Online retreat: Emptiness and the Heart Sutra

(Please note: this online retreat replaces the residential one here and is shorter, so the dates are different)

Led by Tejananda

12 – 18 December

There’s a great deal of ‘emptiness’ in the Heart Sutra, The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who expounds this teaching, declares not only that ‘in emptiness there is no form,’ but that all the constituents of our psycho-physical being, without exception, are empty. What does this mean? Just what is emptiness? And what does it have to do with our own Dharma practice?

These are very pertinent questions, which we will be addressing and exploring on this retreat. We’ll see how reality is empty of our views about it – views which aren’t just harmless opinions but which give rise to endless, unnecessary, suffering. We’ll see how our beliefs in an intrinsic, substantial ‘me’, separate from the rest of the world, has no basis in actual experience. And we’ll see how and why emptiness is, precisely, compassion.

As well as brief practical introductions to the themes of the sutra, there will be led meditations and inquiries pointing to the emptiness of self in the five skandhas, recitations of the sutra itself and plenty of time for personal practice.

This retreat is suitable for people who have been meditating for at least 3 years

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Please book by sending an email to vajraloka.online@gmail.com (not our usual email address). Your booking will be acknowledged and you’ll be emailed information for logging in to the Zoom sessions on the day before the online retreat starts.

This is a dana event – please give whatever you can afford via the donation button on any page of this website. The principle of dana includes you being welcome to a free retreat – we don’t want anyone to be financially constrained from attending.

Online Retreat: The Awakening Heart and the Divine Abodes

(Please note: this new online retreat replaces the cancelled Total Immersion retreat)

Led by Rijumitra and Tejananda

14 – 20 November

Benevolence – metta – together with compassion, joy and equanimity, were taught by the Buddha as boundless liberations of the mind. The familiar practices with five or six stages are entry points, enabling us to engage with our afflictive emotions – liking, disliking, ignoring – and to uncover the true, unlimited nature of the divine abodes. Liberation of the mind from afflictions, even if temporary, enables us to return to the boundless qualities as the Buddha himself taught them: simple, unlimited, radiant.

This, in turn, enables an opening to the progressive contemplation of emptiness. The Buddha’s approach, found in the ‘Shorter Discourse on Emptiness’ and other early texts of the Pali canon, is distinct from the more familiar approaches developed by the Mahayana schools. It is less analytical and more direct and experiential.

During the retreat, we’ll explore these wonderful, liberative teachings from a perspective of deep body awareness and in a spirit of open inquiry.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****

This retreat is open to anyone who has been meditating for at least 3 years.

Please book by sending an email to vajraloka.online@gmail.com (not our usual email address). Your booking will be acknowledged and you’ll be emailed information for logging in to the Zoom sessions on the day before the online retreat starts.

This is a dana event – please give whatever you can afford via the donation button on any page of this website. The principle of dana includes you being welcome to a free retreat – we don’t want anyone to be financially constrained from attending.

ONLINE RETREAT: SIMPLY BEING

Led by Tejananda 10 – 17 October (Please note: this online retreat starts the day following and ends the day before the original residential retreat.)

At any moment we can recognise, directly and viscerally, that we are alive and awake. With a settled and embodied awareness, this may open into an intuitive glimpse of what we truly are, beyond concepts. This might be evoked as a spacious yet embodied presence, a timeless awareness-emptiness, or unconditional love, compassion and pure energy.

We’ll explore this by way of a somatic approach to just sitting meditation together with experiential inquiries – discovering aliveness, sensitivity, simplicity and clarity in our immediate experience. These subtle yet accessible qualities of our ordinary mind and being can act as gateways to the five wisdoms or ‘undivided awarenesses’ (jnanas), which are the essence of the five Buddhas. The mandala of the five Buddhas and their wisdoms offers a very practical map of our immediate experience, pointing to what has simply been here all along, unnoticed.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****

This retreat is open to anyone who has been meditating for at least 3 years.

Please book by sending an email to vajraloka.online@gmail.com (not our usual email address). Your booking will be acknowledged and you’ll be emailed information for logging in to the Zoom sessions on the day before the online retreat starts.

This is a dana event – please give whatever you can afford via the donation button on any page of our website www.vajraloka.org. The principle of dana includes you being welcome to a free retreat – we don’t want anyone to be financially constrained from attending.

The programme for the retreat will be as follows (subject to change if this ends up running exclusively online):

Session 1: Single ‘open’ sit – online from 6.50 onwards.

