Post Ordination Retreat at Padmaloka – January 2009

On January 5th I took the bus from Bristol to Norwich – stopping off in London for a few hours to meet with Dhammadinna – and so to Padmaloka for a week long retreat for the men who were ordained at Guhyaloka in 2007. Other than Adarsha who had so tragically died in October all the men ordained on that retreat were present. The sense of brotherhood was palpable – such an interesting group of men with unusually steady feelings of kindness towards each other. We heard a wide variety of stories from each other about the last year of our lives and then talked about various issues to do with our Buddhist life, and life in the Order. We touched on whether Sangharakshita’s teachings were sufficient or whether ‘other teachers’ or ‘other teachings’ were necessary or indeed desirable – we talked about our relationship to Bhante – and we talked very productively about meditaton practices and the nature of ‘insight’. One evening we practiced confession in small groups, and as well as the usual three hours of meditation a day we also dedicated a few other evenings to extra meditation practice. Every evening we recited one or another of the pujas that we’d done at Guhyaloka.
The week was very pleasant, and for some, challenging – the atmosphere was unremittingly intimate and friendly. We have plans to meet every year – I hope to join these retreats and take full part in this kula of men who will hopefully go on to develop and enjoy their spiritual friendships for decades to come.