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with Ken Lunn and David Midgley

We live in an interdependent world and rely on each other and ourselves for our health and well-being. Being kind and compassionate to ourselves and others is essential. In this way we can significantly improve our general wellbeing, our relationships with others, and our overall happiness. Compassion is not about being nice, it is about relieving personal suffering for ourselves and others.

Compassion is at the heart of all the major religions, and there is a significant development of secular compassion training such as the Compassion Cultivation Training programme at Stanford University, Mindful Self Compassion (MSC), and Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living to name three important developments. Compassion is also core to contemporary Mindfulness training.

So what is compassion? At its core, it is about recognising suffering and having a wish to take action to alleviate it. Sympathy means we recognise suffering in others, empathy means we feel that suffering with others, compassion means seeking ways of alleviating the suffering of others and ourselves.

Compassion sounds simple, but modern society can make it difficult to be compassionate. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the suffering in the world and our highly competitive society encourages us to judge ourselves and others harshly.

So how do we cultivate and maintain our compassion? 

First, we need to start with ourselves and examine our own intentions and attitudes. We all have an inner-critic who consistently judges what we do. We all set ourselves high, and sometimes unachievable standards. And we all tend to drive ourselves hard, sometimes to exhaustion.

Drawing on contemporary compassion training and Buddhist traditions, this retreat will enable you to explore and deepen your personal understanding of compassion, and how to cultivate and maintain it in a way that is healthy for oneself and others. It will involve a mixture of meditation, discussion and teaching to help participants gain a deeper appreciation of how to manage their inner critic, to be more realistic in their personal expectations, to judge themselves less harshly, to recognise their common humanity, and to find ways to rest and recuperate from the daily rigours of life.

The retreat requires no prior knowledge or experience and welcomes those from all walks of life.

The retreat starts with a shared vegetarian dinner on Friday evening at 7pm, followed by the first session at 8.30pm and finishes with lunch on Sunday.

Suggested donation:

£160 pp – twin and triple dormitory 

The suggested donation includes all meals Friday evening to Sunday lunch-time, teachings and meditation sessions.

For booking a place on the retreat click here.

Lineham Farm is a converted farmhouse in a quiet location just outside Leeds,  a children’s centre during the week and reconfigured as a wedding/retreat venue at weekends. There will be opportunities to relax and enjoy the quiet setting over the weekend. Venue Address: Lineham Farm, Swan Lane, Eccup, Leeds LS16 8AZ

For all enquiries about this retreat email smile@jamyangleeds.co.uk.

About the retreat leaders:

David Midgley studied philosophy at Manchester, Oxford and York from 1971 to 1985.  He met with Tibetan Buddhism in 1980, received his initiation from Lama Zopa Rinpoche a year later and began teaching Buddhism in 1995, under the guidance of Geshe Tashi Tsering.  In 1996 he founded Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds, and has served as Director, Assistant Director and Trustee of the Centre over a period of more than 20 years, in addition to regular teaching commitments.  He now teaches the Foundation of Buddhist Thought programme at Jamyang Leeds, gives regular teachings to the Jamyang York group, and is in process of training to teach the Compassion Cultivation Training programme designed by Thubten Jinpa, academic, author and principal English translator to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Ken Lunn is a mindfulness teacher on the UK Listing of Mindfulness Teachers, has taught mindfulness and meditation at Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds, and runs Mindfulness Wakefield. He is trained in the delivery of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living. He is a trustee of JBCL and The Mindfulness Network