Vajra Daka Retreat, April 20 – 24, with Dza Kilung Rinpoche
Rinpoche led a Vajra Daka Retreat at a resort facility in Ocean Shores, Washington. Fourteen men attended the retreat.
The gathering employed a familiar Pema Kilaya retreat format, with a meditation, breakfast and Riwo Sangchod preceding the morning teaching. After lunch was a work period, meditation, interviews with Rinpoche and then a late afternoon teaching and Q & A with Rinpoche. Evening practice followed dinner.
Two-fold focus of Dza Kilung Rinpoche’s teachings:
Each morning – Garab Dorje’s 3 Words that Strike the Vital Point
Each afternoon – Application of the 4 Karmas to Everyday Life
Rinpoche included commentaries on both subjects, Paltrul Rinpoche’s commentary The Special Teaching of the Wise and Glorious King, and Songtsen Gampo’s commentary on The Four Activities. Each of the karmas (or activities) were considered in terms of the outer meaning, inner meaning, innermost meaning, absolute meaning, figurative meaning, and symbolic meaning.
Dza Kilung Rinpoche facilitated far-reaching discussions on the interplay between feminine and masculine energies, developments regarding social questions of gender equity and inclusion, and cultural patterning throughout both North America and Tibet. All of these discussions occurred within the context of a strong practice container, as well as Kilung Rinpoche’s ever-present atmosphere of empathy and compassion.
From the very beginning Warren Berto worked in close collaboration with Dza Kilung Rinpoche in both envisioning and facilitating the Vajra Daka Retreat. A number of participants were critical to the retreat: Brent Naylor traveled early to the retreat site in Ocean Shores, WA to scout the facilities. Jim Carbone, Ayrton Ibara, and Joe Evans were instrumental in establishing the retreat. Joshua Crouch, with great assistance from Joe Evans, served as the primary chefs. Steve Sieden transformed the environment with the elegance and precision of his Ikebana. Ayrton Ibara was point person for the daily Riwo Sangchöd practice sessions. Matthew Daniell served as the tea master for both Kilung Rinpoche and the participants. Jim Wilton facilitated virtually every practice session while Ken Hockett, Chee Vega, Brent Naylor, and Brian Hodel provided essential support for both discussion and clarity of the retreat.
Kilung Rinpoche’s generosity in terms of facilitating an individual interview for every retreatant, the profundity of his teachings, as well as his honesty and transparency in terms of sharing his own experience was incredible. In addition Kilung Rinpoche instigated a “gentlemen’s tea gathering” that explored the nuances of preparing, serving and enjoying an afternoon tea.
The final day which closed with Kilung Rinpoche’s final teaching and blessing sealed the entire retreat with uplifting dignity. Yet again everyone was engaged in taking down the shrine and teaching chair, cleaning up and packing out. Kilung Rinpoche infused the retreat with an extraordinary amount of tenderness and vitality.