Friends Nights at Aryaloka are from 6:45-9:00, when we gather to meditate and explore aspects of Buddhism through workshops, talks, study, ritual, or discussion. The emphasis is on practical application of Buddhist principles in our own lives. Although there is no fee for this event, donations are appreciated.
The 40-minute silent meditation in the main shrine room is typically not guided. (If you prefer to have prior instruction, see the Programs section for more information on introductory classes.)
An option for a guided meditation is offered in the library, after which, you can join the rest of the group for the second half of the evening.
Typically, our Tuesday night activities include:
• 6:45 – Tea and announcements
• 7:00 – Meditation and shrine room activity
• 8:00 – Study, discussion, or talk on the evening’s topic
• 9:15 – End
With all of the activities, you are free to participate or to just sit and listen – nothing is compulsory. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
Retreat gives us an opportunity to slow everything down and spend time reflecting on what is most important to us. Here are just some of the many reasons to go on retreat:
- Time to withdraw from the world that offers quiet and freedom from distraction.
- Retreat provides positive conditions for going inward.
- Retreat offers the opportunity to hear and absorb teachings, and to discover new viewpoints.
- Retreat is the ideal time to build on our Buddhist practice.
- Retreat affords us the opportunity to become aware of our present life situation.
- Stillness and silence enable us to hear our inner voice and are deeply nourishing.
- Retreat enables us to reach deeper and more consistent concentration in our meditation.
- Sharing a retreat with others creates unity.
- Sangha and friendship are strengthened through retreat.
- To care for and benefit others, we need retreat to rest and improve our own life.
- Retreat allows us to contact our inner springs of wisdom and compassion.
Aryaloka offers frequent weekend retreats and periodic weeklong retreats. Expand your horizons; step to a new level. Come on retreat!
Festivals are an important aspect of Buddhist tradition. These days are important for members of the Triratna Buddhist Community to gather for collective practice, to express devotion and gratitude for the three jewels (triratna) of Buddhism: the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Events are also held to commemorate the Buddha’s final passing away (parinirvana) and to celebrate the great teacher Padmasambhava.
Parinirvana commemorates the death of the Buddha Shakyamuni and provides an opportunity to consider death in our own lives, held on the full moon of February.
Wesak, also known as Buddha Day, celebrates the Buddha’s Enlightenment and is held on the full moon of May/June
Dharma Day celebrates the Buddha’s teachings and is held on the full moon of July.
Padmasambhava Day celebrates the life and teaching of Padmasambhava , an Indian teacher who established Buddhism in Tibet in the 8th century CE. It is held on the full moon of September.
Sangha Day celebrates the spiritual community of Buddhist teachers, past and present, and is held on the full moon of November.
Ongoing Open Heart, Quiet Mind yoga and meditation retreats are available at Aryaloka. Kripalu Yoga, Metta Bhavana meditation and personal reflection are the foci of this popular retreat.
Kripalu yoga is a yoga of consciousness. It is a unique way to integrate body, mind, and spirit through opening to and honoring the wisdom of your body. The essence of Kripalu Yoga is learning to become more present, compassionate, and self-aware in order to awaken and access the intelligent life force of prana for healing, personal growth and spiritual evolution. The postures are used as a vehicle to access a deeper state of awareness and students are encouraged to practice with a compassionate, nonjudgmental stance that creates space for the unfolding of inner wisdom.
The essence of Metta Bhavana meditation is to help us develop loving-kindness for ourselves, our friends, people we don’t know, those we are having difficulty with, and all sentient beings.
Appreciation and practice of the arts is seen within the Triratna Buddhist Community as an important means of engaging the emotions in the spiritual life and of making a bridge between traditional Buddhism and Western culture. Many of our sangha members make their living in the arts or have a strong creative talent. The arts bring richness and depth to our community and a personal connection with our own practice.
Aryaloka offers many opportunities to engage in creative pursuits through classes, retreats and workshops. We also have frequent arts events – musical performances, art showings, and more – through our Arts at Aryaloka programming. Arts events are open to all and always promise to be lively and elevating.