Buddha’s Heart Retreat, Part 2 – Equanimity and Empathetic Joy, CMRC 2023

Date: October 20–26, 2023


Cloud Mountain Retreat Center in Castle Rock, Washington, USA


INVESTMENT: $420/$510/$600 plus teacher dana

DURATION: 6 NIGHTS, Friday to Thursday

The Divine Abodes, or brahmavihāras, are ancient Buddhist heart meditations and related practices that reveal and awaken our deepest nature’s heart qualities.

During this retreat, we will be learning these meditations and practices and exploring common resistances to Equanimity (Upekkha) and Empathetic Joy (Mudita).

Entering into the Buddha’s heart, our deepest heart, through Equanimity allows a foundation to be established of connection and acceptance for whatever is in our perception or experience. This foundation of acceptance is broadened through cultivation of Empathetic Joy, by relaxing the perceived boundaries of separation and softening any sense of isolation. Turning next to Compassion allows us to draw upon the deep acceptance of Equanimity and the undivided connection of Empathetic Joy to find within us an ability to extend an inclusive holding for our suffering and the suffering of others. Finally, we turn to expressing Loving-Kindness which is an expression of boundless love for ourselves and all beings. Loving-Kindness can then be expressed from the deep acceptance of Equanimity, the connectedness of Empathetic Joy and the deep holding of Compassion.

We will focus in this retreat on Equanimity and Empathetic Joy. Beginning with Equanimity supports a deep acceptance of reality just as it is coupled with a relaxing sense of soothing ease. Turning next to Empathetic Joy allows us to expand our undivided connection with others as we soften any sense of separation through unrestricted joy for another’s happiness.

Equanimity is a heart feeling-tone of perfect balance. It is a knowing, a trust, that everything we witness is unfolding perfectly within the wisdom of the universe. Empathetic Joy is the unrestrained, unqualified joy for another’s happiness and success.

This retreat will be based upon Stephen Snyder’s new book Buddha’s Heart, which was published in November 2020 and is available on Amazon. Participants are asked to obtain and read the relevant chapters of the book prior to the retreat.

The format of the retreat will include:

  • talks on True Nature’s heart qualities
  • instruction on the meditations and practices related to Equanimity and Empathetic Joy
  • group discussion on the common resistances to these heart experiences
  • and one-on-one interviews with Stephen.