House Tao

Order Gathering in Switzerland

By Beatrice Geisser

Twenty Order members from Germany and Switzerland gathered May 29 to June I at the Meditation Center House Tao in Switzerland. In an atmosphere of friendship and with commitment to establish a good fundament for the growing Order, we enjoyed our time with sitting meditation, group sharing, walking through the beautiful countryside, and cooking and eating together. One of the highlights was the Ordination Ceremony for Paul Koeppler, conducted together with the Order members by Dharmacharyas Marcel Geisser and Karl Schmied.

Several committees were organized to support the Dharmacharyas when there are decisions to be made; clarify the process of entering the Order (to be published in the revised edition of Interbeing); manage the financial part of the German-speaking Order; and plan the next annual Order meeting and retreat, to be held March 2-8, 1998, at Waldhaus am Laachersee, Germany. We will offer one day for aspirants to join us and get to know one another.

Marcel Geisser resigned after five years of editing InterSein (the German-language sister of The Mindfulness Bell) and passed on this work to a team in Munich, supervised by Karl Schmied. An important topic for many of us is finding ways to foster an atmosphere of openness that includes not only the successful and bright side of the practice but also our diffic ulties and struggles, so we can grow authentically as individuals and as an Order. Our newsletter InterSein should reflect this need. In this regard, we also appreciate the newsletter Compost.

Beatrice Geisser, True Mindfulness of Realization, practices at HauS Tao ill Wolfhalden. Switzerland, with her husband Marcel.

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Training in Switzerland

By Marcel and Beatrice Geisser mb21-Training

Since 1995 House Tao has offered a three-year course in Buddhist philosophy, psychology, and meditation. Thich Nhat Hanh instructed Marcel to develop this program along the lines of the four-year cycle of winter retreats at Plum Village. To address the conditions of daily life and professional activity, the course is divided each year into two ten-day blocks plus four weekends. The daily schedule includes sitting and walking meditation, meditative movement, rituals, lectures, sutra studies, Dharma discussions, and individual conversations with the teachers.

We stress incorporating the teachings into daily activities through working meditation, including gardening, renovating the house, daily cleaning, and preparing meals. Participants find that living, practicing, and learning with 18 people supports them at House Tao and also later in daily life.

Continual study and practice of meditation touches people deeply. Gradually uncovering and dissolving deep-seated illusions may trigger the temporary emergence of anxieties, insecurities, or even strongly neurotic reactions. Thus, considerable care and attention must be applied when working with group dynamic processes and conflicts. Marcel and Beatrice Geisser both have years of experience as licensed psychotherapists.

During the past three years, five participants formally received the Five Mindfulness Trainings from Marcel. This spring, a new group will begin. At the request of participants from the first cycle, House Tao is offering an extension of the training in the form of additional retreats. Special retreats will also be offered to program graduates to meet the need for deeper examination within a Sangha of experienced practitioners.

Dharma teacher Marcel Geisser, True Realisation, and Order member Beatrice Geisser, True Mindfulness of Love, live and practice in House Tao, Wo(fhalden, Switzerland.

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