Sustainable Living Retreat (26 Nov – 6 Dec @ Dharmalaya)

2012 work retreat

What: Residential Retreat and Service-Learning Workshop
Topic: Sustainable Living in the Himalayas
Where: Dharmalaya Institute in HP, India
When: 26 November – 6 December 2014
Language: English (and Hindi if requested)
Facilitators: Mark Moore, Sourabh Phadke, et al.

Description: A ten-day inner/outer adventure in sustainable and compassionate living, providing opportunities for hands-on learning of various skills and concepts related to traditional earthen building, organic gardening, and natural landscaping, integrated with mindfulness, meditation and other inner explorations.

Workshops and groups sessions may include the following:

  • Hands-on education in traditional earthen architecture of the Himalayas
  • Natural landscaping and organic gardening
  • Meditation and yoga/chi kung (morning/evening sessions)

Cost: Rs 1200 per day (Rs 12,000 total) including comfortable tent/dormitory accommodation and healthy meals.

Information & Registration
For details and registration, visit the Dharmalaya Institute’s website.

Lojong: Mind Training with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (22-23 March @ Deer Park)

What: Teachings on mind training (Tib: lojong)
When: 22-23 March 2014
Where: Deer Park Institute, Bir
Who: Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo is a renowned Buddhist teacher, popular worldwide for her warm, clear and down-to-earth presentation of the Dharma and its application in daily life. The inspiring story of her life, including 12 years of secluded retreat in a Himalayan cave, is the subject of a well-known biography, “Cave in the Snow”. Jetsunma is the founder and abbess of Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery near Tashijong, H.P

http://www.tenzinpalmo.com

For information: www.deerpark.in/programs/schedule/mind-training-lojong/

Sustainable Living Work Retreat (25 Mar – 4 Apr @ Dharmalaya)

2012 work retreat

What: Service-Learning Retreat with SanghaSeva
Topic: Living in Balance: Contemplation, Compassion, and Sustainability
WhereDharmalaya Institute in Bir, HP, India
When: March 25 to April 4, 2014
Language: English
Facilitators: Zohar Lavie, Nathan Glyde, Mark Moore, Mai-Linh Leminhbach

Description: Residential service-learning retreat program at the Dharmalaya Institute. Possible workshops and groups sessions include the following:

  • Hands-on education in traditional earthen architecture of the Himalayas
  • Organic gardening and permaculture landscaping
  • Meditation and yoga/movement
  • A mixture of silent practice and group connection and activity

Please note: Space is limited, so advance registration and deposit are required.

For details and registration, please visit the SanghaSeva website.

Silent Meditation Retreat (17-24 March at Dharmalaya)

Group Sit

What: Silent Meditation Retreat with SanghaSeva
WhereDharmalaya Institute in Bir, HP, India
When: 17-24 March 2014
Who: Zohar Lavie & Nathan Glyde
Language: English

Description: Residential silent meditation retreat led by Zohar Lavie and Nathan Glyde of SanghaSeva. Simple accommodation in tents/dormitory in a beautiful Himalayan setting.

Note: Space is limited, so advance registration and deposit are required. 

For details and registration, please visit the SanghaSeva website.

Open Volunteer Period at Dharmalaya (1 Dec 2013 – 15 Mar 2014)

What: Informal, minimally structured volunteer opportunities for sustainable living
When: 1 December 2013 through 15 March 2014 (Participants may arrive and depart anytime during this period)
Where: Dharmalaya Institute
Languages: English & Hindi
Facilitators: Raj Kumar, Naresh Sharma, et al (plus Mark Moore from 1-15 March)

Description: Informal volunteer opportunities at the Dharmalaya Institute open to both residential and non-residential participants. During this period, there is no educational or training programme as such, but there is plenty of physical work to do — including green building, organic gardening, natural landscaping and possibly some tree planting — and Dharmalaya is a beautiful place to get your hands dirty and learn a bit about green living and Himalayan culture in the process.

Since there is no formal instruction during this period and there is no organised programme, one simply jumps in and does whatever needs doing on a given day, learning by watching others and then doing it yourself. In such an unstructured or loosely guided situation, sometimes one needs to ask for help if one needs it, so a certain degree of self-motivation and initiative makes for the best experience. It also helps to bring a healthy sense of flexibility, since the work to be done might vary from one day to the next, depending on circumstances. If that appeals to you, you’re welcome to come and go anytime between 1 December 2013 and 15 March 2014. Please note that this is the winter season, so bring warm clothes.

