Time at Vajraloka can bring all sorts of fruits. People often leave the Alwen valley inspired to try new things, let go of old things and step onto new ground.
As a example, Tim Harris kindly shares below some words that chart his own personal journey here…….
Victory in Retreat
Amongst rolling hills cloaked in clouds and trees,
Above the Alwen’s surging swell,
In the Red Dragon’s fair country,
Where the native Cymri dwell,
My tiresome journey was finally done –
To blesséd Vajraloka I had thankfully come.
I carried with my baggage, a heavy, heavy load,
Which had made my travels, a long and weary road.
Doubt I bore, and ignorance; conceit, self-hatred too,
Delusons I had plenty, and demons not a few.
But welcome was I given, and a place to lay my head;
I was adequately watered, and more than adequately fed.
Then came meditation, and mantras chanted every night,
And deep within me stirred – a feeling of delight!
My demons were not happy – they shouted their dismay;
“Oh no!” they cried, “It can’t be true – he’s found the Middle Way!”
And so they schemed and plotted, to find a cunning plan,
To bring me back from happiness, to their hellish land.
Meanwhile, in the sacred shrine, tears trickled down my face,
For joy had come upon me, by means of Buddha’s grace.
Sweet, pure and wholesome, was the Dharma’s taste,
And, of course, let’s not forget, the Sangha’s warm embrace.
Doubt dissolved and blew away, as does the mist on a sunny day.
Shattered too, self-hatred’s power, as self-regard bloomed like a flower.
But then the Lord of Demons, he whispered in my ear,
And said to me things – he thought – I would be terried to hear.
“Sorry, old chap,” he said, “I don’t mean to cause you pain,
But can’t you see it would be best if you returned to Hell again?
Perhaps you do not understand – here, let me make it plain;
If you start to love yourself, you’ll soon become quite vain.
You’ll give up being good and kind, and selfishness will grow,
Until you are an evil man – surely, this you know?
Aren’t you really better off with self-hatred, shame and doubt?
So stop with all this foolishness, and let us turn about.”
“No,” I said, “I’ve heard the truth – this debate you will not win.
For now I know that love of self is actually no sin.
When self and other, you realise, are in fact the same,
Where compassion and love for all, is your only aim,
There hatred has no place – no place! – for me, nor anyone.
So, you see, my demon friend – your argument’s undone!”
He gave a mighty curse and prepared to quit the field.
“This time I’ve lost,” he spat, “but one day you will yield!”
“Wait!” I said, “Before you go, I’ve one last thing to say;
This battle we’ve been fighting, ends right here – today!
I know you are a part of me, so I must love you too,
Despite all your nastiness, and the harm you do.”
At these words the Lord of Hell made a desparate sound,
And hurriedly he tried to sink deep into the ground.
“Not so fast!” I said, and hugged him close and tight;
The Lord of Hell he struggled, and fought with all his might.
But he could not escape my hold, and wept into my chest.
“There, there,” I said with kindness – knowing I’d done what’s best.
The Lord of Hell defeated, he vanished without a trace,
Never again to haunt my mind – now a hallowed space.
Back to the shrine went I, metta bavana to perform.
And there I sat the whole night long, until the light of dawn.