Posted in Tibetan Buddhism, Vipassana

Spirit Rock Retreat 2008, Day 2

1:25 PM

I decided to sleep through the early meditation this morning. Wonderfully luminous!

There was a herd of 4 small deer outside my door this morning. They watched me put my shoes on. Yesterday, I walked past 2 wild turkeys 6′ away.

The teachings on the sacred feminine so far have focused on how to be compassionate & care for others without giving yourself away. We did a partnered meditation called “inquiry” where one person speculates aloud on a suggested subject while the other listens deeply without getting out of herself. I’ve done deep listening, but never with this focus. It’s hard! Hard training.

Out subjects have been (1) ways the deficient feminine manifests in our lives, and (2) ways the sacred feminine manifests.

I have decided not to go running today. One of the managers told me they advise against it on vipassana retreats, but if I must go, go downhill from the residential area. Since I have a group interview with a teacher at 4 today, I’ll check with her. I don’t want to do something counterproductive to my – or another yogi’s – retreat experience.

My new mantra/koan:

Isn’t that interesting…?

3:47 PM
I went to the bookstore looking for gifts. This was just a recon mission: no buying today. On the walk back, I encountered a herd of 5 deer, & 2 wild turkeys. Damn, those are big birds.

I enjoyed the free-form movement practice. Part belly dance, part yoga, part stretching. It almost became nap practice for me at the end when we were all stretched out on the floor. “Connect to the earth like no one needs anything from you for the next few minutes,” said the teacher [Julie Wester]. Wow! What a concept! I thought I had an unending string of responsibilities to countless people.

4:45 PM
Notes from group interview with Anna [Douglas]

On noble silence: “For women, it’s an invitation not to caretake.”

She told me to go running.

“Trust our own knowing. As women, this is something that needs refining.”

With the silence, I had no trouble liking everyone. Now that I’ve talked to some of the women in a group, however, I get to practice not judging!

9:45 PM
Dinner was good. Anna gave a dharma talk on Prajna Paramita, the goddess – but mostly on what the sacred feminine means & can mean to the world. This retreat is helping me build self-esteem & grow more comfortable in my roles that are gender-based.

I enjoy my night job of veggie washer. Very relaxing and satisfying. I wonder what dish those 15 lbs. of parsnips are going to turn up in…

Lights out.


Ven. Dr. Myodo Jabo (Sandy Gougis) is a Zen Master and Priest in the Five Mountain Zen Order. She began studying Theravâdin Buddhism in 1998, adding Zen in 2003, and Vajrayana Buddhism in 2008. She currently practices in both the Zen and Tibetan traditions. Her Zen teacher is Most Ven. Wonji Dharma of the Five Mountain Zen Order, and her Tibetan guru is Lama Tsultrim Allione of Tara Mandala. In her free time, Myodo enjoys painting, jewelry making, and other creative endeavors.

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