From June 9 to 16, Rebecca and Fiona Nuttall co-led a Koan Retreat at the retreat center in Maenllywd, Wales. Fiona Nuttall was the first Dharma heir of Simon Child which makes her and Rebecca Dharma sisters.
Looking out from the interview room at the retreat center in Maenllywd, Wales (photo taken by Rebecca Li)
A number of retreatants commented on how much they appreciated having two female teachers. In fact, not only was the retreat led by two female teachers, both the guest master and the chef were also women. This was the first time Rebecca led a Koan Retreat. The retreat leaders helped participants to choose a koan that resonated with them, to learn to integrate the koan into their practice, and to work through difficulties along the way. It was also the first time Rebecca led the chanting in morning service. When the group struggled with the pronunciation of the Chinese words in the liturgy and the melody in the chanting, Fiona asked Rebecca to give everyone a tutorial. Rebecca shared that the last time she gave a similar tutorial was when John Crook and others needed help with the chanting during the Bodhisattva Precepts training at the end of the 49-day retreat in 2000. After the tutorial, the services went much more smoothly.
On the last full day of the retreat, Rebecca gave some participants a seminar to explain the meaning of taking refuge in the Three Jewels and how to practice with the five precepts. On the last morning of the retreat, Fiona and Rebecca conducted the refuge- and precept-taking ceremonies as well as the thanksgiving ceremony.