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Living Compassionately - Retreat in Loenen

  Ven. Sheika Nur eerwaarde Losang Gendun
Ven. Sheika Nur Artiran
Ven. Losang Gendun

with Sufi Teacher Sheika Nur Artiran and Buddhist monk Losang Gendun

General description

We invite you to participate in a dialogue between Islamic Sufism and Tibetan Buddhism, not through theological debate, but by the sharing of spiritual practice and the bonds of friendship. Together we will engage in Buddhist meditation, Sufi contemplations, mantra and dhikr recitation, discussions, aspirational prayer and devotional ritual to open our hearts to the Other.

Sheika Nur will be accompanied by a group of ten skilled musicians and Derwishes to perform the sacred music and dance from this mystical and sacred tradition.

Sufi Dancers

Theme of the retreat

Compassion is the gateway to transcendence, by immersing us into the ocean of life. Beyond passive empathy compassion urges us to drop our defenses, reach deeply in the feelings of our fellow humans, and work actively for their well being. It is the highway to divine states in which the mind becomes boundless and brilliant. Compassion is the original reason for the arising of the world’s religions, as it binds us as human beings. It is the beating heart of the great spiritual traditions and meeting place for dialogue between them.

True compassion extends a hand across any divide, be it religious affiliation, political or sexual orientation, gender, atheist or agnostic. Therefore Nur and Gendun wish to invite all who enjoy training their hearts to join them in spiritual friendship. Together we can celebrate both our unique differences and our human unity, and generously enrich each other by the best we have to offer.

Nur about compassion
Immersing us into the depths of life itself, compassion is a doorway that leads us to transcendence. It goes beyond passive empathy by lowering our defenses. It propels us to actively work to reach other people's deepest feelings and to contribute to their well-being. Compassion is the measureless state of being where the perfection of the human mind is attained, and a necessary road that leads to the spiritual station of divine authority. Compassion is the reason for the emergence of world religions because it unites people. Compassion finds itself at the heart of spiritual traditions, it is at this focal point that they come together to dialogue.
The word compassion means to be kindhearted, to have sympathy, pity and concern for the suffering or misfortunes of others; making allowances, forgiving others by putting a stop to anger or resent. Moreover, compassion and refined behavior are the main characteristics that differentiate humans from animals. Having said that, animals also experience feelings of compassion, kindness and sympathy. A human being therefore, needs to be capable of greater discernment in order to manifest a more profound sense of compassion. While avoiding the sense of duality, the first step is to think of others’ well-being, comfort and peace of mind. Human development is not measured by technology but by compassion.

Ven. Losang Gendun on compassion
The Buddha spent 45 years of his life sharing with anyone who would hear him, that spiritual freedom and human perfection are possible. As a young man he had been impelled by the realisation that all living beings are vulnerable to suffering to find a way to lead them to safety. In this, he showed that the path by which we fully become human begins with compassion, and that this deep affection can nourish us on our path. Life is not a collection of individual things, but participation in a vast web of interdependence. We need others for every aspect of our being to exist, to be cared for and to be nourished. Yet it is the blindness to the way we are interwoven that causes so much harm to ourselves and our fellow creatures. Compassion is therefore not only the deepest expression of our nature, but the very path leading to our freedom.

About the retreat

Welcoming session starts at 20:00 on Thursday 22 November and finish Sunday morning 25 November, 2018. We plan to make this into a yearly recurring event.
The course includes coffee, tea and vegetarian meals.
On 18.30 Thursday evening, a simple dinner with soup and bread is served.
Donation to offset the costs*: €275,- including accommodation, bed-linen and a towel, €215,- excluding accommodation, bed-linen and a towel.
Students are requested to do some 'karma yoga', meaning to help with some household work during the course as part of our spiritual practice to help each other, and so we can keep the courses affordable. Recordings of the teachings can be downloaded from this website about a week after the course.

