Five weeks of study retreat, and actually, a decent dose of practice in this year’s retreat as well. We’ll be jumping into the Abhidharmakosha, what I like to think of as Buddhist physics. It’s the explanation of how stuff works, everything from mind to emotions to phenomena to time. I don’t know the text at all and I don’t know how far we’ll get, so I have no idea what we’ll be covering, but I’m stoked.
I’m also kind of preparing to have my brain explode from the density of ideas plus the business of working through it all in French (which I will probably translate into English in my notes to keep from losing pieces or losing my marbles trying to type really fast in French on an English keyboard). I’m hoping I have more stamina and focus than last year; I guess we’ll find out shortly.
An extra, very joyful piece of the retreat puzzle this year is morning practice all together in the temple. On New Year’s Day we began an accumulation of the homage to Tara, the bodhisattva of universal compassion and probably the most well-known female meditation deity. Aside from the ceremonies done on full moon days, it’s not super common that we practice together formally in large number. But Karmapa asked that we undertake this accumulation together at the center and Jigme Rinpoche shows up every morning to practice with us, which both confirms its importance and motivates the rest of us to show up too.
The energy of reciting words of aspiration and offering all together makes for an awesome start to the day. So tomorrow and this retreat and maybe even a new step for us all as a community begins like this. Happy New Year!