A light dusting of snow confirms that winter has truly descended on Lerab Ling. The last of Guru Rinpoche's lake has frozen over, and the waterfall turned to ice seemingly overnight.
Gone are the crowds of three year retreatants, replaced with a soft silence punctuated every so often by the sound of the choir practising Christmas carols.
For the small number continuing their retreat over the winter, the cold wind is excellent encouragement to stay warm indoors practising. For the rest of us, there is an atmosphere of transition as we readjust to a more public Lerab Ling post three year retreat. The stillness that comes with our reduced numbers does not mean that we are in hibernation.
Workers now join the small but dedicated group of practising students living at Lerab Ling for daily practices, and the local sangha join for special tsok days twice a month. This coming together has enhanced the strong sense of community here, keeping us all cosy as we gather in the temple on chilly mornings or in the dining hall for a cup of tea.
Preparations are well underway for the Christmas meditation retreat at Lerab Ling (26 December-1 January), not to mention Christmas itself. Everyone seems as busy as ever!
(Story by Elena Marie)