Special notice: Retreat participants are invited to stay on until Monday for the rare and auspicious visit of His Eminence Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. In that case, a donation towards the costs of the extra dinner, night and breakfast is appreciated.

Please register well in advance, see Registration and Course Donations for details. Download this registration form, fill it in and send it to donaties@maitreya.nl.

Students are requested to do some 'karma yoga', meaning to help with some household work during the course as part of our spiritual practice to help each other, and so we can keep the courses affordable. Recordings of the teachings can be downloaded from this website about a week after the course.

*Donation to offset the costs: Organising activities costs money. With this amount, we indicate what the direct costs are for the activity, but not the costs to enable the continued existence of the Maitreya Instituut. If you can contribute less then this amount, please request a contribution from the Study Fund. In case you can contribute more: thank you!


Biography of Venerable H. Nur Artıran
Venerable H. Nur Artıran is an authority on Mevlânâ Jalâluddîn Rûmî and his work. She is a researcher, writer, scholar and educator on the path of Rûmî.
From her childhood onward, she continually had training with several Sûfi masters. Her first Islamic work on mysticism was in 1983 based on Niyaz-i Mısrî’s Diwân (collected poems).
For many years she served as assistant to her spiritual master Şefik Can (1909-2005), who was “Sertârik” (The head of the Mevlevî Sheikhs) and “Mesnevîhan” (One who was officially authorized to teach the Mathnawî). In his field Şefik Can is considered to be the most significant name in our century.
She put together the “Cevâhir-i Mesnevîyye” (The Ore of the Mathnawi), the “Mesnevîden Hikâyeler” (Stories from the Mathnawi), the “Okullar için Mesnevî’den seçmeler” (Selections from the Mathnawi for Schools) and the “Mevlânâ’nın Rubailerinden Seçmeler” (Selections from Mevlana’s Rubaiyat) for publishing.
In 2011 her first book: “Aşk Bir Davaya Benzer” (Love Needs Proof) was published. In 2014 two other books “Herkes Seni Terk Etse Aşk Terk Etmez” (Everyone Can Leave you, But Not Love) and “Nun Kapısı” (The Door of ‘Nun’) have been published. They consist of spiritual talks from Mathnawi and other great Sufi Masters.
She has given numerous lectures and conferences at home and abroad, and has appeared on radio and television programs.
In Turkey and internationally she has presented official communications at symposiums, as well as various articles and papers which have been published.
Nur Artıran continues her global work as the founding President of the Şefik Can International Mevlânâ Education and Culture Foundation. She is also a founding member of the World Disability Union, member of the Scientific Committee of the International Mevlânâ Foundation and a member of the Advisory Board of The Global Future College based in Paris.

Biography of Venerable Losang Gendun
Venerable Losang Gendun is a Dutch Buddhist monk. Previously, he worked in the IT sector, refugee organizations and commercial management.

For twenty years he practiced Theravada Buddhism, including the tradition of Sayadaw U Pandita, before taking monastic ordination in the Tibetan Gelug tradition in 2006. In Nalanda, a FPMT monastery in France, he completed eight years of Buddhist philosophy studies and trained under various teachers such as HH the Dalai Lama, Geshe Losang Jamphal, Ganden Tripa Losang Tenzin Rinpoche and Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

For years, Ven. Gendun has taught in the Netherlands, France, Monaco and the US, and leads retreats in both Mahayana and Theravada meditation forms. He is active in interreligious and intermonastic communication, maintaining close relations with several Benedictine monasteries, the International Soufie Alawiyya organization, and Mevlevi Orders in Turkey.

Ven. Gendun spent over three years in retreat in both the FPMT and Pa Auk Tawya Forest Monastery in Myanmar. Since 2017 he has settled in Amsterdam as the residential teacher at the Maitreya Institute where he teaches Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism in a contemporary context. In his spare time, he explores the relatively new field of 'fusion philosophy' that aims for a dialogue between Buddhist and Western Philosophy.



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