(Notes by Michelle Bernard) Rinpoche’s annual U.K. retreat took place at Bruton School for Girls in the beautiful rural location of Bruton, Somerset, surrounded by hills and fields. Rinpoche led a truly inspiring retreat, focusing on the Dzogchen text on the view, Striking the Three Vital Points by Garab Dorje and written by Paltrul Rinpoche. We were very fortunate this year to have Rinpoche for longer than normal: 13 days.The retreat drew 113 people from around the world, mostly from the U.K. and Europe, with a handful from the U.S.
The retreat routine was the same as that for the month-long retreats, with Rinpoche teaching once a day for three hours and retreatants completing seven additional hours of personal practice. Bruton’s countryside locale provided retreatants with the opportunity to enjoy short walks in the bright, but cold spring weather, surrounded by fields full of sheep and lambs.
Each retreatant was very lucky to be granted a five-minute interview with Rinpoche. We were also very fortunate to have a one-hour question and answer group session each day with translator Gerardo Abboud. Rinpoche seemed very happy with the retreat and frequently included short practice sessions and guided meditations during his teaching period. It was a real privilege for us to have so much time practicing with and being guided in meditation by Rinpoche.
Ani Konchog has once again provided a full album of beautiful photos that give us the feel and sense of what it might be like to be on retreat with Rinpoche in Bruton: