Pilgrimage, Prague event and Hermitage news
I hope you are having a relaxing summer and enjoying being out and about now that covid restrictions are over. Tara and I enjoyed our week at the end of the Peninsula just outside the tiny seaside village of Aberdaron. We were in the last house before the famous St Mary’s Well that pilgrims to Bardsey visited for a blessing before taking the dangerous journey across to the island. We had a panoramic view to the open sea and I spent my mornings just sitting looking out to sea listening to the birds and to Orderly Chaos (the book by Trungpa Rinpoche on Mandala Principle). The more I reflect on it the more amazing and affecting I find it even though at first I found it quite opaque.
I was preparing for giving my talk to the IATS (International Association of Tibetan Studies) conference in Prague but the more I studied the book the more I wanted to say. It is so subtle and deep and can only be accessed through a lot of meditation practice and I think also a lot of knowledge about the Dharma. I still find things he says that surprise me and yet when I contemplate them for long enough I start to see how everything he says comes together and gives me a further insight into my own experience, especially my experience of suffering, which of course that is what the Dharma is all about!
While we were away we visited the churches of St Hywyn’s and Llangwnadl – both pilgrim’s stopping off points on their way to Bardsey. We both find these churches inspiring places to meditate and are grateful for their parishioners who keep them going. On the last day we met up with Pati on her pilgrimage along the pilgrim’s route from Llanberis to Bardsey. She was walking a variable number of hours each day and having a sangha member assist her by taking her camping stuff and food to her next stopping off spot. In this way her pilgrimage was a team effort so it was a blessing for all. She has been keeping people informed on Facebook about her journey day to day but I hope she will also prepare a report to put up on the local pilgrimage website that Jayasiddhi started a few years back.
Since getting back to the Hermitage Jayasiddhi and Ktso have gone to Canada for a month to visit Ktso’s mother and sister, calling in at nearby Gampo Abbey while there. Meanwhile Eli and Norbu are holding the Hermitage manager role, very ably indeed. Eli’s parents are here with us again for a few days and, now that the Hermitage is fully open again we are getting more visitors and volunteers coming back. Tsering, Kathy and Sudhana have been staying as extra volunteers and Damzig is arriving on Wednesday, so lots of gardening and clearing up is happening. Namgyal often comes to join us and Mike (Mebar’s husband) and Robin have been busy replacing the pavillion roof. As with my cabin, the instructions for how to put on the tiles were not clear and got put on wrongly so the roof had begun to rot. Anyway we now have a rubber sheet that won’t leak and is guaranteed for 20 if not 40 years!
Last week was the IATS conference Prague at which I gave my paper. Tara and I were able to attend the whole of the Buddha Nature series of talks (eight in one day!) and I joined in the discussion at the end of the day which was nice. Anne Burchadi, Karl Brunnholzl, Klaus Mathes and myself – all Khenpo Rinpoche’s students - gave talks as well as Casey Kemp who edited my Guru Principle book and article for the proceedings of the Vienna Buddha Nature held a few years back (This will be published very soon). I am looking forward to my conversation with Karma Phuntsho (who also gave a talk in Prague) on Saturday July 30th. You will be sent a link if you want to watch it live and ask questions. I just listened to Karma Phuntsho’s conversation with John Canti – an old friend of mine from the 70s when I was a nun! Here is the link to the Tsadra Buddha Nature site events page with more details.
Tara, Namka and Younten will be teaching on the DHB Confidence retreat in August and I am looking forward to my conversations with Katie on the ‘Expressions from the Heart’ weekend at the end of August. We have various ideas of how to bring the Dharma alive through our intuitive sense of essence and completeness in the sphere of the arts, and skills of any kind really. This relates to how we have a sense of ‘all-of a-a piece’ and a faculty to appreciate that which defies conceptual analysis and yet is so precise and beautiful. This is telling us something about our inherent Buddha Nature – the question is whether we can receive the Dharma message of that without getting over fascinated and attached to our own creations!
With love to you all,