Monday, June 5, 2017

Meanders into Buddhist Wales (an update 2011-2016)

It's been a busy few years and much has changed. I worked as the Director of New View Residential in Cambridge for around five years and was happy to see this grow, particularly in the light of the closure of Windhorse Trading, the Triratna Team Based Right Livelihood Business this grew out of.

I started studying a course called Discovering the Heart of Buddhism with the Awakened Heart Sangha in 2013. This was written by Lama Shenpen Hookham and is an exploration of Buddha Nature and Formless Meditation related to the Dzogchen and Mahamudra lineages of Tibetan Buddhism.

I've been really pleased with this course and it has refreshed and enlivened my interest in mediation and Dharma study. I went on a few retreats at the Hermitage of the Awakened Heart and started to feel that this was the approach for me.

I continued to support and run the Triratna Milton Keynes group alone and with friends such as Priyadaka and Prajnaghatu up until the end of 2015. I was beginning to find an increasing discomfort in teaching meditation and Buddhism in a Triratna style when it was clear to me that my heart lay with the Buddha Nature (Shentong) approach of the Awakened Heart Sangha.

At the end of 2015 I left Cambridge, my Buddhist community house and New View Residential to return to Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada. I wished to further explore the Buddha Nature teachings and Formless Meditation that I had learnt through the Awakened Heart Sangha. I signed up for one year.

I resigned from the Triratna Buddhist Order at the end of 2015 and took temporary ordination as a Buddhist monk at Gampo Abbey in October that year. Later in 2016 I extended that commitment to a three year Ordination. I took this from my mentor and good friend Ani Migme Chodron at Karma Changchub Ling a new Buddhist monastic training centre and community in Halifax. NS, Canada.

I had a great year at Gampo Abbey and made some good friends. It was so good to be back there after my visits in 2007 and 2009. This place really gets under your skin and in some ways I felt like I had never left.

It was very enriching to spend a year studying with Shastri Alice Haspray and Shastri Loden. We had a Yarne monastic rains retreat led by Ani Pema Chodron on the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva, one of my favourite texts. it was a real treat to study with her for a couple of months.

In late 2016, I returned from Gampo Abbey and took up my role as Hermitage Manager at The Hermitage of the Awakened Heart a Buddhist retreat centre in Gwynedd, North Wales. This is Lama Shenpens home and the main retreat centre for the Awakened Heart Sangha.

Here I help to run the retreat centre, set up events, manage repairs and maintenance and so on. It is great to be living with my teacher Lama Shenpen Hookham which feels like a real blessing.

to be continued ....more regularly ...

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Reporting in from the Hermitage

Here is a copy of a reporting in that I prepared for our AHS Quarterly Journal (called Tendrel). As the journal is only available to member...