Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Land of Medicine Buddha (Buddhist retreat)

I took the afternoon to drive to Santa Cruz. It took about 6 hours to get there, which was a bit slow. I finally rolled up at The Land of Medicine Buddha at around 7.30pm not knowing what to expect.

This buddhist centre/retreat was about 6 miles from The Big Kahuna and had reasonably priced rooms and vegetarian food. I could hardly go wrong really.

On arrival, I got my key and followed the map to my room, which looked a bit like this....
As I walked through the door there was a mosquito on my leg. I halted my arm from swatting it as I realized it would break one of the precepts I had agreed to follow. So, I simply shoed away the mosquito. The other precepts were easy too, apart from the thing about the beer. I spent a weekend with a alchol free St Pauli's larger and that was it (quite nice though).

The other precepts are described thus:
In order to develop the practice of love & compassion towards our fellow beings, we ask our guests to observe the 5 precepts of no killing (even bugs), no lying, no stealing, no sexual misconduct and no usage of intoxicants (tobacco, alcohol, drugs) during their stay.

I swifty went to find dinner, for which no time had been specified in the copious instructions I had received. It transpired that dinner was from 6-7pm, which was a bit of a mix-up since I said I would be arriving at 7pm and had arranged to have dinner! A nice lady (called Paula, who runs the bookstore) went and got me some excellent soup and salad. Not really the carb loading I needed for the race but very tasty.

In the morning I had a huge breakfast, which I felt a bit bad about since there was buddhist monks and nuns there having very little to eat whilst I piled in.

I'm very much afraid that I didn't engage much in what was going on at this place during my stay. People were friendly enough but I would like to have spent more time there getting to know the place. I found the dinning area a bit odd with self-service tea and coffee always available but with little notes everywhere like, "if the coffee is dripping don't try sipping! use the thermos instead". Well, lots of little notes like that. I guess they get all kinds of people there who need guidance in various ways!

Well, on balance it is a very peaceful place, with nice people there, clean rooms and excellent food. I wish I could have stayed longer. I was very impressed also to learn that it was set up by Tibetan Buddhists too. One of 100 or so places around the world.


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