Nathalie is from Copenhagen, Denmark. This is her first time to Manjushri and to an international NKT Festival.
The first meditation for the retreat was on the meaning of life. What a way to start the day! All meditations here leave me with a feeling of peace and kindness. It’s probably a lot of things that are contributing to my sense of peace, everyone is smiling and helping each other out. And I’ve never seen so many happy people altogether. If the world was like Manjushri, there would be no war, no fighting, disharmony or selfishness. This place makes you dream that a better world is possible: I’ve seen it here and hope to bring some of that back home.
As I am new to Buddhism, my understanding is limited, but it isn’t a problem. The teachings are very clear and I’m surprised by how funny all the teachers are! Nevertheless, putting the teachings into practise can be challenging.
The afternoon meditation was on learning how to control our attachment which I talked to a lot of people about during lunch and in the breaks. Everyone is open to a chat, so discussing Dharma is very easy and enjoyable. I found it really comforting to know that other people have similar problems and it was helpful to exchange views and our understanding of Dharma.
Manjushri is a fantastic place, I imagine that Harry Potter had the same feeling as I do when he first visited Hogwarts. The Temple is amazingly beautiful, you can see how much love and effort went into constructing it.
During the meditation breaks I really enjoyed the little French café (there are actually much more café’s here than I had imagined!) where I drank a lot of coffee and talked to whoever happened to be sitting next to me. The gift shop is also a delight: not only does it sell Dharma books and CDs, but also various gifts for friends like candles, bracelets, mala’s and soap.
All in all, this is truly an adventure and an extraordinary place to be. Even though I’ve only been here for a few days, I feel a strong connection and love for Manjushri. I look forward to many more Festivals: this was my first, but definitely not my last visit.