The Abbey just bid farewell to the twelve amazing guests who lived and practiced with us this past month throughout the Shakyamuni Buddha Retreat. Together with the resident monastic community, everyone did five meditation sessions and a study session each day. We focused on the Shakyamuni Buddha practice and the Lam Rim (graduated path) meditations, and we kept noble silence. We ended the retreat with a  purifying fire puja. Here are a few retreat reflections on how the month-long experience opened our guest meditator’s hearts and enriched their appreciation of the Dharma.

 

Breaking Open (in a Good Way)

 There’s something about a longer retreat, in a conducive environment, with supportive and committed Dharma companions, that breaks our hearts and minds open (in a good way) if we let it. I get valuable “ahas” at other times and places, but here at the Abbey they can simmer and be savored in an especially productive way. My deepest gratitude to all who support Sravasti Abbey and make these experiences possible. May we thank you for your generosity by putting more peace and kindness into the world.

Cynthia L., Saint Augustine, FL

 

Profound Gratitude

The one-month retreat is a rare and precious opportunity to quiet the mind in a safe and supportive environment and to observe the gradual transformation that takes place when we allow the mind to turn inwardly from one moment of awareness to the next.

At the end of the retreat, one leaves Sravasti Abbey with a profound sense of gratitude for providing the space and the conditions to deepen one’s Dharma practice.

Claudia C., Austin, TX

 

Deepened Refuge

The one-month winter retreat was such a rich and rewarding experience for me. This was my first visit to Sravasti Abbey, and what a special gift to be able to live, learn, and practice with the resident monastics. The discipline the monastics have with their practice of the Dharma and the devotion to the Three Jewels was truly inspiring for me.

I found this year’s teachings on the Lam Rim an incredibly beneficial way to study and meditate on the Buddha’s teachings. The opportunity to listen to Venerable Chodron’s teachings on the Lam Rim was a special experience that helped me gain a deeper understanding of each topic and be able to relate it to my personal experience.

I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to deepen my refuge in the Three Jewels here at Sravasti Abbey.

Tiffany W., Grand Rapids, MI

 

An Anchor

Sravasti Abbey is an anchor in samsara. Over this past month, I have found it to be a place conducive to learning and realizing the Dharma. The period of intensive retreat for a month has been valuable. Prior to this retreat, I had only spent 10 days in retreat. I believe that the extra time allowed my mind to further disengage from worldly concerns and to quiet to the point where more subtle consciousness could be engaged. For me personally, the retreat led to emotional purification and processing, increased intellectual understanding of the Dharma and the kind of person I want to be, as well as some quasi-mystical experiences.

The retreat here was not the beginning of my path, nor is it the end. Rather, it has reinforced the importance of continued sustained Dharma practice going forward. Sravasti Abbey and its Abbess and monastics have a place in my heart.

Laura G.. New York, NY

 

More Compassion

This retreat helped me develop more compassion and appreciate more deeply the kindness of others. I looked closely at a relationship I label as “difficult” and accepted my responsibility for some of the conflict and also responsibility to maintain my aspiration to be compassionate and recognize the immense kindness others have shown me.

I also noticed patterns of habitual negative actions and was able to put many “small” things into broader categories and see how pervasive these actions have been throughout my life. This helps me be more conscientious and mindful to avoid these actions and apply antidotes if/when I notice they are arising.

Stacy S., Montrose, CO

 

Deeper with the Lam Rim

The 2020 retreat was a precious opportunity for me to strengthen my refuge and altruistic intention. I gained a deeper understanding of the lamrim and did a lot of off-the cushion though training. So much gratitude to all who made the retreat happen—volunteers, donors, the monastics, and Ven. Chodron.

Kristi H., Spring Park, MN

 

 

And the others

See more retreat photos here.