News from Taraloka
I’ve attached our 2017 programme so you can have a look before bookings open on Thursday 1st September (single room bookings don’t open until the beginning of October).
Here's a sample of some of our NEW retreats for 2017...
For Triratna Regulars:
*Somatic Movement and Meditation 31 March-2 April
*Drawn from the Heart 28 July-4 August
*Chanting and Meditation: Echoes from Reality 18-22 September
*The Heart Sutra: Thunderclaps of Reality 10-17 February
*Ethics: Resonating with Reality 23-30 June
*Mandala of the Heart 4-11 August
*The Path as Symbol: The System of Practice as Personal Journey 22-29 September
*Stillness, Simplicity and Depth 1-10 November
For Order Members:
*Awareness to Insight 5-14 July
*Sadhana and Insight 10-17 November
*Seeing with Proper Wisdom: The Six Element Practice 19-28 January 2018
Please feel free to send in your postal bookings and they will be kept until bookings open, or you can book via the website from the 1st September.
Hoping to see you at Taraloka sometime soon,
We're really pleased with the fantastic response to our fundraising campaign for a new Tara Cabin. We've raised £16,300 so far (with more donations still coming in...) and this has enabled us to start building the new cabin.
Work is now taking place during our gaps between retreats with our builders Craig and Max starting with the foundations at the beginning of June. Last week we saw the skeletal structure of the walls and roof emerge. It's great to look across the car park and see this new sacred space emerging.
On a recent community night we painted Tara’s mantra around the edge of the structure, and her seed syllables on the floor. It was a beautiful, sunny evening, and a joy to be dedicating this space to Tara.
Help Tara reach her new home!
THANK YOU to everyone who’s donated so far to our new Tara Cabin. We’ve raised an amazing £10,000 with donations from nearly 200 individual donors with individual gifts ranging from £10 to thousands of pounds. This is a great step towards realising our vision of a beautiful new sacred space at Taraloka.
Your donations mean that Tara can start moving from her temporary home in the community shrine room towards her new home out in the landscape – but halfway leaves her in the Taraloka car park and the community looking a little dejected!
Can you help Tara move all the way to her new home?
You can give online, or you can phone us in the office 01948 710 646 or post a donation to: Taraloka, Bettisfield, Whitchurch, Shropshire SY13 2LD.
I’ve attached our 2016 programme so you can have a look before bookings open on Tuesday 8th September (single room bookings don’t open until the beginning of October).
It’s a great programme with three long retreats for women who have asked for Ordination, including a new intensive meditation retreat ‘Total Immersion: A Sacred Silence’. We also have six retreats for mitras – a great range of study and meditation retreats, including a new retreat on the ‘Vimalakirti Nirdesa’ led by Saddhanandi.
For Triratna regulars there are some of the same popular retreats we’ve been running for the last few years – as well as a few new retreats: ‘The Five Prajnas’ , ‘Living with Wisdom: Focusing and the Spiritual Path’ and ‘Once There Was and Once There Was Not’.
Please feel free to send in your postal bookings and I will keep them until bookings open, or you can book via the website from the 8th September.
Hoping to see you at Taraloka sometime soon,
Twice a year we have gardening days at Taraloka for those with some knowledge and experience of gardening. We couldn't manage the gardens here without these volunteer days to help out. The next gardening days of 2015 are 28th September to 2nd October and below is a report on our spring gardening days from last year to give you a taste of what these days are like....
Novice gardeners Claire Horrocks and Janet Hill, Mitras from Manchester Sangha, shared the wonderful opportunity of assisting Suchitta and a rather more experienced group of practitioners during the Gardening Work week at Taraloka recently.
Filled with more enthusiasm than skill, the pair of them set about uncovering a stone circle, blitzing weeds, smoking out the Community and avoiding falling in the new pond.
Claire looks admiringly (in very fetching waders) at those who know what they are doing!
