Jan 17th, 2010
After the New Year retreat finished, the decorators got to work!! Our support team were joined by Akasacitta, Saddhahadaya and Gill and now our dining room and lounge are looking great. We’ll get some photos of them up here on the blog soon. This weekend there is an Order weekend in progress – twenty Dharmacarinis from the north of England are here. Next weekend there is an introductory weekend. And the weekend after that Lindsay and Vajratara are running a weekend for young women.
In February … Here is a selection of what’s happening. Have a look at our 2010 program section for more details.
Work as Practice, 7-12th … In his book “Awake at Work” Michael Carroll suggests that:
“If we take a moment to slow down and open up to our work circumstances, we will discover that work is continually inviting us
- to help, not hide;
- to listen openly, not to close up;
- to connect, not detach;
- to perfect our skilfulness, not put it in question.
But in our impatience to succeed and become better, faster and more profitable, we overlook the fact that work with all its pressures and problems, is encouraging us to be engaged, resourceful, and alive – right here, right now: to be simply awake at work”.
Is this your experience of work? Taravandana thinks it could be and it’s what this short retreat is all about. If she’s right – and she has a lot of experience helping people develop their work skills – then it could be five days that change your life radically.
Generating Bodhi Resolve, 12-21st This is the first of this year’s four meditation retreats for women who are pursuing ordination into the WBO. The focus of this one is Vasubandhu’s Four Factors – practices which he recommends as leading to the arising of the wish to gain Enlightenment for the sake of all beings. The four are:
- contemplation of the Buddha
- contemplation of the faults of conditoned existence
- seeking the most supreme of all fruits of the path
- kindness for beings
If we can only connect with these in our own life and work; reflect on them and give ourselves the opportunity to absorb the benefits of Vasubandhu’s wisdom – then something of great value and beauty will come into our experience. That’s Vasubandhu’s promise. And the Buddha’s. We’ll be meditating on all this using Vasubandhu’s original text to help us. And using Sangharakshita’s thoughts on the subject from his book “The Meaning of the Conversion in Buddhism”
Awakening the Heart : Loving-kindness, 22-26th . The poet Shelley wrote :
“…The great secret of morals is love; or a going out of our own nature, and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person, not our own…”
In the Metta Bhavana – a fundamental Buddhist meditation practice – this is exactly what we do : cultivate the positive and counteract the negative. We consciously generate thoughts that are likely to give rise to positive emotions. Over time, and with practice, this has a nurturing effect on our faculty of love. It encourages the development of patience, kindness, and understanding, and in this way we become strengthened and more loving.
If you’ve already done an introductory weekend with us then this is an ideal next retreat for you. Come and refresh your meditation practice and take it a bit deeper. If you’ve not meditated before, we’ll give you a thorough introduction to this meditation practice.