Full Moon Newsletter from Dashon

It has been something of a whirlwind since emerging from my 2 year retreat. It was wonderful to come out and be greeted in such a powerful way - first with Lama Shenpen, Lama Tara and Pati, who came to collect me from the hut, Tara blowing a conch all the way, so I heard them before I saw them - and then to be met by lots of smiling, familiar faces in person and online. 

I have been asked a number of times how it felt to make such a transition from solitude into a full room of people and honestly, it was much smoother than one might expect, mostly because it was so warm and welcoming. 

After the morning’s activities, Pati and I went home to prepare Christmas dinner, as we were to be joined with good friends in the evening, before heading off to see my daughter and her partner for Christmas in Scotland the next morning.

We had a week in Scotland enjoying amazing walks in the Birks O’ Aberfeldy and the hills of Stirling, we came back to Wales and had a week of friends and their children and enjoyed walks around the equally beautiful and magical places of North Wales. 

And the weeks since then have flown by, as I have tried to catch up with some of what I missed.

Thanks to Sustain and all those who have offered financial support, I haven’t had to rush myself back to work, and it has given me some space to reconnect with Sangha activity without having to hit the ground running.

As you know, Lama Shenpen has expressed a wish to step back from the responsibility of day to day sangha meetings and decision making processes. There are a number of things she would like to pass on to me and we will let you know what that means in the coming months.

One of the things that she has asked to hand-over is the full-moon newsletter. 

So, here are a few words to fill that space for this month...

Over the coming year, myself and the Sangha’s management team, senior students and teachers will be discussing how to manage this transition, and what it means in practice for all of us - including Lama Shenpen. 

As Lama Shenpen enters the Venerable stage of her life, the questions of how we can most benefit from her presence are upmost in our planning. 

We will be thinking about what the best model is for the future of the sangha, for how we can best support students to go deeper into the practice, what changes might we make that will ensure that the mandala we create is truly benefitting us as students of the Dharma and aspiring Bodhisattvas and so on.

Once I have had a few preliminary meetings, I will have a better sense of the questions we need to ask and how best to approach the whole area. Then I will be able to invite more people into the discussion, little by little hearing from as many of you as possible.

For now, I ask for a little patience as I find my feet in all of this, but I trust that there is so much good will and everyone in the sangha wants this to work out.

Lama Shenpen and I will continue to have discussions about Dharma, meditation, and sangha building - one idea we have is to film our conversations - which might be very interesting… watch this space.

I will be heading to Nepal next month with Lama Shenpen, Pati, Yonten and Sumeru. It is a wonderful chance for us to meet fellow students of Khenpo Rinpoche, and as it is his 90th Birthday celebrations, I expect we will be able to meet many other Lamas and Rinpoches - a great opportunity to make powerful connections. Pictures and headlines to follow in a future update.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who sent me cards, gifts, chocolate, coffee, tea, and messages of support during my retreat. Many people sent me candles to offer on my shrine, which was a really wonderful connection between each of us, my practice, the space and to the mandala of awakening I could offer to on your behalf. I was very touched by everything I received. I hope to send out individual messages of thanks - but I am noticing how quickly time is flying past, so in case I don’t get round to you - please know that I hold your generosity in my heart  and make aspirations for us all to support each other on the path until we all realise the truth of enlightenment together.