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Have you ever wondered what it was like in the very early days of our Movement when Bhante was on fire about creating the New Society through practicing intensely together in the 3Cs (Communities, Centres and Co-operative Right Livelihood Businesses)? These days they are fewer opportunities for young people to be exposed to all 3 of the ‘C’s at once, which is why, five years ago, Adhisthana set up the Young People’s Dharma Life Course.
Here Taravandana, the coordinator of the course just recently finished, writes:
“Over the last five months nine young people - Polly, Lizzie, Caroline, Gina, Gleysa, Candan, Anja, Lenka and Caroline - have been living, practicing, studying and working together in the middle of the Herefordshire countryside. They were such an international group of beings, coming from Venezuela, Germany, Sweden, Slovakia, Turkey and the UK, who embraced their differences to create a harmonious supportive community to grow and change.
The Course is framed around Triratna’s System of Practice with four or five weeks to explore each of the five stages of the Path. Each week we were fortunate enough to study with a visiting teacher such as Vidyamala who led us in a Satipatthana retreat; Satyalila who introduced them to the System of Practice through creative writing; Parami with whom we studied the Bodhicitta; Vajrasara who helped us explored spiritual friendship and communication using NVC (Non-Violent Communication); Akasajoti and Kusaladevi who supported us to go deeper into ethics and confession; Acharashraddha who guided us to deepen our connections with the historical Buddha; Vijayamala who led a silent retreat on Spiritual Death and Alokasanna who led us into the Mandala of the Five Buddhas through ritual and creativity. In addition, the young people helped to run Adhisthana - for example, by pruning trees, hanging curtains and managing the washing up. They also joined the wider Adhisthana and retreat communities for meditation, had weekly community and GFR Group meetings, were each supported by a Dharmacharini Mentor and had a lot of fun!
Some highlights include: canoeing on the river Wye; walking in the local Malvern hills and Puzzle Wood; weekly internationally-flavoured community breakfasts, five rhythms dancing and yoga.
Of course, it wasn’t always easy but when I think back over it all what strikes me is that the it was the combination of the intensity of the content of the Course combined with us living and working together in such beautiful surroundings, looking out over Bhante’s burial mound, the love and support of the Adhisthana Community and the friendships between the group that made the Course the success it was. Everyone had changed and grown and are wanting to share their experiences out in the world. Three of the group are volunteering and working at Adhisthana; one is returning home to begin teaching mediation, another to set up Skype meetings with her new kula.”
If you’d like to know more about future Dharma Life Courses at Adhisthana contact admin [at] Adhisthana.org.
Watch a video about the 2014 Young Women’s course