Each year, we determine the programme for the following year. Here are the themes and their dates for 2018-2020.
Cutting through Ego-clinging: the practice of Chod led by Lama Rinchen THIS RETREAT IS FULL
Monday 3rd September to Monday 19th November 2018
The daily practice of the gift of the self (Lujin) allows us, according to our capacities and their stage of development, to reduce the influence of self-centredness, cultivate true love and compassion, accumulate a vast amount of merit, use the wisdom of emptiness to cut through ignorance, and finally access mahamudra meditation, the heart of our lineage.
This ritual is the support for numerous profound meditations, for which the detailed instructions were transmitted to Lama Rinchen by Gendun Rinpoche.
During this retreat, Lama Rinchen will transmit the commentary of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye. We will be studying the ritual (music and tunes), but also practising the meditation connected with this practice based on the Prayer to Machikma. This is why most of the sessions will be done individually in one’s own room. This is not a group retreat, even if the practice will be done together once a day.
This retreat is not for beginners.
It is intended for people used to formal practice, who are at ease with recitations in Tibetan (phonetics) and visualisations. It is preferable to have some experience of meditation. We will not be considering the practice at all from a “psychological” point of view, but purely in accordance with the traditional Buddhist transmission where our only aim is to reach enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.
Looking ahead to 2019.
There will be two 3-month retreats in 2019, from the beginning of February until the end of April, and from the beginning of May until the end of July.
Note that these retreats will also be the last chance to qualify for admission to the 3-year retreat that starts in August 2019.
Mind Training (Lojong) led by Lama Chonyi
Friday 8th February to Monday 29th April 2019
Based on the instructions of the Indian master Atisha, the seven-point mind-training is at the heart of the Mahayana tradition: training in the practice of compassion and the development of wisdom. Whatever our practice, this advice will definitely deepen it and give it real significance.
The Buddha taught the dharma for one purpose, to diminish self-clinging. By using the techniques taught by the great masters of the mind-training lineage we will learn to look deeply into ourselves, spot the habits of self-clinging and change them. Learning to use each situation as a possibility to progress on the path, we will cultivate instead the mental habit to generate and increase bodhicitta. The practice sessions will be devoted to training both ultimate bodhicitta (through meditation) and relative bodhicitta (through the give-and-take or tonglen technique).
There will be detailed teaching on the classic commentaries to the seven-point mind-training by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye and the 5th Shamarpa Könchog Yenlag, as well as teachings on the seven-branch prayer and wishing prayers. We will look at extracts from books on lojong by modern writers, both Westerners and Tibetans, and learn to appreciate them in the light of the classic transmission.
By the end of the retreat, people will have a thorough understanding of the mind-training tradition, understanding the causes and conditions required to accomplish the practice and how to progressively integrate all situations of our daily life - good or bad - through the two aspects of bodhicitta.
The Wisdom of the Dharma and the practice of Manjushri led by Lama Rinchen
Friday 3rd May to Monday 15th July 2019
* this retreat is slightly shorter than usual because of the coming out of the 3-year retreat on 15th August
Our life is very complex, and we need a lot of intelligence to understand the teaching of the Buddha properly and how to ensure its effectiveness in daily life. The Bodhisattva Manjushri represents this spiritual intelligence, an ingredient we are often missing. Meditating on his form, reciting his mantra, contemplating his mind: all are methods to clear away the veils of ignorance and develop clarity of mind.
Lama Rinchen will transmit all the instructions for the short practice of Orange Manjushri, along with advice for working with deity meditation. We will also learn how to integrate the Dharma using the 12-step study method by applying it to specific texts: for example, a short commentary on the hymn to Manjushri.
Assimilating the Dharma and applying it to ourselves and the situations we encounter in daily life are a priority for every practitioner. Manjushri helps us do this.
* * *
There will be no 3-month retreat in the autumn of 2019 because of the beginning of the 3-year retreat on 20th November 2019
The 3-month retreats will resume in February 2020, with the following programme:
Amitabha led by Lama Chonyi
beginning of February to end of April 2020 (exact dates to be announced later)
The Buddha of Boundless Light, Amitabha, is associated with Dewachen, the world of Great Bliss. Dewachen is the expression of Amitabha’s activity, the fruit of his wishes to manifest a pure world accessible to all, where nothing hinders progress to enlightenment.
Meditation on Amitabha allows us to create the causes for ourselves and others to be reborn in this pure land and there attain enlightenment. Four conditions enable rebirth in Dewachen: developing bodhicitta, being familiar with the description of the pure land, accumulating merit, and then dedicating that merit through the aspiration to be born there. If we are able to develop these conditions every day during our lifetime and so train ourselves, when we die, we will perceive directly the pure land of Dewachen without having to go through the intermediate state, or bardo.
During this retreat, the instructions for the short and the long Amitabha practice will be given, based on the commentary of Chagme Rinpoche. We will also study the long Dewachen wishing prayer, and so discover the qualities of the pure land and the benefits of being reborn there by cultivating the four conditions. Different meditations relevant to the moment of death will be explained, along with the various stages of the bardo, the state between death and the next life.
By the end of the retreat, those participating will we able to do the practice of Amitabha with a fuller understanding of all its dimensions, know the qualities of the pure land of Dewachen and the benefits of being born there, and appreciate how this practice will be of great help at the moment of death in our progress towards enlightenment.
* * *
For further information