• 25/10/2010 /  Retreats

    by Susi

    Awakenings

    Saturday begins our awakening to the truth about the nature of the Universe

    We humans believe that we are separate and solid entities. We labour under this delusion because our deficient senses don’t allow us to see the connections. The truth is that all of life is interconnected into one great Universal force.

    We revisit Albert’s famous equation, e=mc2, which those of us sufficiently ancient remember from dim dark days in science classes at school.

    Albert Einstein

    Energy is mass hugely multiplied by the speed of light, squared. Matter cannot be created or destroyed, it just transforms. Energy and Mass are inseparable. Take mass the size of a football, add the energy of an isotope, and you can raze a city to the ground.

    With astonishment we realise this is the proof of the interconnectedness of the Universe.

    We also learn that in 1939 Albert said, “If there is a cosmic religion of the future, it will be Buddhism’

    In fact, curiously, Albert has written a quote from the Heart Sutra on his blackboard:

    ‘Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is form’.

    Malcolm reminds us of the young reincarnation of the lama reassuring his parents,

    ‘Form is Emptiness,

    Emptiness is Form.

    You see, there’s nothing to be afraid of!’

    For your scribe, this is probably the most significant revelation of a weekend full of awakening. Fear is a debilitating force lurking at the bottom of every form of internal distress we inflict upon ourselves. Fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of illness, fear of embarrassment, fear of pain, fear of death, the list goes on. If we believe in interconnectedness and compassion, we can deal again and again with fear of different levels of harm, from the forces of nature to inflicted violence.

    Even the weather reinforces our awakening. The snowflakes whipped into a frenzy by gusts of freezing wind outside, which could so harm us if we were lost in the bush, are simply relocated energy. The wind comes from the spinning of the Earth and the differential heating of the continents of Australia and Antarctica. The beauty of the sun shining through the snowstorm is breath taking.

    Hunger is ‘awakening’ and we race, shuddering with cold, back to the dining room for Nara’s warm soup and pie!

    Reiki

    When we give Reiki we visualise a connection with the life force all around us, passing through our bodies to our partner, the recipient, whom we see as radiant space. We are, in fact, imagining something which is true.

    Why else do we all weep to watch Obachan Masako pass through the Reiki Tunnel? How else do we transform the joys and griefs of her 97 long years into a warmth and love so palpable she gives thanks for it hours later in her bed? How else can she recall it with no short term memory ?

    We understand why the Reiki masters say that the giver of Reiki gains the greater benefit.

    We learn that Reiki is one form of the practice of ‘The Place of Jewels’ , which represents the complete ‘Great Vehicle’ teaching of the Buddha. With an updated retelling of the parable of the Magic City, Malcolm awakens in us an understanding of the passive ‘Small Vehicle’ teaching . Although an appropriate means to gain release from personal distress, it is limited and inward-looking, popular with us all when we began Meditation.

    However the Magic City vanishes when we are strong enough to accept the complete Great Vehicle teaching. This leads to the ‘discovery of richly meaningful and supportive connections with the life of the entire Universe and reveals the Radiant Mind latent in all beings. It is of unlimited benefit to all that lives’.

    After this weekend, I don’t think any of us would contradict this claim.

    We travel in meditation on Manjushri’s lion (or zebra, or tiger, or dolphin, or Harley Davidson) to this wonderful ‘Place of Jewels’ where we are given a gift, which we discover on the next day to be the quote we have chosen for the time capsule from the spiritual signposts along our way . . .

    Mindfulness Dharma Walk

    Sunday sparkles, clear, cold and relatively calm.

    Lotus Sutra quotation

    Mindfulness walk: a spiritual sign along the forest trail

    (Photo: Robert)

    Walking through the bush, we have simply to retain words from one quotation as far as the next, remaining mindful to sights and sounds along the way.

    And what words they are . . .

    ‘deliver all beings from pain and suffering . . . ‘

    a purple iris, a crunch of leaves, a tiny trill from above . . .

    ‘keeping in mind the Buddha’s great enlightened body and his freedom from all fear  . .‘

    ‘all is dispersed by the sunlight of wisdom’ . . .

    stop a moment and feel the warmth of the sun . . .

    ‘joy and gladness’ . . . short sharp spikes, egg-and-bacon flowers, . . .

    ‘wisdom . . light shines without measure . . . from long-cultivated practice obtained’ . . .

    ‘You will all become fully awakened ones ‘ . . . leaves stir overhead . . .

    ‘The home of the buddhas . . . wherever bodhisattvas practise . . ‘

    rustling as a lizard scurries . . .

    ‘compassionate . . . patient . . . gentle . . . empty . . . ‘

    ‘lotus flower in the water emerges unsoiled from the earth’ . . .

    a palette of wildflowers, shy white, soft yellow, vivid purple . . .

    ‘remove the fever of the passions of life, and fanning the wind of liberation’ . . .

    breeze on my face . . someone moves near me . . .

    ‘true good friends . . . great field of blessings . . . peaceful place of pleasure, relief, protection and support ‘

    the roof of the meditation hall appears above the grey green olive leaves . . .

    ‘Dharma of Perfect Enlightenment . . .now I entrust it to you . . . words fall silent before it ‘ . . .

    a line of companions making their way slowly back . . .

    ‘accept and embrace even one verse . . . read it, recite it, and understand its meaning, the benefits will be very many . . . I predict Perfect Enlightenment’.

    Karina meditating in the sun on the veranda, a sprig of eucalypt in her hand . . .

    Past and Present

    ‘You are now living the past life of a future Buddha’

    ‘I know’.

    Thank you Malcolm, for your hard work and brilliant guidance as we ventured along the path to Awakening. Nara, for your warmth, not only of heart but also of food, and all that entailed.

    Obachan Masako, just for being yourself.

    Karina, for your youth, exuberance and support.

    And all my fellow participants, for your willingness and generosity as we all embarked on the journey.

     

    “Those who are able to copy, keep, read, recite, reverence and teach this Sutra to others will be protected and remembered by Buddhas abiding in other regions. They shall have great powers of conviction, the power of a resolute vow, and the power of a virtuous character. Know those people shall dwell with the Tathagata, and the Tathagata shall place his hands upon their heads.”

     

    Awakenings Participants by Remko

    Our "Awakenings" participants

    (Photo: Remko)

     

  • 25/10/2010 /  Meditation Courses

    New Course at Walker St North Sydney

    The mind is like an untamed monkey, leaping about from one thought to another and sometimes creating harmful mischief for itself.

    In this course we will find gentle ways to tame this mischievous monkey.

    Starts 7.00 pm Tuesday 26 October or Thursday 28 October

    and then at two week intervals.

    Fee  $10 per evening or $50 for the whole program.

    For information call (02) 9929 8643.