It was a beautiful week at the Abbey, with a wave of greenery sweeping the region! With the new weather, we’ve started to clean-up our forest again. Meanwhile, we’re being showered with precious Dharma teachings from in-house and off-site teachers. Guests keep trickling in, who kindly help us to carry out the activities of awakening.
Venerable Sangye Khadro led a beautiful weekend retreat on a loving-kindness, the first retreat of the season. Guests and monastics reflected on the kindness they had received throughout their lives and related their experiences to each other. Here’s a glimpse into the retreat.
April life at the Abbey has been meaningful and chock-full of merit-making. Yvonne arrived from Singapore for a long visit, and we welcomed other guests for short stays. Offering service activities are in full swing, along with retreats, Offering Service Saturdays, and Sharing the Dharma Days. Now that we are open again, friends are even coming up just for lunch. All are vaccinated and boosted (our requirement for visiting) and everyone needs to call before they come.
Kathina is a celebrated day that goes all the way back to the time of the Buddha, when the lay community offers much-needed requisites to the sangha. This year, our friends in Singapore and Malaysia presented the Robe of Merit on behalf of our friends in Ukraine. Read more about this day of mutual generosity and gratitude here: https://sravastiabbey.org/kathina-in-person-online-april-10/
As soon as our winter retreat ended we opened the doors for Sharing Dharma Day, inviting in-person guests for the first time in a long time. What a joyful occasion! After a guided meditaiton with Ven. Jigme, Ven. Chodron gave a practical teaching on preparing our minds to work with conflict (watch it here). The vegetarian potluck lunch was scrumptious, followed by a Green Tara meditation practice. It was a joy to close the day by thanking the volunteers who supported the Abbey throughout the winter retreat. We’re happy to be open again!
Our three-month winter meditation retreat ended, as it usually does, with a time of sharing and a Dorje Khadro fire puja to purify all negativities. Meditators from both the Medicine Buddha retreat and the Vajrasattva retreat groups had fruitful insights to share. Then we piled into the kitchen to create a scorpion of black sesame seeds, an offering to Dorje Khadro in the fire puja. By this merit may the poisons of ignorance, anger, and craving be purified. May this merit nourish the seeds for all beings to be fully awakened.
Varsa, the annual monastic retreat that emphasizes community harmony, ends with a ceremony called Pravarana. One of the four main ceremonies that monastic communities are required to hold each year, Pravarana offers a chance to invite feedback about our behavior. The ceremony restores our precepts, promotes harmony, and strengthens our community’s commitment to the Dharma. Although Varsa is complete, our overlapping Medicine Buddha retreat continues for two more weeks.
Learn from books by Ven. Thubten Chodron.