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In this issue... 
* November Samatha/Concentration Retreat  
*Nikki Mirghafori on Samatha Practice 
*10th Anniversary Fundraising 
* Preview of 2015 Retreats 
 * Volunteer Profile: Chris Clifford
July 11-25, 2014

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As The Mountain Hermitage celebrates our 10th year ...
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We are also deeply grateful to those who offer their dana to The Mountain Hermitage year after year through vital volunteer work that enables us to continue our retreats. In celebration of their spirit of generosity, we feature below our first volunteer profile... of Chris Clifford.
For information on all these retreats, you can contact us at....
(575) 758-0633 
Taos Mountain Evening
Limited scholarship
support available for
all of our retreats.
Application Necessary.

Extensive information
on the website:
May our practice serve towards the welfare,
the happiness & the awakening of all beings.
"... in the footprint of the Buddha..."
with Marcia Rose & Nikki Mirghafori

 November 1-18, 2014

San Geronimo Lodge
in Taos

  This two and a half week Samatha/ Concentration retreat for experienced Dhamma students will offer guidance for the development and nurturing of deep concentration leading towardsJhana in the lineage of  Burmese meditation master Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw.
     The retreat will be held in Noble Silence, and will consist of alternate periods of sitting and walking, instructions, Dhamma talks and individual practice interviews.  The small group size at Mountain Hermitage retreats (a maximum of 15 students for this one) helps create a more intimate experience and easier access to teachers.
Marcia Rose is the founding and
guiding teacher of  The Marcia laughing small Mountain Hermitage. She has been studying and practicing Buddhist teachings and meditation with Asian and Western teachers since 1970, primarily in theTheravada-Vipassana  tradition. Her own teaching reflects a clear influence from the Burmese Mahasi Vipassana and Pa-Auk Forest Monastery lineages with authorization from Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw to teach Samatha and Jhanas in his lineage. She has also studied and practiced in the Dzogchen Tibetan Buddhist tradition with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche, and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. Marcia was resident teacher for staff at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, MA from 1991-1995. She has been one of the teachers for the annual three-month retreat at IMS, and currently is an occasional visiting teacher at IMS and a regular visiting at The Forest Refuge in Barre, MA.  Marcia teaches Vipassana, Concentration, Brahma Vihara, and Creative Process retreats in various U.S. and international venues, and is dedicated to offering these ancient and timeless teachings in ways that make them accessible and authentic for contemporary culture.

Nikki Mirghafori was introduced to contemplative practices and yoga in the early 1980's.  Since 2003, she has studied and practiced mainly in the Theravada tradition with renowned Western and Asian teachers. Her primary teacher, Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw, authorized her to teach jhanas and vipassana in his lineage in 2008. She was also invited to join Jack Kornfield's teacher training program at Spirit Rock/Insight Meditation center. She has taught mindfulness courses and is a certified mindfulness facilitator through UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, and is also currently completing The Stanford University Center for Compassion & Altruism Research & Education compassion cultivation teacher training program. Additionally, Nikki has a Ph.D. in computer science from University of California at Berkeley and has had an active career as a research scientist in academia and industry, leading research teams, teaching, mentoring graduate students & postdocs, and advising high tech companies.
San Geronimo Lodge is situated among fruit trees along the banks of the Acequia Madre, and provides the privacy, quiet, and sense of harmony that is most conducive to intensive practice. There is a beautiful meditation hall and indoor and outdoor walking areas. The Mountain Hermitage will have exclusive use of San Geronimo Lodge during the two and a half week period of the Samatha/Concentration Retreat.  All yogis San G Porch Chairs will have their own single room and bathroom.  Each room is spacious enough to allow for both sitting & walking meditation for those who wish to practice in a more secluded setting.

Sliding Scale Fee for 18 days:
(low) $1,625 (actual cost) $1,775 (benefactor) $1,925
Additional Scholarship support available - application required
Some thoughts from Nikki on Samatha practice...
    The practice of samadhi is part of the threefold central Buddhist path to liberation, namely sila (ethical cultivation), samadhi (cultivation of the mind), and panna (cultivation of wisdom).  In this context, samadhi refers to more than just the establishment of one pointed concentration, but also includes the cultivation of other meditative practices through mindfulness and loving-kindness.  The practice of samatha, nevertheless, lays the foundation in establishing the stability in the mind for cultivation of these essential mental qualities.
    Samatha is often translated from Pali as the English word concentration.  The word concentration, unfortunately, often has the connotation of tense effort and conjures up the image of a furrowed brow, with a practitioner needing Herculian effort to stop distractions in their tracks and working hard to pull a distracted mind to one pointed concentration.  A more apt translation, often used by many Buddhist teachers, is stablizing or calming the mind.  Here, the idea is not so much to attempt to tame the lion of the unruly mind with force or threat of a whip, but giving gentle and affectionate, yet continuous, reminders to a beloved puppy.
    The mind training and establishing of samadhi is not achieved by the force of will, but by putting the right conditions into place for the mind to stabilize in a state of ease and calm by itself.  The same way that we cannot will ourselves to fall asleep (have you tried? and how did it work?!), we cannot will ourselves to a state of samadhi.  We can only put the right conditions in place, with right attention, ease, kindness to ourselves, gentle yet persistent effort (atapi), and the mind will naturally settle into a state of calm, just as a child who is fed and rocked gently will fall asleep in her mothers arms.
Preview of 2015 Hermitage Retreats....
   ~ March 29-April 26, 2015  ONE-MONTH SPRING HERMITAGE RETREAT with Marcia Rose & Annie Nugent
   ~ June 27-July 3, 2015  FINDING FREEDOM THROUGH INSIGHT MEDITATION  with Brian Lesage
    ~ August 16-25, 2015  PEOPLE OF COLOR RETREAT with Gina Sharpe & Larry Yang
    ~ November 13-20, 2015  ONE-WEEK STUDY RETREAT with Ven. Dhammadinna & Tenzin Jesse
Volunteer Profile... Chris Clifford
    A mainstay of The Mountain Hermitage since it started ten years ago, Chris Clifford has offered wisdom, guidance and management expertise in her roles as chief retreat manager and treasurer. "I knew Marcia as a teacher from IMS and the Forest Refuge. I had recently retired Chris at San G when I saw a flyer from the Hermitage looking for a retreat manager," she says. "I wanted so much to see New Mexico and serve the Dharma at the same time, so I applied and the rest has unfolded."
    In the beginning, there was only the annual April month-long retreat... but as the Hermitage has expanded to now offer four retreats a year, Chris manages just the longer programs and shares responsibility for the shorter retreats with other local managers. Chris, who makes her home in northern California, has been practicing Vipassana since 1996. She has also been very involved with the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City where she has helped set up and manage the kitchen for their new meditation center.
    The Mountain Hermitage has become a warm and supportive Dharma family for Chris and she says, "it's always a joy to reunite with Marcia, Cathy and Surya -- and now Kathy, too -- for another retreat and to experience again how much these opportunities to practice mean to the yogis who join us."  All of us who are part of the Hermitage family in turn are deeply grateful to Chris for her warm Dharma friendship and all her years of dedicated service.