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“Will this be the white board for the workshop? It will be too small,” said Adriana Patiño when she saw the board I had brought for our one-day Pāli workshop in Marrakesh, Morocco.
In the last four years, several 10-day courses have been held in Marrakesh at a non-center site. When we invited Adriana to conduct the first Satipaṭṭhāna course in Morocco, she suggested conducting a Pāli workshop as well, to take advantage of the time and space available.
The organizing team was immediately enthusiastic. We had an idea of what such a workshop entailed, but none of us had ever attended one. It was an opportunity we couldn’t refuse. We only had one day spare between the two scheduled courses due to the rental conditions, but even so, we felt very lucky to provide this opportunity to Vipassana students in Morocco.
Adriana had mailed us instructions and helpful information for the organization team. We did our best, however this was our first Pāli-workshop experience so there were some surprises.
For example, I don’t think Adriana had expected having to juggle her teaching between students who understood only English and others who spoke only French! In the end, the music of the words and the different language sequences created a very dynamic learning, conducted with brio by the always smiling Adriana.
I’m sure the situation brought a lot of brainstorming for her, but as students we never perceived difficulties. Any issue was changed into something deeper and positively stimulating; it revealed the beauty of Dhamma to hear all these foreign tongues connected by the Pāli language.
For me personally, the subtlety, the utility, and the importance of this teaching became clear upon hearing the notion of ‘training’ that is included in the word sikkhāpadam. It was as if new possibilities were offered to me. Goenkaji repeats constantly to be kind towards oneself; but the power of Pāli words is so strong that I now started to understand the real meaning of such recommendation. I understood why students mention that their practice is strengthened by learning Pāli.
As soon as Adriana started teaching, repeating and explaining the opening formalities, we felt the powerful vibrations of Dhamma. We immediately understood how lucky we were to be offered such priceless gift. We all realized how it would inspire our practice. It was only one day but the seed has now been planted in Morocco.