This last three-day retreat was Purnima --the full moon. The monks took some time to put behind all the intense activity of the last weeks, unplug from the internet, leave behind civilization and take a camping trip. They went to famous Polihale — the most spectacular beach on the world’s most beautiful island, Kauai.
In the mostly deserted beach, the monks assembled a tent to protect them from the unforgiving Hawaiian sun. The sea was mellow and pleasant.
Here is the final result. Everything very neat and monastic.
Polihale is hardly accessible to the common tourist. It stays pristine, never crowded, and somehow gives us a taste of how Kauai was originally like.
We were rewarded with an unforgettable sunset. The sun only sets over the ocean on the other side of the island. From the monastery’s east side, we normally see the sunrise.
The night sky was so, so crisp and beautiful that we saw something we had never even heard of: Venus reflected over the placid waters of the ocean. A few minutes later we saw our first Venus-set, which just like the Sun-set makes the planet turn orange as it disappears.
Bodhinatha's Latest Upadeshas: "The Difference in Practice of Theism and Monism" (September 3, 2014)
During a puja we're in Theism, to receive the blessings of the Deity. After a puja we can go within our self in meditation, giving up the idea of an external Deity, Monism. Monistic Theism: Advaita Ishvaravada. Advaita means the Monism; Ishvara means the Theism.
In Shum we use two words that relate to that: shumif and dimfi. First, perfect your Theism. Then become a monist. That's called Saiva Siddhanta; one leads to the other.