Session 2: 10.30 – 12.45 input / workshop session (with a break)

Session 3: 4.30 – 5.30 A few words and led meditation

Session 4: 8.00 – 9.00 Evening activity / meditation

ONLINE RETREAT: COMPASSION AND EMPTINESS

Led by Tejananda 

24 – 29 October (Please note: this online retreat starts the day following and ends the day before the original residential retreat.)

Benevolence – metta – together with compassion, joy and equanimity, were taught by the Buddha as boundless liberations of the mind. The familiar practices with five or six stages are entry points, enabling us to engage with our afflictive emotions – liking, disliking, ignoring – and to uncover the true, unlimited nature of the divine abodes. Liberation of the mind from afflictions, even if temporary, enables us to return to the boundless qualities as the Buddha himself taught them: simple, unlimited, radiant.

This, in turn, enables an opening to the progressive contemplation of emptiness. The Buddha’s approach, found in the ‘Shorter Discourse on Emptiness’ and other early texts of the Pali canon, is distinct from the more familiar approaches developed by the Mahayana schools. It is less analytical and more direct and experiential.

During the retreat, we’ll explore these wonderful, liberative teachings from a perspective of deep body awareness and in a spirit of open inquiry.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****

This retreat is open to anyone who has been meditating for at least 3 years.

Please book by sending an email to vajraloka.online@gmail.com (not our usual email address). Your booking will be acknowledged and you’ll be emailed information for logging in to the Zoom sessions on the day before the online retreat starts.

This is a dana event – please give whatever you can afford via the donation button on any page of this website. The principle of dana includes you being welcome to a free retreat – we don’t want anyone to be financially constrained from attending.

The programme for the online only retreat is now as follows:

09.30 – 11.30 input / workshop session (with a break)

4.30 – 5.15 Open meditation with bells (optional)

20.00 – 21.00 Brief input followed by led meditation

ONLINE RETREAT – POINTING AT THE MOON

Online Vajraloka retreat led by Tejananda

21 – 26 September

The well-known metaphor of ‘a finger pointing at the moon’ is itself a pointer to something essential in dharma practice. It suggests ‘don’t mistake the finger for the moon’.  But what is the moon, and what is the finger? The finger could be taken as whatever gets us looking and going in the ‘right’ direction. For example, the eight ‘right’ perspectives on dharma practice that the Buddha taught.

But neither these nor any other dharma practices are ‘right’ (or ‘wise’) if we’re relating to them literally, as ends in themselves. That would be ‘attachment to rules and religious practices’ – believing that it’s enough to do our practices by rote, and losing touch with that to which they are pointing us.

What they are pointing us to is ‘waking up’ – bodhi. Waking up from the delusions that give rise to suffering. Bodhi is the ‘moon’ of our true nature, which is always here, even when obscured by clouds.

In this retreat, we’ll focus on the ‘moon’ by addressing a core delusion – that “I am separate”. This is better known as anatta, ‘not-self’, but this core pointing-out on the Buddha’s part isn’t suggesting that we’re somehow non-existent! Rather, it is pointing us back to our essential non-dividedness.

We’ll approach this by first cultivating calm, embodied, aware presence and opening to unconditional love. With that as our ground, we’ll explore our experience directly and interactively, using pointers as to how we create and sustain the delusion of separation and a self-other dichotomy. Seeing through such delusions wakes us up from our self-view and to an essential truth of the dharma, the  ‘moon’ of our undivided nature here and now.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     

This retreat is open to anyone who has been meditating for at least 3 years.

Please book by sending an email to vajraloka.online@gmail.com (not our usual email address). Your booking will be acknowledged and you’ll be emailed information for logging in to the Zoom sessions on the day before the online retreat starts.

This is a dana event – please give whatever you can afford via the donation button on any page of our website www.vajraloka.org. The principle of dana includes you being welcome to a free retreat – we don’t want anyone to be financially constrained from attending.

There will be two input and led practice sessions per day, one from 09.30 to 11.30 and the other from 20.00 to 21.00, UK time. There will also be an opportunity to join a meditation with Prajnapriya, with bells but no leading-through, from 16.00 to 16.45 each afternoon.

ONLINE RETREAT – THE ELIXIR OF LIFE

The Elixir of Life – Online retreat – we have had to cancel this retreat here due to the continuing lockdown restrictions. However, instead, this will be the first scheduled retreat that the Vajraloka team will be leading live, online (Zoom).
It is open to those who booked and anyone for whom it is suitable (see below). Please book through vajraloka.online@gmail.com (not our usual email address) and you’ll be sent information for logging in to the Zoom sessions.
This will be a dana event – please give whatever you can afford via the donation button on any page of our website www.vajraloka.org.
The Elixir of Life
Led by Rijumitra, Jinapalita and team
Only through coming into our bodies, firmly grounded, can we open up to the qualities of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and hear what they have to tell us. This is what “the elixir of life” evokes – the truth of the Dharma beyond words. It points to the ‘suchness’ or ‘thusness’ of this moment, when all of our conceptual projections drop away and there is ‘just this’.

We will explore the richness that comes from establishing a heartfelt seat in meditation. Through meditation and ritual we will be opening up to suchness and to the blessings of the Buddhas – which are not two different things.

This retreat is suitable for people who have been meditating for at least 3 years
The retreat will run from 25th July to 30th July
There will be two input and led practice sessions per day, one at 10.30 am and the other at 7.30 pm UK time.

ONLINE RETREAT – THE DYNAMIC MANDALA

Online retreat – The Dynamic Mandala – led by Tejananda
As we are unable to run this retreat at Vajraloka, due to lockdown restrictions in Wales, it will be offered as a Zoom retreat. It is open not only to those who booked, but to anyone who has been meditating for at least 3 years.
Please book by email on vajraloka.online@gmail.com (not our usual email address) Your booking will be acknowledged and you’ll be emailed information for logging in to the Zoom sessions on the day before the online retreat starts.
This will be a dana event – please give whatever you can afford via the donation button on any page of our website www.vajraloka.org.
This online retreat will run from 7th to 12th August 2020
There will be two input and led practice sessions per day, one from 10.00 to 12.00 am and the other from 7.30 to 8.30 pm, UK time.
The Dynamic Mandala
Dharma practice is transformative. This transformation lies in gradually discovering how both we and the world are not at all what we originally supposed. As a consequence, we begin to uproot the causes of dukkha. As Dharma practice deepens, the practices themselves are transformed. Indeed, unless this is happening, we can get stuck.
In Triratna, our system of practice is a dynamic mandala of five principles. We progressively integrate mind and body, samatha and vipassana, and discover the power of skilful and positive mental states. Then, directly penetrating and dispelling our delusions, we open ever-more to the wonder of what is. Thus, at last, we can wake up to and be who and what we truly are.
In this online retreat, we’ll take a somatic approach to these five principles, that is, one based in the living energy of our body and being. Through being open to the energy of the body, and by becoming attuned to its actual nature, we’ll discover ways to “integrate” all five principles experientially into a single, embodied ’non-practice’ of Simply Being.

The Awakening Heart and the Divine Abodes: Booklet and led sits – Revised Upload

Below you’ll find a booklet and a series of led sits around the theme of the Brahmaviharas and the Bodhicitta Practice. Tejananda and I have edited the talks from an Awakening Heart Retreat we ran together last year and have attached the led sits from the Retreat. We hope you enjoy it and find it helpful.

For the Booklet click here: Awakening Heart March 2020

To Download the Booklet and Meditations click here:  Awakening Upload 2 (250Mb zip file)

To listen to the led sits on the website click on the start button. (They are slightly in the wrong order so I have edited the listing on the website to reflect the numbering in the booklet, apologies for the confusion!! Love Rijumitra)

 

1. Introduction and a led Just Sitting – Tejananda

 

2. Whole Body Awareness Meditation – Tejananda

 

3. Whole Body Awareness – Rijumitra

 

4. Led Metta Bhavana – Rijumitra

 

5. Lying Down Body Awareness – Tejananda

 

6.  Body, Breath and the Heart – Tejananda

 

7. Led Karuna Bhavana – Rijumitra

 

8.The Heart Space and the Heart Wish – Tejananda

 

9. One Stage Metta Bhavana – Tejananda

 

10. Led Mudita Bhavana – Rijumitra

 

11. Led Tonglen Practice – Tejananda

 

12. Led Uppekha Bhavana Practice – Rijumitra

 

13. Led Short Tonglen Practice – Tejananda

 

14. Lying down Hara Breathing Meditation – Tejananda

 

15. Led Tonglen – Tejananda

 

 

Vajraloka’s response to the COVID-19 situation

From the Vajraloka team,
We hope and trust that you are well!
The Vajraloka team are discussing our response to government advice on containing COVID-19 ongoingly.
At this stage, we are keeping up to date with government guidelines and giving people who have booked notification of cancellation of future retreats at least six weeks in advance.
If you have booked on a cancelled retreat and you wish to keep your payment to use on the next retreat that you come on here, you are welcome to do so. Naturally, if you’d like a partial or full refund, this is no problem.
We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at Vajraloka again in the future. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions (info@vajraloka.org)

Annex Build Completed!

Vajraloka is up and running again after our 3 month shut down to extend our facilities. Here are some photos of the finished project.