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Aug 29
Friday
International Programs, Sakyong and Family
Life is Ceremony

(c) Sean Raggett DCL 2014

(c) Sean Raggett DCL 2014

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche visits Dechen Choling Retreat Center, southern France

report by Shastri Catherine Eveillard and Luz Rodriguez
photos by Sean Raggett

“It’s amazing how a simple act of kindness or courage can transform a whole situation. Take the energy you have gathered here and apply it to every situation. You never know what is possible.”
~ Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, 21st August, 2014

These were the final remarks of the Sakyong at “Life is Ceremony” (the title for one of the chapters of The Shambhala Principle), a retreat attended by almost 200 people earlier in August.

The particularity of this retreat was in combining meditation practices and teachings in the morning with workshops in the afternoon. The purpose being that people could immediately apply the teachings and practices of basic goodness in a playful and meaningful way through their own manifestation and meetings with one another. The Sakyong seemed very pleased with the program’s format, and somehow surprised when the clowns with their red noses took over the front part of the shrine tent in front of him. He encouraged us to “explore further avenues in that vein.”

The retreat’s co-director Shastri Catherine Eveillard gathered several artists and professionals as well as other sangha members who were willing to accept this challenge, taking into account that the point was to create a ceremony on the spot, similar to the teachings received each morning. The body and speech workshops covered a whole array of techniques: dance, voice, elocution, clowning… to help us overcome our fears and encourage us to manifest in a natural and joyful way.

The workshops focused on mind explored basic goodness in our communication. One workshop was based on techniques of non-violent communication and contemplative psychology, another on the art of philosophical conversations, and another on how to connect intellectual thought with emotions.

This separation between body, speech and mind seemed to be just a starting point. Participants in all of the workshops expressed themselves clearly and loudly from their physical, intellectual and affective beings. There was also one workshop inspired by a Dechen Choling (DCL) neighbor, Madame Jocelyne Boomester, who permitted several people to approach the animal world (she is the owner of a very well known stable in the area). As participants in the horse workshop reported, “To meet the horses you need to be gentle, and that applies to everything else!”

SMR_DCLTalk_August2014_med

Sakyong addressing participants at Life is Ceremony

About a dozen children came with their parents and their presence contributed to the joyful retreat atmosphere. The younger ones, less than 10 years old, were quite happy in investing time between games and DCL land exploration. The young teens, between 10 and 14 years old, felt inspired by kyudo through the gentle and powerful presence of the instructor, Mr. Toni Imfeld. They all quickly developed qualities for kyudo practice: precision, concentration, calm and the ability to let go. It was a real pleasure to watch!

French participants attended the program in high numbers and no doubt this will continue, contributing to the teachings taking root in the whole of France. All of the talks had consecutive interpretation into French and English, depending on who gave the talk, which was a great task achieved.

“I hope you will attain enlightenment. I am here to tell you that you already have! But you don’t know… The difference between the Buddha and us is the confidence in knowing that he was enlightened.”
~ Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, 21st August, 2014

Acharya Adam Lobel was the other co-director of “Life is Ceremony.” He introduced Shambhala Meditation before the Sakyong’s arrival and the atmosphere shifted into an atmosphere of feeling quite quickly. He emphasized several aspect of meditation as well, saying, “Meditation is a way to be,” and invited everybody to bring gentleness into ourselves, as it embraces our confusion.

Acharya Lobel considered that meditation programs exploring ways to bring body and mind together are the right way to continue. The Sakyong said at the end, “You must be the light, the beacon” for touching basic goodness. He also recommended that we continue to explore the avenues opened by a multifaceted program like this one.

“I don’t think kindness is weak, I don’t think what we do here is weak. It takes tremendous strength to be here.”
~ Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, 21st August, 2014

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2 responses to “ Life is Ceremony ”
  1. What a nice surprise to hear about the red nose clowns! We recently had some red nose energy in our shrine room as well!

  2. Timaree Bierle-Dodds
    Sep 1, 2014
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing. It’s delightful to learn of the gathering, offerings and experiences, and emphasis His Majesty places on the strength of kindness. Thank you!


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