Sunday, October 14, 2012

Amazing video of a Tibetan Buddhist EMPOWERMENT last week.

Ever wondered what the inside of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery looks like? Or how receiving a traditional 'empowerment' from a venerable Rinpoche might go?
Situated in the majestic, Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim - nestled between Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan - this is a wonderful record of an empowerment offered by Goshri Gyaltsab Rinpoche the other day, to all those who gathered from near and far at Densa Palchen Chosling monastery, Southern Sikkim.

My master, Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, can be clearly seen translating, with a microphone in his left hand, at 1 min 57 on the video. He is on the far right of the screen in the second row.

As a side-bar to this and my previous post, i would like to conclude by writing something briefly about the growing need for spiritual teachings and practice in this Dark Age.

The other day was my master Thich Nhat Hanh's birthday. Curiously, i found myself chatting to another of his students who i first got to know when Thay was finally allowed back into his homeland Vietnam a few years ago and some of us went along to accompany him.
Dark days indeed - i thought to myself [since he is our connection to each other] - that she didn't mention Thay's birthday at all. 

Then she began to tell me of her experience of what she imagined people were looking for from a spiritual teacher nowadays. It was all quite depressing actually.

My friend owns and runs a wonderful resource centre in Dublin where people can enroll to do 'self-improvement' and other mind-body-spirit type courses. Even though she said people enjoyed Mindfulness-related classes, in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, she reported to me that they weren't all that interested in anything "too Buddhist".

Already I was thinking to myself that Mindfulness IS the very heart of Buddhism, what could be more Buddhist than that?

Then she went through a kind of check list of 'Too Buddhist' topics she thought might not prove so popular with the average spiritual seeker...

Ranging from the vast teachings on Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, to the relationship between student and awakened master, a view was emerging that certain teachings of the Buddha [and key tenets of being a Buddhist] are best avoided altogether if you wanted to have full classes and not make people too uncomfortable.

So now I'm thinking, 'I thought the whole point of the teachings was NOT to pander to what people want to hear. Or to avoid discomfort'. 

Then i was reminded of how we must be particularly sensitive to Irish people because we have been through so much over the decades. Roman Catholic fascist dogma and clerical sexual abuse have combined [quite rightly] to send the ordinary Irish woman and man running for the hills! The last thing people want, my friend asserted, was yet another orthodox religion with lots of things to believe in and rituals to perform, or [worse again] have performed on our behalf.

Then i started to reflect more and more on how Buddhism might appear to Irish ex-Catholics. 
This morning i am wondering if the Buddha's teachings should [or even could] be dumbed down to suit the sensitivities of the times we live in.

If lying on a yoga mat listening to whale-song helps people to feel happy, relaxed and more at peace, is that not where dharma teachers should be starting?

But ultimately I am coming round to the realisation that having all sorts of judgements and mistaken preconceptions - not just about Buddhism, but about EVERYTHING - is what actually creates our suffering in the first place. 

The answer, therefore, must surely be to dispel those misconceptions by facing them head-on, and not shy away from the uncomfortable truth of all phenomena:

Things change... The surface of our mind has a tendency to suffer... Deep down, however, we are already perfectly wise and compassionate... We are already Awake!

Authentic Buddhist teachings and practices can only serve to bring us back to that spontaneous state of Primordial Purity.

There's no need to water things down too much.

... Let's not throw out the Buddha with the bath water!


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