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Day five - the last full day - of our Bristol Rains Retreat 2019 saw us beginning with a led meditation in which we were watching our minds, including noticing how awareness arises with the object of awareness. Vajradevi followed this with a full exploration of the poison of moha (delusion), which she described as the most illusive of the three poisons. We looked a bit more at how we can use our sense faculties to support the development of our spiritual faculties and she gave us many tips for spotting moha - including a ‘job description’ for it (!) which she’d come up with after 3 months intimate association with this poison on retreat. She clearly unpacked the relationship between moha and wisdom, comparing and contrasting their characteristics. The morning ended with a led standing meditation (another new one for many of us).
Our afternoon session was devoted to exploring volition or intention - and whether it’s possible for us really to see the ‘self’ which we so often imagine is behind our ‘decisions’ to act. We concluded with a led meditation recognising awareness and intention, and a short just sitting.
In the evening we practised the ‘Ryokan’ or ‘Hermit’ puja, compiled by Dharmavasita from poems by the 18th Century Japanese hermit-monk Ryokan. There was no verbal ‘response’ to the ‘call’ of each poem, we just sat for a few minutes after each section. My experience of this was of a response on a non-verbal level, as if something in me continued to resonate with the poem after hearing it. This reminded me of one of Basho’s famous haiku - ‘the temple bell stops ringing/but the sound keeps coming/out of the flowers’.
Listen to the audio recordings from day 5 on Soundcloud: