West London Buddhist Centre

Online Retreat: To Boldly Go

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Online Retreat: To Boldly Go

Saturday 12 June


Saturday 8am

Salutation to the Three Jewels
Refuge verses from the Avatamsaka sutra
Reading by Rigdzin Shipko
Meditation (part led, then silent with bells for four stages)




Refuges from the Avatamsaka Sutra
I take my Refuge in the Buddha
And pray that with all beings
I may understand the Great Way
Whereby the Buddha-seed may forever thrive.
I take my Refuge in the Dharma
And pray that with all beings
I may enter deeply into the Sutra-Treasure Whereby our wisdom may become vast as the ocean.
I take my Refuge in the Sangha
And pray that with all beings
I may be brought together in Great Harmony And have nothing to check the unimpeded progress of Truth.

‘There is nothing that is intrinsically a problem.
Meditation is not about wanting a cloudless sky.
As long as we know the sky is there,
The clouds are not really a problem.
The clouds can come and go as they please.’
(Rigdzin Shipko in ‘Openness, clarity, sensitivity)



Saturday 10.30am
Talk by Prajnanita
Poem by Robert Frost – The Road Not Taken
Poem by Louis MacNeice – The Taxis
Reading from David Whyte on Courage
Meditation – Loving Kindness Meditation
Amoghasiddhi Mantra
Just Sitting




The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

Poem: The Taxis
In the first taxi he was alone tra-la,
No extras on the clock. He tipped ninepence
But the cabby, while he thanked him, looked askance
As though to suggest someone had bummed a ride.

In the second taxi he was alone tra-la
But the clock showed sixpence extra; he tipped according
And the cabby from out his muffler said: ’Make sure
You have left nothing behind tra-la between you.’

In the third taxi he was alone tra-la
But the tip-up seats were down and there was an extra
Charge of one-and-sixpence and an odd
Scent that reminded him of a trip to Cannes.

As for the fourth taxi, he was alone
Tra-la when he hailed it but the cabby looked
Through him and said: ‘I can’t tra-la well take
So many people, not to speak of the dog.
Louis MacNeice

A Seeming Stillness
We love the movement in a seeming stillness,
the breath in the body of the loved one sleeping,
the highest leaves in the silent wood,
a great migration in the sky above:
the waters of the earth, the blood in the body,
the first, soft, stir in the silence beneath a strident
voice, the internal hands of our mind,
always searching for touch, thoughts seeking other
thoughts, seeking other minds, the great arrival
of form through all our hidden themes.

And this breath, in this body, able,
just for a moment to give and to take,
to ask and be told, to find and be found,
to bless and be blessed, to hold and be held.

We are all a sun-lit moment come from
a long darkness, what moves us always
comes from what is hidden, what seems
to be said so suddenly has lived
in the body for a long, long time.

Our life like a breath, then, a give
and a take, a bridge, a central movement,
between singing a separate self
and learning to be selfless.

Breathe then, as if breathing for the first time,
as if remembering with what difficulty
you came into the world, what strength it took
to make that first impossible in-breath,
into a cry to be heard by the world.

Your essence has always been that first vulnerability
of being found, of being heard and of being seen,
and from the very beginning
the one who has always needed,
and been given, so much invisible help.

This is how you were when you first came
into the world, this is how you are now,
all unawares, in your new body and your new life,
this is the raw vulnerability of your
every day, and this is how you will want to be,
and be remembered, when you leave the world.
David Whyte


Saturday 4pm

Short talk by Prajnanita (with readings from Dhammapada)
Meditation – Mindfulness of Breathing with a lead-in
Groups followed by Q&A
Amoghasiddhi Mantra (in call and response)
Just Sitting





Readings from Dhammapada

If you value yourself
then watch closely
today and everyday –

Discover for yourself what is true,
then encourage others to do the same.

In order to fix the wrongs of the world
you must first do a more difficult thing –
discover yourself.
from Chapter 2

The brilliant chariots of kings
are destroyed.
So, too,
the body dies.
The only aspect of life
that goes on living
is awareness
and the truth it brings.
from Chapter 11

Every "Star Trek" USS Enterprise, Ranked

Saturday 7pm

Short talk by Bodhilila
Poem by Jane Hirschfield – Tree
Just Sitting
Invocation of Amoghasiddhi
Amoghasiddhi mantra
Going For Refuge
Confession of Faults
Rejoicing in Merits
Amoghasiddhi mantra (in call and response)
Just Sitting



‘Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before!’
from opening credits of Star Trek: The Next Generation

It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.

