Monthly Archives: September 2018

Fall Day-Long Retreat

We had a lovely day together yesterday. Twenty of us gathered among the pines on Heinz & Teresa’s peaceful land. Thank you all for being there and making the day. Here’s the story of the Buddha’s eager young monk who joined the Buddha’s sangha named Meghiya. Meghiya decided to practice meditation alone in an especially peaceful and beautiful mango grove. But rather than his meditations being peaceful and beautiful, his mind was filled with malicious, lustful, and confused thought. When Meghiya rushed back to report his confusing experience, Buddha was not surprised. He took the opportunity to give Meghiya what he must have hoped was a relevant teaching. Five things induce release of heart and lasting peace,” the Buddha told him. “First, a lovely intimacy with good friends. Second, virtuous conduct. Third, frequent conversation that inspires and encourages practice. Fourth, diligence, energy, and enthusiasm for the good. And fifth, insight into impermanence.”

“Then, for Meghiya’s further benefit, and to the cement the point, the Buddha goes through the list again, this time preceding each of the other items with the first: “When there is a lovely intimacy between friends, then there is virtuous conduct,” “When there is a lovely intimacy between friends, then there is frequent conversation that inspires and encourages practice,” et cetera. In other words, friendship is the most important element in the spiritual path. Everything else naturally flows from it.”

The Three Principal Aspects of the Path

We will have a day-long retreat on September 23rd, in the Black Forest. The topic is the Lama Tsong Kapa’s teaching of the three principal aspects of the path. The first of these is renunciation. ‘Renunciation’ here refers to a turning away – turning away from the behaviors and habits that create yearning and samsara – and directing our spiritual energy towards liberation. Then the second is bodhicitta, the awakened heart/mind, which for the benefit of all sentient beings, in seeing sentient beings’ suffering, we strive to achieve the highest state of enlightenment in order to be of maximum benefit to all. Then the third of the three is “right view”, also known as ‘the wisdom of emptiness or shunyata’. ‘Wisdom’ here refers to the view of the ‘middle way’ between the two extremes of annihilation and permanence. So then the “right view” of reality is the third of the three principal aspects of the path.

We will be meeting in a private home. If you are interested in attending, please contact me for the address and directions. All are welcome!