Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Retreat at Tenzin Gyatso Institute

I just returned from the retreat at the Tenzin Gyatso Institute. It was
an amazing event. While driving up with my friend Neal, we listened to
Michaela's beautiful cd "Actual Mind." It is such a great inspiration!
We were contemplating about how we could bring a more contemplative
style to our lives. The first two days of the retreat were the
inaugurational celebration of TGI. There was Tibetan music, speeches
by Patrick Gaffney, Sogyal Rinpoche, Lodi Gyari Rinpoche, Tsoknyi
Rinpoche and Daniel Goleman. It was a very exciting event, with not
just rigpa students present, but also a large group of Tibetans and
local residents. What was very exciting is that most of the Tibetans
were actually quite young. Maybe we should try to forge more bonds
with the young Tibetans and share the culture and the teachings. This
is definitely something I want to work on in New York City (especially
now we have the New York City Center, which Rinpoche inaugurated last
Monday, the day after the retreat). While Sogyal Rinpoche taught
mainly on shamatha, Tsoknyi Rinpoche gave some guidance on vipashyana
and the four types of ego. Daniel Goleman shared some psychological
and neuroscientific findings.

After all this excitement, we settled in the more normal retreat mode,
with Rinpoche and Patrick giving some amazing teachings. How lucky am
I to be able to receive all these teachings! And how lucky that I am
still configuring my life, getting ready for a move back to the
Netherlands. Whenever you are in an unsettled state like that, it is
so much easier to give the teachings a place before samsara creeps
in. Just to have the taste of the amazing space, peace and compassion
that is already and always present in our mind was extremely
inspiring. And if only I can make that part of my being, if I can
nurture it, then whatever work I do will be able to benefit
beings. Really, what else would be need? These teachings so much
changed my priorities--I started to notice (again) how much of my time
I spend "I want this...", "If only I could have this...", or "I think
he thinks I am doing really well," or "I really want to impress these
people." And the joke is that it's all irrelevant! As Rinpoche says in
some of his teachings: it's like an echo. The most important is really
to turn our mind inwards...

Unfortunately we did not have any Rigpa Youth meetings, because all
the young people were too busy holding the retreat... Nevertheless, we
did of course connect a little bit informally during the meal
breaks. Given that young people form a good part of the retreat team
in the US, we get to hang out with each other that way. Hopefully
we'll be able to support each other bringing the retreat in our lives
through Facebook and the like.

Report by Marieke van Vugt

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