridge, MA. A few years later she began attending the newly formed Insight Meditation Society, completing many retreats with Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein and others. Later she added the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Dzogchen with Lama Surya Das, Lama John Makransky and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. In the early ’90’s, Carla began attending wilderness retreats with Sacred Passage, completing 2 one-month solo retreats near Crestone, CO, and training to be a Sacred Passage Guide. As part of her regular teaching she offers meditation in nature and encourages her students to open to the wisdom of the natural world.
Consciousness of the Chakras: a Kundalini Yoga Retreat with Bill Savage February 1-3, 2013
Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is a yoga of awareness and energy. A Kundalini Yoga session comprises mantra (chanting and music), pranayama (breathing), mudra (hand gestures), bandha (body locks), asana (body postures and exercises), savasana (relaxation) and dhyana (meditation). A session typically flows through a sequence of tuning in, warming up (breathing and/or exercises), kriya (a series of asana), relaxation, meditation, and closing. During the two-and-a-half days of the retreat, we will build consciousness of the eight chakras, from the first chakra up to the heart chakra and then up and out into the aura.
Bill Savage completed his Level One Kundalini Yoga teacher training in October 2007 in Thailand, and the five Level Two modules of Authentic Relationships, Conscious Communication, Mind & Meditation, Lifecycles & Lifestyles, and Vitality & Stress by September 2010. Bill has worked as a math and English teacher, a professor of language and education, and has also consulted internationally as an organizational and community development facilitator with humanitarian organizations, most recently in the areas of child rights, HIV and AIDS, and maternal health.
How to Achieve Happiness in this Very Life! with Venerable Pannadipa
March 15-17, 2013
There is a direct path to attaining happiness in life. Happiness is a condition and all conditions are due to causes. When you understand the causes and have the method and map to chart a new direction, you can safely transform the choppy waters of the past and step into a liberating present. During this retreat, we will reflect on the true causes of happiness and learn how to develop and maintain authentic joy.
Bhikkhu Pannadipa is Co-Abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage, located in North Carolina. His clarity, stillness and finely honed skills will add unspeakable depth to the practitioner’s experience. Powerfully present with penetrating awareness, he guides meditators towards jhanic attainment (a concentrated mind), teaching them how to use this empowerment in all circumstances of practical life. He is a Theravadan monk, formerly Chan, and a Tien Shen Pi Shr Fu.
The State of Mind Called Beautiful with Venerable Pannavati May 31-June 2, 2013
Tossed by the four worldly winds (of fame and shame, loss and gain, pleasure and pain, praise and blame), people, confused and fearful, turn to self-cherishing. So, the good we would do, we don’t do and what we don’t want to do, we do. We suffer and cause suffering. But, the power and joy of spiritual practice is that it awakens us to what we do not know and provides methods to keep what we do know from degenerating. During this retreat, we will learn techniques to cultivate and maintain a supreme practice…the mind pervaded by love, compassion, joy in the successes of others and equanimity—even in the face of adversity, insecurity and loss…the state of mind called “Beautiful."
Bhikkhuni Pannavati is a yogini, former Christian pastor, founding Co-Abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage, and a founding director of Sisters of Compassionate Wisdom (a 21st century trans-lineage Buddhist order), ordained in Theravada and Chan Schools. A Zen Dharma Holder and Vajrayana practitioner as well, Pannavati’s insight is rich with compassion, wit and humor. She is, in a word, approachable; known for her ordination of Thai and Cambodian nuns, work with homeless youth in Appalachia, and ministry to the "untouchables" in India.
Vipassana Meditation with Bhante Buddharakkhita June 21-23, 2013
This workshop will begin with an introduction to Mindfulness and Insight meditation practice and then, using these basics, allow participants to explore techniques of working through difficult emotions like anger and fear to tap into a freedom of the heart and mind. The last day will explore balance and equanimity and will include walking, sitting, standing meditation as well as group discussions, guided meditation instructions and Dhamma talks. Throughout the retreat Bhante will discuss various components, methods and benefits of practicing mindfulness from moment to moment.
