The seasons change, a vivid example of impermanence. Calling a day the first day of winter is also a reflection on how things are merely labeled.
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Tara gives us inspiration while we’re meditating during the sadhana. She is a representation of the understandings we’re trying to cultivate.
It’s encouraging to think of Tara as the Buddha that we are going to become.
One way we can think of Tara is as the physical manifestation of a Buddha’s qualities.
How do we relate to Tara? We may find it inspiring to view Tara as once an ordinary being like us who became enlightened, so we can as well.
Generating the proper motivation for doing retreat and examining ways to work with the mind, and the afflictions that come up during the course of retreat.
It is important to keep good ethical conduct while in retreat. Living according to the five (or even eight) precepts is a good practice during retreat.
We have to understand what retreat means. We are retreating from dukkha, from suffering, not just isolating ourselves from society.
The benefit to doing group retreat is the feeling of being part of a community where keeping the schedule is easier and every person’s presence matters.
How can we identify and label thoughts and feelings in a constructive way? It’s important to differentiate between actual feelings and story-making.