new community forms at Akashavana women’s retreat centre in Spain
On Wed, 7 December, 2011 - 05:55
Acalavajri writes with news from Akashavana, a Triratna women’s retreat centre in the mountains above Valderrobres in eastern Spain, where a new community is forming to caretake the Centre. She says -
“A new community is forming, to start in the Spring and we’d like to introduce ourselves …
Although our experiences in the Triratna Order are different, what unites us is a love of Akashavana and a desire to work in together to realise the potential that is apparent in the ‘Land of Luminous Space’. We are Acalavajri (Ipswich: UK) ordained in 2009 and went to Akashavana for the first time straight after her Ordination. She has subsequently visited for work projects each year and this year supported the 3 month Ordination Retreat ; Manigarbha (Bilthoven: Netherlands) ordained at Akashavana in 2007 and returned this year too in order to support the 3 month retreat & Vajradarshini (Valderrobres: Spain) who many of you will know from her time at Tiratanaloka and elsewhere. Ordained in 1997 she moved to Spain in 2008 and has enjoyed being a neighbour to the various Akashavana communities.
So, where and what is ‘Akashavana’? Akashavana is the women’s ordination retreat centre of the Triratna Buddhist Order. The retreats are only for women members of the Triratna Order or for women who have been invited to attend an ordination retreat there. The first Ordination Retreat took place in 2007, and since then, over 70 women have received their ordination there.
Akashavana occupies 108 hectares of land in two plots in the mountains above Valderrobres. One plot, nurturing the retreat centre, nestles between two limestone ridges where griffin vultures nest in the rock face and circle high above most days. The other comforts the home for the community which is about an hour’s walk away. There is so much space there – not only on land and in the vast blue skies, but also ‘psychic space’, which brings about a tremendous sense of seclusion. Along with the vastness of space there is also the intimacy of detail; the sense experience of meditating alone under a pine tree and touching the earth.
We are immensely grateful to the communities that have gone before us and for the love they’ve put into creating Akashavana as it is today. In taking on the stewardship, we wish to maintain that momentum, continuing to develop the land and by providing even greater opportunities for practice.
We will be moving there in February and our aims include developing a fuller retreat programme (including the ‘First Akashavana Ordination Retreat’ Reunion in August); building solitary retreat facilities and generally inviting more Dharmacharinis to join us in developing spiritual practice together in a beautiful and magical place. We look forward to telling you more of our lives there as the months progress.