One day has passed since returning from the 2nd Annual, Vast Noble Heart Chenrezig ManiDrupchen. There is much to say and yet much to reflect upon. Actually, in my case, there is much to do – I had several issues clear up and now it is a matter of implementing the information I have come across. We had less people attend this intensive, but it still went well and was maintained around the clock for a week.
It is my intention to write these posts in a style that is present tense, from the perspective of a series of journal entries. I got this idea from the book, Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind by Maura O’Halloran. This is a book I highly recommend – the author was one of the first women to enter the Zen temples to become a Zen priestess [I would say nun but in the Zen tradition, their teachers are permitted to marry, hence priest(ess)], she pushed herself tirelessly for 3 years and was recognized as an emanation of Kannon – the Japanese version of Guan Yin (or Chenrezig / Avalokitesvara).
12/26 – I rush home from my parent’s place, after enjoying Christmas with family. Upon arriving at my apartment, which is in the Dharma Duplex (a duplex with four Drikung Kagyu Tibetan Buddhist practitioners in it), my friend meets me at the door saying “I am ready to go.” Okay… well I’m not! After several days with my family, whom I love dearly, I am dragging a bit. But I do not have time to dwell on that for long as I need to unpack. I swiftly clean my car, dump out my suitcase and try to remember everything I will need for the next 9 days at the Drupchen. I quickly pack my car and then my friend and I are out the door to pick up a yogi who lives across town. The trip is fairly uneventful – we have good conversations as one of my passengers is an older yogi who knows many stories about Tibetan spiritual masters.
We arrive at TMC around 4:30 and we are some of the first people to arrive. Khenpo Tsultrim (Tenzin) greets us with, “Do you want tea?” which is his customary hospitable manner. We learn that Gyabra Tritsab Rinpoche – the Regent of the Drikung Kagyu – who was invited to be the Vajra Master of the Drupchen, is definitely not going to be arriving for the commencement of the retreat. He is having visa problems. The lamas who will be at the retreat are Drupon Rinchen Dorje, Khenpo Tsultrim, Khenpo Chophel along with Lama Gyaltsen and Tsunma Rigzin Khandro.
In my haste to get out the door, I realize (too late), that I forgot all the Tibetan shirts I had planned to bring – meaning that I have one long sleeve shirt to wear for the next 8 days… It is my green Irish rugby jersey – LOL!
I take a little nap, snap some photos of the mandala and do a little sitting in anticipation of tomorrow’s big start. I am one of Hun Lye’s assistants – Hun is the TMC president and the main organizer and facilitator of this particular Mani Drupchen. He tells me that it will be my job to keep an eye on the chores that are assigned and to make certain that they are being maintained on a daily basis.
In this picture of Chenrezig (and retinue), I would learn later that Chenrezig’s consort, son and daughter are present, along with the Lords of the Five Buddha Families – Amitabha (red – above Chenrezig), Amogasiddhi (green), Vairochana (white), Akshobya (blue) and Ratnasambhava (yellow).