Reflections on the theory of “Life as Retreat”

 I am entering into a modern retreat aimed at gaining realizations useful for people of this modern world.  If mentally I see my new life as a retreat, that is what it will be.

My commuitment to practicing Dhama, my commitment to training my mind, my understanding that all things are mere karmic appearance to mind, my understanding that the only thing there is to do is wake up is undiminished.  What is under questionis what context and what capacity do I do this.


The most important recognition I need to maintain is I am on retreat and that Dorje Shugden is in control.  I need to surrender myself completely to his plan for me and do my part to put the Dharma into practice in the situations I find myself in.  When I doubt whether he is present or whether this is all his plan, I am wrong.  In this life, I need to in particular focus on purifying negativity and accumulating merit.  Bodhichitta is the best way of doing both of these.  I am on a modern retreat to gain the realizations that the people of this modern world need – specifically, how to transform an ordinary/normal life (work/family, etc.) into a fully spiriutal one.  How long will this retreat last?  Until DS ends it.  It is open-ended, but I suspect it will last at least until we leave Dallas.  So this is a ‘long retreat’ for me.


One of the biggest challenges I face is keeping my mind focused on my primary task of training my mind, and not be swept away by and distracted by ordinary thoughts and subjects.  I need to look at the bodhisattva vows related to concentration and make sure I am keeping them.


I need to strengthen this recognition that I am on retreat so that I never lose it.  How long will my retreat last?  Until Dorje Shugden ends it.  This is precious time, I should not waste it.


My biggest challenge in being able to do all of this is to always keep first and foremost in my mind that my principal task is to train my mind.  All that I am doing, everywhere that I am, these are just the contexts in which I engage in my principal practice of training my mind.  At the end of the day, the world is empty, it is all a karmic show out of control.  Freedom will only be found in pacifying the karmic waves of the ocean of my mind and abiding in the peace and stillness of the Dharmakaya.  I do not want to be Mongdol Chodak, who did all sorts of interesting things, but did not practice Dharma.  No matter what I do, my main task is to purify and perfect my mind.  I must never lose sight of this.  If I am definite in this understanding, then everything else will just be different spiritual exercises for me to engage in to train my mind.  Again, I need to keep my personal narrative manifest within my mind.  I am on retreat.  This is my last life in samsara, I am preparing to be able to go to the pure land.  My main task is to build my pure land so that I may invite all beings.


Additionally, I need to constantly remind myself that I am on retreat and everything around me that I encounter, etc., is all emanated by DS.  In this way, I can do the guru yoga of everything, the other most powerful means of accumulating merit.  Surrendering myself to my guru at my heart, becoming his puppet, will also help greatly in this regard.1

One thought on “Reflections on the theory of “Life as Retreat”

  1. I like this : “One of the biggest challenges I face is keeping my mind focused on my primary task of training my mind, and not be swept away by and distracted by ordinary thoughts and subjects.”
    Thanks Ryan.

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