The Vajradhara Buddhist Center is inviting the community to welcome the New Year in a quiet, gentle way.Starting Dec. 31, the center will hold hour-long meditation sessions every four hours for 24 hours. The retreat’s meditations will draw on the wisdom of Buddha Tara and make requests for her help. Chanting and meditations to Buddha Tara typically are done on the eighth day of every month, but the Tara retreat offers a more intense way of getting in touch with one’s mind, said Gen Kelsang Tilopa, an ordained monk and resident teacher at the Vajradhara Center. “We are trying to make a connection with Buddha Tara, which is essentially the wisdom qualities of our own minds,” Tilopa said. “By strengthening the connection, we generate wisdom to deal with the situations we will face in the coming year. The 21 verses of praise used in the meditations are Sutra, or the actual words of Buddha. The retreat begins at 4 p.m., and the last session is at noon on Jan. 1. Snacks and breakfast are provided. Tilopa said visitors are welcome to attend all or some of the meditation sessions. Those planning to stay overnight can bring sleeping bags to nap between sessions. Comfortable clothes are encouraged.The center will show the movie, “The Life of Buddha” after the 8 p.m. meditation session, and Kelsang said the group usually takes a walk together after the 8 a.m. session. The retreat is free, but donations are accepted. Prayer books are provided to help visitors follow each meditation. Each session begins with preparatory prayer, and then a teacher will offer commentary and guide attendees through the meditation. “It’s a peaceful, loving and compassionate way to begin the New Year,” Kelsang said. All are welcome to attend the Tara retreat. The Vajradhara Center is at 2108 South Blvd. in Charlotte. For information, visit meditationcharlotte.org.
Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013
Buddhist center offers New Year’s meditations
The Vajradhara Center will offer a longer retreat Jan. 2-8 based on the text “The 8 Steps to Happiness.”
The 1,000-year-old text, which is an 8-verse poem, contains the “complete path to enlightenment,” Gen Kelsang Tilopa said.
Kelsang Vajra will lead the retreat, which offers meditation sessions at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily.
Each hour-long session is different and builds on previous meditations. The meditations are a process of developing minds of affectionate love, compassion and wisdom.
“Anyone can drop in and still gain significant benefit from any session they attend,” Tilopa said.
Marty Minchin is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email her at email@example.com.
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