“Unconditional love – really?”
Beyond acceptance and rejection:
the dharma of radical inclusivity.
Feb 17th– 20th 2017
A 3 Day Week-end Retreat led by Dharmacharini Viveka
Near Hudson, New York (Won Dharma Center)
“Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time.
Hatred ceases through love.
This is an unalterable law.”
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best, is love correcting everything that stands against love.”
~ Martin Luther King, 1967
Many of us are moving through worlds churning with confusion and conflict, be it internal struggles with parts of ourselves; discord within our families, communities and sanghas; or the deeply polarized forces characterizing society and public discourse at this time. What does it mean to engage creatively in these times, coming from love, no matter what?
Discomfort arises when we encounter situations and beliefs that don’t confirm our pre-existing beliefs. Awakening requires a heartfelt embrace of what we don’t yet know, and what we thought we knew but might be mistaken about. Inclusivity becomes truly potent when it includes that which makes us uncomfortable, a wonderful pointer to the edge of ignorance where awakening can emerge.
In polarized situations, the charged and protective emotions of fear and aversion easily arise. Activating awareness, we can listen for the underlying distress and root causes of suffering, which the Dharma points out, is always in a divided mind, the mind that creates “other”, and fears “other.”
On this retreat, we will draw from Buddhist teachings, meditation and contemplative practice to increase our ability to relate to discomfort, fear and aversion with a compassionate interest. This kind of active love and tolerance is a creative alternative to withdrawal and passivity and a crucial practice for navigating uncertainty and conflict.
“Unconditional love and compassion may seem like quite a distant vision. Yet in each moment, there is the immediate possibility of opening to the whole of experience. From the perspective of an anxiously self-preserving mind, this can appear overwhelming and even hostile. To the trained mind of a practitioner, this love can become intimately trusted as a path to uprooting limiting views, the habits of racism, and all sorts of “othering” in how we relate.”
LOCATION AND TIMES
Februrary 17th-20th (President’s Day Week-End)
This retreat is organized by the Triratna Buddhist Community of New York City, and will be held at the beautiful
Won Dharma Center in Claverak, near Hudson, NY.
Start time: 7pm on Friday February 17th
End time: noon on Monday February 20th
THE GIFT OF SILENCE
The retreat will be mostly silent except for instruction and mindful communication practices. The practice of silence, including taking a pause from electronic communication, is an invitation to simplify our activity, allowing stress to calm, and awareness to open and deepen.
FOOD AND WORK PERIODS
The food served will be vegetarian and mostly Korean menus, as we are hosted by the Won Buddhist Community. Cleaning tasks are shared by everyone on the retreat. If you have any dietary restrictions, please let the organizer know in advance, at [email protected]
The Won Buddhist Retreat Center near Hudson, NY lies on over 400 beautiful acres and there will be time to explore the area, hike and/or just relax and enjoy nature. Acupuncture is also available by appointment.
EXPERIENCE WITH MEDITATION AND THE TRIRATNA BUDDHIST COMMUNITY
This retreat is designed for people with an established meditation and dharma practice, and is primarily for people who have some degree of experience or interest in the Triratna Buddhist Community. If you are unsure if this is suitable for you, we recommend getting in touch with the organizer at [email protected]
The sliding scale is $325/350/390 for spacious double or quad rooms, which are all on the ground floors and adjacent to bathrooms. Paying the higher end of the scale helps those who need a lower rate. Fees cover the 3 nights and all meals, but do not include optional dana for the teacher (Viveka is a volunteer – all fees go to support running costs.) Also, a limited number of single rooms are available on a first come first serve basis for a unique fee of $550, and cannot be discounted. If you are concerned about being able to come due to lack of funds please contact the organizer. We do have a modest scholarship fund that will be allocated, supported by the Council and the donations of community members.
Make your request to: [email protected]
Please register as soon as possible.
ABOUT DHARMACHARINI VIVEKA CHEN
Ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in 1997, Viveka teaches Buddhism and meditation at the San Francisco Buddhist Center, as well as internationally. She is a certified coach, a facilitator and a nonprofit consultant; for over 25 years she has worked for social justice as an integral expression of her dharma practice. Viveka is engaged in making Buddhist teachings and meditation available to activists and people of color, and collaborating with other Buddhist traditions and social change organizations.
As private preceptor, Viveka mentors and trains individuals for ordination. She actively develops emerging teachers within Triratna, and held the role of Chairwoman of the San Francisco Center for 16 years. She is also a facilitator and on the Steering Committee of the Triratna’s International Council of 50 order members from around the world meeting to promote connection and development across the Triratna tradition.
Viveka has longstanding connections to the wider Buddhist world, supporting the effort to engage communities more actively and collaboratively around the pressing matters of our times, racism and climate change to name a few. Within a multi-lineage team of leaders from different communities, Viveka planned and facilitated the 2013 Generation X Buddhist teacher’s conference. She also served on the steering committee of the 2015 Dharma Teachers Gathering, which brought together 200 Buddhist teachers across traditions.
The teaching in her name given to her at ordination, is to continue to practice socially engaged Buddhism in world while becoming free of conventional limitations. Today, she continues to weave a life of social and racial justice work, community building and family connection, and a contemplative practice deeply rooted in meditative experience. She teaches with an open and compassionate presence, and deep respect for those she works with.
Her writing appears in Dharma Culture and Color: New Voices in Western Buddhism, The Buddha’s Apprentices: More Voices of Young Buddhists, and Record of the Hidden Lamp: 100 Koans and Stories from 25 Centuries of Awakened Women.