Where have all the people gone?
Generally, aside from an hour and a half teaching session from 9AM in the morning and an hour Daily Puja reading earlier at 6:30AM, most of the 16 people here for a nine day Buddhist meditation retreat were outdoors. Not naval gazing, but embracing their interbeing with all other life. Not as detached empty vessels, but as passionate, curious, awe-struck individuals in love with life and its many mysterious manifestations.
Tarchin Hearn was an inspired and delightful teacher who talked of — not just contemporary Buddhist philosophy drawn from Mahamudra and Yogacara teachings — but of systems theory, deep-ecology and poetry. For me, personally, a perfect blend of science, earth, art and the sacred that was devoid of restrictive and judgemental dogma. So refreshing.
What better to do after the morning session than to be outdoors with the rest of our animal and plant ancestors? Walking the talk, so to speak.
And, as soon as people had arrived and set up their tents, the nine days flashed by and they were taking their tents down, last hugs, and were off leaving me alone yet feeling throughly loved by everyone’s good energy in thought and deed — the deed being one hour of gift dana per day on the land and house.
Add this up: 16 hours per day by 8 days equals 128 hours of sweeping, raking, pulling bracken and weeding the veggie and flower gardens. Bursting with joy, the land, house and I were.
A day after everyone’s departure and I was contemplating the phase: “Before enlightenment: carry water, chop wood. After enlightenment: carry water, chop wood.”
The reason? I had to empty out the composting toilet. Two years worth of human excrement which had been transformed by worms and slaters into a nice nourishing soil. Three wheelbarrow loads later, the ground around the pear trees felt blest. Indeed.