German Young People's Sangha Celebrates First Retreat
On Wed, 22 February, 2012 - 05:38
Mat New, a young Triratna Buddhist from Birmingham, UK writes about his recent retreat - in Essen, Germany, where the German young people’s sangha have just celebrated their first retreat. He says - “The retreat was at Vimaladhatu, a beautiful Triratna retreat Centre nestled in the pine forests and hills of the Sauerland region not far from Triratna’s Essen Buddhist Centre. Alokavira and Aryabandhu, who were leading the weekend, each offered a talk and their example on the subject of Spiritual Friendship.
As is often the case with younger Sangha events, it was well attended by a wide variety of people, from first-time meditators to those who have asked for Ordination. I found the atmosphere playful and energetic, but serious too: there were real questions being asked both internally and externally, it was an opportunity no one wished to waste. It is so very important that these events continue to happen, situations where young Buddhists can interact and explore with their peers.
Many people commented on the wonderful sense of cohesion, especially during the puja, in which we recited the Five Precepts in Pali, German, English and Spanish. Most people present were from the German Sangha, though 5 of us had come over from England. Another international flavour was added by 3 people originating from Mexico and Venezuela. I have observed on many UK retreats visitors from far-off places can have a very positive influence on the dynamic - just through being there they offer a perspective well beyond a local Sangha. Young people in particular seem to thrive on this cross-pollination of enthusiasm, friendship and perspective. Long may that be the case, these three aspects of practice are the life blood of the order, just as the commitment of young people is.
The retreat highlighted for me the fact that language is a very small barrier to overcome when compared to the bridges the Dharma creates: a commitment to the Dharma means you have hospitality and friendship the whole world over. I would encourage anyone to make use of that resource for the benefit of all involved. Be adventurous. Mat”.