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On Two Wings | Holding Love and Concern for the Earth

On Tue, 20 April, 2021 - 03:13
viriyalila's picture

Holding both great love and great concern is a path that can lead us to wisdom and to joy. We can strengthen these two wings with awareness in nature. Nature is always with us, just as the Buddha and the possibility of awakening are always with us.  

This spring retreat, coinciding with Earth Day, continues our series on Dharmic responses to environmental crises. We will cultivate our depth of heart to experience upekkha, or the Brahmavihara of equanimity. We will also practice two joys: the joy of our experience in connection to nature and the joy of liberation that comes with honest awareness of reality. 

Our online retreat will include Brahmavihara meditations tailored to our experience of nature; a panel and group conversation on the joy of facing nature, even in its distress; a break for getting outdoors guided through recordings to take with you; and resources on ways to practice and learn and explore the nature/Dharma connection further.

Schedule: (all times ET)

Friday April 23, 7-8:30pm:  Intro to the theme and to each other, and ritual practice

Saturday April 24, 10am-3pm (including a long break for personal practice)

Sunday April 25, 10am-3pm (including a long break for personal practice)

Our retreat is inspired by the poem, Birdwings, by Rumi (translated version by Coleman Barks)

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror

up to where you’re bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,

here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.

If it were always a fist or always stretched open,

you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence

is in every small contracting and expanding,

the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated

as birdwings.

The retreat team: 

Gunopeta has been for 40 years a homesteader, poet, and conservationist in Downeast Maine, where he continues to explore connections between environmental awareness and Buddhist practice.

Amala, co-chair of Aryaloka, has been delving into the ecological history of New England, American views about Nature, and training in permaculture and the Dharma path of joy in the face of it all. 

Viriyalila is an artist who enthusiastically applies creativity in her Dharma pursuits. She is passionate about learning how to be a better human in an ever-changing world.

Sravaniya is a musician, dharma-farer and teacher with a wide spectrum of interests. Sravaniya’s energies lie in the simple pursuit of trying to create a more beautiful and sustainable world for all living beings. 

Shraddhavani is a lifelong student of change (i.e., a historian) and a relative newcomer to the Dharma, tries to live and exemplify the wisdom in the adage “better late than never.”

Aryaloka continues to run all events online and by donation – your generosity is making it possible for Aryaloka to stay afloat while we wait for regular programming to resume. Please give what you can, though if you can’t afford to make a donation, do let us know and we’ll sign you up for free. If you’d prefer not to book online you may email info [at] to make other arrangements. You’ll receive a Zoom link a few days before the retreat.

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