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Back from attending Garchen Rinpoche – wow, what a being. I think he embodies spontaneous, liberated, spacious heart – words don’t come close. Hmm. Well, I am a bit more grounded as a result – had the blessing of another Bodhicitta pill, as he says, (and I paraphrase) Bodhicitta is the warmth that we need to melt the ice of self grasping.
So, I think I am wrapping up the Mani Drupchen, finally. I have a few more thoughts and considerations, but I think they will wait. For now, here are my thoughts on how the military and Tibetan Buddhism might be similar.
Overall, there is a deep fundamental difference between say, the Army and attaining Buddhahood, however, there are some uncanny surface parallels. Apparently, not that I have conducted much research on this, Robert Thurman believes this topic to be a valid theory, considering the Buddha had been raised as a military leader when he was Prince Siddhartha.
Here is what I discovered as I sat on my cushion and pondered (distracted from meditation):
In the military there is a hierarchy among ranks and in a spiritual tradition there is also a hierarchy among lamas – maybe they know who has attained which realizations. The Retreat Master, who is sometimes known as the disciplinarian could be reflected in a Drill Sergeant role (just very compassionate and lovingly-kind beneath the crusty, rough exterior). There was quite a regimented schedule at this retreat – especially with chanting through the night – the night shifts of mantra recitation greatly reminded me of night watch in the army. In Tibetan Buddhism there are preliminary practices that one must do before taking on a tantric deity practice, these preliminary practices could be viewed as slowly advancing through the ranks – there are various “schools” one has to complete before becoming eligible for higher ranks. And in another manner, the stages of the path could be viewed similarly – for instance, the stage of accumulation, the stage of one taste, the stage of no more meditation, etc. With advancement through the “ranks,” one gains more responsibility and occasionally the little things in life get easier – for instance some of the high lamas, abbots, lineage holders, retreat masters, might be relieved from needing to prepare food.
A friend pointed out, when I mentioned this theory, that the lamas might be the officers, the monks could be seen as the enlisted personnel and the lay people (us) might be seen as the tax payers (basically watching and typically not having a clue about what is going on, at least on the subtle levels).
Thanks for reading and perhaps I will see you at the next Mani Drupchen.
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