August had me at a Riverside Park picnic with the lovely folks from our center in New York, Shantideva Center, with Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Rinpoche treated us to the lung (oral transmission) of the Praise to Manjushri and it was wonderful spending time with Rinpoche and the group. I also had the good fortune to spend some time exploring the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens with old friend, Ven. Tenzin Chogkyi.
Later in the month, I attended the two-week Light of the Path retreat in Black Mountain, North Carolina (just outside of Asheville). The retreat was highlighted by extraordinary teaching sessions with Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche. It was the 4th year of the retreat which began in 2009 and so fortunately, I have been able to attend all 4 programs as they have been totally sublime.
Approximately 300 people attended from all over the world and it was also a wonderful gathering of the FPMT family.
Ven. Kaye Miner (Resident Teacher in Holland) served as the retreat leader with assistance by Ven. Carol Corradi (the Spiritual Program Coordinator from Tse Chen Ling Center in San Francisco, with whom I lived for 3 years in the 90’s). They did a wonderful job leading us through various prayers and practices and meditations.
Rinpoche attended 2-3 sessions a day that covered a range of material including preliminary practices, guru devotion, death and dying, precious human rebirth, bodhichitta, emptiness, lojong, and how best to serve centers. Also included was a dynamic explanation of the 7-point Vairocana meditation posture.
In the break times, I was involved in a number of meetings with students, as well as participating in a transcription team. The transcription team reviewed each day’s teachings and made corrections to the written transcript that was simultaneously typed by Ven. Joan Nicell during all of Rinpoche’s sessions. Ven. Joan is clearly the 8th Wonder of the World!
I also attended some of the FPMT North American Regional Meeting. I gave some fundraising tips to the various center directors and representatives and enjoyed seeing so many centers represented.
I shared a room with a lovely nun from Holland who is studying in Italy at our Masters Program and caught up with many friends from near and far.
Thank you SO much to Kadampa Center, our center in the Raleigh area, for once again hosting this auspicious retreat and doing it so seamlessly and graciously. I am so grateful to Geshe Gelek, Donna Seese, Mer Stafford, Robbie Watkins and the entire team of volunteers who made this possible.
So now, I am catching up on my sleep, as I was able to get about 4-5 hours each night. Soon I am going to Boston to attend the Labor Day weekend program with His Eminence Ling Rinpoche at wonderful Kurukulla Center in Medford, MA.