Over many centuries of living together, in South and Central Asia, Buddhists and Muslims often found themselves in dialogue, learning and growing from their encounter with each other. They shared the view that the nature of uncreated reality –the dharma, the haqiqa– is beyond the limits of thought and language, even as Buddhist and Islamic poets never cease describing their understandings. And they shared the concern that focusing on one’s self could be a hindrance on the path to freedom and joy, even as Buddhist and Islamic poets never cease describing their individual experiences of walking the path. Great Buddhist teachers of wisdom, such as Nagarjuna, Śāntideva, Tsongkhapa, and Dōgen, like great Muslim teachers of wisdom, such as Rumi, Ibn al-‘Arabi, ‘Attar, and ibn al-Farid, wrote poetry expressing their sense of devotion and wonder that moves their readers beyond the limits of reason. Poetry and song were at the heart of many Buddhist and Islamic traditions, where the beautiful play of language was cultivated as a practice. This retreat will be devoted to the careful and collaborative reading of Buddhist and Islamic poetry and the exploration of the shared themes of spiritual friendship, faith, gratitude, and the world as it appears to awakened perception in selected poems. We will attend to these poems as works of art, historical documents, Dharma/haqiqa teachings, and personal expressions of the challenges and refuge of the path. Throughout, we will also write our own Dharma poems, inspired and informed by the poetry and practices we explore together, giving voice to our own experience and insight.
Noble silence will be observed following the evening session through breakfast the following morning.
This course is suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.
Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:
Three spaces will be held for self-identified BIPOC participants until eight weeks before this course begins when they will be released generally. Therefore, we encourage you to join the waitlist even if the course appears full as additional spaces may become available. Please see our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies for more information.
As we work to become a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming; please email us at email@example.com.