Get Ready for the Green Tara Retreat from Afar
January 6-March 28, 2021
Join a community of meditators around the world to take part in the annual Sravasti Abbey Retreat from Afar
Retreat from Afar coincides with the Abbey’s annual winter meditation retreat.While the monastics are in retreat, you can join us and several hundred meditators all over the world, including about 200 practitioners in US prisons.
This year, we focus on the Green Tara practice and Lamrim Meditation.
Tara represents the enlightened activity of all the Buddhas and is especially efficacious for eliminating obstacles and bringing success.
Doing the Tara practice is an excellent way to develop compassion and forgiveness towards yourself and others. The practice also helps us to purify a great amount of destructive karmic seeds on our mind stream and to create a huge amount of merit which enriches our mind and is the cause of happiness.
How does it work?
To join in the 2021 Retreat from Afar, you commit to do at least one practice session of the Tara sadhana every day, including one mala (108 recitations) of Tara’s mantra.
Here is the practice text we will use.
There is no charge. Your voluntary offering generates merit for you and supports the Abbey to continue offer the Dharma freely worldwide.
Want to help your fellow retreatants in prison?
Retreat material are emailed to you each week, but there’s no email in prison. Hard copy practice packets are snail-mailed to the prison practitoners at a cost of about $2,650. You can support their retreat and make merit by making an offering toward the prison Dharma mailings. Go to the Donate page. Under the drop down called “My donation is for …” choose “Prison Dharma Fund.” You can add more notes in the Comments box.
To sign up:
- Please email our coordinator with your name and country.
- Send a photo of yourself to post in the Abbey’s Chenrezig Hall during the retreat to symbolize your participation. The resident meditators love looking at your faces and thinking of you as we practice.
- Go here for more background info on Retreat from Afar.
Retreat Preparation & Resources
Many conditions must come together for you to be able to do retreat. You create these causes and conditions by preparing internally as well as externally for the retreat experience.
Set a specific time each day when you will do your practice. At the Abbey, we will do five, 90-minute sessions daily, but for folks at home, one session of about an hour a day is fine.
We’ll rely on Ven. Thubten Chodron’s book: How to Free Your Mind Tara the Liberator.
Here are some videos to get you started. In these various teachings, Ven. Thubten Chodron, Ven. Sangy Khadro, and Abbey community members give general retreat advice and an array of teachings relating to Tara, including talks on emptiness, Tara’s omniscient mind, refuge, and much more.
- 01 Green Tara Retreat 10-03-15 : Venerable Thubten Chodron gives an introduction to the Green Tara practice and leads us through the sadhana.
- 05 Green Tara Retreat 10-05-15: Venerable Thubten Chodron teaches on the psychology of the Green Tara sadhana practice.
- 08 Green Tara Retreat 10-06-15: Venerable Thubten Chodron continues the commentary on the psychology of the Tara sadhana.
- 2015 Green Tara Retreat Playlist: 10 teachings with Venerable Thubten Chodron
- 2020 Green Tara Retreat Playlist: 14 teachings with Venerable Sangye Khadro
- 2009-2010 Green Tara Winter Retreat Playlist: 94 teachings, each under 10 minutes, with Ven. Thubten Chodron and members of the Abbey community. Includes video, audio, & transcripts.
Learning Lamrim—the stage of the path to awakening (gradual path)—is another important preparation.
In each meditation session you will do Lamrim meditation. This is a powerful way to gain insight into the Buddha’s teachings. Please read some lamrim books and think about and meditate on their contents.
- Guided Meditations on the Stages of the Path, by Thubten Chodron, Snow Lion Publications, 2007
- Approaching the Buddhist Path by Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, and Ven. Thubten Chodron, Wisdom Publications, 2017
- Listen to and read audio and transcribed teachings in the Lamrim section of thubtenchodron.org.
- Watch Ven. Chodron teach the beautiful lam rim text, The Easy Path to Travel to Omniscience
- Watch the “Stages of the Path” videos on the Sravasti Abbey YouTube Channel. Begin with the introduction series, and then search “stages of the path” for subsequent playlists.
Become familiar with the thought-training teachings, so you can work with issues as they come up in retreat:
- Download a pdf of these antidotes to the afflictions, study them, and bring them with you to retreat
- Transforming Adversity into Joy and Courage: An Explanation of the Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, by Geshe Jampa Tegchok, Snow Lion Publications, 2005
- Don’t Believe Everything You Think, Thubten Chodron, Shambhala Publications, 2012.
- Watch the Wisdom of the Kadam Masters series of short teachings
- Watch the Sharing the Dharma Day teachings on Don’t Believe Everything You Think.
As you gain familiarity with all these practices—Tara Meditation, the lamrim topics, and thought-training teachings—your understanding will deepen as your readiness for retreat grows.
Practice with a Community
Kathy Elton is your host. Write her directly for info and the passcode.
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Meeting ID: 303 640 9712
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