Sunday, 7 August 2011

Reflections on Bodhicharya Summercamp 2011

This year, Bodhicharya Summercamp moved south - it was held in the village of Vassieux-en-Vercors, in the department of the Drome in the Rhone-Alps region.  Vercors is known for it's prominence in World War Two as a refuge for the French resistance fighters,  on 21st July 1944, German troops entered the village of Vassieux on parachutes launched from gliders,  and killed all 120 resistance fighters based there, along with the 72 remaining villagers, mainly women and  children.  Since then the village has been rebuilt and has become a testimony to the strength of the human spirit.
Ringu Tulku had  requested  a change of venue this the 6th year of summercamp  so that families with children could attend, and  childcare was provided enabling parents to attend teachings on 'Mahamudra - the Moonlight', by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal, [1511-1587] as a natural continuation from the previous summercamp teachings, 'Pointing Out The Dharmakaya' by the 9th Karmapa, Wangchup Dorje.
Rinpoche described this as one of the more elaborate explications on Mahamudra, and in the introduction by Lobsang Lhalungpa, who translated the text itself, he states that it is 'neither a students manual nor a self explanatory book........it is studied under the guidance of a chosen teacher'  and that on detailed study and reflection, 'The distinct Mahamudra meditation will then reveal ways of achieving instantaneous insight into the innate perfection of every perception and thought'. 
Thus the teachings elaborate in great detail the path to enlightenment.

Rinpoche gave two -  two hour teachings on each  day, morning and late afternoon,  so there was plenty of time for other activities.  These included a visit to a local Greek Orthodox Monastery,  lectures on Scale Relativity from astrophysicist Laurent Nottale,  Rinpoche told Tales from the Jataka for the children (some also took refuge in a very touching ceremony), and of course music, dance, hikes, pony treks and afternoon coffee in the local caf├ęs.
A new departure is the launch of the Bodhicharya In Touch website, which has been sponsored by Rager Ossel, designed by Ireland's website whizz Paul O'Connor and mentored by Minna Stenroos amongst others. It is a community interactive sight that allows the whole  of the Bodhicharya communities to meet, form groups and share ideas.  Bodhicharya Ireland has a it's own private forum for sharing ideas and projects with each other and Rinpoche.  

A decision was taken to rename what has been Bodhicharya France Summercamp to become the Bodhicharya International Summercamp, and plans are now underway to find a venue closer to an airport for easier and less expensive travel and as soon as news becomes available it will be posted on the In Touch site.