Great Faith, Great Wisdom Retreat, 2017 - day 2On Mon, 11 September, 2017 - 08:27
My day started with double meditation by our very golden shrine. I appreciated the time to just sit with some of the phrases which resonated with me from yesterday’s readings of the shorter Sukhavativuyha sutra. Sitting with “heartfelt desire”, exploring the associated sensations, and ‘objects’ of desire; and with a sense of “embraced by all the Buddhas”; and the connection between the two. It felt rich and fruitful.
Ratnaguna gave a fascinating talk, showing us resonances between the Sukhavativuyha sutras and two late Pali suttas - the Mahaparinibbana sutta and Mahasuddassana sutta, suggesting the Sukhavativuyha sutras may have arisen from the distress of the Buddha’s followers after his Parinirvana. We also explored meanings of ‘amita’ - as ‘measureless’ it can imply boundless, but also ungraspable. Like the Dharma, like life, each of us is “profound, subtle, hard to understand.”
By popular request, we again entered Sukhavati through a beautiful guided visualisation, listening for what Dharma the birds might be singing for us. For me, it was again the phrase “heartfelt desire”.
I’m particularly enjoying the full participation of many of our mitras in creating and organising the retreat; it’s lovely to see people taking responsibility, working together and generally ‘learning the ropes’ - well done Karunavapi for facilitating all that.
Our afternoon session allowed us to play with an abundant treasury of art and craft materials generously provided by Bridget, with the invitation to create an image from Sukhvati. Once I dropped the idea of ‘art’ and started to play, it was remarkably absorbing!
In the evening Ratnaguna gave a short introduction to the longer Sukhavativyuha sutra, and we listened to part of it before concluding with a threefold puja.