West London Buddhist Centre

Online Retreat: Letting Go and Waking Up

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 Day 4

‘As long as we’re centred in small mind, we’re always going to be dissatisfied.’
Paramananda

 

London Snow Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

 

Resources for Day 4:

 

Saturday 10.30am

Talk by Bodhilila on the 4th Reminder – Dukkha and the Defects of Samsara
Body-based meditation with awareness of the Four Reminders

 

 

 

 

“The Buddha taught that there is no enlightenment and no wisdom outside our own minds. From this perspective, what we gain from teachers, from scriptures, or from following the spiritual path through all its stages is not something new or external to us. When we follow the path, we simply gain more skillful methods to uncover our own wisdom and our own enlightenment.”
Dzogchen Ponlop from Wild Awakening

 

 

“When you come from the view that you’re fundamentally good rather than fundamentally flawed, as you see yourself speak or act out, as you see yourself repress, you will have a growing understanding that you’re not a bad person who needs to shape up but a good person with temporary, malleable habits that are causing you a lot of suffering. And then, in that spirit, you can become very familiar with these temporary but strongly embedded habits. We all carry around trunk loads of old habits, but very fortunately for us, they’re removable.”
Pema Chodron from Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change
“We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves – the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds – never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.”
Pema Chodron from Start Where You Are
 
“At some point, we need to stop identifying with our weaknesses and shift our allegiance to our basic goodness. It’s highly beneficial to understand that our limitations are not absolute and monolithic, but relative and removable. The wisdom of buddha nature is available to us at any time.”
Pema Chodron from No Time to Lose

 

What if there is no need to change?
What if there is no need to change?
No need to try and transform yourself
Into someone more compassionate, more present, more loving, more wise?
How would this affect all the places in your life where you are endlessly trying to be better?
 
What if the task is simply to unfold,
To become who you already are in your essential nature:
Gentle, compassionate, and capable of living fully and passionately present?
 
What if the question is not
“ Why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be? ”
But,  “ Why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am? ”
 
What if becoming who and what we truly are happens not through striving and trying
But by recognizing and receiving the people and places and practices
That are for us the warmth of encouragement we need to unfold?
How would this shape the choices you make about how to spend today?
 
What if you knew that the impulse to move in a way that creates beauty in the world
Will arise from deep within
and guide you every time you simply pay attention
And wait.
 
How would this shape your stillness, your movement,
Your willingness to follow this impulse
To just let go
And dance?
                           Oriah Mountain Dreamer 

 

Saturday 4pm

This very body that we have,
That’s sitting here right now…
With it’s aches and pleasures
Is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.
Pema Chodron
 
Vajrasattva Mantra led by Ratnadeva 
Green Tara Mantra led by Ratnadeva and Amitajyoti

 

 

 

 


 

 

Nothing is permanent
The sun and the moon rise and then set,
The bright clear day is followed by the deep, dark night.
From hour to hour, everything changes.
Kali Rimpoche

 

 

Saturday 7pm

Reflections on the Four Reminders; readings and silence
Metta and insight reading
Maitri mantra led by Bodhilila
Reading on the nature of mind
Vajrasattva 100 syllable mantra led by Ratnadeva
Threefold Puja with Green Tara Mantra led by Prajnanita
Transference of Merit

 

 

Readings from the session
The human body, at peace with itself,
Is more precious than the rarest gem.
Cherish your body – it is yours this time only.

 

The human form is won with difficulty,
It is easy to lose.
All worldly things are brief,
Like lightning in the sky;
This life you must know
As the tiny splash of a raindrop;
A thing of beauty that disappears
Even as it comes into being.

 

Therefore set your goal;
Make use of every day and night
To achieve it.
Tsong Khapa

 

If there is beauty, there must be ugliness;
If there is right, there must be wrong.
Wisdom and ignorance are complementary,
And illusion and enlightenment cannot be separated.
This is an old truth, don’t think it was discovered recently.
“I want this, I want that”
Is nothing but foolishness.
I’ll tell you a secret –
All things are impermanent!
Ryokan
“Experiences are preceded by mind, led by mind, and produced by mind. If one speaks or acts with an impure mind, suffering follows even as the cart-wheel follows the hoof of the ox (drawing the cart). 2 2   Experiences are preceded by mind, led by mind, and produced by mind. If one speaks or acts with a pure mind, happiness follows like a shadow that never departs.”
 from Dhammapada: The Way of Truth trans. Sangharakshita

The uses of sorrow

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand

That this, too, was a gift.

Mary Oliver

 
“Metta has the taste of freedom. If you are able to act out of metta – if you treat others just as you treat yourself – you are acting as if the distinction you unthinkingly create in your mind between yourself and others simply did not exist. In doing so, you free yourself from the power of the illusion of a separate self. This is Insight, and though you might not experience it in a cognitive way, the fact that you have developed metta, the emotional equivalent of Insight, means that you have developed Insight nonetheless. 
 
Sangharakshita from ‘Living with Kindness’ 
 
‘Imagine a sky, empty, spacious and pure from the beginning; the essence of the nature of mind is like this. Imagine a sun, luminous, clear, unobstructed, and spontaneously present; the nature of mind is like this. Imagine that sun shining out impartially on us and all things, penetrating all directions; the energy of mind, which is the manifestation of compassion, is like this; nothing can obstruct it and it pervades everywhere.’
 
Sogyal Rimpoche from Tibetan Book of Living and Dying 
 
 

Three-fold Puja

Opening Reverence

We reverence the Buddha, the Perfectly Enlightened One, the Shower of the Way.
We reverence the Dharma, the Teaching of the Buddha, which leads from darkness to light. 

We reverence the Sangha, the fellowship of the Buddha’s disciples, that inspires and guides.

Reverence to the Three Jewels

We reverence the Buddha, and aspire to follow Him. 

The Buddha was born, as we are born.
What the Buddha overcame, we too can overcome; 

What the Buddha attained, we too can attain.

We reverence the Dharma, and aspire to follow it, 

With body, speech and mind, until the end.
The Truth in all its aspects, the Path in all its stages, 

We aspire to study, practise, realise.

We reverence the Sangha, and aspire to follow it 

The fellowship of those who tread the Way.
As, one by one, we make our own commitment, 

An ever-widening circle, the Sangha grows.

Offerings to the Buddha

Reverencing the Buddha, we offer flowers 

Flowers that today are fresh and sweetly blooming, 

Flowers that tomorrow are faded and fallen.
Our bodies too, like flowers, will pass away.

Reverencing the Buddha, we offer candles.
To Him, who is the Light, we offer light.
From His greater lamp a lesser lamp we light within us 

The lamp of Bodhi shining within our hearts.

Reverencing the Buddha, we offer incense,
Incense whose fragrance pervades the air.
The fragrance of the perfect life, sweeter than incense, 

Spreads in all directions throughout the world.

TRANSFERENCE OF MERIT AND SELF-SURRENDER

May the merit gained
In my acting thus
Go to the alleviation of the suffering of all beings.

My personality throughout my existences,

My possessions,
And my merit in all three ways,
I give up without regard to myself

For the benefit of all beings.

Just as the earth and other elements

Are serviceable in many ways
To the infinite number of beings,

Inhabiting limitless space,

So may I become
That which maintains all beings

Situated throughout space,
So long as all have not attained

To peace.

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