W is for Woodbrooke and learning about Buddhism

‘Being Peace’ at Woodbrooke 18-20 December 2009

I wrote this account some time ago, very soon after the retreat. This weekend was significant to me on my Quaker Buddhist journey, so it seems appropriate to share this in this blog.

reflection

Impressions from a Zen Buddhist retreat:

 

the sound of snow crunching under my feet as we walked mindfully around the snowy garden in the sunshine

 

the taste of the vegetables as we ate lunch mindfully together

 

the sight of twenty plus adults snuggled under their blankets on the quiet room floor

 

the feel of that floor under my knees, palms, forehead as we ‘touched the earth’

 

the smell of the tea in the tea ceremony

 

deep relaxation aided by ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’

 

sharing readings and songs together: from the Heart Sutra to ‘Just William’, from ‘Nam myoho renge kyo’ to ‘Ubi Caritas’, from Plum village to a gospel choir

 

waiting at table to meditate together before eating together – reminiscent of the ‘old days’ at Woodbrooke, when we served at table

 

hugging mindfully

 

the quality of listening to one another in the ‘insight sharing’ group

 

the sense of connection to one another and to the world beyond as we ended our early meditation by bowing to the Buddha within one another and to the new day

 

happily babbling baby during meeting for worship

 snow

And what did I learn:

 

how to sit on the floor

 

that everything we do can be a ‘practise’

 

that the real practise begins when the meditation ends

 

where the next step on my journey lies

 

to be grateful for stairs

 

the deep joy of being totally present in the moment

 enjoy

This retreat was based on the teachings of Thich Naht Hanh and led by Murray Corke of the Community of Interbeing and Tim Peat Ashworth of Woodbrooke. My thanks to them and to all the participants.

 

 

 

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