The second day of our lamrim retreat.
Today we meditate on cherishing love, compassion and bodhichitta. And then we have two sessions on emptiness.
With everyone’s hearts mixing simultaneously with these loving minds in meditation, the attitude of cherishing naturally spills over into the meditation break. Also the rain has stopped and the sun is shining. People are scattered across the lawns in small groups discussing, or sitting in the cafes, or enjoying walks on the beach or in the woods, or working on behalf of everyone else. It is a truly heart-warming appearance and experience.
Gen Tubchen gives us Geshe-la’s and Gen-la Jampa’s words, and then leaves us lots of time to engage in contemplation and to absorb into our objects of meditation. Each object of meditation, when tasted, is so pure and expansive that it can’t help but touch and transform the heart. When a whole community engages the effect is magical. We get a direct experience of being the person we wish to b – kind, loving, joyful – and of experiencing the type of world we want everyone to experience – harmonious, loving, happy. Being on retreat increases our appetite for Dharma. We ask ourselves, why don’t I do this more?
As both Gen-la Jampa and Gen Tubchen reminded us, quoting Shantideva:
Why do I forsake the joy of Holy Dharma
Which is a boundless source of happiness,
Just to seek pleasure in distractions and meaningless pursuits
That are only causes of suffering?
On retreat the truth of these words become so apparent. We are so fortunate to have access to Dharma. We need to take full advantage!
The first week of Festival has fulfilled perfectly its function of preparing us for the extraordinary empowerments to follow, by deepening our experience renunciation, compassion and bodhichitta.