Forty-four fortunate daughters and sons received precious dzogchen teachings from the text “Self-Liberation through Naked Awareness” written by Guru Rinpoche. Lama Lena Yeshe Kaytup bestowed the teachings over five days at the Dharma Centre of Canada.
We arrived at the land of many spirits: land spirits, birds, deer་, bear (although we did not see any) as well as scampering chipmunks. We rejoiced in greeting old friends- those we only see at these retreats and yet who feel like our closest companions. New friends appeared as well and touched our hearts. The land welcomed us and supported us in many ways- deep peace, silence, shelter and amazing food.
We arose before dawn to begin our days, synergizing our energy and assisting one another in practice. We walked down from the Hermitage half awake, in the quiet dark of the woods to sit in the temple. Before we knew it the birds began their first calls and the high circular window let in the first sign of light and we arose from our cushions, amazed.
Breakfast followed and then a time of karma yoga. I worked on the weeding patrol and was surrounded by mosquitoes but protected by my screen jacket. By the time the sun cleared the tall trees, it was time for another session of meditation and then a teaching with Lama Lena.
Lama Lena was so generous with us, working tirelessly to point out our true essence to us over and over again, answering our many questions and addressing our varying needs. Lama Lena made time for each person and met us exactly where we were. Many of us took refuge with Lama Lena in a ceremony requested by her students.
Our afternoons were for rest and then in the late afternoon we met in the temple for another teaching session. After sunset, our final practice session occurred and then off to sleep. Often throughout our retreat, we heard each other practicing outdoors in various places in the woods, under the canopy of the Buddha statue or close to the main house. Thus we got to know each other in spite of practical silence that we observed during the retreat. The last night we made a tsok offering and then listened to a poem, some songs and watched the dance of dharmadatu unfold in front of us.
It was a glorious retreat! And we will all look forward to being back at the Centre again and as soon as possible. As one retreatant said, “What more could a girl want than to stay longer?”
Heart-felt thanks to all those who made this retreat possible and to Lama Lena for her clear vision and open-heartedness.
See you next year!!