Dhyana & emptiness
Tejananda - Tejananda has been practising Buddhism and meditation for over 30 years and a member of the WBO since 1980. Since becoming an Order member, he has worked in a vegetarian café in Croydon, helped establish the Bristol Buddhist Centre, worked for the Karuna Trust, written a book introducing the fundamentals of Buddhism ' The Buddhist Path to Awakening ' and taught meditation and Dharma in many parts of the UK, Europe and the USA.
He has been part of the resident / teaching team at Vajraloka retreat centre in Wales since 1995 and became chairman of the centre in 2001. In meditation and Dharma practice he is particularly inspired by the formless meditations of the Tibetan Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions, and devotion to Padmasambhava and Vajrayogini, which all finds reflection in his ‘Formless Meditation‘ retreats.
Sraddhadharani first began practising Buddhism in Manchester in the late '90's. A desire to explore her practise more deeply away from the distractions and demands of busy urban life lead to her moving to the Scottish Borders, where she has lived for the last 16 years with her partner and various dogs and cats. Her interest in and commitment to Buddhism continued to develop and thrive, helped by the beauty and peace of the surrounding landscape, as well as the many opportunities available within the Triratna Buddhist Community and she was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in 2013. She has a particular interest in meditation and has been co-facilitating a Meditation Group in her local village hall for the last 8 years. She also works as a dog walker and massage therapist and enjoys using ritual and ceremony as a way of bringing people together around shared values and experiences.
Amoghavira first encountered Buddhism in 1979 while struggling through a mathematics degree at Glasgow University. Ordained into the Western Buddhist Order in 1982 he then started working at the Glasgow Buddhist Centre.
He worked for 2 years at the Sydney Buddhist Centre in Australia from 1988, and on his way back to Britain in 1990, spent 3 months in Kathmandu helping run meditation and Buddhism course there. Falling in love with Nepal, he’s been a regular visitor there ever since.
In 1996, he moved to Dhanakosa to help with retreat leading here, which he’s been doing ever since. He loves being in the mountains and this has led to a passion for landscape photography and he now lives in the village of Callander, about 15 miles from Dhanakosa.
Regulars - Meditation
Suitable for people who have been on retreat before and have a regular meditation practice. These retreats will be conducted mostly in silence, and will normally have between 5 and 7 hours a day of sitting meditation.
From the earliest days, the main meditative approach to awakening in Buddhism has combined the cultivation of calmness of mind (shamatha) and mental absorption (dhyana) with the cultivation of liberating insight (vipashyana).
Accessing dhyana seems very natural for some people and a complete mystery to others. On this retreat, Tejananda will be suggesting approaches that people have found to be helpful and effective. This may involve questioning both our own views and some of what the tradition has to say about dhyana practice. We’ll proceed on the basis of asking ‘What, in our experience, is and is not actually helpful?’
We’ll then explore further in the context of awareness and insight, using a progression of insight contemplations from the Buddha’s Shorter Discourse on Emptiness. This starts from our ordinary everyday experience and proceeds into the formless spheres of boundless space, consciousness and no-thingness. This may sound very ‘advanced’ but these spheres are surprisingly accessible and the approach to emptiness is less analytical and more experiential than many of those developed in later schools.
For more information see the retreat information sheet.