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Monday, May 9, 2016

Three Additions I must share

to the Bali Vipassana Retreat Report

That's the Lumbini Grove in the photo. Didn't have the name before. Just spent some time with Romo Handy, the Buddhist priest who married us, and he told me.

There are two idealized murals in the Dharmasala. The one that was straight in front from where I sat was of Buddha's parinirvana which to a casual observer would be called death. What got me about it is in this mural he looked like he was about twenty. Buddha is said to have died at eighty. I don't recall any art showing Buddha as an old man - or dark skinned or bald as some Buddhist historians have claimed would have been the case.

The mural on the other side had a baby Buddha with a halo and people swooning over him. Made me think of all the todo over the baby Jesus. This sort of mythical deification is inevitable I guess.

Photo to the left is the main altar in the Dhamasala and the two mural I mention are to the right and left but obscured.

***

We ate lunch and sat around. There was some discussion about how well the retreat's approach worked. Some accepted the instruction on how to do sitting and walking meditation and were planning to continue it. Others were eager to get back to different practices. One man from Java was more interested in concentration type mediation with the focus being on the heart chakra or third eye or the early Buddhist meditation technique of concentrating on the breath going in and out at the upper lip. He did not want to be stuck in the abdomen. Personally, I was comfortable with the focus on the breath at the belly going forward and inward labeling the movements with rising-falling, rising-falling. To me it was quite compatible and maybe indistinguishable from Zen's emphasis on the hara with the breathing.