Celebrating the First Bodhicharya Summercamp.

Located in the very far end of the eastern French border, deep in the Vosgian forest, Barenthal hosted the first Bodhicharya summer camp, led by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche.
A hundred of Rinpoche’s students and many of their families gathered, most of them from France, Germany and Belgium but also from as far as Finland, Ireland, Israel and North America.
Lama Tsultrim of the Djangtchoub Samten Gomdra in Strasbourg had originally invited Rinpoche to teach the course and he chose this beautiful location for the International Retreat. Le Centre de Jeuness is set in big green space surrounded by rivers and hills, and forested with a mixture of deciduous and pine trees. With plenty of facilities for children, the Youth Centre of Barenthal was a very auspicious place to host this very first week long meeting.
Each day began with 45 minutes of meditation before breakfast, followed by two teachings, morning and early evening, each lasting two hours. There was time to walk, talk, play and rest in between sessions. The day closed with Chenrezig Puja.
Rinpoche taught the progressive path of Mahamudra, based on ‘Pointing out the Dharmakaya’ a short text written by the 9th Karmapa, starting with the study of the Four Preliminaries and their practices. Firstly Rinpoche discussed the content of the preliminary Vajryana practices. He patiently led us step by step, deep into the core of the teaching; beginning with the Four Thoughts (Precious Human Existence, Impermanence, Karma and the Suffering of Samsara), followed by instructions on the Refuge Prayer; generating Bodhicitta; visualising and meditating on the Refuge Tree; and Vajrasattva purification practice.
The teachings were given with extraordinary clarity and great humour, and translated from English into French by Tsering Paldron from Portugal, with plenty of time for questions.
The days passed very quickly and it wasn’t possible to complete the special practices that end with the Mandala offering and Guru Yoga, for these we must wait until next year.
On the final session on Sunday morning, there was a Refuge ceremony, and Rinpoche gave the 5 precepts (or vows) to those who wished it, and the Bodhisattva vow to everybody. He ended the week by giving the preliminary ‘lung’ as transmission to practice.
The week also included daily dance classes, relaxation, meridian stretching, and tai chi sessions offered by participants, as well as guided walks into the forest.
Heartfelt thanks to Rinpoche for giving us this opportunity to receive these beautiful teachings. Thanks to Lama Tsultrim and Bodhicharya for the organisation.
We look forward to putting the teaching into practice during the year and returning in 2007 to continue these studies.

Many thanks to Annie and Fabienne for the text and the picture.


1 Response to “Celebrating the First Bodhicharya Summercamp.”

  1. 1 Home Improvement Resources August 17, 2007 at 7:54 am

    Thanks for sharing this information. Really is pack with new knowledge. Keep them coming.

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