For more information see Dharmalaya’s volunteer page, read the FAQ, and complete the volunteer application if you’re interesting in joining.

“Subtle Consciousness Meditation” Retreat (4-9 Dec @ Deer Park)

What: “Subtle Consciousness Meditation” Retreat
Where: Deer Park Institute, Bir
When: 4-9 December, 2013
Who: Ven. Sudhammacara

This ‘Subtle Consciousness Meditation Retreat’ is based on the One Dharma Meditation Method compiled by Ven. Sudhammacara. It consists of three kinds of practice: mindfulness of body sensation, compassion meditation and ana-pana sati (mindfulness of in-breath and out-breath).

These practices enable us to dwell in the present moment.  Here and now, we gradually uncover our Subtle Consciousness which is usually clouded by our deluded, non-stop thinking. We go back to our true home with peace and joy after travelling abroad painfully so many years.In the end, we are finally discovering who we really are.

These intensive silent retreats will include regular sessions of sitting and walking meditation, accompanied by Dharma teachings and personal guidance. The retreats are open to both beginners and experienced meditators. From this year, the retreat will include Yoga classes. These will be led by Reiko Azuma, who has been teaching Yoga in Ven. Sudhammacara’s meditation retreats in Japan and Taiwan. Meditators get much benefit from Yoga exercises.

Guests and visitors who are not able to attend the whole retreat may attend some sessions only, but are requested to maintain silence around the meditation hall and dining area, to support the retreatants.

Teacher: Ven. Sudhammacara

Ven.Sudhammacara was ordained in the Japanese Soto Zen tradition in 1983, under Kosho Uchiyama Roshi lineage. He practiced and taught zazen meditation for more than 18 years, including several years spent teaching at Valley Zendo in Massachusetts, USA.

In 2001, he took Theravadan Bhikku ordination in the Burmese forest monk tradition under Pa-Auk Sayadaw, and trained in shamatha (calm abiding) and vipassana (insight) meditation in Burma and Sri Lanka. Since 2006, he has also been exposed to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Now he calls himself One Dharma Buddhist monk.

Ven. Sudhammacara has been a regular visiting teacher at Deer Park, where he offers mindfulness meditation retreats, since autumn 2007. Most of the year, he lives in Kamakura, Japan, where he teaches meditation at his centre Ippo-an (One Dharma Forum). He also leads meditation retreats in several sacred places (Kyoto, Kudaka-jima and Mitake-san) in Japan.

Ven. Sudhammacara  brings experience from the Japanese Zen tradition, the Theravada forest tradition of Burma, and the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Ven.Sudhammacara’s vast experience has shown him the pitfalls of commonly practiced meditations. His careful avoidance of Buddhist terms that can easily slip into jargon, makes retreatants rethink or let go of Buddhist conceptualizations (that many often automatically rely on, thinking they already understand the meaning without renewed consideration).

As well as this five-day silent mindfulness retreat, Ven Sudhammacara will also lead daily meditations and Dharma talks at Deer Park in early December.

For information: www.deerpark.in/programs/schedule/subtle-consciousness-meditation-retreat/

Introduction to the Philosophy of Yogacara (11-12 Nov @ Deer Park)

What: Introductory seminar on the philosophy of Yogacara

When: 11-12 Nov, 2013

Where: Deer Park Institute, Bir

Who: Ven. Dhammadipa

Now 60 years old, Venerable Dhammadipa (lay name Thomas Peter Gutman) was born in Czechoslovakia in 1949. He studied Chinese Literature and Philosophy at Prague University, graduating in 1969, and then studied Russian literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he received a degree in 1973.

In the late seventies Venerable began his Buddhist studies in Berlin, where he had immigrated as a refugee after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1977 he received a master’s degree in Chinese literature and philosophy at the University of Paris. In 1979, he enrolled at Nalanda University in India (where he also taught French and German) to study Sanskrit and Buddhist Philosophy. After receiving a degree at Nalanda in 1984, he returned to serve as the Associate Librarian at Berlin University.

In 1986, Venerable Dhammadipa went to Japan and studied under Zen Master Harada Serrei Roshi of the S t school (Caodong in Chinese) practice. He was given a Dharma name as Xing-Kong (meaning Nature of Emptiness).

