On that first afternoon, Ferry Beach was still just a conference center. Its buildings sat right at the edge of tall grasses that lead to a highly swimmable beach. There were forest groves, and peaceful gardens — it was a beautiful, but normal place. I walked into what people were calling the shrine room, and found a messy gym with a handful of busy volunteers, building, and cleaning, and moving things into place.
The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma Retreat happened next to the ocean. One fellow retreatant mentioned that the constant sound of the waves breaking on the shore kept us company during long periods of meditation. I suppose it’s kind of ironic, because I’ve heard that Trungpa Rinpoche hated people sunbathing in the sand on the beach; he called it “lying in the dirt.” But I can’t help but think he would get a laugh out of the fact that this is where we were immersed in his teachings.
Rob and I had not been to a practice program together, (let alone on a vacation) since our first child was born and he’s 28 years old now. So, it was a bit of a commitment to drive the fifteen hours to a group retreat in Maine, rather than, say, a seaside resort. It’s not what people usually do on vacation. Usually people go someplace with a bar. We were thrilled to discover that the Profound Treasury of Dharma retreat, while without a watering hole, was a New England seaside resort.