Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Kalyanasri on the recent retreat for private preceptors

I've just finished a very good womens' Private Preceptors week, here at Tiratanaloka. This is the third one we've had of these and they get better and better. There were 22 of us in all and we had daily discussion groups talking about any issues people wanted to talk about as well as the Ordination Ceremony, and Asanga's Ethics: covering only a small part of this text. We also had 3 personal talks about people's experience of precepting from Ratnavandana, Dayalocana and me. These were honest, moving and quite strong talks, all three of us having various amounts of experience in being a private preceptor and various stories to tell. In the afternoon meditation slot one of us led through different visualisation practices: Wrathful Vajrapani, the Manjughosa Stutti sadhana and White Tara, with a White Tara puja in the evening. It is very good being led through other visualisation practices: to get a taste of other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas other than our own, as one day we'll be leading people through some of them ourselves. The women who are still in the consultation process felt they 'caught' a lot from us more senior preceptors and much appreciated having Ratnadharini and Maitreyi here as the Public Preceptors, with their perspective and experience of the College. It seemed an invaluable week for helping to 'train' new preceptors, even though, as I said a lot of the experience was of the 'caught not taught' variety. Also very lovely getting together with old friends.

The week was harmonious and uplifting, seeing how being preceptors has informed and deepened our own practice of the Dharma. Well worth doing and well worth coming to.
Photos by Cheri Tamminen