The weekend of October 20-22, ten of us came together for an inaugural retreat at Blue Sky Refuge, a new retreat center in Stockton, NJ that has been started by NYC Sangha members Padmadharini and Elaine Smith.
The retreat started with Vajramati leading a dedication ceremony of the new shrine. We considered the lessons of the Madhupindika Sutta, also known as the Honey Ball Sutta. Our focus was on papancha, or the seemingly endless mental proliferation that can result when faced with significant life challenges. We also dedicated the retreat center with a wonderful five Buddha mandala ceremony created by Ananta. We wandered through the woods at night to make offerings at unique shrines set up at the four compass points on the property, and in the centre, the shrine room. We wish Padhmadharini and Elaine the best of luck in their new endeavor.