Jo writes from Taraloka, Triratna’s women’s retreat centre in Shropshire UK, saying : “We thought you might like to know what we’ve been doing here at Taraloka over the summer time…
From the 12th to the 26th August 2011, the Taraloka Mitras, together with Kate German (volunteering with us for 3 months) and Kate Arrowsmith (from Sheffield), ran a two week work retreat with 12 young volunteers from around the world, recruited by Volunteer Action for Peace.
We had women from Slovakia, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Czech Republic and even South Korea to come and live here, work and learn about Buddhism and Meditation. They were mostly aged between 18 and 25, with one 33 year old and one of 50.
Ginny led a group to paint the outside of the community house with some quite complicated scaffolding arrangements! Des and her group started building a woodchip pathway through the woods near the canal and also had a chance to take a break with an African drumming workshop; Kate G showed her groups how to cook our fabulous vegan recipes and talked about vegan nutrition; and Kate A and I held all that in the context of a retreat with meditation, evening rituals, talks on Buddhism, ethics and the three Laksanas (and early morning Tai Chi of course! )
It’s the first time we’ve ever run a project like this at Taraloka, and it went really well. The team were fabulous and there was wonderfully harmonious atmosphere throughout the whole time. Some of the women said that these two weeks had been the most important and inspiring of their lives so far. Most of them live in countries where there are currently no Triratna Centres (such as Slovakia, Czech Republic and Italy), and although they’d read or heard about Buddhism, they’d had no opportunities to learn meditation or experience it for themselves. It felt very weighty and significant for us to be giving that opportunity and experience here at Taraloka while the Order Convention was taking place. What a wonderful way to spend the summer.