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Watering Seeds, Planting Trees

Wake Up Mexico

Interview with Rogelio Moreno

Rogelio Moreno

Rogelio Moreno, True Ocean of Freshness, is co-founder of Wake Up Mexico City and was ordained into the Order of Interbeing in 2011. Rogelio shares about the growing Mexican Sangha in this excerpt from an interview with Nhu-Mai Nguyen, Wake Up Coordinator. The full interview is on wkup.org, where Wake Up Mexico City was featured as Sangha of the Month in March 2016.

Nhu-Mai Nguyen: How did Wake Up Mexico get started?

Rogelio Moreno: In 2010, we had the first monastics come to Mexico to lead an all-ages retreat. We started having retreats at least once a year with monastics. In 2014 was the monastics’ Latin American tour. Steven Reijersen, who is from the Netherlands and is part of Wake Up London, was in Mexico at the time and came to the retreat, and he encouraged me to start a Wake Up group. So I started Wake Up Mexico City with Steven in February 2014.

Around that time I was introduced to Christoph Neger. He’s from Austria, but he’s currently living in Mexico. He came a few years ago to Los Tuxtlas, and we started Wake Up at the same time: Los Tuxtlas and Mexico City. But he was mainly working on the Forest of Interbeing project. I had met Joaquín Carral and Aurora León during the Latin American tour. They gave me more strength and nourishment to organize a Wake Up Retreat.

I wrote to Wake Up International, and they sent me a lot of material to help me figure out how to organize a retreat, step by step. Cristoph, Miguel A. Valenzuela (my partner), and I organized a four-day retreat in March 2015. The theme was Watering Seeds.

NN: Where did you host the retreat?

RM: Since Cristoph was in Los Tuxtlas and was doing For­est of Interbeing, he told us to come. One of the projects during the retreat was to plant eighty trees. It’s a very nice jungle with waterfalls, about eight hours away from Mexico City. There was a camping facility by the project site, with showers, and people cooked food for us. Fifteen people came. Three people were from the Wake Up Sangha, but the rest were completely new, people whom we never met before! They found out about the retreat from our posts on Facebook and our Wake Up Mexico website.

NN: What kind of activities did you do?

RM: It was a peer-led retreat. We did sitting meditation and walking meditation, but in the jungle. The first day was arrival and orientation. The second day was the morning meditation, an hour-long walking meditation in the jungle, Dharma sharing, and then a presentation of the Five Mindfulness Trainings.

The third day was when we did the planting. Before the plant­ing, Christoph showed us the parts of the forest that were cleared, where cattle were brought in for grazing. The practice was to first see what was happening in order to inspire us. We did walking meditation from where there were no trees, slowly back into the jungle, and then to the area where we planned to plant the trees. Earlier, some people prepared the entire area—because there were poisonous snakes to be careful of!

Before planting, we read excerpts from the the Community of Interbeing Manual of Practice that I had from a UK Sangha (there’s a ceremony for planting trees), and after the ceremony we started planting. It took us about two hours to plant all eighty trees! It was amazing—afterwards we weren’t tired at all; in fact, it was the opposite. We were so energized and so glad we were doing something.

That was the last night of the retreat, and we watched a video of the Avalokiteshvara chant. The next morning we had sitting meditation, sharing, and closing circle, and we ended around 10 a.m. It was a very nice project.

NN: Is there anything else you’d like the international Sangha to know about?

RM: We’re a very new Sangha. We’re mainly beginners. Many people are very new to the practice; they have never been to a retreat or a monastery. Many don’t even know monastics. Because of that, our sessions are very basic. A big barrier here is that not many people speak English. Sometimes that’s what stops us from reaching more people; we do not have the material. There’s all of this great material in English but no one has time to translate it. We would like support with translation into Spanish.

For more information on Wake Up Mexico City, visit wkupmx.org. For those interested in translating material from English into Spanish, please email info@wkup.org. For infor­mation about Forest of Interbeing, see wkup.org/projects/forest-of-interbeing.

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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