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This is a non-comprehensive gathering up of some of the provisions being made for ordination training online around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic. If you want to share other information to be included or ask a question, you can do so collegeassistant [at] adhisthana.org (subject: Ordination%20Training%20Online) (here).
(Updated 30 May)
At Tiratanaloka, UK:
The team at Tiratanaloka have been providing online study weeks, guided Prostration Practice every weekday afternoon on Zoom, as well as continuing personal communication with people. They have also planned an event for those thinking about requesting training for ordination. They are doing all of this on a dana basis. You can find out more and donate here, or watch Vajratara talking about what they’re doing here.
At Padmaloka, UK:
The Padmaloka Community have been posting weekly talks from Padmavajra, and sharing glimpses of life at Padmaloka on their YouTube Channel and social media. They have just launched their next phase of offerings: 108 Days of Dharma. This will include, among other things, online study seminars run by the ordination team, aimed at helping men to continue to train for ordination and deepen their Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels. Find out more and donate to Padmaloka here.
Viradhamma and Danadasa are coordinating an online provision for men training for ordination in North America. They decided to replace their cancelled 10-day retreat in April, with a three-month study period that would cover the same material in a different format, and are looking at the possibility of continuing the course for an additional month to do more in-depth study.
The approach uses small groups of six Mitras and two Order Members that meet every two weeks with smaller self-organized groups meeting in the intervening periods. During the three-month period they are also arranging for several special events of about 2 to 3 hours during which all of the men will participate in an on-line meeting featuring a talk by a senior Order Member and a special period of meditation.
For women in North America, in place of a retreat due to be held in May, the women’s ordination team held a day on the theme of Practicing in Difficult Times attended by thirty-six women training for ordination. Three women who were to be ordained on the May retreat gave personal talks on the theme after a meditation period, followed by group discussion and puja. In June there will be a weekend retreat on the theme of Meditation and Insight, and other smaller group events planned in the near future.
In Mexico, there are three weekly study groups for men who have asked for ordination which have moved online; and each week there is a meeting of all women who have asked for ordination in Latin America.
Australia and New Zealand:
The annual men’s GFR retreat for this Area finished on the 15th March, and the men from Australia got back to Australia the day before the 14 day mandatory quarantine was put in place for people coming into AUS.
The women’s GFR retreat planned to be held in May at Vijayaloka was cancelled due to the isolation restrictions. The team decided to offer an alternative on the same topic online, and were delighted to have 34 Mitras book in which was nearly a 50% increase in participants. The programme was focused on setting up kulas that met online to discuss the material, and they also offered pujas and the prostration practice once a week. Twice during the 5 week programme they also met online for mitra and team presentations of inspirations. These sessions were recorded so mitras and team members who could not attend all events could watch them later.
Having to suddenly think freshly about how to deliver the retreat for this year has stimulated some exciting ideas within the team about how it would be possible to continue to offer our activities to a wider array of mitras training for ordination into the future.
Many from Mainland Europe are joining in with what is being offered by Tiratanaloka and Padmaloka.
In Spain, it is being explored how to engage with what is being offered from the UK, with provision for Spanish translation. And at present there is a weekly online support/study group for the GFR mitras in spain. There is a women’s GFR retreat planned for the first week in August and it’s possible that this will go ahead although numbers will be limited.
In Germany, for men training for Ordination, there is generally only one retreat each year in October. If it’s not possible to meet at Vimaladhatu as usual, they will meet online.
The men’s ordination team in India is engaged in running a full programme of online events as well as engaging in close communication with GFR mitras who they support. Some of them are also engaged in Coronavirus Relief work directly or indirectly. The online programme has so far included around 14 week-long retreats or shorter study seminars.
The women’s ordination team have so far visited over 35 ‘Mitra Chapters’, and organised online retreats, study seminars, and lectures for women training for ordination, as well as a running a couple of retreats and study groups specifically for younger women.