Year 2011 Silent Retreat Testimonial
By Chau Nguyen
This is my first retreat and I am simply blown away. It is a life changing experience; it has profoundly transformed my beliefs, perspectives and approaches to problem-solving. I have learned precious and invaluable lessons; lessons that I am going to remember, cherish and apply to my everyday mundane life as I leave the safe and loving environment of the retreat. I feel empowered to be the best that I can be.
Listed below are my key takeaways:
- Chanting mantras is the most wonderful way to start the day. The experience is deeply moving, peaceful, and powerful. We are all one entity united toward the same goals and objectives.
- Although the meditation teaches us to open our third eye, I am so wonderfully surprised that I am seeing things in the temple for the first time with my naked eye, although I have visited the center so many times in the past. Because I need to observe the silence and not spending time socializing or being distracted by noises surrounding me, I realized that focusing on the essential, listening and reducing noises lead to a greater understanding of my environment and of myself.
- Detachment from material things, and most of all, detachment from negative preconceptions and beliefs caused by the ego, is something I have been trying to achieve ever since I met His Holiness more than 20 years ago. Naturally, the process does not occur overnight, and for me, it has been a lifetime struggle; however, the retreat provided me with tools to achieve higher levels. Things that I thought were important just a week ago (for example eating meat), are not so important and not so crucial. I have learned that I can attain fulfillment with very little, and I have let go of dysfunctional habits.
- I love the group duty. It is such a great representation of real life situations. I have gained invaluable insights which I am going to bring to my business situations. Even though people in the group have never worked together or collaborated on anything before, we each found our own rhythm within the group, we each took the initiative and somehow managed to getting things done quietly and effectively. I realize that if we each allow the other to be the best one can be, we don’t need to direct, manage, or force our ways, we just focused on getting the job done, without biases, judgments and attachments to how each task should be done. We allow each other to come forward and accomplish something, we avoid conflicts and the whole team wins!
- The most life changing lesson of the retreat for me is the concept of anger caused by expectations. Although I have my own method of dealing with anger, I have never associated expectations with sufferings. I have been working on a painful and dysfunctional business relationship for almost two years, but somehow could not come to terms with it effectively. On the second day of the retreat, right after Her Holiness spoke of this concept; I spent hours contemplating my anger and negative feelings. I wrote down three pages of the expectations that I have for this person, and I kept digging deeper and deeper. By the time that I am done I said to myself “No wonder I felt so heavy!”. I realized that my expectations were unreasonable; I stopped blaming the person for making me angry. The process of contemplation allowed me to take responsibility for the way I feel, and for taking the power back within myself. This is the most significant transformations of my emotional state, and my spiritual quest over the last 20 years. It was a great catalyst for me to achieve inner peace and wisdom. Her Holiness, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! At the end of the second day, I found that I have let go of at least 95% of the anger associated with this situation, I have released that person into another universe.
- I have seen the group bonding over the seven days we spent together, without any speech and that is very powerful! I feel that everyone has been progressing every day towards the same spiritual goals. I felt that it is a tightly knit community.
To conclude, I have so tremendously enjoyed the retreat. I am deeply thankful to have the karma and the privilege to learn from Her Holiness Crystal. I have come out of it lighter and freer person. I feel so liberated, I have let go of so much baggage, and I believe that I have become a better person. I have attained freedom from the release of many negative thoughts and anger, and I have a renewed vision and perspective in life. Of course, this progress needs to continue, and I am going to strive very hard on a daily basis.
Thank you Her Holiness!
Managing Partner of Oriense Partners
Year 2011 Silent Retreat Testimonial
By Mailin Jan
This is my seventh retreat and the first time without His Holiness’ physical presence. It was a very sad and mixed feeling. Tears came down my face when I heard his voice during chanting; when I felt his blessings during prostration and when I saw his images during meditation. His Holiness has always made me cry during the retreat. This time proved to be no exception.
It has been a challenging and difficult year at work and I followed His Holiness’ advice – “Face it; accept it; handle it; and let go.” Since late last year, I have gotten agitated more easily; sometimes even over very trivial things.
During the retreat, as instructed by Her Holiness, through deeper meditation and layered contemplation, I realized what I have done was only at the surface level. I never let go of the situation. It has weakened my endurance, tolerance, and disturbed my inner peace.
Her Holiness duly pointed out my anxiety and sleepless nights came from my own imposed expectation on my loved ones. My strong attachment and stubbornness has caused uneasiness and sometimes painful conversations in my relationships.
Strong attachment, stubbornness and not being able to let go seems to all be related. They became so vivid and were right in front of my face during retreat. Through this clear awareness, I am going to put in to action learning to let go of attachments, stubbornness and antagonism. I must learn to take a deep breath and let go.
I am thankful to have the great karma to learn and practice Black Sect Tantric Buddhism in this lifetime. His Holiness and Her Holiness are not only my spiritual leaders, but also my mundane mentors. I would like to thank you with the following quote:
“I would thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you, my heart has no bottom.”
Director of CitiBank
Year 2011 Silent Retreat Testimonial
By Theresa Mikuriya
The Annual Seven-Day Silent Retreat has been a life transforming experience for me. Ever since my first retreat in 2008, I have noticed a remarkable difference in terms of my general state of mind and well-being. Having attended the retreat for the past four years, I noticed that each annual silent retreat constitutes a unique experience. I feel that there is a different lesson for me to learn each year and the challenge is to be aware of this and to embrace it without fear or reservations. However, what is consistent during each of the Seven Day Silent Retreats is the manner in which one’s soul gains a sense of nourishment through the invaluable teachings and transmissions received during the retreat.
