Confined just as all other RIPA students, and half of the 7.8 billion inhabitants who inhabit our planet, our friends, permanent and voluntary, take care of our Center in Switzerland. Loyal to their job, they are actively preparing for our return.
Adapting and preparing for the future
No more outside groups, no more usual activities, no more weekend bookings by Tibetan or other groups …. The Center is confined and also forced to change its habits. Suddenly, our ship adapts. The work continues, efficient and sustained because the burden of the administrative part remains heavy: it is necessary to postpone the dates of the registered groups, cancel reservations, and create new options for the future… Begonia, Antje, and Helen spend most of their days in front of their computer and on the phone. As there is no longer any cash flow and reimbursements have to be made, the costs have been reduced to the strict minimum. All the more so as for our sangha, the cancellations of the coming of Lhuntrul Rinpoche then Jigme Rinpoche for which there were very many registrations also make a hole in the budget. Lluis, the cook, is on site but unemployed, he is nevertheless a great help. Carlo and Ursula, transformed into volunteers for some time, do a wonderful job accompanied by Theresa. Gabriela, Nadya and a few others gather periodically to work in the garden. Obviously no more hugs, no more physical contact and we keep a respectful distance from one another …. But morale is good. During these troubled times the Sangha spirit has never been so present, so powerful, so supportive.
In the office – software, documents, listings, Begonia, Antje and Helen juggle with all the sources of information, without forgetting the little scribbled notes, the post-its and other “reminders” …. In the fields – In Switzerland the shops are also closed, including florists. Fortunately, Gabriela planted daffodils in the Fall. They find their most beautiful place on the altar in the offering bowl. And for the tsok, the first primroses picked up at the foot of the Gompa adorn the plates of the teachers…. In the center – there is now a bit more time to undertake some “chores”: ironing the mountains of Katas accumulated over the retreats… Preparation and classification of the texts loaned during the practices. They will be linked in all languages.… The center has finally been graced with beautiful orientation panels made entirely “by hand” with art and care thanks to Carlo and Ursula… Gabriela – unemployed – unpacks deliveries of purchases that she made just four weeks ago in Nepal for the center store.
The streaming of sadhana practices via face-book and the internet have been a great success –
The first experiment took place on March 21 and 22, and it continues (*). It is especially in troubled times like the one we are going through today that the teachings take on their full meaning and significance. And the terms in which Begonia tells us about life and practice at the center are confirmed by all your testimonies: “We are totally immersed in the experience of impermanence, solidarity, altruism, the openness of heart, of all that our Masters teach us and of the practices in which they engage us ”…“ Even if it will prove difficult from a financial point of view for the center, we don’t even think about it in the first degree , we are first concerned with finding the best solution for each individually, for our sangha as well as for all outside groups. It is as if personal interests are falling because we definitely understand that we’re all on the same boat. ” About the boat, Jigme Rinpoche, during his very first teaching in Europe in 1996/1997 told us about the role of the Teacher in Tibetan Buddhism. “The Teacher,” he explained to us, “is like the captain of a boat. On the starting shore, he gathers up all those who wish to leave for the great crossing. Throughout the journey, he will guide them through storms, hurricanes, reefs, shoals and dangers of all kinds. Once arrived on the sacred banks, everyone disembarks and the Teacher sets out again, alone on his boat, to welcome new travelers. ” Upset, many of us burst into tears. More than twenty years later, we are in the middle of a crossing, and not on a cruise ship! Our luck is that our teachers are very great captains. Coronavirus or not, they are there to help us round all the capes and among them, the Cape of Good Hope.
Preparation for sadhana practice and streaming – Ursula and Begonia place the throne of His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, Antje looks after the camera, each counts his or her accumulations. In all countries – in our gompa in Switzerland and also in Spain, France, Belgium, Great Britain, Russia, etc. More than fifty students followed this first weekend, without forgetting those who have practiced without logging in!
See you soon for the next practice and the next mini-blog!
(*) to follow the practices live, connect directly without any obligation to:https://www.facebook.com/ripa108
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