In 1987, with the encouragement of Venerable Athurugiriye Nyanavimala Mahathera, Venerable Wijayasoma Mahathera, and Venerable Dikwelle Mahinda, he ordained as a monk in Meetirigala and was given a Dharma name as Dhammadipa (island of Buddhism or Dharma). He received the full Theravada Bhiksu ordination in Sri Lanka where he practiced meditation under the guidance of his preceptor, Venerable Nanarama Mahathera. In 1989, he received the Three Fold ordination as a Mahayana Monk in Hsi Lai Temple, Los Angeles and began Dharma teaching in US, Germany and Taiwan.

In 1996, Venerable went to Myanmar to practice meditation with the contemporary master Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw, and was recognized by the Sayadaw to be first of the Sayadaw’s Western disciples qualified to teach meditation. He has since been teaching Samatha (tranquil mental states) and Vipassana (direct seeing of the Dharma) meditation at monasteries and universities worldwide.

Venerable Dhammadipa speaks Czech, French, German, English, Russian, and fluent Chinese. He reads and translates Buddhist texts from Pali and Sanskrit. His translated works in French and Czeck include Treatise on the Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana (Mahayanasraddhotpada-sastra), Entry into the Bodhisattva Path (Bodhicaryavatara) and a Collection of Han-San’s Poems. His teachings in Taiwan have been compiled and printed in Chinese.

Over the years Venerable has presented dharma teachings and led meditation retreats around Europe, North America, Taiwan and mainland China, India and Southeast Asia. Personally he has a gentle and easy going manner. His teaching follows the framework of the classic Theravada Buddhist commentary The Path of Purity (Pali: Visuddhimagga): one starts with training in the precepts (virtue) which lays the foundation for training in concentration and then the development of wisdom. Venerable teaches that knowledge of the Buddhist way should be applied in practice and verified first hand through direct experience. One should make a great vow to tread the way and realize the dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings.

International Paragliding Competition at Bir-Billing Brings Both Cachet and Controversy

The Paragliding World Cup Association (PWCA) is organising a major international paragliding competition, labeled as a ‘Pre-World Cup’, in Bir on 24-30 October, after a five-year hiatus.

Urban Development Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Mr. Sudhir Sharma, who is also president of the Billing Paragliding Association, the official host of the event, projects that approximately 200 pilots will participate in the competition.

Both Indian and foreign pilots will compete, including some of the world’s top pilots. The first prize is set at Rs 2.5 lakh (approximately US $4000), with several other valuable prizes at stake, including a 23-carat gold medal for the winner.

While such a high-profile event brings cachet to the Bir-Billing area, it has stirred some controversy over concerns about the possibility of a few of the foreign participants staying in Tibetan homes instead of registered hotels. In years past, it has been common practice for some foreign visitors to rent rooms in the homes of both Indian and Tibetan families, which provides a more interesting cultural experience for the visitors, and is often the only option when all of the registered hotels and guest houses in Bir are fully booked, as is not infrequently the case during major events such as this competition.

Naturally, most of these visitors are unaware that there are regulations requiring all foreign guests to complete ‘C forms’ for overnight stays, and to register for ‘Protected Area Permits‘ when staying overnight in the Bir Tibetan Colony, because such regulations are not clearly posted, and the PAP is not required in most other areas in Himachal Pradesh. Thus, there is no dependable way for the foreign tourists to know in advance about these requirements. Also, Since Bir is not a border area or a strategically sensitive region, there is no obvious reason for the permit restrictions, leaving many tourists confused and frustrated.

It is also unclear why the Tibetans are singled out in the controversy. News media have cited ‘security concerns‘ but there have been no security incidents in Bir in the past, and no specific security threat has been named in the present, leaving many to believe the concern is baseless or even fabricated, and resulting in complaints from both local business proprietors and tourists.

In the eyes of some local residents and foreign visitors alike, this policy, which they view as overly and unnecessarily strict and discriminatory, is an embarrassment for both the HP government and the Indian government and damages Bir’s reputation. As one visitor observed, it would be simple enough to train the Tibetan hosts to use C forms and allow them to participate in Himachal’s family homestay programme in the same way that Indian families are allowed to do.

Whatever one’s opinion on that issue, it is obvious that a clearer and friendlier solution will be required for future international events, in order to preserve Bir’s attractive reputation as a relaxed and desirable destination for ecotourism. Local hoteliers and employees of the budding paragliding cottage industry are hoping the government will relax its overly restrictive policies to ensure that visitors to Bir will have a positive experience and the local ecotourism economy can continue to grow.

