A year of silence

By Frank Simons

The Meditation Center is pleased to present “A Year of Silence,” an illustrated talk by Kiranada Benjamin, Thursday, March 6, at 5:30pm, at the center, callejon Blanco 4. A San Miguel winter resident, Dh. Kiranada will leave on the day of the full moon of New Hampshire this July and fly to a New Zealand winter to live alone in a small hut in silence for a year. She will be sharing the inspiration and intention of this solitary retreat at the Sudarshanaloka Buddhist Retreat Center, a 250-acre wilderness camp located on the NZ Coromandel Peninsula. I have done solitary retreats for the past eight years (Thailand, Wales, Mexico, Java, and Bali) but never one of 12 months. The more I researched such retreats, the more I learned that historically they are found in many religions and practiced by both religious leaders and secular thinkers — from Buddha to Christ to Henry David Thoreau of Walden Pond in nearby Massachusetts. There have been many who have gone to the hills at some time in their lives, to live away from society, to listen, to reflect and to meditate.

“A Year of Silence”
By Kiranada Benjamin
Thu, Mar 6, 5:30pm
The Meditation Center
Callejón Blanco 4
Free but donations gratefully accepted

Since I was a teenager, the idea of such a retreat has captured me, though I didn’t have the words. While I live alone in a small cottage in the New Hampshire woods, I am still involved daily in teaching, organizing workshops, helping friends, planning trips, running errands, assisting at the center, and staying in touch. I wondered what would happen if all this stopped and I was alone for a year with my meditation cushion? Would there be benefits? Would it be hard? Would my family be okay? Would I miss many things? What?

It is my great hope that I might share this deep longing with others and that it might be of benefit in some way. So … I am off in some months to be quiet. I will share what I can, here, with you. May you be well.

“The practice of solitary retreat has been an essential feature of practice lineage since the time of the Buddha. It is in the solitude of individual retreat that we meet ourselves in the most complete way,” writes Reginald Ray. There will be time for questions and discussion after the talk. Presentations of the Center are offered free of charge. Donations are gratefully accepted.


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