As an academic in the UK, I have a very heavy workload; I am constantly trying to balance my teaching duties, administrative roles and the demand to be a productive researcher in the university. The Silent Retreat has enhanced my wisdom when dealing with a variety of issues and has bestowed within me a sense of tranquility, even when I am immersed in moments of stress. And this has been particularly the case for the Silent Retreat of 2011. I was in a heightened level of stress, with an extremely heavy workload and innumerable tasks awaiting for me to complete after returning to the UK. I was able to handle all of these matters calmly, patiently and smoothly, all due to the invaluable lessons that I have learned from Her Holiness Khadro Crystal Chu Rinpoche during these seven days of silence.
Since attending the 2011 Silent Retreat led by Her Holiness, I have noticed an increase in my spiritual awareness and the development of stronger intuition. Her Holiness’ teachings on meditation methods have been so powerful that upon return to London, my meditation practice has improved tremendously in ways which I cannot even begin to imagine nor can I use words to describe. In addition to this, what I find amazing is that Her Holiness’ instructions do not only include esoteric transmissions but also emphasizes the importance of critical analysis which can be seen in the role that she places on contemplation. One does not tend to closely associate spiritual knowledge with the quest for logic and rational thinking, but Her Holiness has demonstrated how these two can work together productively to enhance one’s well-being, wisdom and spiritual development.
Rereading my diary entries from the Silent Retreat of 2011, I am amazed by the transformations I have undergone during those seven days. From a person entrenched in a state of anxiety and full of worries, I emerged after the seven days motivated, with a sense of purpose and in a state of serenity, no longer afraid to deal with mundane matters. I am infinitely grateful to Her Holiness for the teachings that she has transmitted to us and the care and attentiveness she has shown towards each one of us during the retreat. Her meticulous attention to details and her clear and lucid teachings have helped me clarify a lot of questions concerning my spiritual practice and my being-in-the-world. I treasure each second of the retreat. As the days progress, my heart becomes lighter, my mind clearer as if dust has been wiped off its dull and tarnished surface. I’ve learned so much about myself, my relations with others and my purpose of life in this world. The lessons that I have learned throughout these seven days are so precious and invaluable that I strongly believe it has been the merits accumulated through various lifetimes that I am able to be a participant in the retreat.
To this day, Her Holiness’ instructions resonate in my mind. Whenever I feel certain negative emotions arising, I remember the lessons she gives us and her voice leading us through the mantra chantings, meditations and dharma teachings.
I feel invigorated after the Seven-Day Silent Retreat, ready to face the demands and challenges of everyday life. I have tried to maintain my spiritual practice after the retreat, through meditation, contemplation, incense offering and mantra chanting. At moments of distress, I imagine myself to be back at the temple in Berkeley, immersed in the silent and sacred environment, making incense offerings to the Buddhas and His Holiness Grandmaster Lin Yun, with the blessings and guidance of Her Holiness Khadro Crystal Chu Rinpoche.
Junko Theresa Mikuriya, PhD.
Photographer and Lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy of Art, University of Kent
Year 2011 Silent Retreat Testimonial
By Charlie Wang
First I want to thank my godmother, Her Holiness, for this wonderful retreat. Perhaps it is my nature as an academic, but I really appreciated the more structured approach to this year’s program. I’ve always identified myself as Buddhist, though without really understanding the fundamental teachings or principles or Buddhism. This year’s retreat was very enriching not only from the perspective of meditational practice and self-reflection, but also in what I learned about the Buddha’s basic teachings.
My attitude entering this year’s retreat was quite different from the last. I entered the retreat last year with a desire to quiet down. This year, I had two specific personal issues I wished to confront and resolve: my temper and my battle with sporadic bouts of depression. Interestingly, even though I never approached her about these issues, throughout the silent retreat it seemed as if Her Holiness was having an ongoing dialog with me about these personal challenges and how to address them.
On the first day, Her Holiness called upon us to rigorously analyze ourselves and examine the sources of our anger. Following these instructions, I tried my best to logically trace the roots of my frequent temper flare-ups; however, I eventually hit a logical wall, one which I could not find a satisfactory answer to. On the very next day, Her Holiness picked up the topic again and in fact helped me resolve the quandary, leading me to discover the central and underlying source of my anger issues. At this point of realization I felt a strong sense of relief and joy. Days later, I also learned about how my anger and how I deal with anger, i.e. suppressing or swallowing it, contributes to my bouts of depression. Through Her Holiness’ teachings in meditational methods and in Buddhist principles, I feel that I’ve walked away from this year’s retreat equipped with a new set of lenses to understand my true nature and with a new set of tools to confront the daily challenges I face.
In summary, I am extremely thankful to have had the good karma to be able to participate in this year’s retreat. I want to personally thank my godmother Her Holiness for lighting a bright candle in what is otherwise a dark winding tunnel of my personal growth.
Last year I left the retreat with a feeling of sadness, but this year I am leaving with a sense of excitement and anticipation, excitement to apply what I have learned in this retreat to my daily life. Thank you very much Her Holiness and thanks to everyone for sharing this experience with me.
Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, Stanford University
Fellow of the Program on Corporate Governance, Law School, Harvard University
May 11, 2011