I came back from my meditation retreat in Augusta, Missouri late afternoon. MABA (Mid-America-Buddhist Assocation) is a wonderful hidden treasure in the Missouri countryside. A monastery on beautiful grounds, home of several nuns and a monk, a quiet and sereen meetingplace for people of all professional and personal backgrounds, all ethnicities, ages, and life stages, with the one common interest of learning about and practicing the teachings of the Buddha. This includes traditional not 'new-age' meditation practice, listening to and discussing dharma talks including practical advice for real life situations, being totally 'green' without being 'trendy' and quiet work to maintain and improve the community, from house chores to planting trees to building projects.
It's hard to explain the 'in's and out's' in a simple blog entry and I won't try. I'm sure as time goes on, as I become more comfortable and familiar, I'll write more. I had a wonderful experience, I learned about Generosity, Patience, Wisdom, Joyful effort, Concentration and Morality, I sat in meditation for 9 hours over the 3 days and I helped prepare and enjoyed the most wonderful organic vegatarian food. It was hard to 're-enter' mainstream life -even after 2.5 days- which hit me like a brick wall when on my way back, I had to get gas at "Boone's Crossing" of all places.... Maybe only 30 miles from MABA in distance but lightyears in everything else.
I'll leave you with a little taste of an evening chant: "Verses on impermanence":
"The day is now ended. Our lives are shorter.
Now we look carefully. What have we done?
Noble Sangha, with all of our heart,
Let us be diligent, engaging in the practice,
Let us live deeply, free from our afflictions,
Aware of impermanence,
So that life does not drift away without meaning."