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The Diamond Mountain Blog

This is an unofficial blog of news and info from Diamond Mountain University and Retreat Center which was founded by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of the Dalai Lamas.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The first Great Retreat Teaching

When the end came we thought we'd be ok. After all, there was still some money in the food stamp card. The bank account had enough in it to pay car insurance and cell phone bills for another month. A little left over to cover the minimum payment on the credit card. I won't be one of the lost ones, we said. I won't wonder what to do with myself, awash with confusion.

All we needed was time to prove us wrong. As it turned out, we were a lost one. Marooned in the desert that now looked very much like a desert and not the secret garden that it had been. The things that had blossomed there were still fresh in our memories. Words so beautiful they cannot be spoken again. Logic so clear that the heart swelled tears that had lay dormant for god only knows how long. Unknown desires arose, were satisfied, then receided. A map was laid out covered in red X's. The treasure was everywhere. The treasure is no where. The contradiction was perfectly understood and we laughed in the temple into the dark hours of morning. Sometimes we laughed all night and into the dawn.

Out of habit, our minds fought the new ideas. What kind fool cries at the feet of some good Logic? Look at what you've given up. You've lost your mind. What have you gained from it? You don't even know what you're parroting.

I usually try to speak only for myself. I say 'we' now only because I know a few others who feel as I do. We've spoken about it. We talk about how it has been for us since the terms ended and the Great Retreat began. It has been almost seven months now. Not long when held up to three years. I can say that for some of us it has been hard. Memories fade. Words have been forgotten. We still have the treasure map but it doesn't make sense anymore. The contradiction creates an uncomfortable tension that is not humorous or understood. The temple is quiet all night. The mirror ball hanging from the ceiling is covered in dust.

Now, I speak only for myself. I have not been doing to well these past seven months. As the first of the Great Retreat Teachings came near, I was already tired of it. About a week before the teachings started, I was helping out around DMU and as I pulled into one of the drive ways I said to myself, for the first time, I hate this place. Finally. To be honest I rejoiced a little at this new feeling. Thank god I am still feeling. It passed as quickly as it came but it left a mark. Something had to change.

I won't go into great detail here about the ten days of teachings that just occurred at Diamond Mountain. To talk about it too much, As Lady Ruth said, would diminish it too much. It would be impossible to communicate it anyway. Maybe Steinbeck could do it. It would still take him 200 pages. I will say that some magic went down. Rain came to the desert. Clouds reappeared in the skies. The word Love was spoken enough that it's spell was cast or was it that a darker spell was lifted? At the end, I found a long lost clarity. It came on so slowly that I can't point to a moment when it arrived. A natural forgiveness arose. It's alright to be who I am. I can start from here. This moment is good enough. It's a good place to be. Other people are more precious then gold. Love is more powerful then I imagined. As the volume gets turned up, you hear more of the song.

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