Small Actions: Growing MindsOn Thu, 4 May, 2017 - 11:13
Low Countries young Buddhists retreat April 2017
On a sunny, cloudy and windy Easter weekend in April, 27 young buddhists from five different countries came together in retreat centre Metta Vihara in the Netherlands to explore the idea of ‘total action, free mind’.
If we long to free our minds, it may be most obvious to turn to practices working directly with the mind, such as meditation and reflection, which will help us to become wiser, more aware and, as a result, more skilful in our actions. During this retreat, Prajnaketu and Kusalasara turned this idea around: instead of (or on top of) meditating and reflecting, we should focus on developing skilful action, and from this, awareness and wisdom will follow. Learning about and reflecting on kusala karma (skilful action) and the five precepts, we explored the effects skilful actions have on our own minds, and on the communities we are part of.
Besides participating in meditations, talks and reflection exercises, we practiced skilful action while getting to know each other at the dinner table, listening to and sharing experiences and insights in our discussion groups and helping out with household chores. Participants took the opportunity to contribute to our temporary retreat community in different ways, such as making chocolate soy milk for everyone on Easter morning, or teaching early morning yoga classes. Practising together in this way, one of our shared insights was that skilful action is not necessarily about big choices and life-changing or world-changing projects, but also, maybe even more so, about the small choices we make in our daily actions and interactions with our friends, partners, family and colleagues. I left the retreat with my skilfulness batteries fully loaded, inspired to continue my practice in the communities I’m part of in my daily life.