Bhante Buddharakkhita was born and raised in Uganda, Africa. He first encountered Buddhism in 1990 while in India, and he began practicing meditation in 1993. After living in Asia for seven years, Bhante decided to continue his Dhamma practice in the U.S.A. In June 2001, he began monastic training, and in November 2002 he received Higher Ordination by his Preceptor the late Venerable U Silananda at Tathagata Meditation Center, California. He continued his meditation practice under the guidance of Bhante Gunaratana for eight years at the Bhavana Society, West Virginia. Author of Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism on African Soil, and founder of the Uganda Buddhist Center, Uganda, he has been teaching meditation in Africa, Brazil and the United States. Besides spending time at the Buddhist Center in Uganda, Bhante is a teacher at Bhavana Society and the Spiritual Head of Flowering Lotus Meditation and Retreat Center.
Fourth Annual Gulf Coast Kundalini Yoga Retreat: Awareness and Compassion July 19- 21, 2013
Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is a yoga of awareness and energy.
A Kundalini Yoga session comprises mantra (chanting and music), pranayama (breathing), mudra (hand gestures), bandha (body locks), asana (body postures and exercises), savasana (relaxation) and dhyana (meditation). A session typically flows through a sequence of tuning in, warming up (breathing and/or exercises), kriya (a series of asana), relaxation, meditation, and closing.
This will be the fourth year that folks from around the Gulf Coast states and elsewhere come together to experience the benefits of Kundalini Yoga. We will be led and inspired by guest musician and teacher Gurunam Singh who will be joined by several local teachers. The cost of the entire weekend of yoga, music, wholesome food and elegant accommodation is just $250. To register, please complete the online registration with Flowering Lotus AND contact William Savage at or 504-881-6566.
What Our Bones Know: The Ancient Way Of The Eightfold Path with Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel July 26-28, 2013
In a world filled with loss and grief there is a strong need for compassion and good will. The wisdom for such must come directly from our own lives. Through Zen meditation, simple movement, chanting, and mining our stories of suffering we will enter a process of engaging the Eightfold Path or the path for the cessation of suffering. We will walk away from the weekend having shifted our suffering in order to reestablish our connectedness with each other as living beings. We will begin to develop the capacity for liberating wisdom, action, and insight. Written materials will be given to take home.
Dr. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, author, visual artist, Congolese drummer, and Zen Buddhist priest, lives in Oakland, CA where she teaches at East Bay Meditation Center and leads a small practice group in her home. author, visual artist, drummer, and Zen Buddhist priest, lives in Oakland, CA where she teaches at East Bay Meditation Center and leads a small practice group in her home. She was ordained by Zenkei Blanche Hartman at San Francisco Zen Center. Her recent book Tell Me Something About Buddhism (Hampton Roads Publishing, 2011) includes a foreword written by Thich Nhat Hanh, with poetry and illustrations by Zenju Earthlyn. In addition, she is contributing author to many books, including Dharma, Color and Culture: Voices From Western Buddhist Teachers of Color (Parallax) and the upcoming Record of the Hidden Lamp: 100 Koans and Stories from 25 Centuries of Awakened Women (Wisdom Publications) edited by Florence Caplow and Susan Moon.
Emotional Chaos to Clarity: Move from the Chaos of the Reactive Mind to the Clarity of the Responsive Mind with Phillip Moffitt November 8th-10, 2013
During this weekend retreat, we will explore teachings and practices that we can apply to the suffering we experience when faced with difficult life situations and challenging emotions. Phillip will teach from his book Emotional Chaos to Clarity and will introduce mindfulness practices and essential life skills—such as developing loving kindness and identifying intentions—that can profoundly improve our ability to make good decisions, skillfully navigate relational issues, and find peace of mind and heart even in the face of difficulty.
The retreat will include sitting and walking meditation, dharma talks, participatory exercises, and time for questions and answers.
Phillip Moffitt is a Buddhist meditation teacher and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He teaches a weekly insight (vipassana) meditation class in Marin County, is Co-Guiding Teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and leads retreats throughout the United States. Phillip is also the founder and director of Life Balance Institute where he trains executives and individuals in skillful living. He is the author of two books; Emotional Chaos to Clarity: How to Live More Skillfully, Make Better Decisions, and Find Purpose in Life and Dancing with Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering. For more information about Phillip and his work, visit www.dharmawisdom.org.