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Peace Out in Lockdown

Haven't all our lives changed enormously since the last Newsphere?

We hope you are all doing as well as can be in your respective "bubbles", wherever you are in the world. It is a strange and wondrous thing that in spite of us being more isolated physically from one another, the sense of interconnectedness and awareness of the whole has grown exponentially. Life is rich with Dharma - reality, law, the truth of how things are - that life is both full of struggle, and full of joy. That humans are capable of so much harm born from greed, hatred and ignorance, as well as the most astonishing acts of kindness, wisdom and compassion. That nature is fragile, but also resilient and irrepressible when given a chance. As we all attempt to find new ways to rest with the paradox of living now, it is a gift to share the wholesome seeds of peace and aroha continuing to be planted in our community. This Newsphere celebrates those seeds, visible and invisible, through poetry, prose, and practical affairs! 

In this edition you'll find poems from Ross Inness McLeish, Bonni Ross and Zoe Buchanan, reviews from the Mindfulness and More retreat and Lama Mark/Jonathan Chambers retreats, Call for Board Members and news from Wangapeka, and more. 

Sarva Mangalam - All is Blessing

What If? 

Poem by Ross Inness-McLeish

What if your attention was a love song?
Your awareness a holy offering.
Indeed, the most holy of all offerings.
What if your attention was the greatest gift you have to give?
Great enough to transform your humble breath
And your simple footfall into a passionate kiss for the wild Earth.

Read the full poem here 

Kumanu Wangapeka - a call for new BOT members 

Since the last AGM the Board has lost three very experienced members; Jane Hobday, Pierre Mitchell and now Louise Petzold. Serving on the Board of Trustees is a great experience. You can expect to learn a lot, make some contributions in your areas of interest and expertise
and also attend or Zoom in to the monthly meetings. If you are interested in serving on the board and would like more information, contact Office Caretaker Amber, any board member or the secretary Tim Leyland. 

Louise Petzold has recently stepped down as Board Coordinator. Louise brought so many valuable skills and her deep heart of Dharma to her role and will be greatly missed as a Board member. 

Kumanu itself is continuing to evolve in its function of forming a bridge to foster dialogue, share news, spark interest and feedback. Read here for March summary of BOT meetings, as seen through the eyes of new BOT member Shelley Taylor, and a few notes from the April meeting as well. 

Calling All Members of the Wangapeka!

Time to renew Memberships

Up here at the Wangapeka the Centre is resting and the leaves are beginning to turn symbolising the turning of our membership year. It would be wonderful if you could please renew your subs by April 15th, 2020. To do so follow this link and instructions

Calling All Members of the Wangapeka! Time to Renew Memberships

Wangapeka Elders Lunch

Mark Schrader

L-R Mary Jenkins, Tarchin Hearn, Shelley Szybowski, Mark Schrader, Bonni Ross, Matthew Eades, Keith Rowan

On Thursday 19 March 2020, a unique occurrence involving a small group of dedicated Dharma folk with strong links to the Wangapeka Study & Retreat Centre met in Nelson.
This was the first time this particular configuration of Wangapeka Elders had met with all seven being present, including the three relatively new Elders (Matthew, Shelley & Mark).
It is unknown if the opportunity for all seven to meet again will happen, so it was great that the planets and stars aligned up to allow this to occur this time.
There was no great agenda set for our meeting, just the opportunity to meet, share some ideas and simply be together for a few hours. 
The role of Elders began about a decade ago with their primary role focused on providing support to the Centre and Wangapeka members as the need or cause arose.
It is pleasing to know that what did evolve from our gathering on 19 March was the affirmation of this commitment to continue this support for Wangapeka and its Sangha.

Mindfulness and More
Retreat with Tarchin Hearn 

Review by Jaime Howell

I am animate.
I am an animal.
I am born from life and living
And so, dear friend, are you.

Everything we experience reverberates with these truths.

- Tarchin Hearn

Words do not easily convey the magnanimity of a view offered during these days and weeks. Hints and feelings for an impossible possibility to open into everything, a state of deep listening and enquiry. For those who have experienced retreat, you know something about the wonder that
happens when we human creatures slow down. A process of noticing as if for the first time ordinary miracles of the natural world. Between the microscope and the star blazing dark skies, we rested, enquired and began to reconnect with a capacity for appreciation.
At the beginning Tarchin said something like… “A lot of people enter a retreat operating as if in a world of things.” The statement gave rise to the question, how can we sometimes busy humans get a feeling for living in a seamless, ceaseless, multi-realmed dynamic of relating? And so it appears we all signed up for a relationship retreat, apprentices to the knowing/doing kinaesthetic arts of intimacy with life and living.

Read the full article here 

This Morning I Woke Early

Poem by Bonni Ross

I never saw a whooping crane
But sometimes, in the summer night
I would fall asleep under the covers
Under the covers we put over our heads
My cousins and me
When grandpa came 'round with the bug spray
“So you don't get eaten alive," he said
And I would fall asleep safe from bugs
And all eating alive things
And get too hot
And dream strange dreams
And wake up hearing
The giant whoop of a massive bird
I could only imagine
Sailing the sky
Trailing long legs
And sounding the ending of itself
Which is a part of myself

Read the full poem here

Retreat in a time of Covid 19

Diary of a retreat manager in a pandemic : 

8 March:  Our 5th Annual Dzogchen retreat appears to be coming together 'according to plan'.  A vague sense however that the process has been a little too smooth so far…
9 March:  In discussion with Amber, we decide to email retreatants about COVID-19, requesting them not to come if they are high risk.
11 March:  WHO declares a pandemic
16 March:  As the COVID-19 situation continues to escalate, Wangapeka BOT advise that they are meeting to pull together a risk management plan.  There is a possibility they may close the doors if health and safety risks are considered too great.  We begin to adapt to this possibility while carrying on our set course - the intention to practice Dharma has a powerful momentum.

