Seeing with Proper Wisdom: The Six Element Practice
When I first experienced Padmasuri leading the Six Element Practice at Akashavana in 2014, I was strongly affected and felt that I was experiencing it in a fresh, more imaginative and visionary way. I formed a deep wish: to invite Padmasuri to lead the practice on a dedicated retreat for dharmacharinis at Taraloka. I could see that this could enrich the practice of preceptors, of those well established in the Order and those wishing to recapture some of the magical experience of Akashavana. I’m delighted that we have finally found a suitable date very early in 2018 and wish to publicise it well in advance.
In the Dhatuvibhanga Sutta, the Buddha speaks of each element ‘when one sees it thus as it actually is with proper wisdom … ’ (MN 140) That’s what we’ll be encouraging ourselves to do on this retreat: to see all six elements not only without ownership of any intrinsic, fixed selfhood but also getting glimpses that, if we were to live our lives in accordance with this truth, we could break out of a closed circle of self-interest and allow compassion to flower. I personally find this instruction - which might lead to supreme love, compassion and interconnectedness - profoundly attractive.
In this connection, an aphorism of Bhante’s in ‘Peace is a Fire’ struck me recently: ‘The individual self is a centre from which all lines of discrimination radiate in all directions. It is the innermost citadel of separateness. Only when this centre expands to infinity, only when the walls of this citadel are razed to the ground, is the consummation of spiritual life achieved.’
Having led many of the long ordination courses at Akashavana over the last 10 years and spent a number of weeks introducing and leading this meditation practice to those about to be ordained, my own experience of the Six Element Practice has thus been invigorated and my understanding deepened. Especially coming into greater focus and fascination has been the truth that ‘out of emptiness arises compassion’ or, in the words of Nargajuna, ‘voidness is the womb of compassion.’
I’m delighted to be asked to lead an Order retreat at Taraloka to explore the practice more deeply with Order members 'old and new' and to engage with those truths of spiritual death and spiritual re-birth. The retreat will be predominately one of meditation and reflection but complemented by mindful movement relating to the elements( led by Prasadavati), with poetry and ritual, and also time for sadhana. We'll be outside in the elements as well as on the cushion.
After the initial days of settling in, the retreat will fall into complete silence with opportunities for meditation reviews conducted by team members. We request that all mobile phones and similar devices are switched off for the whole of the retreat to allow ourselves, more or less in Rumi’s words, to 'spiral into the void of silence and let its hundred voices thunder messages we long to hear.’
Led by Padmasuri with Prasadavati, Samantabhadri and Sinhacandra
Level: For Order Members
Cost: £90 booking fee plus suggested donations (taken at the end of the retreat) £250 (unwaged/in receipt of benefits) or £380 (waged)
For more information on cost and the 'dana' system click here: http://www.taraloka.org.uk/calendar-bookings/cost
|Retreat date||Friday, 19th January 2018 17:00|
|Retreat End Date||Sunday, 28th January 2018 11:00|
|Spaces available||Spaces Available|
|Booking closes on||Wednesday, 17th January 2018|
|Booking fee (per person)||£90.00|
|Retreat Leader||Padmasuri with Prasadavati, Samantabhadri and Sinhacandra|
|Location||Taraloka Retreat Centre|