Triratna’s third International Urban Retreat, ‘Blazing like the Sun’, ended on Sunday, and feedback has been coming in from around the world: here’s a brief summary of what we’ve learned so far. First off, it was popular: some 570 people + 12 team took part via The Buddhist Centre Online, with many more at local Buddhist Centres and another 375 on a parallel Urban retreat over on Wildmind. Since the material was posted in multiple spaces, total participation is hard to measure. Participants came from Europe, the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand - but also Russia, China, Brazil, Turkey, and Japan.
Out of the rich selection of talks, videos, and photos on offer, the Audioboo posts got the largest audiences, with almost all of them attracting over 1000 listens, and the largest, over 4800. Sadly Audioboo doesn’t offer any detailed stats so we can’t say more about who they all were. An unexpected success were the daily 30-minute post-meditation round-table discussions on Metta from Triratna’s Portsmouth NH Center - even these recorded over 1000 listens!
Of course it’s hard to measure the quantity of metta generated, or the volume of hindrances overcome - but the comments left on the retreat website were overwhelmingly positive. Here’s one that especially struck us -
“Hi all fellow Urban Retreatants. I wanted to be more specific about how I could use an aspirational prayer in my daily life, so I have put one together which is likely to evolve and be refined over time, and would like to share it with you. It is written it as a reminder on my desktop Sticky Notes, and I will write copies to carry with me at all times. I vow to say this every day for the rest of my life:
“I honour and cherish the wisdom and compassion of enlightened beings. I call upon you now to help, guide and inspire me to go beyond myself now, today and in future times, acting as a hand of Avalokitesvara reaching out to a world in need whenever I can. Sabbe satta sukhi hontu … Sabbe satta sukhi hontu … Sabbe satta sukhi hontu …”