Had a great trip. Finally, a retreat taught by the irreplaceable Bhante Gunaratana. I've met and talked to him on previous visits, listened to some short talks, but never an actual retreat taught by him. This was worth whatever the cost in terms of time and money. I was planning to leave yesterday early, before breakfast, but on the previous day they asked me to assist with a ceremony that would take place yesterday morning. I was honored to be asked, so of course I stayed, leaving right after the ceremony, before lunch. This was for the Eight Lifetime Precepts, which I took two years ago. The ceremony requires a female, preferably a nun, to put a medallion necklace around the neck and tie a string bracelet around the wrist of the women taking the precepts. I was apparently the only female onsite who had previously taken these precepts, and that made me marginally more appropriate to the cause than a female who hadn't taken them. I was careful not to attach any sense of pride or ego from this, but I have to tell you it was really, really cool to sit up front next to Bhante G and perform these rituals! Photos were taken during the ceremony using my camera. I'll eventually post more on the CintaSpeaks site, but here's one.
|Yours truly -- with a woman I happened to already know and Bhante G looking on. Priceless! Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.|