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Welcome to day 1 of the International Practice Week!
The theme is ‘Turning Arrows into Flowers’, inspired by the story of the Buddha, while under siege from all the forces Mara could muster, who simply turns the arrows hurled at him into flowers.
The International Practice Week is an opportunity for Triratna worldwide to explore this theme in an urban retreat context either in a local Sangha or online. Yashobodhi will be leading us through an exploration of the Seven-Point Mind Turning reflections throughout the week as a means of unpacking the image of ‘turning arrows into flowers’. These verses, as laid out by Atisha, can help us to develop the mind of Bodhicitta in our everyday experience, by moving away from blame and reactivity and cultivating an attitude of ‘taking adversity onto the path’.
Just to give you a sense of the internationality of this event, here’s a poster of all the Centres and groups who are taking part.
Of course, there’s also the option of joining in online - and in that case you may wish to check out our guide for the week which includes a suggested programme. If you would like someone to be your ‘Dharma buddy’ for the week put your details in the comments below.
But first here’s an introduction to the Seven-Point Mind Turning and the Four Reminders to get you started.
Watch | Listen to Yashobodhi’s talk, ‘Introducing the Seven Point Mind Turning and the Four Reminders’.
The Conquest of Mara
Whether within his mind dark forces rolled
Wavelike along, and dashed their bitter spume
At his enlightened dawn-skies’ blue and gold;
Or whether, like a bank of clouds that loom
On the horizon’s verge, presaging storm,
Black Mara and his host embattled came
With many a fearful face and hideous form,
On monsters mounted, panoplied in flame,
I know not. Fact or symbol, all I know,
Or care to know, is that the arrowy showers,
The hard-flung spears and javelins of the foe,
Touching his halo’s edge, were turned to flowers
That rained all night beneath the Bodhi Tree
As though in adoration, or as though
In homage to his súpreme victory…
Flowers of the earth or thought-flowers, all I know
Is that Compassion, sunlike, can transmute
Our hate not only into flowers, but fruit.
- Sangharakshita, Complete Poems 1941-1994
If you have any comments or questions about this or the retreat itself, let us know in the comments here and we’ll try to respond.