Submitted by Sudaka on Fri, 04/15/2022 - 09:17

hi all, I just attended one of our Spainsh Ordination process Going for Refuge retreats for Men. Very inspring.....organised by our Ordination team here in Spain, headed up by the lovely Yashodeva. It was my first "live" retreat since last summer and my first GFR retrrst in perhaps 5/6 years the last one was in Guyhaloka. It was great seeing the same guys after not being with them for so long and seeing their progress twards Ordination. Some of them really had come imto themselves and practitioners, men even. More mature, more rounded. Many thanks to my wife for holding the baby while I was away!

One of the delights of the retreat was helping take care of one of our friends who is wheel-chair bound. I always wanted to see what that work involved so we get the opportunity when our friend comes up to Suryavana twice a year. It affected me strongly, his vulnerability and ability to let himself literally be in the hands of others. Not easy work but satisfying. It was also impressive how between us all we took care of him. 

The other highlight was being able to continue to explore the Dakini sadhana that Kamalashila kindly shared with us in December last year. It seems to "touch a nerve" for me and although I feel an almost terrible fidelity to Manjughosha after twenty years, I have permitted myself six months to "try out" being with the Dakini. Some of the experiences during the retreat bordered on psychedelic, which perhaps says more about me than anything else. I was also playing with sleep reduction, not entirely by choice, which no doubt contributed as consiousness becomes "thinner" at such times.  

So I came off retreat running and threw myself in getting Suryavana up to speed for the forthcoming "season" of activity. Like Persophone it seems that from Spring to Autumn everybody wants to come up to Suryavana returning to their Winter abodes when the temperature drops in the colder months. Suryavana is looking beautiful right now!

One of the aspects of working at Suryavana is the sence of working with the past. Much of the infrastructure was already in place when we Buddhists arrived and the Masia is very well known in the area and has its own story and myths in the minds of the locals. It was very satisfying employing a neighbour to sort out our roof. His father and grandfather lived and worked in the Masia when it was a working farm, and his uncle was the guy that oversaw the extensive rebuilding of the Masia when it was transformed into a "Casa Rural", Country House Hotel. A renovation which suits us no end! Literally we could start running retreats the day after buying the place. What struck me one day, as he finished off a job with cement, is that he said with great pride "I want to work for the Masia".

The Pandemic has floored the finances of our project. As no doubt many other businesses and projects have suffered, disppeared even. Now the job is to slowly crawl out of the trough left by Covid. It is reemarkable that we are still here. If it wasn't for Sadhita's and I's dogged tenacity and the 15K loan from the Windhorse Trust, Suryavana would be a decaying shell I habites by foxes overrun by wood asparagus, in the hands of our beloved bank. In fact, Suryavana has never looked better! We are more than ready to receive our guests in the Sacred Guesthouse. We used the down time to improve the imstallations, paint the house and so on. Take stock!

all the best  love Sudaka