Opening the College Meeting + Invoking the LineageOn Wed, 8 November, 2023 - 16:30
The College Meeting began on Monday evening with Ratnadharini welcoming 43 of the 50 current Public Preceptors to the annual international College meeting. They have travelled from North America, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, India, Spain, Germany, Ireland and the UK, to gather together here at Adhisthana. A couple of those not present will hopefully be arriving in the next days, and the others unable to make the journey this year for various reasons. They spent the first evening checking-in as a whole group in the Beams, and reciting the dedication ceremony.
This will be a significant meeting as it will be where the College elect their next Chair, and the first full day was spent preparing for that process, by invoking the blessings and experience of lineage in various ways.
Yesterday morning, after a simple ritual in which Ratnadharini placed her initiation vase on the shrine beneath an image of Chintamani’s painting of our ‘Tree of Refuge and Respect’, Padmavajra led us in the Guru Yoga of the Tharpe Delam, a practice which he was introduced to by Sangharakshita in 1976. He emphasised that it is particularly fitting to be beginning the College meeting by practising Guru Yoga, which has become a tradition in recent years since Bhante’s death, describing it as a practice to experience and activate lineage.
The Guru Yoga practice was followed by a panel of short talks from three of the previous College Chairs (Dhammarati, Saddhaloka and Ratnadharini) sharing reflections on their time and experience as Chair. These talks informed some discussion that took place within College Kulas during the afternoon, about the nature of the role and what could be needed from the next Chair.
The day culminated in a seven-fold puja led by Punyamala, dedicated to Sangharakshita, and including a number of his poems written to his own teachers, and expressing something of ‘transcendent community’. Within the puja, the two new Public Preceptors from Mexico, Dayachandra and Jnanadakini, were ritually welcomed; and it ended with the closing mantras chanted around Sangharakshita’s burial mound.