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Summary of the Day

On September 23rd, we held a one-day retreat in the mountains above Carmel Valley at Grace Sanctuary,  a private property overlooking the Ventana Wilderness.

In the morning Rinpoche performed a Fire Puja outdoors. A Fire Puja is a powerful purification practice to help eliminate negativities and obstacles to enlightenment such as ordinary appearances, unwholesome actions and broken pledges, promises and vows.  Fire Puja is also used for promoting healing, restoration, and long-life.   Rinpoche guided us in our practice and visualization, leading us in prayers of healing for ourselves, our world, and especially for the land, creatures, and people affected by the recent Soberanes fire.  The text we used was the Riwo Sangchö (Sang Offering). The practice of Riwo Sangchö, the Mengak, ‘secret instructions,’ is from Lhatsün Jikme’s Rigdzin Sokdrup’, as arranged by Dudjom Rinpoche.

The afternoon found us in the beautiful 30’ yurt, where Rinpoche did a detailed teaching on The Nine Instructions for Concentration Meditation. Many questions were asked and answered about different mediation experiences.

The weather was beautiful, and Rinpoche and the many retreatants were very happy with the event. As Rinpoche wrote in his poem, Showing the Path to Liberation, An Exhortation to Seek Isolated Places,

If you are disillusioned with the cities of samsara

Chasms of attachment, aversion, and bad karma,

Go to a perfect isolated place

For good paths lit with peace and happiness.

Well, we certainly found that place, and the spirits of the land were very happy with our offerings!

Photos from the Day

Set up crew! Steve on far left, and Edy on far right are the owners of Grace Sanctuary.

Set up crew: Shayna, Rachel, Cindy and Diana were the main crew.

Rinpoche and the beautiful Ventana wilderness

As we were settling in before the morning session, sunlight came through the yurt opening, shining directly on the Amitabha thangka in the center of the alter!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Initial Retreat Information

Brief Description of Teaching

On Saturday, September 23rd, Khenpo Karten Rinpoche will lead a one day retreat including a morning purification practice called a Fire Puja,  and an afternoon teaching on The Nine Instructions for Concentration Meditation.

About the Fire Puja:  All of us have obstacles to enlightenment, delusions, that keep us in the cycle of suffering without end.  A Fire Puja is a powerful purification practice to help eliminate negativities and obstacles to enlightenment such as ordinary appearances, unwholesome actions and broken pledges, promises and vows.  Fire Puja is also used for promoting healing, restoration, and long-life.   Rinpoche will guide us in our practice and visualization, leading us in prayers of healing for ourselves, our world, and especially for the land, creatures, and people affected by the recent Soberanes fire.   Participants are encouraged to wear white clothing to support the intention of purification, but this is not a requirement.   Participants are encouraged to eat a vegetarian diet on this day, but again this is voluntary.

About the Nine Instructions for Concentration Meditation:  In his regular Saturday meditation classes, Rinpoche teaches Shamatha meditation, or that of quieting the mind.   He often notes that meditation is more than just relaxing the body and feeling peaceful, but a powerful tool for becoming aware of awareness itself, to “catch your mind.”  In this instruction, written in 2016 to help guide students new to meditation, Rinpoche explains how we can develop various stages of concentration within our meditation.   In the beginning stage, called ‘Placing the Mind,” we become aware of stillness (mind resting on object of meditation), movement (mind moving away from object of meditation), and awareness (mind moving back to object of meditation).   In the last stage, called ‘Equal Placement,’ “Meditation and non-meditation, day and night, become undifferentiated. Freed from any sense of stillness being good and movement being bad, you are not distracted from that state.”

It will be a day of visualization, purification, healing and contemplation at a beautiful retreat space in Carmel Valley.    We hope you can join us!

Retreat Schedule

Morning Session 8:00am-9:50am: Check in
10:00am-12:00pm: Session 1-Welcome, Setting Intention, Introduction to Fire Puja, Fire Puja Ceremony
Afternoon Break 12:00pm-1:30pm: Vegetarian Lunch (provided)
Afternoon Session 1:30pm-3:00pm:  Session 2–Nine Instructions for Concentration Meditation
3:00pm-3:30pm:  Break
3:30pm-5:00pm: Session 3–Nine Instructions for Concentration Meditation

Location of Retreat

The retreat will take place at a private retreat space called Grace Sanctuary in Carmel Valley, about one hour’s drive from Pacific Grove.   Detailed directions and the address will be sent to all registered participants.   Carpooling is encouraged.

More About the Retreat

The main teachings will take place in a beautiful yurt (circular structure), with some chair seating and cushions for floor seating provided.  Attendees are free to bring their own cushions as needed.  We will be moving from indoor to outdoor spaces for the fire puja ritual, so attendees will move from sitting to standing, with some outside seating available.

Prayers and printed materials will be provided.

Lunch will be served outside at picnic tables, and will include a simple, healthy and vegetarian dish. If you have special food needs, please bring what you need. Retreat participants are responsible for breakfast and dinner on their own, although coffee, tea and snacks will be available during breaks.

Retreat Fee:  $30.00

Fee includes lunch and printed teaching materials. Payment is due in full at registration.

Registration Required:

Please register no later than September 20th

Payment Options

Attendees may pay by cash or check on the day of the retreat at the registration table, or payment may be made ahead of the event.

PLEASE NOTE: Anyone with financial concerns is asked to contact Rachel Christopherson at rachelmdc2016@gmail.com or 831-901-3156. Khenpo Karten Rinpoche wishes that no person be turned away because of financial need.

CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD PAYMENTS AHEAD:  Please use the Manjushri Dharma Center giving page at:  http://manjushridharmacenter.org/give/

CHECK OR MONEY ORDER PAYMENTS AHEAD:  Please make checks payable to “Manjushri Dharma Center.”  Mail checks to Manjushri Dharma Center, 724 Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA 93950.  Alternatively, checks can be left in the donation box at the Manjushri Dharma Center with “September Retreat” in the memo.

 

More About the Ritual and Teaching

Fire Puja

There are several websites that explain more about the ritual of the Fire Puja.   What is Fire Puja, by Tsem Rinpoche and The Fire Puja Offerings, from the website Tibetan Buddhism and Culture Blogspot are two sites that explain in detail the meaning, variations, and practice of Fire Puja.

The Root Text

Participants will be given copies of “The Nine Instructions for Concentration Meditation,” written by Khenpo Karten Rinpoche, 2016.

Precepts

Precepts are a set of commitments observed by laypeople during periods of intensive meditation practice or in conjunction with special teachings or holy days.  Precepts are taken to help purify our minds and support our spiritual practice while engaging in retreat.  There are five main precepts that form the basic ethical code of moral conduct in daily life, and three additional precepts that can be kept on special days.   Precepts are voluntary, and not required for participation in the retreat.  They are simply listed here for those who wish to do this part of the practice.   No guilt please!  All welcome!

 

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