Uncategorized Workshops and Retreats

2013 Shamatha weekend workshop in Toronto

“Buddhist psychology states that we apprehend the world through six domains of experience–the traditional five physical senses and the sixth sense of mental experience.  All six create the ecosystem of the world of our experience.  As the American psychologist William James said more than a century ago, “For the moment, what we attend to is reality.”

P1000561Recognizing that crucial interdependence of our attention and our experience of reality, James went on to declare that that an education that could teach students to focus attention on a chosen object would be the “education par excellence,” but he could offer no practical instruction for attaining that goal.

Luckily, even though it was unknown in the West a hundred years ago, we don’t have to invent that curriculum.  The system of cultivating the ability to place your attention on a chosen object and to keep it there is called Shamatha in Sanskrit, and for a hundred generations of Buddhist meditators, it has been taught as the fundamental skill underpinning all meditation practice. ”

–Doug Veenhof

from the Toronto Shamatha weekend workshop,  May 11-12, 2013

By Douglas Veenhof

Douglas Veenhof is a former mountain guide, a first place winner in the Society of Professional Journalists’ "Excellence in Journalism Competition" and the author of White Lama: The Life of Tantric Yogi Theos Bernard, Tibet’s Lost Emissary to the New World (Harmony Books, 2011). He has studied and practiced Buddhism for more than twenty years and graduated with honors from the seven-year program of advanced Buddhist studies at Diamond Mountain, the academy in the Arizona desert founded by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally. He writes and blogs on Yoga philosophy, Buddhist meditation practice, the philosophy of mind, and cultural analysis, and has been interviewed on both radio and television (ABC, New Haven, CT). He teaches workshops and modules for Yoga teacher trainings in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, and is currently at work on a memoir.

1 reply on “2013 Shamatha weekend workshop in Toronto”

After 7 years of daily meditation practice, this workshop was a revelation. Doug presented simple, clear, and most importantly concrete instruction on how to move step by step into deeper and deeper states of concentration. I now feel much better equipped to evaluate where I am with my focus (or lack of it) during a session and how to remedy it. The practices are useful and relevant regardless of one’s experience – both first time meditator and experienced practitioner will walk away with valuable skills and insights.

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