Back From the Gower Retreat

It has been a while since I posted here, mainly because I spent January and February leading a retreat for Order members at a venue on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole event. We had an excellent team, a great bunch of retreatants, the venue worked very well, and the scenery was stunning.

There were 33 of us altogether.  It was quite something that we all managed to make it, as right up to the last minute there was uncertainty about whether we would be able to go ahead because of covid restrictions. Nearly all our foreign participants had already had to cancel.  So it felt rather miraculous to watch everyone turning up. We had a week of mask-wearing and daily testing, after that we were a ‘bubble’ and could relax around one another.

We had lost one of our kitchen supervisors shortly before the retreat, so Vijayamala stepped in, which left me hogging all the teaching duties. We explored mental calm and insight, using a couple of texts from the Tibetan Mahamudra tradition. They use a lot of questions to encourage you to explore your experience in depth. I really enjoyed our group explorations, and it was great to watch people going deep into their experience and making new, liberating discoveries.

As in 2019, we took over a hotel called Parc le Breos. I feel very grateful to the owners for their trust in us, turning the place over to us and leaving us to look after it. We did our best to return it to them in good shape. I’m also grateful to our retreat team, who did a great job, and to all the participants. Someone commented that the retreat was an experience of our Order at its best, and that was certainly my experience.

We’re currently investigating whether it will be possible to go back to Parc le Breos again. I’ll keep you posted about what happens.

Very best wishes,

Vessantara

 

 

The Bodhicitta Practice – Online Retreat for Order Members

Over the months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bodhicitta Practice has been a powerful cohesive factor for the Triratna Order.  Every Sunday, at 7.30 and 2.30 UK time, Order members from around the world have been meeting online, meditating together to contact the deep power of love and compassion and channel it into the world with all its suffering.  I’ve been moved by this shared practice, and in response I wanted to offer Order members the opportunity to explore the Bodhicitta Practice together more deeply on an online retreat.  So I shall be leading a six-day retreat from Monday 28th September to Saturday 3rd October. 

Over those 6 days, I’ll give presentations on different aspects of the Bodhicitta Practice, do some guided meditations and answer questions. There will also be the chance for breakout discussion groups. The content of the evenings (UK time) will vary, with some guided meditation, mantra recitation and puja.

It’s impossible to schedule things so that Order members all around the world can participate live (without some very sleepless nights!).  We’re in the process of making special arrangements for those of you in Australasia, so you can participate as fully as possible.

I’m very pleased that the idea has been taken up by Adhisthana.  They will be hosting the event, and  we can join their morning meditation session online.  I’ll  be leading the other 3 sessions from their shrineroom, which has a strong atmosphere.  I’m very grateful for all their help in making it possible.

You will find full details  and the opportunity to book for the retreat, which is being offered on a dana basis, on the Adhisthana website here.

I look forward to seeing many of you there!

All good wishes,

Vessantara.

 

 

 

Two-Month Order Retreat in 2021

This year Vijayamala and I held a 3-month Order retreat in a rented hotel on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. The retreat and venue worked very well, so we are now planning to hold another one, this time for 2 months, in Jan. and Feb. 2021. However, we are still looking for the best solution for the catering (see below). We are about to open bookings for the retreat. We already have a list of people interested from previous years, but there may be places available for others. If you want to know more, or wish to express interest in coming, please contact us at gowerretreats@gmail.com.

Cooks/kitchen overseers needed. We are still looking for someone, or a couple of Order members, who would like to take on the catering. We have had some partial offers, but would like to throw it open to as wide an audience of Order members as possible, to see if there are others interested. The role would involve: 1. either overseeing the kitchen or doing some of the cooking yourself if you prefer, and 2. food ordering. There are likely to be 33 or 34 people to feed. We have menus and suppliers in place from the last retreat, but you can also come with your own ideas. We have had some offers of help, so you would be able to have regular days off over the 2 months.  If necessary, we can give you £2000 in support for performing this role over the 2 months. If you’re interested, or know of someone else who we could ask, please contact us.

Vessantara.