Monday, July 06, 2009


If you have not been on retreat I highly recommend it. My first week long retreat is the deep experience that made me want to be a mitra and ask for ordination into the FWBO. (btw here's a blog entry about becoming a mitra.)

So the retreat was lovely. Here is a brief post about the kalyana mitra ceremonies that were performed.

Here's a video of Sangharakshita promoting Jai Bhim!.
He's a bit cheeky. Sangharakshita clearly enjoys reading the book.

So Aryaloka is a lovely place, I always enjoy everything: food, green spaces, friendship, meditation, Dharma. It takes me 4.5 hours to drive there alone from Queens NYC. I listened to some lovely Dharma talk on Free Buddhist Audio on the way up and down. Going up I listened to What Is Enlightenment by Jinapriya. When he talked about a friend's feeling of concentration as he flew threw the air, being in the moment, I thought of my own recent skydiving adventure. (Photos on facebook.) Anyway, it's a lovely talk that I highly recommend. I first listened to it on a solitary retreat at Aryaloka and well, what a lovely thing to listen to.

One thing I did on this retreat was to process past retreat, especially my last solitary retreat. Since then I haven't been able to wake up and meditate when I don't have enough sleep. Hitherto I'd forced myself to. I think I tuned into myself in such a way that I was no longer going to not honor my experience of being tired. I'd heard the advice to push myself, but I wasn't quite honoring my experience. At times I see that as a step back, not meditating every day, but reflecting on it in the company of spiritual friends, I see it's a good thing.

I think I also invalidate myself by expecting more from my circumstances than are really possible. I had that mirrored back to me a few time. It's especially hard, as I noted when I was reporting out, that I am susceptible to Mahayana hyperbole. The first two days were on the first three chapters of Santideva's Bodhicaryavatara

The final day was, as noted above, on spiritual friendship. We can gossip, in a positive way about people we know. Among other things about this news.

So it was cool to be with just men. It's interesting to see how I feel as in comparison to being on a mixed retreat.

They have beautiful postings at Aryaloka and you can see this one which includes a friend's shrine on it.

And of course it's cool to dip into the library and read the latest periodicals. I read this article, about Harold Ramis.

So well done everyone, thank you for your hard work: Danakamala for his cooking, Steve Sloan for his organizational work, Steve Cardwell for his organizational support and the running of the book store. Thank you to Nagabodhi for coming across the pond. Thank you to Bodhi for dropping in to give a short talk. Thank you to Narrotama for his leadership and wonderful presence. Thank you to everyone who made the retreat so special.

I listened to a favorite talk of mine on the ride home. Manjuka talks about aping being a good Buddhist instead of being authentic. Buddhism isn't any specific content in the mind, it's an approach to that content. I'm not sure if emotions are givens that are exempt from asking of they are skillful or not. I think you can frame things in an unskillful way, and that that will lead to feelings, and you can change that dynamic, but I get his point that we really need to figure out what is going on before we work towards fixing it, and be careful not to pretend to be good while denying what is really going on. A lovely talk that I put at the top of my list of talks to listen to.

May you be happy, may you be well.

No comments: