On June 22, I flew to California to attend a one-week retreat at Vajrapani Institute. The retreat was called The Four Awakenings and was led by old friend and great yogi, Ven. Rene Feusi. Sessions included shinay (calm abiding meditation) along with guided meditations on awakening:
- to the beauty of life
- to countering delusions
- to the nature of reality
- to developing the good heart.
It was wonderful to be back at my redwood home and the precious Dharma community surrounding it (something often missing from my life on the east coast where the centers are more spread out and many less monastics). So it was great to catch up with old friends, visit many old haunts, and reconnect with the Pacific Ocean.
I also taught at Tse Chen Ling Center in San Francisco, where I lived for 3 years with founder, Ven. Carol Corradi from 1992 – 1995, in a previous incarnation of the center. On my last night in California, I taught at Ocean of Compassion Buddha Center in the San Jose area, another FPMT center in the area.
Vajrapani Institute is just shining and everyday I found myself marveling at every wonderful change. Since I lived there for 9 years, took Refuge and got ordained there, it always feels like home so it was wonderful walking around the magical stupa, gazing up at the majestic redwoods, and enjoying the wildlife. Fabienne and the rest of the staff are great and doing an amazing job and invited me back to lead the Kopan West retreat in April, 2017. Loved connecting with both Nina (passing through and volunteering for a couple of weeks) and RJ (Tech Wizard Supreme!) from the Milarepa days. The food was great, the environment blissful, and everyone very supportive. You guys rock!
Tse Chen Ling Center, now in its 6th location, is darling, in what was once a church near City College in south San Francisco. I so enjoyed my time with director Ven. Lisa and my old friend Ven. Carol, the spiritual program coordinator; as a nun, it’s always nice hanging out with nuns!
Ocean of Compassion Buddha Center is located in Campbell in the Silicon Valley and has a lovely open space not far from downtown Campbell. Margaret, the director, and Urs, the program coordinator, were so kind and it was so nice to see people from Vajrapani come over the hill for the evening program. Loved seeing Steve and Trish from Shantideva Meditation Center in New York, now part of our California sangha.
All in all, it was a beautiful time and I am so grateful to all for offering housing, food, vehicles, and your precious hearts.
Enjoy the photos!