Bristol Buddhist Centre

Rains Retreat 2015 - Living in the Mandala - Morning 1

On Sat, 14 March, 2015 - 15:31
jvalamalini's picture
It was so gorgeous coming back into our mandala early this morning, and lighting our aspiration candles. Meditating, I could sense the immense beauty we were sitting in and creating together, and how we’re opening to the world with this, influencing the world. It was like something full of colour and light, and at the same time vast and open, white and spacious. And powerful…. I don’t usually think of beauty as powerful!

Later in the morning, we meditated again becoming more and more present to ourselves, more and more open to the influence of the Buddhas and the Sangha we’re sitting in.

Ratnavandana gave a talk about the brahma viharas and her experience of them. To show how the four brahma viharas are really one, she used the symbol of a tree, with roots and trunk of metta, drawing nourishment and strength. The natural outflow of the tree is the branches - karuna (compassion) where metta meets suffering and mudita (sympathetic joy) where metta meets joy. The tree as a whole is the canopy of upekkha (equanimity), with its Dharma perspective.
How would it be to think of the brahma viharas every time I see a tree?

Ratnavandana suggested we savour different translations of the words brahma and vihara to gain a sense of the profound beauty of these responses, and how they’re qualities of mind to feel at home in.
brahma - divine, sublime, noble, lofty, pure, immaculate, excellent
vihara - to dwell, live in stay in, lodging or abode

They are also referred to as The Four Immeasurables. This is because the number of beings to whom they apply is immeasurable, the motivation to benefit them is immeasurable, the virtues of doing so are immeasurable and the excellence of the results is immeasurable.

These natural states of the heart are always there, like the sun - but get clouded over by kleshas (poisons). Our task is to clear the clouds so our hearts can radiate warmth and healing.

Ratnavandana talked about each brahma vihara and its ‘near enemies’. I was struck by her having realised she identified herself as a suffering person, and taking on the mudita bhavana to release that identification. Listen to her talk to learn more!

Already it feels like we’ve been on retreat for days, people are relaxing together and opening to the atmosphere of the shrine room - and it’ll soon be time for our afternoon puja.
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Dharmalila's picture
” …Listen to her talk”

I’d love to - but I can’t see a link to this anywhere on this page :(
Can you tell us how we get to the audo part?
jvalamalini's picture
Sorry Sally - taking longer than anticipated to get the audio online…
Candradasa's picture
Thanks for your patience, Sally - there is a lot of material from the retreat and it takes a bit of time to process. The talk should now be there and the rest will follow asap. With online retreats we usually have a mix of quick and slow content - talks and recordings that need a lot of work tend to run about a day behind the live retreat. Hope you enjoy following along!
Satyalila's picture
Wonderful talk from Ratnavandana! And thank you so much for all the work to record and upload it, Jvalamalini and Candradasa :-) I listened to it on the bus back from London and it was magical to connect in this way. Have been visiting my ‘Ersatz’ Mother in Sussex and dipping into what’s on here in between teaching her how to ride her buggy up kerbs and steer it. I was looking forward to the talk being uploaded and I wasn’t disappointed. I think there’s something dhyana-inducing about listening to Ratnavandana. She has such a beautiful voice (+ the things she says are good too! ;-) xxxxx