'Simple, unelaborate living' 

Buddhists fit easily into a traditional Ozark lifestyle.

Page 6 of 7

The idea of retreats, like the practice of meditation, is central to Buddhist life. Buddhists meditate as a form of mental training in the belief that, as one monk put it, "although outer conditions are important contributive factors to our well-being or suffering, in the end, the mind can override that."

The goal is liberation, Buddhists say. Meditation is the method. Much as physical training strengthens the body, mental training through meditation allows a person to develop the mental states that foster healing from old wounds, growth beyond self-imposed limits, and a life that's beneficial to self and others.

The retreat center exists to offer Buddhists — and those interested in learning more about Buddhism — an opportunity to step away from their regular lives, however briefly, and explore what it means to practice. Drolma explains, "You can learn to watch your mind and recognize when you're having a disturbing or negative emotion, and you can kind of step back, and you don't have to react. You're not always looking outside yourself. You're looking at your own mind."

'Settle your mind'

"You learn that you're not a puppet of your mind, and so you don't get caught up in the superficial. Developing a focused mind is a skill, and anyone can develop it. What makes the Dalai Lama so powerful is the focus of his mind. That's what the awakened mind — the enlightened mind — is: the mind that's completely settled in its own nature."

Buddhists see a metaphor in the rivers around them. Storms can stir the water. But, says Drolma, as with water, "the longer you can sit and settle your mind, the more it clears. Sediments settle to the bottom. The mind sinks into more and more profound states." As Drolma puts it, when one's mind is "not constantly being whipped about," the resulting clarity permits the "beautiful qualities" of compassion, generosity and patience to emerge.

Yeshe, the center's other monk, is the son of New York Quakers. He entered college to become a naturalist, worked as an environmental educator, then returned to school to study Eastern medicine, which he practiced in Oregon. He says that from the moment he became involved in Tibetan Buddhism, he "felt called to the path of a monk."

Yeshe was part of the group of 70 or so that accompanied Rinpoche to Tibet in 2007. "It was great to be around those monks," he says. It was there that he was ordained. Yeshe followed Rinpoche to Arkansas because "he is the only teacher who has laid out the whole path for me and given me a very clear explanation."

Yeshe finds it remarkable that, at exactly the time he came here, with the blessing of the land last October, the couple from Hawaii found and contributed the property that Rinpoche plans to make into a healing center. When that happens, he hopes to work there.

To support himself now, though, he works full-time in Jasper at a facility for developmentally disabled people. He wears "lay clothes" to the job instead of his monk's robes because he wants to "give people a chance to know me and trust me, and the robes would have created a barrier."

"Right now, I'm basically mainstreamed," Yeshe explains. "Can you imagine if I worked in a bank and wore robes? It would be too strange for people. But I keep aspiring to a job where I can wear my robes."


Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Mara Leveritt

  • Illustrating the governor's message

    Our prisons burst with disparities. Eliminating them will take courage. Let's see if the Arkansas Parole Board can heed the governor's message with one matter currently before it.
    • Dec 3, 2015
  • Mara Leveritt offers governor a symbol for sentencing reform

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state needs to get serious about sentencing reform if it is to cope with its exploding prison population.
    • Dec 1, 2015
  • Parole board hears arguments on parole for Tim Howard

    The hard-fought battle over the fate of former death-row inmate Tim Howard intensified on Thursday when John Felts, chairman of the Arkansas Parole Board, held a hearing at Cummins prison to consider Howard’s eligibility for parole.
    • Oct 9, 2015
  • More »

People who saved…

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Latest in Cover Stories

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments


© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation