Residential Retreat Resumes-
After a break of almost two years due to the Covid 19 pandemic the residential retreat program resumed with Seven day Residential Retreat led by Ven Geshe Lhakdor, Director, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamshala, in the first week of April from 1st to 6th March. The venue for the retreat was Deer Park Institute in Bir- Himachal Pradesh.
15 students were jointly sponsored by Flowering Dharma and the Deer Park Institute. The retreat covered the Udānavarga text which is an early collection of topically organised chapters ( Sanskrit: Varga ) of aphoristic verses or “utterances” ( Sanskrit: udāna ) attributed to the Buddha and his disciples. While the root text comprises of many chapters but the retreat emphasised primarily on the ‘impermanence’ and ‘desire’ chapter led by ven Geshe Lakhdor la. With Geshe La’s skills to interact and to reach the students with real life instances, stories, jokes and experiences students found this particular retreat a relaxing and mindful experience.
On one account Geshe la also shared this short story of a king who aspired to live a long and a healthy life or perhaps to be mortal. The king asked his religious priest to perform a specific rituals to meet his aspirations. The priest asked the king to look for a piece of silk cloth from the happiest person in the valley, so to be able to initiate the ritual. The king sent his personnel all the valley to look for that person. The men could find the required items but certainly the people were not entirely happy everyone got their problems and issues. At last they however found a man who was the happiest amongst all but astonishingly the person didn’t have a thing with him not to mention a fabric silk. A beautiful anecdote to remind oneself that ‘less is more’.
The retreat concluded on 6th April with a small closing ceremony during which the students thanked Geshe la and the staffs of Deer Park Institute for the opportunity.