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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wonderful Three Days

On the last day when we were about to share our retreat experiences, Ray stood up and said "Hey look. A deer outside our window." That kind of summarized the wonderful environment, the American Bodhi Center, where we spent three days of our insight meditation retreat. The retreat was guided by Ven K (3rd on front row) and Ven. Nanda delivered 2 excellent Dharma talk for two nights (2nd on front row).
Picture: Taken on the last day of the retreat. This time were about equal number of male and female meditators.

Ven. Nanda expounded wonderful teachings with is fluent Pali recitation and explanation in English. We came to learn that Ven. Nanda was born in Sri Lanka and ordained as a monk in his early age (on his own insistent). Graduated in a University and studied overseas like Taiwan where he learnt Chinese. He currently established several Buddhists centers and on a busy travel schedule.

On the fist evening, he explained the importance of sadha- faith, trust and confidence in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and how it can help with the practice of meditation. The key essence is to understand and reflect on the qualities of the Buddha and not simply the historic person that lived 2500 years ago. In contemplating these qualities encourage each yogi to have faith in the truth of Dharma, then build trust through deep understanding. Ultimately with steady insight developed confidence that we one day we will also be able to achieve the awakening that was described.

One of the word of advise that Ven. Nanda gave all of us that should brings home to many that practices meditation is "DO NOT GIVE UP!" here is nether good nor bad meditation, it is the the time we spend practicing that counts. When we are discouraged, his council is that it is time to remind ourselves "not to give up". It is so true for each and every minute, especially when the body experiences pain and the mind suffers distress after long meditation practices.

All of us woke up at 5:00AM and after morning brisk walking exercise, Ven. Katapunno lead us for our first morning meditation and service. We all took eight precepts which include no meals after lunch. I for one enjoys this part, in observing hunger in the evening catch them when it arises and soon they faded away and again it comes back. See also how hunger pain distress the mind and and that was what the Buddha said, shooting ourselves with two arrows. The fisr is the physical hunger pain and the second arrow is the distressing mind. The later is usually the one that is the most damaging.

One more thing, I will be remiss, if I did not mentioned the delicious vegetarian food that was prepared by Ven. Shiou Tao. That is a must for all visitor to the American Bodhi Cneter. In case you plan to go, do contact the center so they are prepared for your arrival.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 26-28, 2012 3-Day Retreat

In May, we will have a 3 day retreat during Memorial Holidays. Check-in is on 5/25/2012 from 7:00pm to7:30pm and orientation at 8:00pm. If you cannot make it to the orientation, go to the administration office to check in and volunteers will assist you. For any special requests or questions, please contact the center (Tel:979-921-6969). Registration form and flyer.

Retreat Schedule:
      5:00    Mornign Wake Up
      5:30  - 6:00    Exercise
      6:00  -  7:15    Sitting Meditation,Morning Service
      7:30  -  8:00    Breakfast
      8:00  -   8:30    Mindful Cleaning
      8:45  -  11:45    Walking/Sitting Meditation
Lunch     12:00 - 12:30    Lunch
     12:30  -  1:15    Rest
      1:30 -   5:30    Walking/Sitting Meditation
      5:30 -   6:00    Medicine Meal
      6:00 -   7:00    Self Practice
      7:00 -  9:00    Dharma Talk/ Sitting Meditation
     10:00 ~ ~ ~ ~    Mindfully go to bed