In this five-day course, Venerable Chodron’s began teaching the third volume in the Library of Wisdom and Compassion series co-authored with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. About 100 participants joined, including residents and online listeners. Ven. Chodron did not shy away from presenting the reality of samsara by teaching us about the Four Truths of the Aryas. She will continue teaching from this volume on Friday nights. Go here to find the live and archived teachings.
Abbey residents conclude Varsa, our annual monastic retreat, with the ceremony called Pravarana in which we invite feedback from fellow monastics to restore our precepts, promote harmony, and strengthen our commitment to the Dharma. Pravarana is one of the four main ceremonies that monastic communities are required to hold each a year.
It’s been a wonderful, full retreat, with five meditation sessions daily and times of offering service to support the retreat. We are grateful to all the supporters who made this possible and commit to repaying your kindness through our deepening practice and service. We dedicate our merit to the quick awakening of all sentient beings and are grateful to continue providing the Buddha’s teachings to students far and wide.
We’re still in the middle of our winter Green Tara retreat. Over the weeks the community has been going deeper into our minds and hearts. We celebrated the Day of Miracles by taking the eight Mahayana precepts and reciting all of our monastic precepts. The days have been in silence otherwise, very serene and very peaceful.
During the annual winter retreat, Abbey residents connect deeply with the Dharma in order to transform our minds. This year, we are focusing on Tara’s swift compassion, trying to cultivate her qualities in order to benefit all sentient beings. We are also purifying our body, speech and mind from non-virtuous deeds done in this and previous lives. This is a rare and precious opportunity and we are grateful to all those who make this retreat possible.
Winter retreat is a special time for Abbey residents to reconnect with the most nourishing aspects of their practice. This year, half of the community offers service to keep the Abbey running, while the other half is devoted to “strict” retreat. Then, halfway through the three-month timeframe, our roles will switch. Most residents are doing the Green Tara practice, while some are doing refuge, mandala, and prostration ngondros (preliminary practices) or deity retreats.
A record 164 people participated in the 2021 New Year’s Vajrasattva Retreat, our most popular retreat held online this year. After all, what better way to bring in a new year than letting go of our regrets, making amends, and recommitting to our deepest values?
Varsa—the annual three-month monastic retreat—is one of the rites the Buddha stipulated for a functioning monastic community. The Abbey’s annual varsa coincides with our winter meditation retreat. It’s a time for community meditation, study, and deepening in the Dharma. This year’s varsa includes 12 fully ordained nuns (bhikshunis), one fully ordained monk, and four shiksamanas—nuns in training for full ordination.
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