Taraloka Retreat Centre

Tonglen Retreat: Thursday

On Wed, 26 March, 2014 - 18:30
Saddhanandi's picture
It’s hard to believe it’s the last full day of the retreat and that we’ll be coming out of silence very soon. It’s now a process of holding the retreat steady whilst we begin to meet the transition phase of ‘leaving’. Meanwhile, I’m trying to work out what I need to say at 11am.

I’ve been reflecting on an extract from one of Sangharakshita’s seminars: ‘A common misapprehension is to think of ‘Insight’ in abstract terms, but the ‘Truth of Egolessness’ simply means being more deeply unselfish. To contemplate egolessness or emptiness as some special experience separate from our actual behaviour leaves it as far away as ever. If you find it difficult to realise the ‘emptiness of the self’ the solution is to be a little less selfish. The Insight comes after the experience not before.’

This comment reminds me of the Mind-Training teachings, especially the slogan: drive all blames into one [ie self-clinging]. These teachings are centred around the practice of tonglen and I particularly respond to the teaching of ‘Taking adversity onto the Path’. How can we relate to difficulties as Dharma Practice rather than something we need to avoid, or something that is ‘in our way’? I remember I was once asked by woman practitioner, ‘are you trying to leave the Wheel [ie the Wheel of Becoming] or are you simply polishing it?’

Much of our Dharma practice can be absorbed into making our lives run more smoothly, but this is ignoring the reality of what’s really going on – it’s ignorance, in fact. All very sobering!

12pm: Questions and Answer Session, followed by some concluding remarks

4pm: Groups, then the ritual: Opening the Mandala

8pm: Final Puja and Dedication
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