The archetypal template for our spiritual practice is Avalokitesvara or Kuan Yin, who embodies enlightened activity within the world while rooted in depth understanding of emptiness. Another way of understanding emptiness is the intimacy of all things. Kuan Shr Yin means the ‘One Who Contemplates the Sounds of the World at Ease’ Kuan Yin is beyond form and yet works through form. At Dharmagiri we engage practices which evoke the essence of Kuan Yin, which is the merging of depth wisdom as articulated in the Heart Sutra, with depth compassion as articulated in the Great Compassion Mantra. This is done through various meditation practices as well as through recitation of mantra and Sutra texts.
Besides individual meditation practice, an important dimension of retreats at Dharmagiri is the cultivation of community. It is our practice to observe sensitivity, authenticity and respect towards each other, to share the undertaking of daily chores and to have the support of each other's well-being as our primary focus. To this end, relationship challenges are understood as opportunity for the deepening of both wisdom and compassion within the individual as well as within the group. During longer retreats, we hold a weekly sharing circle to give the chance of each person to reflect on their practice in an atmosphere of safety and mutual respect.