About Anushka Fernandopulle:
I am a lifelong spiritual practitioner who has trained for over 20 years in the Theravada Buddhist tradition in the U.S., India and Sri Lanka. I live in an urban area and consider how the practices can translate for my fellow citizens with a busy modern life; I am most interested in bringing these ancient teachings to the contemporary world, informed by my love of creative arts, technology, politics and pop culture. I also have an MBA and am particularly interested in the practice as it relates to leadership development — how we can each see through the things that hold us back from manifesting our unique gifts and talents in the world. I am on the Spirit Rock Teacher’s Council and teach at other meditation centers, but also do a lot of teaching & coaching in tech companies, nonprofit organizations, and less overtly spiritual settings.
So our Dharma talks with congratulating you and making it to the end of another day. But as you know, today is a special day. The end of the final full day of the retreat. So, I give you congratulations for that. And for waking up in every world that has shown up so far. Soon, you will be moving into a different world seemingly. Your day life world. Your other home where people probably don’t produce small balls of fruit and soup on tables for you at meal time to serve silently and eat.
So, some questions come up from people sometime. What’s the relationship of what we’ve been doing here in the retreat and to going home, and what is the practice that I can do to continue this? So what does this mean in waking up in every world and this world, the world that I’m going back to, the world that I’ve conjured during so many hours of sitting and thought about, and imagined, and planned.
So tonight, I hope to share a little bit about this with you and to shed some light some aspects of Dharma.
So, first thing is to look at what we’ve been doing here. So, there are many different perspectives on what we’ve been doing here. We’ve been doing a contemplative practice here, meditation practice that’s one part of the path of waking up. It’s one portion of the prescription if you will, from the Buddha, for awakening.
So, it’s helpful to remember this, because sometimes we can get attached to the form of the intensive meditation practice and feel like, when I go home, whatever I do there is going to be lesser than. But actually, this is one segment, maybe three of the eightfold path links that we have been practicing most intensively here. So, we’ll talk a few more about those as well.
So, I’d like to always start by talking about the Dharma. You know, what is this Dharma, we took refuge in the Dharma, and this Dharma that we’ve been practicing and that, I’m encouraging you to continue to practice also, and when you go home and one of my favorite transitions of the Dharma is of the truth of the way things are, or nature. So, in some ways, our practices are waking up to nature, waking up to, it’s actually true about our lives, about who we are, about time, about space, about what we call reality. And the good news about this waking up to the truth of the way things are is that what the Buddha was teaching about is actually something that we can see. It’s not like an esoteric philosophy that he ___ up, like now we’re trying to memorize, and figure out and you know apply in this strange ways. It’s actually is there in every moment for us to see, that which we need to see, to be completely awakened. It doesn’t require special moment. It doesn’t even necessarily require being on retreat. Although, doing a lot of practice is more ___ sometimes to do that. So we practice and as we develop wisdom, you could see in some ways that we start to align ourselves more clearly and more fully with the truth of the way things are. And before this point, we live in misalignment. We live out of harmony, and this is what causes ___. So, strange, stress, suffering, a kind of added friction in life, because we don’t see clearly what is the nature of things. And so we live out of alignment with this.
So the questions people were asking and the things we talked about in the meetings have been about kind of the experiments in understanding this and seeing this in your own patterns, seeing this in your own experience and observation. And this is extremely helpful because it’s one thing to hear, and it’s another thing to notice directly through your own experience. So, this is includes all the different experiments that will happen for you, the ones that you have ___ intentionally taken on, and the ones that seem to have been taken on you during this journey.
So, akin to this Dharma is some physical loss, for example, that we learn through our lives. And aligning ourselves with the Dharma is kind of like learning different things that we already have learned in some way and one example that I think is ___ is about the love gravity. So, understanding the love gravity. So the love gravity is not something that we’re born knowing, and sometimes, you’ll see babies experiment or playing with the love gravity, to be in the high chair, and they’ll be eating their food, and they’ll start to drop things off the high chair, and watch them fall, and, then there’s a big props that anyone can see in the back, so, yeah, he’ll drop something, and then, oh, look, it fell to the ground, and then, what if it I do it on this side, like uh- so, same thing right. And then, what if I do it and I’m not looking- same thing. And then after a while, you get the sense, you get the picture from observation. The baby is doing what we all did. Like oh yeah, if you drop something, then it seems to be inexorably drawn to the ground. It didn’t even know why that is. You didn’t have to know the word love, gravity, you didn’t have to know the Mathematical equation for it. You just understand that’s going to happen and so then you learn to live in alignment with that. So then, if I want to place something, it’s better not to place it in mid-air, because I think it’s going to fall, right? So, I understand that in order to live in harmony for that is to place, for example, all these papers in a book, on a clock, in this bench.
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