Monday, March 23, 2009

Kadampa Meditation Center, NY February 2009

This past weekend I took Martin on a surprise weekend away for our birthdays, V-day, and to celebrate the first weekend we met, to, no not a spa, nope not a dinner and dancing, no not even a show, to a Buddhist Meditation Center! lol:) Its this place located in upstate NYC, about two hours north of Brooklyn, called Kadampa Meditation Center. I heard about the place from a girl at work who saw it in a magazine, and after checking out there website,, it seemed like a nice place to venture out and visit. We've also both been interested in meditation and have been practicing meditation so we thought it would be a fun addition to the practice. We left at about 7pm and when we got there, it was 10:30 lol it took a bit longer than 2 hours! I guess traffic?? So when we drove up the road to the temple, it was beautiful and lit up, but NO ONE I mean no one was around! We didn't know what to do, so I went up and knocked on the door, no answer, it didn't look like anyone was inside, and we thought for a second about just going into one of the houses (I mean these people are buddhas!) but then we were like, well that wouldn't be very buddhalike or whatever, so we slept in the car! lol, I've done this before so I was experienced at turning on the car every few hours for heat and Martin had a really warm blanket in the back seat, so lol, we slept in the car! It was actually very quiet up on this hill where we were parked in the middle of the woods lol and you could see all the stars it was so dark (once the light to the temple went out, I assumed it was automatic light?)

We woke up at about 7am and people had began walking around the temple and we went inside and had some tea and breakfast. It was a beautiful temple with lots of different teas and teapots, which I loved! We registered for the day class on love and spirituality and then we spoke to a nice woman about our room. We told her we slept right outside and she was surprised and told us we could've just went inside our "house", since the door was opened, and our names were on the outside of our door to the our room. Another nice man was like, "you could've just come to my house and stayed over! we live right now the bla bla bla", this was so nice! Everyone was so caring and nice, it felt very welcome to be there. Next we went to a seminar with a man in red and orange robes where he talked about love and spirituality in relationships. He talked alot about how we are all self cherishing and how interesting it would be, if in any scuffle, instead of blaming something else, or someone else, we would blame our own "self cherishing", (which I took to mean, instead of blaming someone else, blame your own need to cherish yourself, like blame your need to look good, or blame your need to look smart, or blame your need to look more successful, etc). This was a nice message and he went on to talk about how important is it cherish others and that behind labels, there is really nothing (like behind the label of a wife or husband, there exists nothing without the other), so a wife doesn't exist without her husband and vice versa, because without a husband a woman is no longer called a "wife", does that make sense? I hope I'm explaining correctly. So if we all don't exist without eachother, we are all one. It was very nice:) Next, me and Martin went to our room (which was very simple and nice, no tv, no radio just a bed and a desk) and we took a much needed nap! lol. After that we went back for more talking and the buddhist man went over more about being buddhism and the four nobles truths (which is funny, because we learned them in Foundations to Chinese Medicine...alot of Chinese are Chinese Buddhist apparently) - the four nobles truths are about suffering and accepting suffering and that the path to cessation of suffering is possible and that the path is through the suffering lol:) After that we walked down to the other house from the temple and sat by a fire with a bunch of other buddhists in robes and other people who were on the retreat and talked and had stew with rice. It was a lot of fun! and it was so interesting not to have the distraction of tv and radio and of doing other things and to just be able to talk and "be" with Martin:) One thing though...I have to say that I don't think I could be buddhist, I love all the ideas and the people and the communal feeling and we'll definetly go back to the retreat again, but I was talking to a long time attendee of the center about yoga and said how it would be great to have a class, and she said that her friend also does yoga and proposed doing a class there and the president, or highest up person said absolutely not because what they do is mind meditation only. I understand the mind meditation and thought that was nice but I believe in a balance between mind and body, yoga is practiced to clear the body so that the mind may meditate more openly, Buddhism seems to only focus attention on the mind for meditation instead of attending to the body.

I love so many parts of Buddhism, Yoga, Christianity, Judiasm but neither one of them singly. So, all in all it was a great trip and I definetly recommend for some peace of mind, even if you're not Buddhist! :)Here are a few pics:) oh one more thing, it was so funny, we were about to leave our room, when a squirrel came towards our window, Martin was like "shh" (so as not to scare), and the squirrel actually came upt the window and stood on his legs and put his hands on the glass! It was so funny and the only time either of us has ever seen that before, it must be the peacefullness of the place and that they don't believe in hurting animals that the animals in the area feel more comfortable to do that! I wish I had a picture!

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