The beautiful spring season on the East Coast of the States found me with an extremely full schedule. It’s all good!
I found myself teaching in the Philadelphia area, Buffalo, New York and then leading a blissful retreat for our New York center, Shantideva Meditation Center at Garrison Institute an hour outside of the city. Thank you to Paul Lukasik for the lovely hosting in the Buffalo area where I gave some weekend talks on Death and Dying. The Garrison retreat the next weekend was our second annual retreat there and it’s clear it’s emerging as an annual pilgrimage and event. Next year’s is already scheduled for April 2017. Our group was very concentrated for the meditation sessions and enjoyed the lovely setting overlooking the Hudson River. Participants took walks around the property and through the labyrinth and basked in the early spring. Shantideva Center Director, Desmond Hosford, along with Spiritual Program Coordinator, Arnaud Berger, and their entire community and Garrison Institute created a very welcoming and peaceful environment for us.
Following the weekend retreat in mid-May, I stopped by Zen Mountain Monastery for a visit on my way to Vermont. The second half of May was a most enjoyable retreat (thank to Jeana Malachowski for the lovely retreat space) with some teaching time in the local area and visits with good friends. I also very much enjoyed stopping by Milarepa Center where I was treated to some yummy offerings by Felicity and Kiira.
Vermont experienced the most beautiful spring. I was constantly dazzled by the fields of the largest dandelions I have ever seen, radiant tulips sprouting everywhere and walls of fragrant lilacs in full bloom. I very much enjoyed the teachings with the Montpelier Study Group, Thosum Gephelling, and with Sally Warren’s group in Grafton.
Loved seeing some good friends and visiting some old haunts as it was two years since I was last there. At the end of May, I cascaded south on 91 and over the George Washington Bridge to return to Philadelphia. I spent the next weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina teaching a weekend on emptiness, the nature of reality at the wonderful Kadampa Center.
Kadampa Center is a very developed FPMT center with more than 200 members, two dynamic geshes (Tibetan scholars), several nuns, a beautiful stupa (shrine), and a thriving children’s program. Thank you to hosts Karen Mastroianni and David Machles for their kind hospitality and everyone involved for making the visit so pleasant. I was also fortunate to have a dinner with some friends from my political days in Washington, DC which made for a very stimulating and enjoyable evening.
Next stop – California – where I will be joining a one-week retreat at Vajrapani Institute and then giving some teachings in both San Francisco and Campbell, in the San Jose area. Looking forward to seeing some old friends and enjoying the spaciousness of the area.