Adhisthana Retreats

Event Title: “Without Contraries is no progression”: Bhante, Blake + creative tension in the spiritual life

Led by Atula, Ananda, Amitajyoti, Ratnaprabha, Satyalila and Saccanama

Bhante was 14 when he first came across this aphorism in William Blake's 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell'. Deeply inspired, he copied out the whole book by hand. Like Blake, Bhante’s life has involved huge creativity and huge tensions. He has often spoken of 'Sangharakshita I' (the poet) and Sangharakshita II (the monk/philosopher) and the necessity - and struggle - of bringing them into relationship. He’s also spoken of the difference between a difficulty (which can be resolved on its own level) and a problem (a polarity or tension which can't).

Blake and Bhante share a vision of true creativity (insight, or even imagination) arising when we can embrace ‘contraries’. What implications does all this have for us individually and collectively as we move on and learn from the Order's early years of 'Innocence' towards increasing 'Experience'? What contraries do we need to learn to embrace in ourselves and collectively?

Guided by Atula and the team, participants on the 2017 Blake retreat co-created a 'Blake Realm'' in the Adhisthana library; we shared our personal responses to encountering Blake's images, words and songs and there was time and space for reflection (in which, for some folk, writing, images and songs emerged.) We all agreed there was much more to explore in the company of Mr Blake.

Atula, Ananda, Ratnaprabha, Satyalila and Saccanama have invited artist Amitajyoti to join them in leading an exploration of The Songs of Innocence and Experience and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell alongside the fascinating 'contraries' of our individual and collective lives. No previous experience of Blake required - just a willingness to step into Experience!

Satyalila and Prajnamati have put together 'A Triratna Blake Reader', which we hope people coming on the Blake retreat will be interested in. The link to the PDF is below:

https://adhisthana.org/retreat/a-triratna-blake-reader/

For anyone who wants a hard copy, they have published the reader on lulu; just follow the link below:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/sangharakshita-with-prajnamati-satyalila/a-triratna-blake-reader/paperback/product-23585271.html
and we are also selling some hard copies of the reader in the Adhisthana bookshop.

Preface to the reader (from Prajnamati):

This ‘reader’ arose from a shared love of the Dharma, Bhante Sangharakshita’s presentation of it, and William Blake: and from an intuition that others may benefit from a ‘friendly way in’ to understanding a bit about Blake and the light he can shed on Bhante’s presentation/translation of the Dharma.

It begins with Sangharakshita’s own essay ‘Buddhism and William Blake’ first published in ‘FWBO News Winter 1977’ in the heyday of the ‘Blake era’ around the London Buddhist Centre. There were one or two Blake study groups, two or three communities and even an order member with Blakean names. Blake was ‘in the air’ just as he’s been around ‘in the DNA’ of Bhante’s approach to the Dharma.

The second piece in this collection is the set of notes made by Satyalila for a talk given on the first Blake retreat at Adhisthana in July 2017. In this talk, Satyalila endeavoured to track and trace the ways in which Blake’s influence can be found in Sangharakshita’s teaching.

The last piece in the collection comprises the four ‘readers’ which I compiled on the main themes that Bhante was elucidating when he references William Blake: Vision, Energy & Reason; Imagination; and the Dakini as Sangha Refuge. In each one an overview of the points Bhante makes is followed by a summary of the references from lectures, seminars, and books. The intention is to make it as easy as possible for the reader to dig down from this overview to the full text of what Bhante is saying in its context.

We hope you will find this an enjoyable and engaging way in to exploring a fascinating and important facet of Bhante Sangharakshita’s thought.

This retreat is for members of the Triratna Buddhist Order

Start Date: 13th Jul 2018
End Date: 20th Jul 2018
Deposit: £78
Price: £259 (Waged/Supported (including deposit)) / £182 (Unwaged/Unsupported (including deposit))

Bursary Fund - If you can’t afford to come on retreat you might be interested in applying for our Bursary Fund.