Read here for the rest of the Diary by Jonathan Chambers

The retreat itself was very intense for me since the first day, like knowing that at any time we might have to pack and come back, made me make any second count. It felt like the energetic field of Wangapeka itself, the care of the Board sending updates, and the presence of Lama Mark, were holding space for us to accomplish the purpose of us being there, which in the context of things was enhanced. Being introduced to the Medicine Buddha practice in this particular time is very special and I personally feel the commitment to practice and generate love, kindness and compassion for the good of all beings.

Read here for more reviews by Alejandra, Karenza and Linda

Power Fundraiser Complete! 

Well, that escalated quickly! On the 15th of March our campaign came to its official close. The giving didn't stop there however, with a few direct donations still continuing to flow in this week, a grand total of $46,433.00 has now been raised towards the Wangapeka Power Supply Upgrade.

We are so grateful to each and every one of the 70 donors who gave so generously, beyond our expectations. A huge thank you also goes out to all those who gave their time to help shape the campaign, and everyone who helped spread the word.

Final numbers

Direct Donations: $33,733.00
16 Donations from 15 Donors

Givealittle Donations: $12,800.00
60 Donations from 55 Donors

Total Donations: $46,433.00
76 Donations from 70 Donors

This leaves just a small contribution from the centre’s reserve fund to make up the balance.

Where are we up to now? 
Read here to read about the plan now for the Power Upgrade

The Dharma of Official Documents 

Here are some important documents that you can find on the Wangapeka website

• Link
here to We're Closed - Covid 19 Plan (updated April 8)

This document includes information on future retreats -

"The BOT advises that future retreats can only go ahead if the National alert is at Level 2, with the Level 2 health and safety protocols in place at the Centre.

If, during a retreat, the level rises again to Level 3 or higher, then the retreat must stop and all participants go home.

Thanks for your understanding."

• Link here to Wangapeka's Covid-19 Risk, Response and Management Plan

• Link here to Wangapeka's Revised Complaints Procedure 


Poem by Zoe Buchanan 

Beyond coming and going
Feeling connected 
here..... fully

Right here.... right now...
Filling the space that is you

Feeling the colour
             the tone
             the texture
             the density
                               that is you in this moment

Then you can feel.....
                                  truly be with.......
                                                           All that you are......
From here you can become aware of the place where you end and everything else begins.......
You can feel the creative EDGE
                                                  That whisper of a membrane 
Then it fades....disappears
There is no longer any fear of
that which is not you

The colours can blend like a sunset .....
                                                            day bleeding into night
The tones can harmonise like a massive choir...
The ripples can dissipate into stillness
You are neither light nor heavy, right or wrong.... 
You just are
You are here and you are everywhere..
All is well.

Written after recent retreat with Jonathan Chambers

Linked Articles

Here are links to all of the long articles in this months Newsphere.


Retreat Reviews

Wangapeka Documents

2020 Programme

Energy Rides the Winds (online)

a self isolation retreat

with Bonni Ross, 10 – 24 April 2020

This retreat will now be hosted online. Register with Kath Mitchell prior to April 4th. Course details online - Read more.

Life as It Is (2020)

A Family Friendly Community Retreat

15 – 17 May 2020

A community practice weekend for everyone. All ages, family and community welcome.

Come and join us for a warm community weekend of mindful practice and exploration where we will explore together how we grow a sense of support, connectedness, curiosity and kindness no matter what is happening in our lives- at work, at school or at home.

Read more.

Growing Joy

An Integrative Meditation and Open Floor Dance Retreat

with Jaime Howell and Juliana Griese, 20 – 24 May 2020
Buddha speaks of an emptiness born of love and clear seeing.
Rumi tells tales of beloved belonging.
We will weave both through movement, meditation and community.
Read more.

The Wisdom of Angelic Archetypes

A Meditation Retreat

with Mira Riddiford, 5 – 12 June 2020
This universalist meditation retreat on Angels is based on a series of symbolic, ancient mystery teachings, helping people live better, more purposeful lives. Read more.

The Heart Sutra

A Weekend with Matthew Eades, 26 – 28 June 2020
The Heart Sutra is one of the most profound and influential teachings of the Mahayana Path. In its many variations it lays out the essence of the path to full awakening. So profound is the environment that is envisaged that it is often referred to as “ the Mother of the Buddhas”. Read more.

A Taste of Nyungne

A Ritual Fasting 1,000 Armed Chenreizig Retreat

with Bonni Ross, 3 – 5 July 2020
An adaptation of a traditional Mahayana retreat practice. Read more.

Chenrezig Meditation Retreat

with Mark Schrader, 31 July – 4 August 2020
This is an experiential meditation course that focuses on developing compassion for both oneself and for others. Both beginners and those wishing to deepen their practice are welcome to attend. Read more.

Every Precious Moment – Mindfulness of Death, Impermanence & Uncertainty

with Della, Di, and Chani, 14 – 16 August 2020
Death isn’t just something that happens on one particular day. Death and dying are intimately related to life and living. In this weekend workshop, we will work together to explore what it truly means to make friends with life’s only certainty. Read more.

Garden of Mindfulness Family Retreat

Alice in Wonderland Edition

28 December 2020 – 4 January 2021
This year’s Garden of Mindfulness is based on the themes in “Alice in Wonderland”, including by special request a focus on the Fool archetype via The Mad Hatter. Read more.

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