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I recently attended a weekend at Davidson, N.C. This is a quaint little college town north of Charlotte. We met at a house that was right across the street from the campus, so we had many lovely strolls around the academic and athletic buildings. There were large, old trees, which it turned out were all marked, so I got to learn about a dozen new trees (I guess Charlotte and Charlottesville are more bio-diverse than previously realized). Oh – and one thing – Don’t Speed around Davidson! There is a sign warning of the dangers of speeding, but as the roads drift on and on (at 25 mph) the tendency to get on with it is very tempting. The organizer of the teachings warned us ahead of time however – the police have nothing better to do than catch people going 27 in a 25 zone… Now, on to the Dharma teachings and my reflections.
The topics of the weekend were Lama Chopa practice, Achi protector practice, Lord Jigten Sumgon, the founder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and his great grandmother, Achi Chokyi Drolma, an enlightened being who swore to protect the aforementioned lineage. The attendees were all practitioners, so it was quite a potent group.
I appreciated the way in which we had “homework” to do ahead of the weekend, meaning we made a commitment ahead of time and a daily practice (accumulating prayers). As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been “Buddhist” since 2002, when I first started meditating (not that I knew what I was doing then, or now) and reading in the Rinzai Zen tradition. In 2006 I attended lamas from the Tibetan Meditation Center, where I felt like I had finally found a home. I took refuge at that point with Khenchen Rinpoche, Konchog Gyaltsen, and I officially “joined” the Drikung Kagyu. Now, the reason I am creating this build up, is that despite putting in a good deal of time studying and attending teachings over the past few years, I felt that this recent introduction / connection with the founder of the lineage and his family really grounded me in the lineage. To sum up what I am trying to say here: the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism was officially started by Jigten Sumgon, an exceptionally realized and respected teacher and lama (and lineage founder). He is said to have taught 300,000 practitioners and students, sending thousands out to retreats on sacred mountains and hermitages. Achi was his great-grandmother who also attained incredible realization (Buddhahood) and vowed to protect authentic practitioners in the lineage.
Overall I enjoyed this weekend Dharma get-away as it was well-organized, relaxed and full of clear teachings. May all authentic spiritual teachers have their paths be clear of obstacles and may they spread wisdom and compassion with ease.