Taraloka Retreats in February
Are you looking for more clarity and love in your life? February is a great month to come on retreat as the short winter days support us to reflect on our lives and find deeper meaning.
Whether you’re new to Taraloka or a regular we have retreats for all levels
Awakening Loving Kindness: Metta (Open to all)
8-13 February Maitrimala and Dayapurna
Metta, loving kindness towards ourselves and others, lies at the heart of Buddhist practice. We'll explore how the Metta Bhavana meditation practice can transform our emotional lives into ones more consistently based on love, friendship and interconnectedness. The five days will also include body scan relaxations, talks, workshops, discussions, space for reflection and periods of silence.
Experience and the Thinking Mind (Triratna Regulars)
13-20 February Saddhanandi
"Whatever you frequently think and ponder upon, that will become the inclination of your mind" (The Buddha). Our mind is habituated towards a fragmented, restless, and compulsive state. Using meditation, we will explore how to move from our self-clinging papañca (mental proliferation) to the openness and creativity of vitakkavicāra (directed thought).
Reflection: A Path to Wisdom (For Mitras)
20 February – 1 March Suchitta, Punyamala + Samantabhadri
Is reflection an essential part of your practice? An opportunity to live with reflection in a meditative retreat context, discovering and holding deeper Dharmic truths (the Four Reminders) in both contemplation and the flow of living. Refining our consciousness in this pivotal space, we discover what we believe to be true and find ways to express our deep values in daily life.
Taraloka runs regular work retreats. In this blog Liz Kiff tells us about the work retreat that was held in January....
Amoghasiddhi – Fearlessness
Coppicing in the woodland, clearing the bog, new lights and fantastic food – the work retreat
It is always exciting on the first night of a work retreat, when Ginny introduces the theme for the week, Amoghasiddhi, the green Buddha of the northern realms, associated with unobstructed success and fearlessness. When I first started coming on these retreats, two years ago, I was definitely more interested and at home with the work agenda, than the Dharma. But that has subtly changed, in that while still feeling more at home with the work; I’m increasingly interested and drawn by the teachings. It felt that we were entering Amoghasiddhi’s green realm as we headed off on the first evening, in to the torch-lit dark of Taraloka’s wet grounds. Fearlessness developed a cloak around us, as we squelched our way along, the night seemingly soft and welcoming as we visited each of the work sites. I began to feel as at home in this out of doors area of Taraloka, as within the solid walls. We were weaving a web of connection between ourselves, individuals arriving from very different lives, and Taraloka, our home for the week, our spiritual home.
Here I am, back at Taraloka after a two-week absence: visiting family, attending a two-day meeting on mindfulness at Adhisthana, and attending a meditation retreat at Rivendell. All these events were enjoyable and productive, but throughout I was very conscious of the fact that whilst I was away Ratnasuri was leaving Taraloka and beginning a new life in Wrexham – living alone for almost the first time in her 91 years.
Ratnasuri first moved to Taraloka in 1985 as one of the founder members – along with Sanghadevi, and two mitras that became Karunasri and Kulanandi. So she has lived at Taraloka for the last 29 years. You might know her as a poet (a book of her poetry was published in celebration of her ninetieth birthday last year); or as an artist of wood-cuts (particularly of Tara and Vajrayogini); or as a photographer that gave slide-shows in silence on retreat (beautiful heart-opening images); or as the first women’s Public Preceptor (travelling to India to conduct the first Ordinations of women by women); or as a dynamic to-the-point friend and Preceptor; or as an adventurous, creative spirit that continued to expand; or as an old woman, struggling with her increasing blindness and the physical complications of old-age.
For you early birds here's a link below to our 2014 programme:
Bookings will open for 2014 on the 1st October, when we're also hoping that our new website will go live. On the new site it will be possible to make bookings and payments for retreats.
Programmes will also be coming through the post in the next couple of weeks.
I've just taken over from Jo on bookings, so I look forward to being in contact with you by phone and e-mail as well as meeting you when you come to Taraloka.