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The Heart Sutra
A Valentines’ weekend workshop
By Dorcas B. Molefe
The workshop was facilitated by Dharma teacher, Dr Ava Avalos, at one of the few places with clean air and clean water; a place of luxurious shades of green, on the weekend of 15 to 17 February, 2019.
Dr Avalos’ profound teachings were based on Zen Buddhism, in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh and his book, The Other Shore: a new translation of the Heart Sutra with commentaries, was largely used.
Setting the tone and centering what the weekend’s teachings would lead to, was the reading and chanting of the Insight of Prajñãparamitã as taught in the Heart Sutra which is wisdom whose understanding leads humans to “overcome all pairs of opposites”. With open heartedness, participants learnt to touch the wisdom of non-discrimination and instead of judging themselves they learnt to experience themselves as really good people – to recognize and affirm their own buddha nature; to love themselves as they continue to live mindfully with mindfulness as heart presence.
The workshop had yoga, meditation, sharing our thoughts and stories and facilitator-led teachings. The yoga aided the participants to be fully present in the precious gift of the here and now. The meditation assisted participants with understanding – the fruit of meditation – and to appreciate that all the answers they seek are inside themselves.
The workshop succeeded in bringing out pleasant surprises as discriminatory mental formations, and myths that had been learnt over participants’ lifetimes were questioned and dispelled by the understanding, insight, wisdom about opposites, particularly that ‘good is made of non-good elements’.
The sharing our thoughts brought together how we are bound by being human and not by the divisive and discriminatory labels that characterize our daily life perceptions and experiences. Dr Avalos ably facilitated the participants into connectedness in an unusually safe space in which open heartedness was possible. The shift was to move from opposites and labels to integration, oneness and a recognition of interdependence of existence.
The workshop was thronged with people from Botswana (citizens and residents) and some from South Africa. It was a delight and great privilege to have the Tara Rokpa Centre staff.
The tranquility of the workshop’s setting, coupled with the warmth and hospitality of the Tara Rokpa Centre staff, bespoke of healing, one of the four wings of the Centre.
This is a workshop to attend, if you want to know your heart’s desires, to meet yourself, become more open hearted and experience your heart presence.