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Day 7: All Brahma Viharas & Vairocana

Fri, 20 Mar, 2015 - 14:55

Day 7: All Brahma Viharas & Vairocana

Fri, 20 Mar, 2015 - 14:55

Today is the Spring Equinox, and this morning brought the mysterious dim-bright light of a partial solar eclipse, before turning into a glorious sunny day. We’re at that stage of the retreat when the end is in sight and my mind starts turning to other things, yet we still have this special chance to drop deeply into the divine abodes.

This morning Ratnavandana talked about “bhavana” as tending the conditions for growth. Just as with plants in...

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Connections between the Brahma Viharas and Jinas

Thu, 19 Mar, 2015 - 15:34

Connections between the Brahma Viharas and Jinas

Thu, 19 Mar, 2015 - 15:34We can restore our innate mirror-like wisdom, transform our hatred, by developing Love-Metta. In this way we become like the blue Buddha Akshobhya.

We can restore our innate all-distinguishing wisdom, transform our greed and attachment, by developing Compassion-Karuna. In this way we become like the red Buddha Amitabha.

We can restore our innate all-performing wisdom, transform our envy and jealousy, by developing Sympathetic Joy-Mudita. In this way we become like the green Buddha Amoghasiddhi.

We can restore...
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Day 6: Upekkha & Ratnasambhava

Thu, 19 Mar, 2015 - 15:17

Day 6: Upekkha & Ratnasambhava

Thu, 19 Mar, 2015 - 15:17A cold bright day in Bristol, and a deep quiet atmosphere in the Buddhist Centre, as we move into cultivating upekkha (equanimity).

As a brahma vihara, equanimity is more than the dictionary definition of ‘calm and composed especially in adversity’. It is a composite of metta, karuna and mudita pervaded by Dharmic understanding, like metta with a wisdom eye. It sees joy and suffering, their conditionedness and the constant flux of everything.

After just sitting in the mandala,...
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Day 5: Mudita & Amoghasiddhi

Wed, 18 Mar, 2015 - 18:58

Day 5: Mudita & Amoghasiddhi

Wed, 18 Mar, 2015 - 18:58We’ve had a wonderful sunny spring day today in Bristol, perfect for us to dwell in what Sangharakshita has described as the bright dancing colours of mudita.

Ratnavandana talked about mudita as a natural response that happens often, but which we don’t always recognise. She suggested consciously appreciating moments of gladness in our lives, particularly when it connects us to others - for example she enjoyed seeing three small girls with mother’s day bouquets in the street at the...
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Day 4: Karuna & Amitabha

Tue, 17 Mar, 2015 - 14:57

Day 4: Karuna & Amitabha

Tue, 17 Mar, 2015 - 14:57After days of gloom outside it’s wonderful to have spring sunshine today as we move into contemplating karuna - which Sangharakshita has described as like metta with a shadow over it.

Ratnavandana says:
It is good to reflect on our attitudes to suffering, whether it’s physical or emotional. I know for a long time I had this a sense that somehow suffering was wrong, that I shouldn’t be suffering, so there was a feeling of failure there which was...
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Day 3: Metta and Aksobhya day

Mon, 16 Mar, 2015 - 13:59

Day 3: Metta and Aksobhya day

Mon, 16 Mar, 2015 - 13:59A damp grey Monday morning outside and the warmth of the Sangha and colour of the mandala in our shrine room.

Today we’re exploring metta in the brahma vihara realm and allowing Aksobhya’s qualities to draw us.

We did metta exercises in pairs, looking at each other with metta, and describing ourselves as our best friend would, then Ratnavandana gave a lovely short introduction to the metta bhavana which she led. She talked about not ‘doing’ the practice...
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Urban Retreat Tips – The Power of Intention

Sun, 15 Mar, 2015 - 09:59

Urban Retreat Tips – The Power of Intention

Sun, 15 Mar, 2015 - 09:59What is your wish for this retreat?

  • Spend time forming a clear, simple wish – eg “I’d like to be more friendly”, “I’d like to stay more soft and open”, “I’d like to be emotionally honest with myself”
  • The essence of practice is to remember this wish, and to ‘stop and real-ise’ – connect – with your body, with what’s going round your head, with your heart. Where are you in relation to your wish? Where are you in relation to
  • ...
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Rains Retreat 2015 - Living in the Mandala - Morning 1

Sat, 14 Mar, 2015 - 15:31

Rains Retreat 2015 - Living in the Mandala - Morning 1

Sat, 14 Mar, 2015 - 15:31It 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...
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Brahma Viharas morning verses

Sat, 14 Mar, 2015 - 10:03

Brahma Viharas morning verses

Sat, 14 Mar, 2015 - 10:03I and all else that moves, until awakening,
Take the Triple Gem as refuge.
In order to gain perfect Buddhahood for others’ sake
We practise the Four Immeasurables -
Whereby may sentient beings
Gain happiness with its causes;
Be parted from all grief with its causes;
Not become parted from the happiness wherein no grief is
And dwell in the condition of equanimity

Refuges and Precepts

Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhassa
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhassa
Namo Tassa...
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Verses invoking the Jinas to purify the poisons

Fri, 13 Mar, 2015 - 22:59

Verses invoking the Jinas to purify the poisons

Fri, 13 Mar, 2015 - 22:59OM AKSOBHYA HUM
By the power of your Samaya
Deliver us from the hells
By purifying the demons of hatred and aversion
And transforming them into the Mirrorlike Wisdom
The deep blue, imperturbable Buddha Aksobhya

OM RATNASAMBHAVA HUM
By the power of your Samaya
Deliver us from the human realm
By purifying the demons of pride and conceit
And transforming them into the Wisdom of Equality
The golden yellow, jewel born, Buddha Ratnasambhava
...