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Turning Arrows Into Flowers
This world-wide international practice week is based on the image of the Buddha on the cusp of his Enlightenment, at the point when Mara attacks him with all he’s got - but the Buddha does not react with anger, hatred, defensiveness but instead sits in complete peace and openness: the arrows, abuse & weapons hurled at him drift down around him as harmless flower petals.
In essence, the message to be communicated is: this is what we need to do all the time. The constant practice is
1) no blame, or defence, or reactivity, complaining,
2) turning towards whatever the challenge is with openness, interest and kind awareness
3) developing the attitude when faced with challenges “great – here’s is an opportunity for practice!”
The dharmic teaching underpinning is this:
The Seven Mind Training verses as laid out by Atisha: ‘taking adversity onto the path’
(Since this theme was agreed in 2017, the Eight (not Seven) Verses for Training the Mind have of course been popping up everywhere! Material can be found on buddhistcentre.com on both versions - no matter, it’s all good!)
Other Practices to include: metta bhavana, readings from Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara, Sevenfold Puja, ways to allow the Bodhicitta to arise…perhaps even the Bodhicitta practice itself?
Resources and support:
Download a guide for participants
Image for your poster: Aloka has made available an image of his black & white line drawing of Mara attacking the Buddha.
Short Talks: Yashobodhi has recorded 7 short talks especially for this occasion; a short (8 mins) intro to the mind training verses and then 7 talks about 20 minutes long on each of the verses. They will be available on this page. The Lojong slogans she uses are attached.
Banner with images for the shrine: Sanghadhara from Clear Vision kindly designed a poster out of the images of ‘dharma doors’ from around the world. 8 x A4/Letter posters can be printed out by Centres and stuck together to form a long rectangular banner that can be placed against the shrine.
Guide ‘How to Run an Urban Retreat’ - with helpful suggestions.
Metta Wave: on the first day retreat, before the puja to ritually dedicate this week: during this metta wave you may wish to bring to mind all the different Triratna Centres around the world - attached is a list and of course don’t forget the many Triratna Groups
Puja: you can also bring in an element of internationality in the puja – perhaps with having the positive precepts in different languages
Preparation for the event:
You may wish to explore for yourself the different ways of ‘turning weapons into flowers’; i.e. developing the mind of bodhicitta in our everyday experience. Some points:
So, the main point of this practice: seeing difficulties that arise as opportunities to turn arrows into flowers.
Shantideva – “the power of evil is very great, ordinary goodness is not enough; only the bodhicitta can overcome it.”
|Guide to Taking Part in the International Practice Week Online||477.5 KB|
|Poster of Mara attacking the Buddha||586.23 KB|
|Big banner/poster in A4 format||14.06 MB|
|Big banner/poster in Letter format (for USA etc)||14.35 MB|
|Overview picture of the big banner/poster||559.47 KB|
|Helpful guide to running a local urban retreat||10.94 MB|
|List of Triratna Centres||95.59 KB|
|Yashobodhi's text for 7-point Mind Training||56.91 KB|