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Silence please!

Posted by Squiffy on July 11th, 2007

Continued from Buddha & Breakfast…

As I and one of the other retreatants were browsing the weekend’s itinerary, we noticed worriedly that the plans for the evening included ‘chanting’ and ‘silence over night’. After dinner we all went to the shrine room to learn the second form of Buddhist meditation known as ‘Cultivation of Loving Kindness’, which is all about appreciating yourself and those around you. The meditation was preceeded by the promised chanting, which I found slightly amusing but nice all the same, and many others said it really relaxed them.

After the meditation it was time for bed and we all agreed with the plans not to speak until after meditation and breakfast the next morning. I thought it would be really difficult, but actually it takes away a lot of the pressure to ‘make small talk’ and it’s still possible to communicate with nods and smiles. After meditation and breakfast we again met in groups to discuss our experiences and Buddhism more generally.

I like the fact that there isn’t a God and rather than praying for things to happen for you, you have the means to go out and do things for yourself. As well as living in the present, their motto for everything seems to be ‘just try it out, have a go and see what it’s like for you’. A motto which I can apply well to travelling. After lunch we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. It was quite difficult to leave such a peaceful, supportive and non-judgemental atmosphere. I can whole heartedly recommend Rivendell to anyone wanting to find out about meditation or Buddhism, or anyone wishing to escape a busy stressful life for a weekend in the country with great people and no modern distractions.

I learnt a lot about relaxing and not worrying about the future and I’m looking forward (if that’s allowed!) to learning more about Buddhism when I’m in Asia. For those who would like a quick intro, I’ve just bought the book Buddhism: Plain and Simple and it seems to be pretty good.

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