Tuesday, May 03, 2011

17 June - 1 July 2011
How ethical do you really think you are? Do you believe that the small things don't really matter? Why does skilful action lead to seeing reality as it really is? Doesn't ethical practice inhibit spontaneity? Doesn't confession lead to an experience of guilt? How can I stay conscious of my ethical practice?
If any of these questions have ever crossed your mind then our Ethics to Insight retreat is the place for you to explore, discuss and reflect on them. Sangharakshita says that Going for Refuge is the lifeblood of our practice and observing the precepts is that blood circulating around every fibre of our body. At ordination the taking of the Refuges and 10 precepts from our preceptor is the central part of the private ordination ceremony.
Come and study Sangharakshita's 'The Ten Pillars of Buddhism' with us and practice the precepts and confession amongst your Dharma sisters both in the Triratna Buddhist Order and those moving towards joining the Order.
We currently have 8 places still available on this retreat. Please book with the office at office@tiratanaloka.org or call 01874 676482. Send a £50 non-refundable deposit to Bookings, Tiratanaloka, Talybont-on-Usk, Brecon, Powys LD3 7YS.
Cost is £475(waged)/415(low-waged/part-time)/350(unwaged)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Spring update

A lot has happened since we last updated the blog. After the goodbyes to Vidyalila and Ratnadharini we had a team of 6 for a couple of months when we had some community time, looking at Bhante's 10 points from the re-imagining paper (called 'Buddhophany') and did a ritual to mark this new phase of the team. Then the retreat centre was quiet as we'd not planned any retreats then, hoping the new roof would be put on the conservatory, but this didn't happen as our builders got so behind with their contracts due to the terrible snow we had earlier in the year. Our architect found us a new builder who began the insulation work, but the conservatory roof is yet to be done. One week we were inundated with men; with builders (insulating the sloping roofs), window installers (we're completely double glazed now), plumbers (re-doing the hall shower room), an electrician and then some men cutting trees near the power lines in the back garden.

We had our yearly working retreat, with the germoline pink ceiling in the 1st floor ceiling vanishing, as well as the anaglyta wallpaper. Thank goodness that's gone!
A lot of work was also done in the garden and as ever we are really grateful for the hard work from everyone involved. Bit by bit the retreat centre is looking it's best.

Vajratara arrived during the working retreat and has been settling in here. The team did a puja together to mark her arrival and she was soon on retreat and is now recovering at her parents for a few days. We're happy to welcome her to the team. Candraprabha and Maitreyi have been away a fair bit looking after their mum's, whilst Amritamati went on a solitary and then to London to lead a day on faith at the LBC with Vajrasakhi. The two of them enjoy leading days together at different centres so do invite them if you'd like.

A few of us drove up to Scotland for the first womens National Order weekend north of the border. It was a long, but at times beautiful, drive and we appreciated meeting some dharmacharinis who don't tend to get to the Order weekends further south. We drove back minus Kalyanasri who spend a couple of weeks up there seeing friends.

We've just had our first young women's weekend here, with 18 women under the age of 40 coming, although Ratnadharini was also on the team and said she counts as two young people! Everyone seemed to enjoy it and would like us to offer a one week retreat next. We start planning our 2012 programme in July, so watch this space.

We look forward to sharing further sunny weather with some of you over the summer (it didn't rain hardly at all on the last retreat...honest). There are still places on the June Ethics to Insight retreat, so contact the office for details if you'd like to come at office@tiratanaloka.org or call 01874 676482..

Thursday, February 03, 2011

New Year, New Team!

January has seen the start of the team changes at Tiratanaloka, with Vidyalila leaving to move to Sheffield and Ratnadharini gradually moving her things to her new home not so far away. The eight of us (below) have lived and worked together for over two and a half years.

Vidyalila and Vajrasakhi drove a van up to Sheffield and back the same day a couple of weeks ago and the next day we waved Vidyalila off in her new car as she left Tiratanaloka after 10 years, first living in a nearby village and working here as a part of the support team and then moving to Tiratanaloka five years ago to lead and support retreats when the team became one. She is planning on spending a year dedicated to painting and living a relatively quiet life.
She has taken most of her paintings which hung in the retreat centre, which are missed by everyone, but we are fund-raising to buy one. So far we've been able to buy half of it from retreat dana, which the team are often given at the end of the retreats. We're now hoping to raise another £500. If you'd like to donate towards this please do so. The painting is hanging in the dining room for everyone to appreciate and enjoy, so you'll see where your money has gone when you are here. She'll be missed by both the community and those of you who come on retreat here, but we wish her well and look forward to seeing what direction her art takes her.

Ratnadharini is leaving next week after 14 years leading and teaching on retreats here. She is also planning on a quiet life for a while, following through on areas of interest she wishes to study, continuing with her public precepting work and her dancing. She has just finished her last two week retreat here, although is coming to teach on the Young Women's weekend later this year. We also wish her well in this new phase of her life.

We're having a few days of community time next week as the six of us come together as a new team for a couple of months until Vajratara joins us in April. We're going to be looking at Subhuti's paper 'Revering and Relying upon the Dharma', which is something we recommend people read. It's online at www.sangharakshita.org.

On Wednesday we have the local Women's Institute group coming for an evening for a talk on Buddhism and discussion. We're really looking forward to this as it's a chance to meet some local women and explain what we do here. We thought we'd better do some baking beforehand too! They asked us to talk about meditation, stupas, offerings, the place of men and women in Buddhism, what we do here and a general introduction too. I imagine it'll be a stimulating and enjoyable evening.