Vajracaksu, Triratna’s lone Turkish Order Member, writes with an update from Istanbul - including news of the first-ever Turkish retreat! He says - “Hello Triratna News, it’s been a long time since I gave you all some news. Things ‘Triratna’ are slowly developing here in Turkey, ‘slowly’ however is definitely the operative word. Usually I give three to five classes a week, numbers are usually very small, anything from 1 to 8 people usually.
I think I mentioned in my last bulletin that I planned to do some teaching in a yoga centre in Ankara, this happened. I led a 6 week mindfulness based meditation course, with three long classes spread over a 6-7 week period, with daily homework and twice weekly email reminders. It was a bit of an experiment as I’d never led a course like this before i.e. a course consisting of just three classes. When I do courses I use a quality-of-life survey with questions on stress, loneliness, love, sleep and self-confidence for example, handing this out on the first and the last day of courses and to my delight the survey results from this course were very positive and encouraging, not different to my normal weekly 6 week courses.
Perhaps the biggest news I can announce is that after all these years in Turkey, almost 9 now, in May I led my first ever retreat here. It was in a really beautiful place called ‘Hindiba Pansiyon’ in Mengen, Bolu, in the Black Sea region. ‘Hindiba’ is set deep in the heart of nature, in near perfect conditions, and the accommodation is in stone or wooden huts. On the premises there are several of the friendliest dogs I’ve ever met in my life, plus chickens and cats wondering around. Utterly delightful! The retreat was for 3 nights, despite the relative shortness of the retreat the planning and organising took at least 5 months! In the end, 7 people from Istanbul and 3 people from Ankara came - 8 women and 2 men. It went very well indeed, and a positive (even very positive!) time was had by virtually everyone. I was so encouraged that I now plan to hold two retreats there a year: a 3 night and a 7 night retreat. The next ones I’m sure will take less than 5 months of organising!
That’s all from me for now. Yours in the Dharma, Vajracaksu”