lightQueensland Zone A recently held their Ladies Retreat, based on the theme ‘Dancing in the Light’ at the beautifully serene Chenrezig Buddhist Temple at Eudlo on the Sunshine Coast.

The coordinator from the Bundaberg Sai Group put together a wonderful and diverse program that kept us very busy for the 3 days, with lots of laughter, deep introspection and fun activities.

This kept us all energised by the love, compassion and affection that was shared between each other. Imagine our delight when upon arrival we found the place abuzz with the news that the young 12 year old ‘chosen child’ Tenzin Phuntsok Rinpoche, who is a direct incarnation of the world renowned Lama Geshe Tenz in Konchog was going to be present with us within hours. We were instructed to line the driveway up to the Gompa and many of us were given white silk scarves called Karta’s to offer to the young Rinpoche, and were also advised on the correct protocol for offering these to him.

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Our routine day started with chanting of OM 21 times (called Omkar) and singing of an early morning prayer to Sathya Sai Baba – called Suprabhatham. Yoga was then undertaken, followed by a delicious breakfast in the ‘Big Love Café’.

Jenny Monson gave a thought provoking keynote address Dancing in the Light – My Experience, and Jill Fredericks gave a most interesting presentation on The Inner Light. Apart from the wonderful content of their presentations, it is always a great joy to have these stalwarts of the Sathya Sai International Organisation of Australia & PNG in our midst to share their wealth of experience, knowledge and love.

Priya Datt from the Cabramatta Sai Centre in Sydney took on the task of teaching our group an intricate but very small portion of a Classical Indian Dance routine which proved to be quite a challenge, but at the same time a whole lot of fun. Deep concentration was observed on the faces of the participants, who ended up putting the many dance moves along with the correct facial expressions together, to create a wonderfully entertaining dance routine. We had within our midst some talented musicians, like Cherie from Tasmania and Katrina from Queensland, serenading us with their melodious voices and stunning guitar work, while presenting their personal compositions in praise of Swami.

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Several Buddhist ceremonies were planned as part of the program. However, with the arrival of the young Rinpoche we were invited to attend additional functions each night in the Gompa, an event we were delighted to participate in. We participated in a Green Tara Puja which was sponsored by the Sai Group, and a special Long Life Guru Pooja to honour the young Rinpoche and all Gurus. At each event we were provided chai tea as part of the ceremony, and on the last night we were all given consecrated gifts in the form of a carry–bag, full of edible goodies to take away.

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Dorothy Hall from the Amamoor and Buderim Sai Groups spoke to us about Towards Enlightenment which included a silent walk through the tall thickets of bamboo, under the bright sunlight. Tibetan prayer flags gently flapped in the breeze, while in the Garden of Enlightenment Dorothy led us through the Light meditation. We were all seated in a circle in the tranquil gardens of this specially created section of Chenrezig.

The Venerable Tenzin Tsepal who is the head of advanced studies at Chenrezig gave us a very informative and interactive discussion on Emptiness and the Mind – an exploration of the teachings of the Buddha and Sathya Sai Baba. What a great presenter she was! It was an informative discussion indeed on Buddhism highlighting the similarities with Swami’s divine teachings.

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After the closing ceremony of dance, prayer and Arathi (waving of flame to Divinity) we packed and adjourned to the Big Love Café for our celebratory lunch. Judging by the smiles on everyone’s faces a big re-charge of Sai energy had filled us all with so much love and joy.

At the same time, for many, a greater understanding of Buddhism was gained through the many activities we participated in and through the love and compassion that emanated from the Buddhist monks and nuns at Chenrezig.

Our thanks to the coordinator, for organising such a wonderful event for all of us to share the company of each other, and for choosing an absolutely perfect venue. I’m sure we’re all a little bit fitter from all those stairs we have been going up and down. However, I’m also sure that we all gained much inner peace, while at the same time strengthened friendships and make some new ones along the way.

Om Sai Ram