Volunteer & Learn: Sustainable Living in the Himalayas (1-30 Nov)

What: Informal volunteer and service-learning programme

Topic: Sustainable living in the Himalayas, including green building, organic gardening, and natural landscaping

When: 1-30 November, 2013 (Participants may arrive and depart anytime in this period)

Where: Dharmalaya Institute, Dhanaari Hill, Ghornala Village, Bir

Languages: English & Hindi

Facilitators: Mark Moore, Raj Kumar (‘Raju’), Naresh Sharma, et al

raising the roofDescription: Informal, semi-structured programme at the Dharmalaya Institute open to both residential and non-residential participants. We will be doing fun, physical work, including green building, organic gardening, tree planting, and more. There will be plenty of opportunities for learning, application, questions, and relaxation (we can also offer an optional meditation programme for those who are interested, at least through 30 November, and possibly later). Feel free to come and go anytime in November 2013 (and you can stay even longer if you wish to participate in our Open Volunteer Programme).

For more information see Dharmalaya’s volunteer page, read the FAQ, and complete the volunteer application if you’re interesting in joining.

Shamatha & Vipasyana retreat as presented in Yogacara tradition (2-9 Nov)

What: Shamatha & Vipasyana retreat as presented in Yogacara tradition with reference to Anapanasmrti or Maitri meditation

Where: Deer Park Institute, Bir

When: 2-9 Nov, 2013

Who: Ven. Dhammadipa

Now 60 years old, Venerable Dhammadipa (lay name Thomas Peter Gutman) was born in Czechoslovakia in 1949. He studied Chinese Literature and Philosophy at Prague University, graduating in 1969, and then studied Russian literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he received a degree in 1973.

In the late seventies Venerable began his Buddhist studies in Berlin, where he had immigrated as a refugee after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1977 he received a master’s degree in Chinese literature and philosophy at the University of Paris. In 1979, he enrolled at Nalanda University in India (where he also taught French and German) to study Sanskrit and Buddhist Philosophy. After receiving a degree at Nalanda in 1984, he returned to serve as the Associate Librarian at Berlin University.

In 1986, Venerable Dhammadipa went to Japan and studied under Zen Master Harada Serrei Roshi of the S t school (Caodong in Chinese) practice. He was given a Dharma name as Xing-Kong (meaning Nature of Emptiness).

In 1987, with the encouragement of Venerable Athurugiriye Nyanavimala Mahathera, Venerable Wijayasoma Mahathera, and Venerable Dikwelle Mahinda, he ordained as a monk in Meetirigala and was given a Dharma name as Dhammadipa (island of Buddhism or Dharma). He received the full Theravada Bhiksu ordination in Sri Lanka where he practiced meditation under the guidance of his preceptor, Venerable Nanarama Mahathera. In 1989, he received the Three Fold ordination as a Mahayana Monk in Hsi Lai Temple, Los Angeles and began Dharma teaching in US, Germany and Taiwan.

In 1996, Venerable went to Myanmar to practice meditation with the contemporary master Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw, and was recognized by the Sayadaw to be first of the Sayadaw’s Western disciples qualified to teach meditation. He has since been teaching Samatha (tranquil mental states) and Vipassana (direct seeing of the Dharma) meditation at monasteries and universities worldwide.

Venerable Dhammadipa speaks Czech, French, German, English, Russian, and fluent Chinese. He reads and translates Buddhist texts from Pali and Sanskrit. His translated works in French and Czeck include Treatise on the Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana (Mahayanasraddhotpada-sastra), Entry into the Bodhisattva Path (Bodhicaryavatara) and a Collection of Han-San’s Poems. His teachings in Taiwan have been compiled and printed in Chinese.

Over the years Venerable has presented dharma teachings and led meditation retreats around Europe, North America, Taiwan and mainland China, India and Southeast Asia. Personally he has a gentle and easy going manner. His teaching follows the framework of the classic Theravada Buddhist commentary The Path of Purity (Pali: Visuddhimagga): one starts with training in the precepts (virtue) which lays the foundation for training in concentration and then the development of wisdom. Venerable teaches that knowledge of the Buddhist way should be applied in practice and verified first hand through direct experience. One should make a great vow to tread the way and realize the dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings.

 

For information: http://www.deerpark.in/programs/schedule/a-shamatha-and-vipasyana-retreat-as-presented-in-yogacara-tradition/