Even in this
one lifetime,
you will have to choose.

That great calm being,
this clutter of soup pots and books—

Already the first branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.

Jane Hirshfield

Invocation of Amoghasiddhi
Turning to the north,
At the midnight hour,
I bow to the dark green light
That is the Buddha Amoghasiddhi.
Master of Fearlessness,
You appear from a mighty vishvavajra,
The basic pattern of reality.
You sit on a pale green lotus,
Clad in scarlet robes.
Your body is made of mysterious green light.
In your left hand
Sits a golden vishvavajra.
Your right hand is raised, Palm outwards,
In a gesture of supreme courage.
Master of Fearlessness,
Your great love and fearless action
Transforms the sufferings of the Titans
And overcomes the poison of envy.
You fear nothing
And so are free to act spontaneously
For the benefit of all,
Accomplishing all good works.
Your courage releases the energy
Caught in the opposites
of light and dark,
Self and other, Life and death
(and all other conflicts).
You are as free as the air element
Blowing through the forests
And around the mountain heights
Of your northern realm.
Master of Fearlessness,
Help me to face my own fear,
To look into the darkness of my own mind
And transform the demons within.
O Amoghasiddhi,
Help me to be free of restriction,
Free of fear, Free of duality,
And release in me
The energy of my untamed mind.
by Dharmachari Saccanama December 1999
(and Viryabodhi, June 2006)

Verses (adapted) from ‘Midnight Star’ puja by Vessantara


Mysterious Buddha,
In the deep midnight of despair,
When there is no safety,
No clarity,
No certainty,
You appear.

You hold the double vajra
In which all opposites unite.

May I accept the wisdom that you offer,
See beyond the prison of duality,
And emulate your still activity.

Where samsara and nirvana
Fuse and disappear
There I go for refuge.

Where birth and death
Fuse and disappear
There I go for refuge.

Where wisdom and compassion
Fuse and appear everywhere
There I go for refuge.


Fearless Buddha, whose actions are never in vain,
Please rescue me
From the thousand and eight
Fears and anxieties
That possess my mind.

Before you I confess
To all the commonplace worries and anxieties
That fill my day,
So that I rarely take
An easy breath:
The fear that stops me trying,
The fear that creates a façade,
The fear of being with others,
The fear of being alone,
The fear that makes me harsh, tight, and unkind,
The fear of not getting what I want
That makes me grabbing and self-concerned.

Before you I confess
The deep fears:
Fear of madness,
Fear of death,
Fear of life,
Fear of anything
Beyond the tortoise shell
Of my own ego.

Before you I confess
Most of all
The fears that hold me back
From giving myself to the Dharma:
Fear of commitment to the Path,
Fear of change,
Fear of renunciation,
Fear of generosity,
Fear of courage,
Fear of going deeper,
Fear of freedom,
Fear of wisdom,
Fear of devoting myself to all beings.

These fears did not arise by themselves,
They stem from a million choices and acts
In many lives –
Choosing unawareness,
Choosing lack of courage,
Choosing to bury my head in samsara.

Please forgive me,
And help me
To lay these fears at your feet.
May you pacify them all.

O Amoghasiddhi,
Please take my hand in yours,
And gently form it
Into the mudra of fearlessness.


O Amoghasiddhi
Titans rejoice in their own conquests,
Their one source of happiness is themselves;
You rejoice in the good deeds of all beings,
So you have infinite sources of delight.

Fearlessly and free from envy
I rejoice in the achievements
Of all those who bring
Beauty, peace and courage
To the world.

Fearlessly and free from envy
I rejoice in the spiritual heroes and heroines,
Those victorious ones
Who conquer self-conceit.

Fearlessly and free from envy
I rejoice in you,
The emerald goddess,
And in your endless selfless activity
That accomplishes all deeds.

Fearlessly and free from envy
I rejoice in your intimate care for the world,
So that every leaf,
Every blade of grass,
Is soaked with the green
Of your compassion.


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Drinking tea, sitting, quiet – ahhh. This Saturday enjoy Zen tea. More info here. Book here.