Date: Every Monday
Time: 7:30 - 9:30pm
Venue: IMI, 17/F Kailey Tower, 16 Stanley Street, Central
Organized by: The Hong Kong Insight Meditation Society (HKIMS)
We will be beginning a new insight meditation group, guided by an experienced practitioner, for those who wish to maintain regular practice on Monday nights from 7:30 to 9:30 pm at IMI. Drawing from both classic and Western Buddhist traditions, the group practice will feature recorded talks from leading Western Buddhist teachers, a 45-minute meditation session, and discussion to support each other in ongoing practice.
Check out the very helpful Sayadaw Tejaniya's "23 Points to Right Attitude in Meditation"
7:30 pm - 8 pm: Dharma talk by Western Teacher
8 pm - 8:45 pm: Sit (For beginners who can't sit that long, welcome to break it up with walking meditation)
8:45 pm - 9:30 pm: Discussion
All meditation backgrounds and experience levels are welcome to join our weekly meditation group practice. Our objective is to support each other in ongoing practice to live mindfully, kindly, and joyfully with special emphasis on Vipassana (insight meditation) and Metta (lovingkindness).
Please RSVP to http://www.meetup.com/hkinsightmeditation
1. What is Insight Meditation? What tradition/method do you practice at your group?
Vipassana, or Insight Meditation, is the practice of observing mind and body processes with intelligent awareness so we can understand things as they really are, typically the three marks of existence: suffering (dukkha), impermanence (anicca), and non-self (anatta), and things as they have come to be (the law of causes and conditions). This is known as wisdom (panna). We practice the four foundations of mindfulness as taught in the Satipatthana Sutta, with special emphasis on open awareness + wisdom popularized by Sayadaw Tejaniya, whose teachings you can find here. You are open to use whatever meditation method you are accustomed to; we ask only that you consider and apply right attitude no matter your meditation object. Many of us come from traditions as diverse as Pak Au, Mahasi, Goenka, Tibetan, among others.
We also want to advocate a lifestyle of awareness. As in, mindfulness meditation is not just something you do when you sit on the cushion. We believe in practicing every moment, ideally from the moment we wake to the moment we sleep. If we are only aware here and there, we will not gain real understanding and wisdom.
2. What should I prepare?
We offer water, tea, crackers, chairs, meditation cushions, and blankets. If you are accustomed to sitting on the floor, we suggest comfortable clothes. A shawl may also be helpful. Come with an open mind, leave all expectations behind, and foster a friendly non-judgmental attitude and you should be all set ;)
3. I'm an absolute beginner but very interested in mindfulness. Can I join?
Yes, but please note that our Monday night practice group does not teach meditation. We are a group practice and we sit in silent meditation for 45 minutes and discuss the Buddhist teachings. Depending on background, some absolute beginners thrive, some may find such a setting difficult. There are many excellent resources for beginners to mindfulness, included, but not limited to:
- retreats and classes organized by HKIMS
- MBSR, an 8-week mindfulness course offered in both English and Cantonese. Highly recommended. Covers all the basics in a gentle and gradual way.
- 10-day Vipassana Meditation Course by S.N. Goenka
- Monday Mindfulness for Beginners at 6:15pm at IMI - this is just right before our session at IMI taught by different teachers every week. May not be insight meditation, some are more about relaxation/secular mindfulness (which, in my view, is not as productive as understanding the entire path right from the beginning). Occasionally, I also offer vipassana for beginners at 6:15pm at IMI.
- Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante G - great book for beginners.
If you are a beginner who would like to join, please read Tejaniya's "23 Points to Right Attitude" before joining. These are the guidelines of our practice. I will also offer vipassana reminders at 7:15pm. A more detailed mindfulness reading list and some common questions on meditation is available below.
4. How can I find out about HKIMS retreats?
We have weekly self-practice one-day retreats for advanced practitioners, monthly one-day retreats open to all including beginners, residential retreats, Buddhist study groups, among other activities. Sign up for our email list here and LIKE our Facebook page to get the latest news.
