Thursday, October 12, 2006

The shrineroom

If you haven't been here for a while (or at all!) then you won't have seen our redecorated shrine room. Here's what Vidyalila wrote about the project to refurbish it......

When I was thinking about how I would describe the new shrineroom at Tiratanaloka, the words grace, light, contemporary, spacious and earthy came to mind. The neutral colours (from Farrow and Ball of course !) are interesting and richly significant enough to impact on the overall effect of simplicity. The carpet has been taken up and newly sanded light coloured floorboards now provide the smooth platform from which we sit to meditate, puja and chant. The wall lights and old spot lights were taken down and a simple string of spot lights fitted giving a soft warm light, highlighting the thangkas and paintings of Vajrayogini, Vajrasattva and Amitayus. A mala of floor up lighters give extra lighting to the shrine, where the Buddha is now raised high. The Buddha sits on a shrine of mature wood and slate found from a reclaimed materials yard. The wood is full of appealing marks of age and elemental intimacy which in itself is a rupa of beauty. Underfloor heating has been installed, which has meant that the radiators have gone creating an uncluttered atmosphere and giving more wall space for yoga. During a working retreat here in April, Sophia, Carol, Abie, Anna, Sujun and Ann joined some of our community, Candraprabha, Sridevi, Vajradarshini, Vajrasakhi and myself, to embark upon the decoration of our new shrineroom. After 3 days of polyfilla, heavy sanding and much dust, the walls and woodwork gleamed with the marks of readiness to be licked with paint. With ladders, loud sanders, varying size brushes, teas, kindness, some moments of poetry, and quiet concentrated work the shrineroom emerged into its new form. Each days work ended with us sitting on the plastic protected floor in the middle of the shrineroom surrounded by worn sandpaper, empty paint pots, and satisfied sighs of tiredness. We were not only doing the shrineroom on this work retreat, we were also relaying the path to the stupa, extending it to link up with the patio which was laid last summer, and painting the external woodwork of the conservatory but that’s another story!!

Life in the Office

Here's a little taste of what it's like working in the office at Tiratanaloka. I've just come back from a few days visiting my mum in Ireland so there is a bit to catch up on. Today I've been replying to a few phone messages, booking people on to some of our 2007 retreats, sending information out to women who have recently asked for ordination (78 so far this year!) and replying to lots of emails. It's amazing how quickly time passes. On a more personal note, I've been starting to think about the new year retreat on the Four Mind Turnings. There's a good bit about these reflections in Reginald Ray's book on Tibetan Buddhism 'Indestructible Truth'. Living at Tiratanaloka is such a mix of things - practical work, planning retreats and being on retreat. All have a very different rhythm to them and it's almost impossible to say what a typical week is like.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hello from Tiratanaloka

Hello! Welcome to our blog! The team here will be using this to let you know what's going on at Tiratanaloka - news about the retreat centre, about our retreats and anything else we think might interest you. We're situated near Brecon, in South Wales, and run retreats for women who have asked for ordination into the Western Buddhist Order.