The spring and summer passed quickly and I so enjoyed the seasons as well as leading some interesting programs and retreats.
In April I led a series on Buddhism in a Nutshell for a local Buddhist center on the beautiful Swarthmore College campus. Swarthmore Buddhadharma Meditation meets in the Friends Meeting House on the campus which fits in perfectly with Swarthmore’s Quaker origins.
I participate in activities of three interfaith groups in the Philadelphia area. one of them located in downtown Philly called POWER hosted a “sit-in” at the Starbucks where two African American men were arrested this past April. I joined the march and protest, but had no idea I would end up on the evening news and a Nightline segment a friend in Japan saw!
I led some other programs at local centers and then returned to New York for Shantideva Center’s annual meditation retreat at Garrison Institute. It was another wonderful visit to Garrison and a lovely way for many to welcome the spring. From New York, I went up to Vermont for a tour of five centers and groups.
It was lovely to return to Milarepa Center and spend time with director and dear friend, Dawn Holtz and her partner, Jackie. They are doing a great job therebooking solitary retreats as well as hosting some nice programs.
I led a meditation day there and gave a talk at one of my happy places, the Montpelier library that they organized. I also taught in Williamsville and Grafton in southern Vermont and at a new FPMT study group in the Burlington/Charlotte area.
At the end of May, I was back in New York to celebrate Sakadawa (a major festival day of the year celebrating the Buddha’s birth, death, and paranirvana) with the Shantideva family in a nearly finished new space before flying to England to visit my sister and family before embarking on a teaching/retreat tour in France.
I led some nice programs in Paris at Centre Kalachakra and then took the train south to Toulouse to participate in five nyung nés (fasting retreats involving practices with the Buddha of Compassion) and some teaching/meditation programs at Institut Vajrayogini, a fantastic retreat center located in an old chateau that originally belonged to the Toulouse-Lautrec family.
The nyung nés, led by the sublime and huge-hearted monk, Ven. Charles, were just what I needed to re invigorate my practice and the community there was so booking solitary retreats as well as hosting some nice programs. I led a meditation day there and gave a talk at one
of my happy places, the Montpelier library that they organized. I also taught in Williamsville and Grafton in southern Vermont and at a new FPMT study group in the Burlington/Charlotte area.
It was lovely visiting the new nunnery nearby (that is currently being renovated) with director, Ven. Chantal and seeing many friends at Nalanda
Monastery also in the area. The study program is inspiring there and I hope one day to be able to participate in something like that. I returned to New York for the grand opening of Shantideva Center in a new rented space in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
What a weekend that was with Pari Rinpoche attending from Sera Monastery’s branch in Queens along with some monks and Geshe Tenley from Kurukulla Center near Boston.
It was glorious to see the new center and the magnificent renovation that was overseen by our kind benefactor and owner of the building, Georges Piette.
I then spent some time over the summer staying a week at a time in Brooklyn to lead meditations and programs for the new center.
It’s very exciting seeing all of the activity going on there from the Shantideva side as well as the Yogis and Yogini side providing meditation, all sorts of classes on Buddhism, as well as yoga. A fine new chapter indeed!
July had me leading another nyung né for Kadampa Center, our FPMT center in the Raleigh, North Carolina area. Thank you to Donna Seese for organizing everything so beautifully and to all the participants who really gave their best effort. I loved it!
In August, I had the great fortune to go to our center in the Boston area, Kurukulla Center, to see my main teacher, Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Fantastic! And then led some sessions at a local Buddhist center in downtown Philadelphia.
What a whirlwind it’s been, the summer like a speeding train, but so grateful that my dad is doing well and I’m still able to move around like I do.
I hope you enjoy the slide pictures…