Thursday, January 9, 2014

Arrival of Gampo Acharya Ani Pema Chodron for Yarne 2014

Dispatches from Gampo Abbey 
From Shastri in Residence Alice Haspray
(Photos by Les St Marie)

On January 7, between wind and snow storms and occasional sun, Ani Pema arrived at Gampo Abbey and was greeted by all of the nuns, monks, and residents.  The flags were flying, conches were blown, and all lined the walkway in the clear, cold air to greet her. She arrived from Halifax, driven by Gampo Abbey's new Director Richard Haspray and accompanied by fellow traveller Meg Wheatley.  Meg has now begun her annual two month solitary retreat in Naropa Cottage.

We then followed Ani Pema into the Abbey's main shrine room for a circle greeting.  Each person--old and new--introduced themselves and the work they are doing at the Abbey.  Ani Pema then began talking about the coming Yarne and the practice of silence.  She said that silence is both a gateway to infinite vastness and openness and also a  clear mirror of the workings of our minds. We glimpse the absolute through silence; and, at the same time, when we refrain from speech, on the relative level, we experience all of the emotions and patterns of our habitual mind clearly.  Absolute and relative. Infinite and finite. Intangible and tangible.  We experience all of these through silence.

Fourteen Yarne guests will arrive on January 11, and we will all practice together until the Year of the Wood Horse begins on March 2.  The Sakyong has given us permission to practice Shambhala Meditation during Yarne, so I will introduce that practice during our first silent week (which occurs during the second week of Yarne). The practice of feeling, being, and touching will infuse the atmosphere of Yarne with tenderness and kindness.  Ki Ki So So

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