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Kopan Monastery, One Month Meditation Retreat
Travel Report, 2001

By Peter Halvorson

I was one of the speakers at the last day picnic (of the 30 Day Meditation Retreat in Nov/Dec 2001). I went on from Kopan to pilgrimage to the eight holy places of the Buddha by chartered bus which Kopan had arranged led by Kendall Magnussen and about ten folks from our "class". We did puja's and offerings at each site much to the amazement of locals and a shot of inspiration to the local monks and practioners along the way.

Ending up in Bodhgaya for Christmas and NY's, later in January His Holiness cancelled Kalachakra. Lama Zopa gave Vajrasattva initiations at Root Institute and I joined ten others for the first three month V'sattva retreat there. (Kopan had cancelled all winter courses, remember?) So we put together a long retreat on short notice and off we went starting on Feb 11th I believe.

Seven of the ten were from our class. Tania (Aus, Phil hung out),Jean-yves (Fr) who sometimes translated for the French group, Eckert (DE), Tamir (Isreal), Tine (Denmark) with her sister, Claudia (Aus). The weather turned awful hot in the high 40's about the middle of the silent month and with just overhead fans and wet clothes we persevered in our purification practice of prostrations and mantra. It was hard but we stayed together.

I traveled up to Kopan with the Finnish doctor Eeva Sarela and then hiked to Tibet from western Nepal with Kendall and did pilgrimage around Mt Kailash with thousands of Tibetans.

Having returned to the US after ten months, the changes in my Karma allowed me to work for the FPMT international office running the internet shop where we provide prayers and practices and videos and CD's and a great resource for helping centers as well as individuals with any questions, problems or networking they need. So I have been at this now for about 15 months.

I hear about our classmates as days go by. Three of them in retreat in Bodhgaya now as well as many that returned to Kopan every November. I had a friend in the November course this past year as she said if Peter (me) can do it then so can I!

So glad to hear of others tales and travels through the website. I hope to see them some day.

Peter Halvorson



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