Here I will post final reflections on the Winter Retreat. I certainly did not wish to give the wrong impression from my fictional farces (posted previously). Yes, Saturday night was a little hectic, but it was also full and rewarding.
Khenpo Tsultrim taught on a potent text – the Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones and every day I learned something I had never heard before. Like the significance of the prayer beads or mala: it is 108 beads typically, which represents the 108 deities in most retinues for higher tantric practices, but it is more than this too. The mala has the guru bead (the larger one) which we start from and end at, we never cross over the guru bead – rather we imagine each bead is a step along the path to enlightenment and when we reach the end, we start over again! How refreshing is that?! Then on top of the guru bead there should be either a three tiered stupa bead or three beads of differing sizes. This stupa bead represents that all three kayas (bodies of the Buddha) are different yet inseparable. Plus there was more!
Khenpo Chophel led us each day in chanting the Mani Mantra and when we had the full empowerment with Drupon along with the significance of the mantra teachings, it was very potent and fulfilling on multiple levels. It was nice to stay off premise this time around to have some space to myself and be able to take some time off if need be. I only backed out of one evening, but it was nice to have that option.
Saturday was indeed bizarre, as I went through multiple waves of resistance, irritation and then un-phase-able bliss later on. I was less than grounded as I experienced the bliss and ease – so much so that I could not sleep (yes the fictional piece is based on the real events). But I did fine and somehow, during the drive back the Charlottesville, it took much less time and less gas than usual – all while I drove at or under the speed limit? I was with my friend, Wes, who is an old yogi. Things like this seem to happen around him.
So I am very happy to have attended the Winter Retreat at the TMC. The Tsok was a nice touch as well – homemade and very healthy. Awesome!