Alex Wright

Dathun rerun

November 10, 2006

Two years ago, I wrote about my dathun experience at Karme Choling in upstate Vermont. This week, I came back to do it again (or more accurately, finish what I started; dathun is a month-long practice, and I'm only now getting around to the second two weeks).

I'm now about midway through the program, and so far the experience has felt quite different. For one thing, there's wifi (that said, I am doing my best to resist the siren song of email; so apologies in advance if I don't respond to messages until after I return on November 19th).

The first time around, the whole situation felt like sitting inside a steam boiler; immersed in mental drama and emotional highs and lows, with moments of extreme physical discomfort. Days of silent meditation practice have a way of amplifying your experience; your thoughts and emotions get magnified; and the situation can start to take on a dream-like quality. But this time around, the whole thing feels more workable. There are still ups and downs, stretches of boredom, and my back still hurts; but the experience has a kind of ordinary feeling to it. There's a Chinese saying that goes: In the beginning, mountains are mountains; then mountains are no longer mountains; in the end, mountains are mountains again. It's something like that.

File under: Dharma

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