Reflections on our retreat: Windhorse for the New Year

I wanted to share some reflections from the Sangha Retreat, “Windhorse for the New Year” with Shastri Janet Bronstein.  Whether you were able to participate or not, there’s plenty to contemplate and follow-up on.

Both the first and second days were structured around the Terma instructions from Trungpa Rinpoche on raising lungta or windhorse.  It was remarkable in that those instructions could be applied at both an individual and at a group level — and both at the level of on-the-spot visualization and outwardly as intentions for action in the New Year.

I’m sharing a “report” with members that gives a wonderful glimpse of the conversation based on the notes that Shastri Bronstein took during the second day. 

The structure of both days and of the report is roughly:

  • Finding Our Spot: Oregon and Portland
    • Great rivers & natural beauty
    • A destination for many people (including many of us)
    • Shadow of racism and recent conflicts
  • Clearing the deck ​(naming our obstacles)
    • An aging sangha
    • Loss of our physical space
    • Expectation that Shambhala should be perfect; disappointment when its not
  • Contemplating the great eastern sun. How could Shambhala manifest?
    • Very powerful individual experiences motivate us to show up and manifest
    • Reinvent ourselves using the old forms
    • Community, practice, study
  • What does our community need to let go of? In order to move into the next year?
    • Fixation on the past
    • Pride, defensiveness and sense of exceptionalism
    • Grimness
  • Suddenly free from fixed mind! Each person contributed a line to a group Doha (or song of realization):

In Portland we reside, abide, in the place of moving water enveloping green and changing winds.

The ray of awakening in spite of it all.

Feeling the richness of earth and the majesty of the mountains.

Laughter bubbles up

Who knew?

Your humour slays me!

Water abides in the lowest place. The superior human brings kindness to all without competing. Now we know, this is the dark age of plague famine and war.

Soaring through the clouds, we have the view of everything below. We can do it!

With the mist and rain and rivers connecting us…

Turn to those elements and receive the windhorse.

Embracing aloneness in the vast space of nowness,

Sitting inside the earth, near the origin point of catastrophe, having become alien to myself. Quiet friendship…

Embracing society, may the multitude of warriors arise!

Crawling when we need to crawl, walking when we are able, flying — how delicious! Peeling back our skin, letting in the sun, letting the wind blow through us, we sing together. We live in the now.

Scorched trees staying rooted.

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