In September 2017, Jonathan Citrin attended the In-House Retreat at Gampo Abbey. Following is his post hoc note sent to the monastics and fellow retreatants.
Sisters and Brothers-
I will find a more appropriate way to say thank you in the coming days but want to send a quick note of thanks as well.
While there, I learned new techniques and customs that will benefit my practice considerably. But what impacted most while at Gampo Abbey was the people. It is (unfortunately) rather infrequent to encounter an entire group of people all working tirelessly at selflessness. It is constant work to be selfless – as you know, it takes consistent awareness of self and therein discipline. And we can only hope to make strides, there is ultimately no such thing as perfection.
I had such a wonderful experience that was directly due to an unconditional commitment to kindness on the part of both the monastics and retreatants. I am motivated by your dedication to compassion and left you feeling full with energy and warmth for the work to come. Collectively, you quite literally changed me.
It is altogether remarkable in today’s world: a community driven to spend each and every day looking for deeper compassion in themselves. Thank you for being brave warriors and for having me as your guest; most fortunate is the realization that we are not alone in this work. I will be privileged to return someday soon.
In his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Gandhi wrote, “So long as man does not of his own free will put himself last among his fellow creatures, there is no salvation.” With tremendous appreciation for your companionship on this necessarily lonely journey,