The joy of a good heart

Today, we go in. Now begins two days of retreat guided by Kadam Morten. In five sessions through the day, the Kadampa family has been taking the time to put into practice together the teachings we have received from Gen-la Khyenrab over the last five days, mixing our hearts with Venerable Geshe-la’s profound and moving instructions on developing the supreme good heart of bodhichitta from How to Transform Your Life.

Kadam Morten began the day by skilfully helping us to recognise our pure Buddha potential – imagining the peace and joy of a good heart that cherishes all living beings, then contrasting that bliss with the uncomfortable feelings of an ordinary, selfish attitude. With this experience, it’s really not so difficult at all to really want to be the Bodhisattva we have vowed to become!

Sitting in the beautiful Kadampa Temple surrounded by happy meditators from around the world, all sincerely focussing on cherishing love, you can understand how a better world is possible. There’s really nowhere you’d rather be. For those of us lucky enough to be here for the retreat, it’s going to be hard to leave, but when we do, the overwhelming feeling we’ll take away is our determination to try to cherish others more as the best way to solve our own and others’ problems.

Between the sessions, though the rain clouds threatened and occasionally a brief shower appeared (no rainbows today), people followed the instruction to relax and enjoy – but in a virtuous way: putting their good hearts into practice by discussing the teachings and meditations together, sharing their experience, and continuing to help out with the running of the Festival.

One of the most inspiring aspects of the Festivals that so many people remark on is the profound and peaceful happiness you can feel and see all around you. The Festivals give us the opportunity to understand first hand the truth that happiness comes from merit – the good energy created in our minds when we perform virtuous actions. Through the powerful merit we create benefiting others through our Festival jobs, our meditations together in the Temple just seem so easy. It makes you really want to help out, and it makes you want to meditate. Some people carried on meditating down on the beach! This is the power of a good heart, and today at the Festival it’s infectious.