Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tara Mandala Retreat Center

Stupa at Tara Mandala Retreat Center

In an April post on spiritual traditions and environment, I referenced the words of Tsultrim Allione. Today, I make a virtual visit to the stunning center founded by Allione herself.

Tara Mandala Buddhist Retreat Center.

To throw in some personal bits before proceeding- I have never been on a Buddhist retreat but I know it is soon time. I am in my 3rd decade of living on Earth and I have begun to feel a certain peace at taking things a bit slower (this could be the influence of recently moving to the South as well..). Return to breathing deeper, taking a moment (no matter how quick or prolonged) to marvel on the beauty of the clouds, and, to just sit.

Retreats and practice at dharma centers go far beyond these simple acts. But I know that I, along with many others, are built for this as well as thirst for the exchange that is often provided at retreats. Buddhism, or any other spirituality or religion, might not be the framework you choose to "retreat" in. Camping serves as a spiritual retreat for many, a weekend of quiet with no media and a focus on books and journaling could serve as a retreat for another soul.

The structured and rich schedule of retreat centers is something that beckons though. I consider some of these retreat centers offerings a sort of merged spa and boot camp for the mind and spirit. Necessary. Vigorous. Cleansing.

"Symbolically, the Mandala of Tara, the female Buddha of compassion, is a kind of architecture of the awakened psyche."
-Tara Mandala Retreat Center Website

Tara Mandala Retreat Center's website explicitly describes their location with honor given to the wealth of archaeological, cultural and geological resources in the region they inhabit. Their site also makes reference to the landscape itself as being regarded as the body of Tara.

Perceiving human's inhabiting of space amidst a matrix of land energies and building forms is a viewpoint not unique to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, but found in many regions on Earth, in different names. Extending back centuries, in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, is the notion of religious structures built with one of their express purposes being to interact with a particular energy force in the landscape, for example, the building intended as a subduing force.

It is rich to see the tradition of honoring the surrounding landscape and to conceive of one's "habitat" as an integral function now of this environment, ecologically as well as spiritually at Tara Mandala Retreat Center.

Source: Tara Mandala Retreat Center website

No comments:

Post a Comment