5. Can I arrive late/leave early?
Yes. We play a talk from 7:30 - 8 so if you are going to be late, it won't be disruptive. Try not to arrive after 8:05pm as thats when the sit begins. We encourage all to stay and share for the discussion but if you need to leave early, that's okay too.
6. Is there a charge for joining your events?
No, all HKIMS events are by donation (dana) unless otherwise indicated. IMI, the venue we use for our Monday night group practice, accepts a donation for charity, which you can offer by putting cash in their box usually placed on the beverage table or on the reception. We also appreciate donations for HKIMS teachers and work volunteers for our retreats--for details, please visit: http://hkims.org/generosity/?lang=en
7. Where can I find the dharma talks you play on Monday nights?
Typically, I will post it on the event page for that date, where you can check on http://www.meetup.com/hkinsightmeditation/#past. If it's not there check the one before or after as we play the same talk for two weeks (first and second half). I would like to compile them into one place eventually - let me know if you'd like to help me do this. You are also welcome to suggest talks, just let me know. Some teachers we play: Tara Brach, Steve Armstrong, Joseph Goldstein, Carol Wilson, Jack Kornfield, Ajahn Brahm, Ajahn Sujato, Tempel Smith...
8. Why do we have a discussion?
Although the discussion is optional, we encourage all practitioners who would like to contribute (if you feel comfortable) to stay and share your experiences, challenges, and success in applying dharma and practice to daily life. Sharing is also an act of generosity, a foundation of spiritual life. In vipassana practice especially, other than reading and listening to teachers, it is also important to reflect and discuss with others to understand the teachings.
9. I would like to meditate but feel very sleepy at night time. What should I do?
You can open your eyes. We believe strongly in the importance of learning to meditate with eyes open, not just closed. We can't cultivate a lifestyle of awareness by walking around with our eyes closed. Practice the process of "seeing" - a sensory input with no self or identification. More about process of seeing here: Every Moment is Time to Meditate, by Sayadaw Tejaniya
10. I'm not used to sitting as long as 45 minutes. Do you have any tips?
If you are getting agitated, restless, or upset, check your attitude. Do you want something to happen? Do you want something to stop happening? Don’t focus too hard, don’t control. Neither force nor restrict yourself. Your only responsibility is to be aware of your experience as it is, from moment to moment, with the right understanding: none of this is yours, or under your control. Everything has come to be as it is as a result of past conditions. Every moment is good enough -- make that your practice.
Remember: Meditating is acknowledging and observing whatever happens —whether pleasant or unpleasant—in a relaxed way. You have to accept and watch both good and bad experiences. You may also find these instructions helpful: Every Moment is Time to Meditate, by Sayadaw Tejaniya
11. I want to learn more about the dharma (Buddhist teachings) Do you have a recommended reading list?
Absolutely! This will get you started:
• Dhamma Everywhere, Sayadaw Tejaniya (Audio Books here)
• Every Moment is Time to Meditate, by Sayadaw Tejaniya
• Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante G
• Being Nobody, Going Nowhere, Ayya Khema
• Anything by Ajahn Brham
• How to Meditate by Tara Brach
• Anything by Thich Nhat Hanh
• Anything by Pema Chodron
• Anything by Jack Kornfield
• Anything by Joseph Goldstein
• Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness (Bhante G)
• What the Buddha Taught
• Dharmaseed.org (audio)
• Mingyur Rinpoche "intro to meditation" video
12. How is the Hong Kong Insight Meditation Society related to this Meetup Group?
This Meetup group is formed by a few English-speaking practitioners who regularly join the retreats of the Hong Kong Insight Meditation Society (www.HKIMS.org), a devoted group of practitioners and teachers who organizes insight meditation events and residential retreats mostly in Cantonese. As more English-speakers have joined in recent years, this group was set up to meet English-speaking meditators' needs.