Kindness, Rejoicing, Compassion
Smritiratna first took up Buddhist practice in 1977 at the age of 21 while studying Developmental Psychology at Sussex University. At 27, he began training in earnest with the FWBO and entered the Western Buddhist Order in 1991.
In 1996, he came to Scotland, joined the Dhanakosa project and spent five years on-site, teaching and house-keeping. In 2001, he gave up house-keeping to concentrate on study, contemplation and teaching. He now calls Edinburgh home and spends some of his time in a forest hut near Dhanakosa and three months a year on retreat at Guhyaloka in the Spanish mountains. He still leads Dhanakosa retreats and continues to delight in introducing meditation to newcomers.
Suitable for people who have been on retreat before and have a regular meditation practice. These are more intensive than introductory retreats.
The set of Buddhist love meditations, the brahma vihāras or 'divine abodes' are kindness (mettā bhāvanā), compassion (karunā bhāvanā), appreciative joy (muditā bhāvanā) and (upekkhā bhāvanā). In a way they are a meditative preparation for real life, all those encounters with real human beings in the midst of their joys and sorrows. They culminate in upekkhā bhāvanā which is a contemplation of the human condition, how everyone is embodied within a flow of conditions and continually making the choices that create their future. On the retreat we can get familiar with the whole range of emotions that human encounters stir up, from envy and resentment to anxiety, pity and gloom to craving, anger and possessiveness. All through, our ideal will be to access our innate humanity and respond from that deeper level. My own style of teaching is to introduce each of the brahma vihāras in a simplified three-stage form initially and then the longer version after we've had some practice. I also like to relate and combine them so that, for example, we positively rejoice in the strength and courage of someone who is able to respond really well to their own suffering. The meditations start and finish with T.A.R.A: that Tender All-Receiving Awareness which forms the foundation of mindfulness, the receptive awareness which underlies all other meditations and is the basis of love itself.
For more information read the retreat information sheet.