This page is intended as a guide on how best to make use of a Padmaloka online event.
A Brief History of Online Events
Padmaloka began running online events for men training for Ordination in early summer 2020, it was clear that we needed a way in which to stay in touch with friends and those training for Ordination during lockdown, but also to continue to create contexts for men to deepen their Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels.
Since the first study seminars we hosted, we've developed and refined the way we run these online events and are more and more confident that they are a way for men to connect with each other and deepen their Dharma practice.
Setting up the Conditions for Practice
These events are an opportunity to see how deep you can go in your practice whilst still being at home, we will do our best to invite you into Padmaloka through study, meditation, communication and friendship, but a large part of it will be up to you to create a space which is supportive of your practice.
Vidyadaka outlines some points that you can try in the video below:
There are some more ideas and resources that you may want to try below as well:
Creating a Space
As much as possible, set aside the time for the duration of the online event where you are free from your ordinary activities of daily life - work, shopping, etc. It's important to have space where you can do nothing so as to absorb the practices and study material of the event - the mind needs to be able to relax as well as focus and create.
If possible, create a space where you have your shrine set up, where it is quieter and supportive of meditation and reflection. Make sure that the space is a beautiful one and take good care of your shrine - you can even set aside time each day for shrine keeping - changing the water in your offering bowls, dusting your rupa, cleaning out your incense bowl.
A Collective Practice
In Spiritual Friendship a great deal of emphasis is placed upon the mind to mind connection between friends, and more than ever now it is important to cultivate this aspect of friendship. So bear in mind friends on the event you are on, put them in your metta practice and try to have a sense of being part of something bigger - partaking in collective practice.
The Ordination Team team would like to meet you and hear how your Dharma life is going, so don't hesitate to ask for a Zoom meeting with your study group leader, You can also arrange meetings with others on the event. If you don't have their email address we can help to put you in touch with them. Getting to know one another is a big part of training for Ordination at Padmaloka - for these may well be the people you share your life in the Order with.
We'd also like to send small photos we have on our database of everyone attending the retreat to all those participating, as well as putting the photos on the noticeboard for those attending in person, as a way of helping to get a sense of each other during the event. If you would like us not to do this with your photo then please could you let us know beforehand and we will make sure that yours isn't sent out with the list.
Setting up your Screen
To reduce eye strain, it's best to set up your monitor at around eye-level and to make sure the ambient light in the room is low, with no reflections from the monitor.
Larger screens give a better experience on Zoom, particularly for the study groups, but also for getting a good sense of the Padmaloka shrine room.
These days they can be found for relatively low prices (Around £150 for a 27-inch monitor); some televisions you can also plug a computer into, as well as projectors.
For a stable internet connection, it is best to check that there is no heavy internet use happening elsewhere in your house - where possible (e.g.: video streaming, large downloads).
If your connection becomes unstable then you can try turning off your video as this can lower the bandwidth required by Zoom.
We will be using Zoom to facilitate these online seminars, a free application which can be downloaded here: Zoom
You need to create an account to use it, but it is free to do so.
Zoom works best on a laptop or desktop PC and needs a webcam, microphone, and speakers; external headphones, or speakers, and microphone give the best quality compared to built-in ones.
If at any time you drop out due to a technical problem then simply rejoin as soon as you can and you'll be put back into your group.
Also, if you have any problems in joining or being put back into your group then don't hesitate to call Padmaloka on 01508 538112 and we'll help you to join or re-join the seminar.
Resources for Practice
The Tiratana Vandana
We will be chanting the 'Salutation to the Three Jewels', the Tiratana Vandana, each morning of the event before meditation, a traditional set of verses which call to mind the qualities and virtues of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
You can find a printable pdf of the file here: The Tiratana Vandana Text
You can also find an audio recording of it being chanted here: The Tiratana Vandana Audio Recording
Padmaloka Shrine Tour
The iconography in the Padmaloka shrine room is an integral part of practising at Padmaloka. Imagery, colour, symbol and myth can affect our minds in ways that we can't access through other practices.
We've put together a video of the shrine room which you can take a look at to get more of a sense of imagery within, which you can find here: Padmaloka Shrine Tour