Thank You!

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone for all your support and friendship. It really is appreciated. I have managed to pay of the retreat before the retreat starts, with 1 day to spare!

We leave (left) Samye Ling on the Monday 25th of October to go to Arran. The doors are locked on the Friday 29th of October 2010.

It is an exciting time. The teachings have gone very well. We are beyong lucky having Drupon Rinpoche teaching us and leading us for our 4 years. If you haven't received teachings from him yet I very much recommend that you attend at least one of his courses over the next 4 years. Of course, hopefully he will be with us at Samye Ling for a lot longer.

Although I won't always be able to keep in touch, if anyone is wanting to let me know if big things are happening in their life (Birth, Marriages, Deaths etc...) I would be happy to hear from you. Altough please be careful not to pass on gossip or other negative talk. If loved ones are sick or have died please get in touch so that we can say prayers for them in the retreat. If you would like to send in offerings of food for myself or for the TSOK pujas please do. Please bear in mind that I don't eat dairy or eggs but if it is for the TSOK pujas anything is welcomed for the rest of the group.

Regarding my fundrasing thank you for everyone who has contributed. You have all helped me get to this retreat.

I hope to see you all in 4 years.


The Purpose Of The Retreat

The Purpose Of The Retreat

In Tibetan Buddhism, and in particular in the Kagyu school, there is a strong tradition of doing the long retreat traditionally lasting three years and three months. At Samye Ling the retreats have been extended to four years in length to give time to incorporate extra practices.

The main focus of the retreat is meditation. Within the Tibetan tradition there are a vast variety of meditational techniques incorporating visualizations, chanting, ritual instruments and physical practices.

The retreat programme is quite intensive, covering the Ngondro, the main Kagyu Guru Yogas and Yidam practices, the Six Yogas of Naropa and Chod, amongst others.

Although some time is given to group practice with the other retreatants, the vast majority of the retreat is undertaken by each retreatant in solitude in a small private room.

Why I am going to the Retreat

Why I am going to the Retreat

It is difficult to explain to anyone why I want to go away for 4 years but it is even harder to explain to someone who isn’t part of this tradition. Rather than having an explanation for Buddhists and another for non-Buddhists, this is an attempt at having an honest explanation for both. The Kagyu Buddhist tradition is so important to me. In fact it is now inseparable from me. I couldn’t give it up even in the unlikely event that I would want to.

The difference between normal actions and virtuous Buddhist actions is motivation. Anyone can do positive or loving things, but in our tradition we dedicate our completed actions to the benefit of all beings. For the activities we hope to perform, we pray for obstacles to be removed and for the positive circumstances to occur so that we can accomplish our goal for the benefit of all sentient beings. This may seem a little blaze or wishy-washy but having pure motivation not only gives more strength to what you are doing but changes you positively in your body, speech and mind. My motivation for doing the 4 Year Retreat is for the benefit of all sentient beings but that isn’t a reason to do the retreat rather than doing many other positive things.

I never do anything for only one reason. One of the foundations of Buddhist thought is that of Karma; Cause and Effect. I prefer thinking of it as ‘effect and its causes’. Very few things, if any, have a single cause but instead, many, many contributing factors. My whole life, all the experiences, events, sad times, happy times, failures and successes have all brought me to this point. The retreat is the perfect way for me to move forward based on all I’ve been through and how I have grown. Following in the footsteps of so many Kagyu and other Buddhist Masters and practitioners is something that fills me with joy, inspiration and pride.

Another foundation of Buddhist thought is the role of suffering. The 1st Noble Truth taught by the Buddha is that there is suffering in this world. This may seem rather obvious but the Buddha wasn’t just talking about war, famine or illness. The Buddha taught that due to ignorance of the true nature of reality, we suffer in countless ways and we have been doing this for countless lifetimes. By being introduced to the Buddha’s teachings and later being introduced to the nature of reality we begin to see all the hidden ways our ignorance makes us suffer. It can be quite a shock, especially when we realise to what extent our suffering is dependant on our own actions. By understanding your actions and how we affect those around us, by allowing love and compassion to grow within you and by developing your understanding of the nature of reality, ignorance and the corresponding sufferings disperse like smoke rushing out a newly opened window.

I have suffered a lot in my life. Maybe not as much as other people, but on the more subtle levels I haven’t exactly had a pleasant time. Having experienced the level of mental and physical anguish that I have gone through, I know that I would like to be free from suffering. I would say that the past 12 months have been the happiest of my life. I am happy but I still suffer. I am probably happier and freer than most others but I still suffer.

The joy I have within me and the lessening of my suffering, have come from the practices and teachings I have studied. However I have only scratched at the surface. By doing the 4 Year Retreat I hope that I can really battle with my body, speech and mind to help me reach my potential in this life. By not attempting the 4 Year Retreat I would be failing myself and everyone who has ever been part of my life.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Meditation Box

This is my current meditation box, similar to the meditation boxes used during the retreat. Within the meditation box we will spend the bulk of our day both doing our practice and sleeping.

No comments:

Post a Comment