Ritual and devotion help to loosen the sense of self as we engage with the heights and depths of our experience. Ritual is active and creative, involving movement, recitation and chanting. Devotion is the flow of the heart response, holding reverence, respect and gratitude. Imagination holds the vision of the transcendental and its beauty.
We will turn towards the Buddha and to other archetypal Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, as figures that arise and fade away, that are shimmering, insubstantial, translucent. They might be glimpsed through sight, sound, touch or presence or we might simply wish to know them better. Ritual also enables a kindly response to the depths of our humanity. This might be experienced as loss, sadness, regret, gratitude, compassion or joy. Through ritual and other experience in the landscape, we will invoke the spiritual mandala of Taraloka and including the presence of Green Tara.
Offering both indoor and outdoor practice, the programme will include varied rituals, presentations, meditation, groups and an extended period of silence.
Punyamala is a public preceptor who regularly leads the long ordination retreat at Akashavana, where she explores her rich experience of ritual and devotion. A founder member of Sheffield Buddhist Centre, she has lived there for 30 years with her family and worked part-time as a clinical psychologist.
Samantabhadri is a private preceptor who lived at Taraloka for 8 years and has a love of the arts, theatre and literature. She has a special interest in ritual, devotion and the imagination.