We all have internal and external experience. In Buddhism and in other traditions, we often talk about transcending ourselves. We transcend ourselves by transcending internal experience.
Sometimes as we try to practice, a certain kind of internal experience arises in our minds, called talk. When this happens, it is an opportunity to transcend ourselves. We take advantage of this opportunity by experiencing talk clearly. To experience it clearly is to experience ourselves clearly. To experience ourselves clearly is to transcend ourselves. The more internal chatter we have, the more often we can transcend it. Having done this, we explore another of the special aspects of talk: it can direct our lives in productive and compassionate ways.
At this retreat, five of my teen students will be offering their practice. Refugees who have survived some of the most brutal suffering in the world, they now live in Vermont, are attending Burlington High School in Vermont, and have been training with me for over a year. This will be their first residential retreat.
Their practice is inspiring. I have trained in several monasteries. While the majority of my training was in Japan, I also had the chance to study for two years at a temple that served a low-caste community in India. Brutality, injustice and fear formed the basis of life there. This is the case for hundreds of millions in people in India, and billions world-wide. We spent our days teaching thousands of people that a person's worth is independent of caste, and that we should all throw our caste mentality away. It was my great honor to become a part of that community, to taste fear and injustice in my own mouth. As a result of this time, I am somewhat able to connect with refugee youth such as those who will be attending this retreat.
These practices open the highest happiness and resolve the greatest suffering. Come and see.
To sign up for the retreat, please go to the Kripalu web site, or call 800-741-7353. Regarding donations to the youth mindfulness program to help Yessi and Cadoux, please call Vicky Smith at