Community Update: February and March 2021

Community Update

As Cape Breton slowly awakens from winter, we are delighted to see the changes in the seasons. This year the ice came late and lasted right through the spring solstice. Spring represents a time of settling and study for us at the Abbey. After our long winter retreat the schedule seems open and accommodating and so we settle into a rhythm together appreciating the blessings and challenges of community life.

We are continually aware of the privilege of being in community as vaccines begin to offer a glimmer of hope for new opportunities for people to gather and connect in person again. We are following all of the safety protocols of Nova Scotia and hope that all those who are reading this are doing the same for the benefit of all.

We hope this update finds you healthy and safe.

 

Milarepa Day

In February just after Yarne we celebrated Milarepa Day by reading the Rain of Wisdom. There was a potent sense of lineage connection in the practice this year and we were delighted to see the photos on Facebook of our Abbot Venerable Kenchen Thrangu Rinpoche’s monastic communities in Asia doing the same practice.


Online Learning

All around the globe people are connecting more with online resources and teachings via Zoom. The Abbey is no different and we have been engaging in a lot of online learning in place of inviting teachers in person during this time when travel is more sensitive.

A group of Abbey residents joined for the Black Buddhist Summit organized by Shambhala Publications and we have a group that has been joining Acharya Richard John for teachings on the Four Dharmas of Gampopa. We will also be joining in for the celebration of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s Paranirvana and listening to reflections from the Druk Sakyong Wangmo, Lady Diana Mukpo on April 4th. You can sign up here.

We are happy to be engaging in these unfolding resources and at the same time reflecting on how to hold these opportunities with a monastic perspective. One of the purposes for coming to the monastery is to recognize how we can use anything to distract ourselves from the present – even online learning resources.

With more and more technology in our daily life it is important to have refuges like Gampo Abbey where we can disconnect from the constant need to busy ourselves. As we continue to reflect on what it means to hold technology in the monastery we will be updating our policies and procedures to keep our sacred monastery healthy and aligned with the vision to wake up.

Reflecting on Tharpa Terri

Late last fall we were saddened to hear of the passing of former Abbey resident Tharpa Terri (Alex Noble). Tharpa Terri was here for our Lion and Garuda year residencies. After hearing of his death those who knew him spontaneously performed a Sukhavati ceremony where we reflected on his humor, insight, and brilliance. We feel so incredibly grateful to have known him and been a part of the connection he made to the Dharma.

Down in our recycling room we had kept a poster that he created which read, “Your heart has more power than you think!”. The poignancy of this message was even more precious knowing he had this insight while he was here. After his 49th ceremony which we were able to celebrate with his family, friends, and the sangha here who knew him, we sent this beautiful poster to his parents.

Short and Long-term residencies

We were excited to welcome our first short-term resident to the Abbey in March. We are opening opportunities for committed practitioners to join our community for periods of one to three months. Aaron has joined us for a month of deep practice, community, and service. We look forward to inviting more people for this precious opportunity.

We will also be sharing opportunities to join us for longer periods soon. Keep an eye on our website for updates about our monastic and long-term residencies.

With deep love from the Abbey Community.

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